Lose Your Shirt

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With winter closing in and millions of people planning their ski trips, all you day-trading wannabe Gordon Gekkos may be thinking it's the perfect time to invest in a ski-resort company or two. The American Skiing Company, Intrawest Resorts, and Vail Resorts are all traded on the New York Stock Exchange, and they're heading into their money season. Perfect time to buy in, right?

Wrong. According to Bear Stearns vice president Marc Falcone, thanks to the lousy early-season snow in the past few years, the trend has been for investors to get the low-snow willies at the onset of the season and dump their ski-company shares, causing stock prices to fall. In other words, if this year is like the last few, you'd be buying in at exactly the wrong time. Ski stocks have tended to bottom out in midwinter, recover in the spring, hold fairly steady through the summer, and tank again in the fall as Wall Street bets on crappy snow. Let's hope Mother Nature teaches those boys a lesson this season.