Despite legal battle, it’s "business as usual" at Park City Mountain Resort
Mountain bikers are still cruising down the trails and visitors are queuing up for Alpine Slide and miniature golf tickets at Park City Mountain Resort’s Plaza where activities have been pared down for the late-summer schedule. But there is no evidence of last week’s dramatic legal action in which Talisker Land Holdings, LLC served PCMR with a demand that they "vacate the leased premises within five days."
Talisker and PCMR are locked in a legal dispute over the terms of the ski area’s lease of Talisker-owned property comprising much of the ski terrain above the base area. But PCMR resort representatives, who are contesting the terms of the lease, say it is "business as usual."
According to PCMR President and General Manager Jenni Smith, "Labor Day always signals that snow is not far away and season passes are on sale. Our team has been hard at work preparing for the opening day of our 50th anniversary season."
However, she adds, "The decision by Vail and Talisker to issue a Notice to Quit the Park City Mountain Resort property was a distraction from the current litigation and was obviously intended to interfere with our business. In court, we will show that Park City Mountain Resort acted responsibly and in good faith and that the agreements extending our use of the leased land are valid."
Vail Resorts, which now manages the Talisker-owned Canyons ski resort and is overseeing the lawsuit, said the notice was not intended as a literal eviction. In a statement released last week, Kelly Ladyga, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Vail Resorts Management Company, said, "There is no intent by Talisker to take any action that would prevent PCMR’s ability to operate their resort during the upcoming 2013-2014 ski season. We are very cognizant of the importance of this situation to the entire Park City community and we look forward to bringing this situation and its uncertainty to a conclusion."
In the meantime, others in the community are concerned the legal skirmish between Talisker and PCMR will create an aura of uncertainty over the ski season for all three Park City area resorts. In a recent guest editorial, Summit County Council member Roger Armstrong said, "The move to evict creates uncertainty about PCMR’s status this winter and could have a substantial chilling effect on tourism."
So far, though, Park City Chamber Bureau President Bill Malone said he has not seen any negative impact due to publicity about the legal dispute.
When asked if the Chamber had fielded any questions about the viability of PCMR’s upcoming season, he replied, "Zero."
"When this happened last week, we wondered ‘is somebody going to write an article that implies the resort will not be open? But that didn’t happen," said Malone.
When the original lawsuit was filed in 2012, Malone said tourism representatives were in Australia and questions were raised about "whether to book clients." This time, Malone said letters from both PCMR and Vail assuring the ski area will be operating have allayed those concerns.
"We have not seen much in the way of collateral damage," he said, adding that the Chamber has not taken sides on the issue and is just hoping for a quick resolution.
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Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts said the sales of season passes rose sharply through the middle of September as compared to the previous year.