SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif, May 12 /PRNewswire/ — Two airlines — Allegiant Air, based in Fresno CA and Tahoe Air, based in South Lake Tahoe — are planning year-round, scheduled jet service into South Lake Tahoe (CA) Airport.

The airport is located just six miles from the California Base of Heavenly Ski Resort, which is owned by American Skiing Company (NYSE: SKI). Heavenly is the largest and most popular ski resort in the Lake Tahoe region.

“This makes Heavenly an even more attractive destination,” said John Wagnon, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the resort. “Passengers arriving in South Lake Tahoe can be on the lift within minutes of touching down. This has the potential to be a very positive development for increasing skier and rider visits and real estate sales at Heavenly.”

South Lake Tahoe hasn’t enjoyed commercial jet service for more than three years. In the late ’70s, the airport recorded almost 600,000 passengers per year. During the 1980′s the airport was served by American and AirCal airlines.

More recently, air service into the region was concentrated in Reno, Nevada, which is approximately one hour by car from both Heavenly and competing ski resorts on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.

Last Thursday, Allegiant Air announced eight round trips per week: four non-stop flights from Hollywood/Burbank to South Lake Tahoe and four direct flights from Fresno to Las Vegas with continuing service to South Lake Tahoe. Allegiant will fly DC9 Super 21 and Super 51 configurations, which can carry 89 or 115 passengers respectively. Flights will be offered on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Allegiant Air direct-books its flights by phone (toll free reservations line: 877-202-6444) and is developing booking via the World Wide Web (www.allegiantair.com). The website will be operational by midsummer. Tahoe Air is planning to fly hushed 737-200 aircraft, with 110 or 116 seat configurations, from Los Angeles International Airport and San Jose. The schedule has not been announced, but the airline is currently planning “multiple daily flights” from both cities. The airline will direct-book passengers from its website (www.tahoeair.com); via toll-free telephone (888- TAHOEAIR) and through travel agents.

Allegiant’s service begins June 3; Tahoe Air’s service is tentatively planned to start in late June or early July. Both airlines expect that fares will be roughly comparable to flights into Reno NV.

Thanks to near-record snowfall this season, Heavenly plans to operate for skiing and snowboarding through Memorial Day. Wagnon said that Heavenly was on track to best its all-time attendance record, which was set last year.

Headquartered in Newry, Maine, American Skiing Company is the largest operator of alpine ski, snowboard and golf resorts in the United States. Its resorts include Steamboat in Colorado; Killington, Mount Snow and Sugarbush in Vermont; Sunday River and Sugarloaf/USA in Maine; Attitash Bear Peak in New Hampshire; The Canyons in Utah; and Heavenly in California/Nevada.

Statements in this press release, other than statements of historical information, are forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements which speak only as of the date hereof. Please refer to the ‘Risk Factors’ included in the form 10-K dated October 27, 1998 and the form 10-Q dated March 9, 1999, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE American Skiing Company