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VERNON, NJ-Intrawest Corp. has been responsible for such noted ski resort communities as Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb, Mammoth in California, Mt. Tremblant in Quebec and Stratton in Vermont, and the company has now brought its expertise to New Jersey. The company has started construction on the Appalachian, a 100-unit condo community within its Mountain Creek project here.

A world-class ski resort in New Jersey might seem a little out of the ordinary, but what Intrawest is doing is to develop just such a community around the existing Mountain Creek ski area, which it acquired five years ago. Mountain Creek consists of the combined trail systems of the former Great Gorge and Vernon Valley ski areas.

“Now that all the pieces are in place, all of us at Intrawest and Mountain Creek, as well as the people of Vernon and the rest of the tri-state region can track the Village’s progress and watch our resort take shape,” says Lorne Bassel, vice president at Intrawest.

Intrawest’s ski resort village project almost didn’t happen, for environmental reasons. But earlier this year the company cut a deal with the state in which it donated nearly 1,400 acres on top on Hamburg Mountain for preservation in exchange for development rights around the bottom of the mountain. Intrawest also sold 450 nearby acres to the state. To held fund the project, Intrawest also raised $20 million in local real estate sales.

The “Village” Bassel refers to will eventually be a 1,000-home resort community with a retail component. The 137,000-sf Appalachian, the initial phase, is slated for a spring 2005 completion. The asset will feature ski-in, ski-out access and a number of other amenities.

Work at Mountain Creek actually started three years ago with construction of Black Creek Sanctuary, a townhome community in an adjacent wildlife sanctuary.

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