Vail “Willing” to Buy Park City Base Facilities
SAM Magazine—Park City, Utah, Mar. 26, 2014—As the Talisker-Vail-Park City Mountain Resorts’ (PCMR) lease lawsuits head toward two crucial court dates in April, action has been heating up. The latest move: Vail Resorts (VR) has said it is willing to buy PCMR’s base facilities.
Vail CEO Rob Katz made this bid in a letter to John Cumming, PCMR’s CEO. The letter was also distributed to the news media. It followed a report in the local Park City Record last week on Talisker’s renewed attempt to evict PCMR from its leased land. In that news story, Cumming declared that Vail has not made a serious offer to resolve the lawsuit. (Vail Resorts has taken the lead from Talisker in the lawsuit with PCMR as a result of VR’s lease of Canyons resort from Talisker; that lease agreement included the right to control the land on which most of PCMR’s downhill terrain sits.)
“Instead of making threats concerning eviction, Vail should be talking with us about ways to resolve this dispute since, as we've said before, eviction of PCMR from the property will leave Vail with land that cannot possibly be used for any economic purpose,” Cumming said. “Without the base and parking facilities, which neither Vail nor Talisker owns, Vail cannot operate a ski resort on the property.” He added that Vail had made no serious offer to end the stalemate.
That statement prompted Katz’s offer to buy the base facilities. "Vail would be willing to purchase the base and parking facilities from PCMR," Katz said. He did not mention a price, but said VR was willing to pay “fair market value.”
That, though, is not the sort of “serious offer” Cumming is looking for. He’s seeking a new long-term lease on the land above the base area, the type of lease PCMR has had for the past 50-plus years. In a statement on Tuesday, Cumming said, "We have repeatedly made it clear to Vail that PCMR is interested in exploring all possible solutions that will preserve the independence of PCMR as the nation's premier family ski resort. 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."
With discussions deadlocked, both sides are headed toward a series of court hearings on the validity of the PCMR lease (set for Apr. 3) and whether PCMR was owed a right of first refusal before Talisker leased Canyons to VR last May (Apr. 8).
Talisker has already filed a motion urging the court to evict PCMR within three days of a final decision regarding the status of the PCMR lease. The motion also demands that all improvements on the land, including lifts and snowmaking, remain in place. However, it would be up to the judge to determine the conditions of the eviction, and then, only if Talisker and Vail prevail in the upcoming hearings.
PCMR's lead attorney, Alan Sullivan, termed the motion "premature," since it was filed prior to the judge ruling on other aspects of the case. However, this motion is likely to be one of several more leading up to the April court dates.