So you beleive there is little growth opportunity for these mountain resorts?
It's not so much that, as that I just don't freaking know, and don't have any confidence in even guessing. Look at the Les Otten story (American Ski Company). From an East coast base, he tried to expand by buying up properties, and ASC imploded spectacularly.
I don't know how Intrawest plans to grow -- buy, expand existing properties, develop new, expand into summer activities, whatever. Apparently they have some international properties, too, and I don't have any experience outside the US and Canada.
Skiing is expensive for a customer to get into. If the economy hadn't taken such a shit, I'd be more optimistic about boomers finally having the leisure time and money to get into it, and getting a demographic bump.
As long as I've been skiing (20 years), people in the industry have been constantly talking about how to grow the sport, and they never seem confident that it's happening. Resorts outside the West have tried pushing golf in the summer, but that's expensive, too. Every place is pushing real estate, but, well, that's expensive, too, and the more crowded the ski village, the less attractive it is to skiers after a point.
Destination resorts are dependent on commercial airlines to get the visitors there. How confident are you that air travel will be able to increase passenger numbers?
Most of the western resorts can make snow now, but that's dependent on a big water supply; Colorado suffered through a drought a few years ago. Even with the snowmaking coverage, a bad winter can knock out profits at a resort the next year. (people plan their next year's trips based on what's happening now, generally)
Another factor is that a lot of the story of skiing in the US is a story of individuals, coming out of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, and opening resorts and developing the industry. (Good writeup of early history, including the 10th Here
). It's been driven for most of its US history by personal connections, shared love of the activity, and a combination of both mostly friendly competition and if not cooperation, at least a shared desire to see everyone succeed. Those guys are dying off, or gone now, and it's become an industry driven by CEOs and beancounters. And that's what I'm not sure at all it can survive.
I love skiing. I really hope somebody comes up with a solution that keeps the good parts of the industry alive without multiplying the bad parts, but I really don't think it's predictable enough to invest in, and for my money there's too much chance of disaster (business-wise) to even speculate on, especially on an individual company.