A Utah district judge signed an order on June 19th evicting ski area operator Powdr Corp. from the majority of terrain at its flagship Park City Mountain Resort, which the company has operated for 20 years.
But 3rd District Judge Ryan Harris stayed enforcement of the order until a trial date in late August and demanded that Powdr and competitor Vail Resorts, which is poised to take over Park City Mountain Resort as the new tenant for landowner Talisker Corp., work with a third-party mediator to discuss a deal to keep the resort open next season.
No sign of a compromise has emerged despite more than a year of negotiations between Vail Resorts and Powdr Corp. Public bickering between the company captains have pitted the resort operators in a winner-take-all battle that Vail Resorts, thus far, is winning.
Powdr has 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.
Vail Resorts in 2013 signed an industry-high $25-million-a-year lease with Talisker to operate the neighboring Canyons ski area, which included a deal to run Park City Mountain Resort’s upper terrain if Vail Resorts handled a lease lawsuit with Powdr Corp.
Powdr Corp. failed to file paperwork in 2011 that would have renewed its sweetheart lease from the early 1970s and Talisker pounced on the clerical error as an opportunity to install a new operator for Utah’s busiest ski area. When Talisker declined to renew the lease, Powdr sued.
Last month Harris ruled Powdr’s lease had expired and Talisker could tap Vail Resorts as the operator.
Last week Powdr filed motions with the court asking to delay eviction pending an appeal. The motions detailed a nearly $6 million plan to yank a dozen chairlifts off the upper terrain and shorten three more lifts at its base area to accommodate limited skiing on the roughly 300 acres it owns at the base of the ski area. The company estimated closing the ski area would cost the region more than 1,000 jobs and $100 million in economic activity.
Judge Harris said the two sides have until Aug. 27 — the next court hearing — to reach an agreement or the eviction moves forward.