Vail Resorts announced today (Sept. 11) it has purchased Park City Mountain Resort for a reported $182.5 million in cash. With announcement of the sale, the extended legal battle between Powdr Corp. and Vail/Talisker is over.
"First and foremost, we are very pleased to bring a permanent end to this dispute and provide assurance to the guests and employees of PCMR, and to everyone in the Park City community, that they no longer have to worry about any disruption to the operation of the Resort,” said Rob Katz, Vail Resorts chairman and CEO. “This has been a difficult period for everyone involved and I commend John Cumming and Powdr Corp. for helping to find a solution to this situation.
"Park City Mountain Resort is one of the most spectacular mountain resorts and iconic brands in the ski industry and I am proud to have the resort become a part of Vail Resorts. The acquisition will allow us to immediately bring Park City Mountain Resort onto the Epic Pass, which will now offer skiers from across the country and around the world access to 22 resorts…
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the entire Park City community, as well as city and county officials, as we chart the future for the resort, including how we can best bring the Canyons and Park City ski experiences together to create the largest mountain resort in the United States," Katz added.
Powdr Corp’s President and CEO John Cumming released this statement:
"Selling was the last thing we wanted to do, and while we believe the law around this issue should be changed, a protracted legal battle is not in line with our core value to be good stewards of the resort communities in which we operate," he said. "A sale was the only way to provide long-term certainty for PCMR employees and the Park City community. My family and I are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play a role in making PCMR what it is today, and we deeply appreciate the dedicated employees and all of the people who have supported us over the years."
The deal, when combined with Vail-run Canyons Resort, will essentially create the nation’s largest ski resort in the U.S. spread over more than 7,000 acres when the two are eventually joined.
"Ultimately we would like to connect the ski experiences of PCMR and Canyons to create the largest single mountain resort in the United States with 7,000 skiable acres (yes, even bigger than Vail!)," Katz said in a Vail Resorts email to employees. "We will be discussing this opportunity, and how best to accomplish it, with employees and with the entire Park City community."
The deal requires Vail Resorts to retain Park City Mountain Resort employees. In addition, it includes all water rights for snowmaking.
Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts, will act as interim chief operating officer. "We understand that this acquisition represents a change for all of the employees of PCMR and I look forward to working with everyone on the PCMR team as we develop a vision for the future of the resort," he said.
The purchase involves some 687,000 square feet of residentially and commercially-owned property owned by Powdr Corp. at the resort base. It does not include Gorgoza, a tubing hill just below Parleys Summit, which Powdr will retain.
The sale ends a prolonged legal fight between Powdr and its landlord Talisker Land Holdings. Powdr was late in renewing its long-term lease in 2011 for some 2,800 acres of upper terrain. That circa 1970s lease required Powdr to pay about $150,000 a year.
Talisker leased its neighboring Canyons ski area to Vail Resorts. Then, VR was offered the opportunity to run PCMR if it managed and won the legal eviction process. A legal battle ensued, with Cumming at one point threatening to remove his chairlifts from the upper terrain and run a small resort from the base area on land he owned.
A Utah judge evicted Powdr from the terrain early in the summer, but stayed his order while Vail and Powdr discussed a potential agreement in mediation. That judge set a bond last week at $17.5 million for Powdr to operate PCMR while litigation continued. Powdr agreed to post the bond earlier this week.
Powdr owns Colorado's Copper Mountain and seven other ski areas in Nevada, California, Oregon, and Vermont. Cumming said the sale positions his company well for future growth. “We’re excited to explore new lifestyle and mountain sports opportunities,” he said.