Park City / Vail Lawsuit – What Does It Really Mean

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 20, 2014 6:20 pm

As you have probably heard through the grapevine, Park City Mountain Resort has run into a legal battle over the land. According to Fox 13 Salt Lake City at the end of the hearing yesterday morning, “The eviction issue in Silver Summit’s Third District Court on Thursday, Judge Ryan Harris granted a requested by Talisker Land Holdings to evict PCMR”. The eviction will not go into play until the next scheduled hearing on August 27th, but as of more recent news, the judge also ordered a mediation between the resort and Talisker to resolve the dispute in the meantime.

What started this madness between landlord (Talisker Land Holdings) and tenant (PCMR) in the first place? PCMR was two days late to renew their lease back in 2011. Judge Ryan Harris, head judge of the Third District Court in Salt Lake, stated that “PCMR is occupying Talisker’s land unlawfully because it let its lease for 2,800 acres of mountainside expire in 2011″, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Park City fired back by filing a law suit in 2012, which has caught up with them as Talisker retaliates with eviction. Talisker turned to Vail Resort with the offer that if all went as planned, Vail would take over and move on in to PCMR terrain. Essentially, Talisker pulled some pretty bold moves to get Vail in PCMR turf ASAP.

Photo Credit: Park City Ski Resort

McConkey Lift at PCMR / Photo Credit: Park City Ski Resort

As every good story has a twist, it just so happens that Park City owns the bottom third of the land. The bottom third of the mountain includes parking lots, chair lifts, snowmaking machines, and all groundwork at the base of the mountain – lodges, restaurants and facilities. Powdr Corp.’s CEO John Cummings, who also owns PCMR and nine other resorts in six states, told the judge in detail the plans to get rid of all chairlifts if evicted, leaving no time for Vail to build new chairlifts by the time the season starts.

ONE Wasatch Ski Resort plan has to also be addressed, since John Cummings recently partnered with Snowbird, whose original investor was Ian Cummings, John’s father, as a part of the overall connection between resorts, losing Park City would ruin those connection plans. Jenni Smith, General Manager of Park City Mountain Resort recently spoke on the ONE Wasatch plan as very beneficial for the area. “Together, Utah’s central Wasatch resorts pride themselves on providing a singular ski and snowboard experience. Sitting here with these other resort managers, all together with this vision is something so very exciting and something to look forward too. By connecting seven of the country’s greatest resorts, all within a few miles of each other, in an environmentally responsible manner, we can distinguish ourselves as a ski market unlike any other in North America.” With this being said, Park City is an essential part of this connection and is under questioning if Vail were to take over.

Local Park City skier Jordan Buchsbaum shares with us her feelings about the way this is all going down, “It is sad and disheartening to see this all unfold this way. We just hope our slopes to stay the same and for our kids to be able to enjoy what we get to, without the stigma of resort-politics and antics”.

“I don’t know much and there are people on both sides. You can find positives and negatives, but there is simply shady stuff going on and I imagine that is what a lot of people don’t like”, stated Park City Olympian skier Steven Nyman.

Both parties plan on attending the court hearing on August 27th. So, whats next? If all goes as planned for Talisker and Vail, PCMR would have 60 days to tear down the resort and move out. John Lund, the attorney representing Vail and Talisker in the dispute, said the upcoming hearings and potential eviction order are “simply the logical next step” following the ruling in favor of Talisker and Vail. Yikes. So now we wait till the end of August and cross our fingers there are lifts spinning come winter time!

In the words of local Park City-er Jordan, “Get ride of the lame drama and let us ski/ride the best bowls on earth”.

matt margetts

Matt Margetts during the 2013 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix in Park City, Utah. Photo: Sarah Brunson | U.S. Freeskiing

Park City Ski Powder

University of Utah students can enjoy lots of fresh powder that comes each winter. | Photo: Park City Mountain Resort