It is inconceivable that the future of Park City's namesake ski area may come down to a disputed postmark. Park City Mountain Resort, arguably, made Utah's ski industry what it is today a world-renowned destination and Winter Olympic host.
In March 2012, PCMR let it be known the resort's future was in jeopardy. In a widely publicized press conference, PCMR announced it had filed a lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings, from which it leases much of its ski terrain. The lawsuit asserted that PCMR had properly renewed its lease and that Talisker's claims to the contrary were an attempt to put PCMR out of business.
But in legal papers filed in Third District Court over the last week, it was revealed that Park City Mountain Resort admittedly had misrepresented the date on its lease renewal letter after missing the April 30, 2011, deadline by two days.
Those two days may prove to be a linchpin in the lease dispute.
In the meantime, while PCMR and Talisker have been exchanging barbs in court, there has been an unexpected game change. This summer, Vail Resorts took over management of Canyons resort from Talisker and is now casting its eye toward PCMR. According to the terms of Vail's agreement with Talisker and the outcome of the lawsuit between PCMR and Talisker, Vail could end up running both resorts.
The acrimonious battle between PCMR and Talisker, which until June controlled Canyons, has upset what used to be a competitive but collegial relationship between Park City's three ski areas, one that helped to seed businesses throughout town and added to a general sense of collaboration. The fallout from the lawsuit has fractured the sense of community that helped to lift Park City from obscurity into the ranks of North America's top winter resorts.
The controversy is the talk of the town, but some important voices have been missing from the conversation. Neither John Cumming, the CEO of PCMR's parent, Powdr Corp., nor Jack Bistricer, the CEO of Talisker Corp., has come forward to explain how this impasse came to be and how they hope to resolve it.
In the past, though, both have professed to be conscientious corporate citizens with the best interests of the community at heart. That said, if they want to ensure their legacies remain positive, the two corporate leaders should not leave the future of the area's most vital economic drivers in the hands of the courts.
We may never know why negotiations between Talisker and PCMR regarding such an important agreement ran up to the last minute or perhaps past the last minute. But at this point, we believe the two entities should take it upon themselves to quickly craft an equitable solution one befitting the spirit of sportsmanship of the championship athletes who grace their slopes.