City Tour 2014: the trail will lead Parkites to Vail
The trail will lead to Vail in September for a group of government officials, business leaders, not-for-profit executives and others from Park City and the surrounding area.
A similar trip, known as the City Tour, occurs annually to different destinations — sometimes big cities and other times mountain resorts — in the region. The outing has increased significance as a result of Vail Resorts’ entry into the Park City market, and it is likely there will be numerous formal and informal discussions about the firm, its plans in Park City and its corporate citizenship. It has been approximately 10 years since the organizers brought the City Tour to Vail, a Colorado mountain resort that is one of Park City’s most notable competitors.
The trip is scheduled from Sept. 10 through Sept. 14. The group will spend three days in Vail and one day in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The City Tour only sometimes stays in one place for three days while spending just one day elsewhere, an apparent acknowledgment of the widespread interest in Park City in learning about Vail.
Myles Rademan, the director of the training program Leadership Park City, said he anticipates up to 65 people will travel with the group. Members of Leadership Park City will join the others. The organizers estimate the trip will cost between $700 and $750 per person. Government officials typically travel at the cost of taxpayers while the trips of other tour-goers are usually funded by themselves or the organizations they represent.
The long-running City Tour is a trip to communities in the West, many of them mountain resorts. The organizers and Park City leaders say the trips are worthwhile as a means to learn the mechanics of the communities they visit. The travelers spend much of their time in meetings with their counterparts in the other cities as well as on tours of the communities.
The visit to Vail will be especially notable. Vail Resorts, a Colorado-based firm that operates mountain resorts, in 2013 entered into a long-term agreement with the Talisker corporate family to lease and operate Canyons Resort. It includes the possibility of the agreement being expanded to the terrain disputed at Park City Mountain Resort in a lawsuit between PCMR and its landlord, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC.
The lawsuit has been a bitterly contested affair and another important court date is scheduled two weeks before the travelers are scheduled to leave for Colorado. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC is moving toward an eviction of PCMR from the disputed land. The judge ordered the sides into mediation in an effort to reach a resolution before an Aug. 27 hearing. Rademan said he hopes there is an agreement of some sort between the two sides prior to the City Tour arriving in Vail.
Rademan early in the week had not finalized a lineup of speakers for the trip. The City Tour typically hears from top-tier figures in the communities they visit. It seems probable executive-level figures from Vail Resorts could address the group. The trip will also include time with officials from the town of Vail.
"I hope people who go on the tour ask the hard questions they want to learn," Rademan said, adding that he does not want the City Tour-goers to "ambush" Vail Resorts officials.
The trip will also study the inner workings of the wider Vail community. Rademan said he wants the group to learn about redevelopment issues in Vail, delve into the market niche Vail is attempting to capture and hear about the nearby Vail Resorts owned Beaver Creek Resort, an upscale mountain resort that often draws comparison to Deer Valley Resort.
Rademan said he wants speakers in Vail to discuss the Epic Pass, a well-known Vail Resorts season pass that offers access to the company’s mountain resorts as well as some privileges to certain resorts in Europe. He hopes to hear merchant opinions about the impact of the Epic Pass on businesses in Vail as well.
The Steamboat Springs stop could include discussions about an ice rink and major developments there, Rademan said.
Last year’s trip went to the Idaho mountain resorts of Ketchum and Sun Valley as well as Ogden. The 2013 trip had been scheduled to visit Boulder, Colo., but was changed to Idaho as the Boulder region dealt with devastating floods.
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It was an important decision since the rest of the talks will be heavily influenced by the processing option selected by the Planning Commission on Wednesday.