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DENVER-The Hong Kong owner of the Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area, a small ski resort in south central Colorado, is under contract. If the group buys it this fall after completing its due diligence, it will mark the first time in more than a decade that the resort 157 miles south of Denver will be locally owned in more than 20 years.

”It’s been a long negotiations, but we are very pleased to have a part of the future of Monarch, not just its past,” says Richard Moorhead, general manager of Monarch, who is part of the group buying the resort, which has 670 acres of skiable terrain.

Last season, the resort, which sits on the Continental Divide west of Salida and south of Buena Vista, drew 147,266 skiers, one of its best years ever. Sixty percent of the visitors come from the Denver area or Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The resort area is about 120 miles from Colorado Springs.

The last time it was owned locally was in 1979. Since then, owners have been from California, Seattle and Japan, as well as the Hong Kong group, which bought it about five years ago.

The purchase price wasn’t revealed. But Katherine M. Meyer, the broker from Steamboat Springs listing the project, says the prospective buyers would pay less than the $8

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