The lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and its landlord, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, does not seem to have had much effect on outside interest in the 2014-2015 ski season.
But it is early for people to start booking ski vacations, and it is unclear whether the case will be settled before the booking season starts in earnest toward the end of the summer.
The lawsuit centers on PCMR's lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage. The landowner is attempting to evict PCMR, and the PCMR side has said the case endangers the resort's ski season as well as the resort itself. An important hearing about the move toward an eviction is scheduled Aug. 27.
Deer Valley Resort and Canyons Resort would operate as they normally do during the next ski season regardless of the case, but tourism officials have long promoted Park City as a place with three mountain resorts within a few minutes of each other. PCMR is the most centrally located and offers a connection to Main Street.
Bill Malone, the president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, said in an interview nobody from outside the Park City area has contacted the organization with concerns about the ski season. He said broader interest in the ski season usually starts in the late summer.
"We have still not received any calls or concerns from tour operators, travel agencies or consumers," Malone said, adding that the case is a topic of conversation with some local businesses.
He noted the importance of the Aug. 27 hearing. That is about the time people start making reservations for ski vacations during the Christmas and New Year's period, typically one of the busiest weeks of the ski season. The August-September period is one of the most important windows for people making reservations for the holidays, he said.
The Chamber/Bureau, meanwhile, is crafting its marketing plan for the ski season. Malone said the organization will negotiate advertising contracts with the idea that the three mountain resorts will be operating during the 2014-2015 ski season. He said television advertising packages are usually negotiated in August. He mentioned markets like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C.-Baltimore and Houston.
"We're just hoping that the parties come up with a solution that has us operating as three resorts," Malone said.
The judge presiding over the case ordered the parties into mediation in an attempt to reach an agreement. There are mounting concerns, from City Hall to the industries that rely on visitors, about the ski season nonetheless. The worries seemed to become more widespread after Judge Ryan Harris recently indicated during a court date he would sign a de facto eviction order against the resort. He said he would stay the enforcement of the order to allow the sides to enter mediation.
An executive at a lodging firm that manages properties at or close to PCMR said in an interview this week there is concern about the situation. Jim Simmons, a vice president at All Seasons Resort Lodging, said the company is fielding calls daily about the case.
All Seasons Resort Lodging manages approximately 255 units that are situated at PCMR or close to the resort. Most of them are in the rental pool. He said tour companies, lodging wholesalers and online travel sites like Travelocity and Expedia have contacted All Seasons Resort Lodging about the impacts of the case.
At this point in the summer, he said, ski season bookings tend to be made by organizers of group trips. Simmons said a large group that booked lodging for a trip in February has told the firm it is considering canceling the reservation based on the PCMR-Talisker Land Holdings, LLC case. The agreement includes a clause that the group could pay a fee to cancel the reservation, he said.
"Unfortunately, there is some uncertainty we don't have the answer to," Simmons said.