The ongoing legal dispute between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings took another twist this week with a proposal from Vail Resorts to buy the only land that the resort owns outright -- an offer that was flatly rejected by Powdr Corp., the resort's parent company.
A March 25 letter from Vail CEO Rob Katz to Powdr Corp. made the offer to purchase the base area and parking lots without a specific price, only stating that Vail would pay “fair market value” for the property. That land blocks off-mountain access to Park City Mountain Resort. The bulk of the ski area is owned by Talisker and leased to PCMR, but the validity of that lease is the subject of a District Court lawsuit brought by PCMR.
"We have repeatedly made it clear to Vail that PCMR is interested in exploring all possible solutions that will preserve the independence of PCMR as the nation's premier family ski resort,” said Powdr CEO John Cummings in a prepared statement. “What we won't agree to is a Vail takeover. Vail's domination of the ski market in Summit County would be bad for our community, bad for our guests, and bad for our employees.”
Vail Resorts operates neighboring Canyons Resort, which is owned by Talisker and abuts PCMR. According to Katz’ letter, Vail has been trying to get into the Utah ski market by purchasing Canyons since 2007. The Colorado corporation finally purchased a 50-year lease for Canyons in 2012.
The offer and rejections come as the two parties have completed the deposition phase of their lawsuit and head back into Summit County District Court next week for another round of hearings.
In his letter, Katz acknowledges that Talisker-Vail might lose in court, but he was emphatic about what will happen if his side prevails.
"However, if a Court ultimately rules that PCMR's lease has expired, then Vail will become Talisker's tenant on that land and it is absolutely our intention to utilize and operate that terrain, which was Talisker's intent in leasing it to us," the letter said.
The lawsuit centers on PCMR's lease of some 3,000 acres underlying most of the resort's skiable terrain. Talisker contends PCMR did not renew the lease before a 2011 deadline while PCMR says it did.
This latest chapter in the dispute comes on the heels of the announcement of Ski Utah’s conceptual plan to link the seven Wasatch Mountain resorts through a series of chairlifts and, in the case of Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort, dropping barrier ropes between the areas.
To read Katz’ letter, click here.
Photo: Park City Mountain Resort (Facebook)