The editors of the Salt Lake Tribune ran an editorial yesterday calling for a resolution to the stand-off threatening to close Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) this upcoming season.
PCMR, operated by Powdr Corp., had a sweetheart deal with Talisker, paying a mere $155,000 per year for use of the 2,800 acres, and the renewals went out to the year 2051. But PCMR failed to renew the lease in the contractual time period and is looking at perhaps millions of dollars per year in rent, if it can get Talisker to agree at all.
Powdr Corp. has been given an eviction notice from Talisker. A Utah judge has signed the eviction order, but has also ordered the two parties to find a solution. The next court hearing is August 27th.
The two sides have something to gain with a negotiated arrangement, but also something to lose. Talisker also owns Canyons Ski Resort northwest of PCMR, and it has contracted with Vail Corp. to run it. Vail has made it clear that it would be willing to run PCMR in addition to Canyons.
PCMR’s base facilities are owned by Powdr. PCMR could try to operate without Talisker’s acreage, but it would be a mere shadow of what it has been. And Vail could perhaps one day access PCMR’s 2,800 acres from its base at Canyons, but it wouldn’t have the same economic benefit without the base facilities in Park City.
Powdr has publicly promised to rip out chairlifts and deny skier access from its Park City Mountain Resort base area to the nearly 3,000 acres of upper terrain, which landowner Talisker wants Vail Resorts to operate.
The editorial argues that the only option is to let Powdr operate the full resort for another year. The harm which would be inflicted on the town and the Utah ski industry from a missed season at PCMR would be large and perhaps permanent: “Patrons of ski resorts, particularly the well-heeled ones who come here to spend thousands of dollars, have too many outstanding options. They have the ability to find new experiences and even sell their Park City properties and move on.”