* Whistler owner gets another week to avoid foreclosure
* Olympics’ organizers said not worried about disruption
(Adds comments from the Olympics)
By Tom Hals
WILMINGTON, Del., Feb 18 (Reuters) - The ski resort near Vancouver where the Olympic downhill events are being staged won’t go on the block in a foreclosure auction on Friday as scheduled, winning a one-week reprieve from creditors, a source with direct knowledge of the talks said on Thursday.
Creditors of Intrawest Holdings, which owns stakes in Whistler Blackcomb resort, the site of downhill events during the Vancouver Olympics, agreed to delay the auction from Friday until Feb. 26, two days before the end of the Olympics.
The agreement delays the auction until after the marquee men’s combined downhill event at Whistler, which will feature American Bode Miller. That event is scheduled to end on Feb. 22.
Intrawest and its owner, U.S. private equity equity firm Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG.N), have been haggling with creditors over refinancing the $1.7 billion of debt Fortress took on in buying Intrawest in 2006.
Intrawest holdings also include Squaw Valley in California and Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, and it has sold off other resorts in recent months as it reorganizes its finances.
Olympic officials have dismissed talk of a foreclosure as nothing more than a minor distraction and they are not worried that Intrawest’s financial situation will disrupt Olympic events at Whistler.
“For the athletes it would be a non-issue. It would be an esoteric business issue beyond anything they would think about (on the hill),” said Chris Rudge, secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Vancouver Games Organizers say it was unlikely any of the parties involved in the financial discussion would try to disrupt the Olympics or the Paralympics in March, because that would only reduce Whistler’s potential value.
Games organizers have an agreement to compensate Whistler for any business lost because of the Games, which utilize only a small portion of the resort. The amount of compensation has yet to be determined.
Additional reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Allan Dowd in Vancouver; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Frank McGurty