By DAVID SHARP, Associated Press

BOYNE FALLS (WWJ/AP) – Michigan-based Boyne Resorts has reached an agreement to assume outright ownership of six ski resorts it’s operating under long-term lease agreements, a development that could boost investment in the properties from Maine to Washington State, the company said.

The agreement covers Brighton Resort near Salt Lake City; Cypress Mountain in British Columbia; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine; and The Summit at Snoqualmie near Seattle. Also included is the Gatlinburg Sky Lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The deal with Oz Real Estate will allow the new owner to invest in the seven properties, said Steve Kircher, Boyne’s president and CEO.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Ron Jacques, owner of a ski shop in Jay and a regular skier at Sugarloaf, Maine’s tallest ski mountain, said Tuesday. “It’s always nice when a ski company actually owns the ski mountain instead of an investment group that’s only looking to turn a profit.”

Boyne Resorts has long wanted to own the properties, which it has operated on behalf of two different property owners, Kircher said in a statement.

Steven Orbuch, founder and president of Oz Real Estate, called the agreement “mutually beneficial” for his company’s shareholders and for Boyne. The companies declined to divulge financial terms of the deal, which they anticipate will close sometime later this year.

The resorts were among more than a dozen ski resorts sold by a Florida-based real estate investment trust last year. Oz Real Estate assumed ownership of 14 properties, while Missouri-based EPR Properties held the rest.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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