Vail Resorts Offers To Buy Park City Mountain Resort

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 28, 2014 1:41 pm

Vail Resorts, on Tuesday, offered to buy assets of Park City Mountain Resort in a move to resolve a current legal battle between Park City Mountain Resort and neighbor resort and Vail operated, Canyons Ski Resort. The offer was made in a letter Vail CEO Rob Katz sent to John Cumming, CEO Powdr Corp., in response to Cumming’s comments in the Park City, Utah’s publication the Park Record last week accusing Vail of never making a “serious proposal to settle the land-use suit.” The mentioned lawsuit involves whether PowdrCorp. failed to renew the long-term lease of land with the Talisker Corporation who owns the Canyons Resort as well as the 2800 acres of terrain that makes up most of Park City Mountain Resort. Read the full Letter to John Cumming.

Park city

Park City Mountain Resort from afar / Photo: Tyler Tate

Vail, the current operations management company of Canyons, is also handling the lawsuit on Talisker’s behalf. Within the lawsuit, Vail states PowdrCorp. missed the March 31, 2011, deadline, then later falsified documents to make it look like it renewed in time. In response to this claim from Vail, PowdrCorp. said its intentions to renew the lease were long understood and that Vail is trying to “bully” its way into domination of the Utah ski market.

Park City Ski Powder

Powder at Park City / Photo: Park City Mountain Resort

“As you know, our Company (Vail) has had an interest in coming to Utah from a long time and has had a serious interest in Canyons that dates back to 2007,” said Katz in the letter. “We approached Talisker about the Canyons again in August 2012 and our conversations initially focused solely on that resort. However, Talisker indicated an interest in also leasing to us the PCMR land. They indicated that they were not happy wit PCMR as the tenant and wanted to bring in an operator like Vail Resorts.” Cumming stated in the Park Record recently that if Talisker was to ultimately win the lawsuit that they “would be left with land without and economic purpose. Without the base and parking facilities, which neither Vail nor Talisker own, Vail cannot operate a ski resort on the property.”



Vail halfpipe / Photo courtesy of Burton Snowboards

“There are numerous ways that this terrain can be potentially used for skiing, particularly since the land is immediately adjacent to Canyons and the two can be easily connected with a new chairlift,” said Katz. “There seems to be a concern in the community that if you (PCMR) lose your lease, you could use your base lands to block access to the ski mountain through portal. We think it’s important to let folks know that’s not going to happen.” With key court dates approaching, Katz and Vail Resorts in the letter offered a solution to the above litigation and issue and have offered to purchase the base and parking facilities from PCMR.

Vail Ski Resort

Vail Mountain Resort, Colorado / Photo: Halley O’Brien 


No price was mentioned in the offer letter, but Vail made it clear in the letter that they were willing to “pay fair market value” and that “”If you (PowdrCorp.) were willing to sell those assets, we are confident we can reach a fair price for both parties and ensure the continued smooth operation of the resort,” Katz stated in the letter. “If a court ultimately rules that PCMR’s lease with Talisker was renewed… I will offer you my sincerest congratulations,” Katz stated. “However, if a court ultimately rules the PCMR’s lease has expired, the Vail will become Talisker’s tenant on that land and it is absolutely our intention to utilize and operate the terrain, which was Talisker’s in leasing it to us.” Katz also noted that if PCMR was to lose its lease, the current employees would not lose their source of employment. “Should PCMR lose its lease to the mountain, we want to make it clear that our Company (Vail) is willing to hire substantially all of the PCMR employees who are involved in running the resort.”


Matt Margetts / Halfpipe finals at the 2013 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix in Park City, Utah. / Photo: Sarah Brunson/U.S. Freeskiing

Cumming responded in a statement later Tuesday.” PCMR is interested in exploring all possible solutions that will preserve the independence of PCMR,” Cumming said. “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.”

An effort was made to reach both PCMR and Vail for further information, but no further comments will be made at this time.

Questions that still need to be answered:

  1. If PCMR loses their lease, will they be compensated for the infrastructure they built on the leased land?
  2. If PCMR accepts this offer, will PCMR be added to the epic pass?
  3. Will the resort boundary remain independent or will they conjoin the two resorts to one massive resort?
  4. If not one massive resort is not the plan, will you create an Aspen/Snomass model?