As of this writing, Park City Mountain Resort's future is in legal limbo. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, and PCMR are engaged in a bitter property dispute that threatens to close the mountain for the coming ski season.
We had hoped that by the time this edition hit the street, an agreement would have been reached and the entire town could heave a sigh of relief. But late Friday afternoon, the parties asked for another extension of the court-ordered deadline for mediation leaving retailers and lodging owners throughout town biting their fingernails and untold others waiting nervously to learn whether they will have jobs, customers or tenants this winter.
At times like these, when it seems the town's fate is out of local control, it is important to remember that Park City has overcome even greater challenges. In 1898 a fire gutted Old Town, destroying 120 businesses and damaging at least 140 homes. The fire smoldered for four days, but as soon as the embers cooled, residents began rebuilding.
For at least a century, Park City's fortunes rose and fell with the price of silver. The once rough-and-tumble mining camp flourished as a parade of silver magnates planted their stake and then withered as the ore disappeared and the price of silver plummeted.
In the 1960s Park City's dubious claim to fame was as a quaint western ghost town. But its feisty citizens had other ideas. The town sank its dwindling resources into creating a ski resort, trading silver for snow as its source of sustenance.
Their gamble paid off, so much so the town is now known as a world-class destination ski resort and Olympic host city.
Even so, each winter, local businesses depend on the grace of Mother Nature and the global financial climate. Ingenious residents, like their predecessors, have found ways to take control of their destiny - by fine tuning the art of snowmaking and diversifying their economic base. But the town's mainstay is the ski industry and the specter of doubt surrounding PCMR is clouding the city's otherwise rosy prospects.
An enormous amount of energy has been spent speculating about whether PCMR and Talisker will be able to make amends in time for the coming ski season. The extended negotiations seem to indicate there is hope. Regardless, Park City as a community will prevail. If the legal adversaries can't cooperate enough to open the ski resort, the town's resourceful citizens will likely find a way to work around them.