The world famous Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) in Utah have lost the rights to operate on the ski slopes above Park City after a judge ruled in favour of a court case which essentially hands control on most of the ski area to Vail Resorts.
The complex case revolves around a failure by PCMR to renew a lease on the land where they have operated for more than 50 years, including as a venue for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, by the date it was due to be renewed in 2011. PCMR claim that the terms of the new lease offered were not tenable with the cost exceeding income.
PCMR’s legal battle was initially with the company that owned the land, Talisker, but late last year Talisker leased the adjacent ski area of Canyons, which they own and operated, to Vail Resorts, who also took over the ongoing legal battle.
Vail served an eviction notice on PACMR at the start of the season and in the resulting litigation a judge has just upheld the case against PCMR’s operators and found in favour of Vail.
This essentially means Vail can now operate on the ski slopes run by PCMR, although it seems likely PCMR will appeal the judge’s decision.
There are various other factors and issues involved.
Firstly PCMR, one of three neighbouring ski areas around Park City itself, is the only ski area that is directly accessible from the resort centre. While its slopes were leased from Talisker/Vail, the land at the side of the resort and all the base buildings are believed to be owned outright by PCMR’s operators. This means that Vail would not have full control of PCMR unless the operators agree to sell the addition buildings to them.
Secondly, merging Canyons and PCMR in to one ski area would create the largest single ski area in the US, with over 7,000 acres combined, all under Vail’s control, a title currently held by Big Sky resort in Montana with 5,750 acres. It is not clear if adding a little more terrain might increase that tally to take on North America’s long standing biggest area of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada with over 8,000 acres.
At the present time, PCMR’s owners have said they do not intend to sell the base buildings and land to Vail and will remove many of the lifts if the take over moves forward. Vail appear keen to buy PCMR’s assets and say this would be for the good of the Park City community.
In his closing statements the judge said he hoped the matter could be resolved amicably and that the two areas could continue to operate ’much as before’ for the good of the Park City community.