Mountains moved to make new Canyons golf course a reality |

Mountains moved to make new Canyons golf course a reality

Excavators reportedly moved more than a million cubic yards of material to sculpt the new 18-hole, par-70 golf course at Canyons Resort. But before they could move those mountains of dirt, county officials, developers and property owners had to blast away years-worth of seemingly impenetrable legal obstacles.

On Wednesday, many of those who did the heavy lifting to make the golf course a reality were on hand for a ceremonial ribbon cutting on the first tee.

But while the celebration was marked by smiles and hearty handshakes, the journey to get from rocks and sagebrush to terraced greens was checkered with delays, defaults and disagreements.

A substantial portion of the density originally approved at Canyons when it was owned by the American Skiing Company was predicated on incorporating community amenities. Foremost among those was a golf course. That agreement was signed in 1997 with a course to be in place by 2002.

Changes in ownership and management from Wolf Mountain to ASC, from ASC to Talisker, then Talisker to Vail, created a number of hiccups in the form of standstill agreements, extensions, lawsuits and settlements, but fortunately the county held its ground. In 2009, then-acting County Manager Brian Bellamy told Wolf Mountain, the main property owner underlying Canyons, the county would rescind some of its development approvals unless the course was completed by the spring of 2013.

A tsunami of ownership changes quickly followed with Wolf Mountain making a hasty exit. But throughout, Talisker Canyons Finance Co, LLC (TCFC), and the growing number of nationally recognized hotels being developed at the base, realized the economic potential of having a golf course as part of the Resort Village experience and worked through the legal challenges.

Watching a train of golf carts snake up the mountain on Wednesday, with enthusiastic duffers peeling off to try their skills against what has been promised to be a challenging and extraordinarily scenic course was a triumph, not only of engineering, but of perseverance and cooperation.

The golf clubs may have to go into storage for ski season but next spring residents and visitors will have a stunning new amenity to enjoy at Canyons Resort.

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