Vail Resorts, in private, offers ‘sneak preview’ of PCMR link
November 4, 2014
A government task force addressing issues related to Vail Resorts’ plans for Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort met for the first time late last week, covering topics like the planned connection of the two resorts, according to a Summit County official who attended.
The task force consists of representatives from City Hall and the County Courthouse. It is expected to delve into a range of issues that arose as a result of Vail Resorts’ acquisition of PCMR. The task force meets behind closed doors.
The Colorado firm operates Canyons Resort under a long-term lease with the Talisker corporate family. Vail Resorts intends to link PCMR and Canyons Resort, making it the largest mountain resort in the United States.
Chris Robinson, the chair of the Summit County Council, said in an interview the task force met on Friday for several hours at the Richins Building. Two Vail Resorts representatives attended approximately half the meeting, Robinson said. He said the Vail Resorts figures briefed the task force on upgrades that are planned in 2015 in anticipation of the 2015-2016 ski season.
"They gave us a sneak preview of that," Robinson said.
He said Vail Resorts verbally described an idea for the PCMR-Canyons Resort link. The figures from Vail Resorts said the firm wants to build the connection next summer, Robinson said. The Vail Resorts representatives did not present a map showing a proposed link, though, he said.
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"It sounded pretty smart, good," Robinson said about the description Vail Resorts presented.
The details of a connection will be some of the critical information that will eventually be made public. The timeline that was outlined during the recent task force meeting is similar to the one described by the chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, Rob Katz, during a September telephone call with Wall Street analysts. Katz at that time said Vail Resorts intends to build the connection and related infrastructure next summer. Katz in the telephone call indicated it was anticipated the link would be accomplished with a lift. He did not talk about an alignment at that time.
Robinson said he anticipates Vail Resorts will publicize details about the connection shortly, saying the firm is "not going to be bashful about it."
Robinson said it appears Vail Resorts will invest "significant capital in our community."
"Their plans remind me of a company that has a lot of capabilities that has a well thought-out process" of crafting capital plans, he said, adding, "This is not their first rodeo. They know what they’re doing."
Robinson said the task force meeting was "very cordial." The next meeting is anticipated to be held prior to Thanksgiving, he said.
The meeting was held less than a month after leaders in Park City and Summit County formed the group in an effort to coordinate government efforts regarding Vail Resorts. Park City Attorney Mark Harrington in October, as the task force was formed, told Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council Vail Resorts was expected to quickly move into the permitting process.
The group is expected to eventually discuss topics like planning-related issues, taxes, land conservation, transportation, traffic and economic development.
A Vail Resorts spokesperson, Kelly Ladyga, said in a prepared statement on Monday the task force meeting "was to begin to understand approval processes."
"Once we begin the processes we will formally announce our capital plans, including a connection between Canyons and Park City Mountain, and how the approval processes will work. Meanwhile, our main efforts are geared toward a successful integration of Park City Mountain into the Vail Resorts family and Park City’s opening day," she said.
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