"Cover Story" piece on Les Otten, 50, the self-made ski resort king who expanded
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- American Skiing Co; Otten; Leslie B
"Cover Story" piece on Les Otten, 50, the self-made ski resort king who expanded his empire to western states two years ago and now employs 12,000 people. Last year, Otten's Newry-based American Skiing Co., the nation's largest ski resort corporation, lost $32 million because the company's agressive acquisition and real estate development strategy made it incapable of absorbing the worst snow season in many years. Otten, who is worth more than $100 million today, began as an employee at Sunday River in the 1970s and by 1996, he owned six ski areas in New England. In 1997 he purchased three more out west. But there has been considerable speculation about the direction of the company since it was rescued last summer by Oak Hill Capital Partners, a $1.6 billion private equity fund controlled by Robert Bass of Houston. With a related article about Otten's 1997 acquisition of Steamboat, a ski resort in Colorado, that included troubles Otten had not bargained for.