Resorts thankful as ban on lift ticket reselling enacted
Park City leaders recently enacted a law prohibiting reselling lift tickets, something that Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort supported.
The Park City Council cast a unanimous vote in favor of the law. Violations are class B misdemeanors, punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. City Hall attorneys say judges normally do not sentence people to the maximum in misdemeanor cases.
There was limited discussion by the elected officials. Mayor Dana Williams said a few people spoke to him about the law, but he did not elaborate.
Tricia Lake, the City Hall attorney who wrote a report in favor of the law’s adoption, told Williams and the City Council officials see people who are selling lift tickets at a profit as the target of the prohibition.
The top staffers at PCMR and Deer Valley Resort offered brief testimony in favor of the law. Bob Wheaton, who is the president and general manager at Deer Valley, thanked the City Council and City Hall staffers. Jenni Smith, who is Wheaton’s counterpart at PCMR, offered similar thanks. Nobody else testified. The enactment of the law is seen as a pro-resort move.
The resorts are worried that lift tickets sold on the secondary market, typically at a discount to the price at the ticket window, could cut into their own sales. There is also concern, particularly at PCMR, that buyers might not understand the mountain privileges attached to a lift ticket if it is bought on the secondary market.
People selling lift tickets at prices lower than the ticket window could have received them on a complimentary basis or purchased them as part of a coupon book, which are sold at a discount.
The report by Lake indicated City Hall does not expect a "significant number of charges filed under this ordinance." It also indicated that the "primary concern" is people who are reselling lift tickets in the resorts’ parking lots rather than those being sold online.
Summit County does not have such a law. David Brickey, the Summit County attorney, said midweek nobody had approached his office asking that one be enacted in the county.
The National Ski Areas Association, a trade group, says there are similar laws elsewhere in ski country. Dave Byrd, who is the organization’s director of risk and regulatory affairs, said Colorado, California and other states have state laws prohibiting the reselling of lift tickets.
"We have them so local law enforcement can act," Byrd said.
He said, meanwhile, there have been industry-wide restrictions for years on transferring lift tickets between people.
He acknowledged that the prohibitions are a "challenge to police" since staffers at mountain resorts cannot patrol entire properties at all times and people selling lift tickets are oftentimes discreet when doing so.
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The opposition to a proposal for a development at Park City Mountain Resort has enlisted a veteran of the intense dispute regarding Treasure, which unfolded over the course of years and offered some parallels to the talks regarding the PCMR project.