PCMR-Talisker case: resort selling season passes, with a major disclaimer | ParkRecord.com

PCMR-Talisker case: resort selling season passes, with a major disclaimer

Jay Hamburger The Park Record

Park City Mountain Resort, entangled in a pivotal lawsuit that could have ramifications on the ownership and operations of the resort, has posted a disclaimer on marketing materials indicating that PCMR might not open for the next ski season.

The resort had said in March, when it filed the lawsuit, it was not clear whether the 2012-2013 ski season would be impacted by the case, which pits PCMR against a firm underneath the Talisker umbrella that owns much of the resort’s acreage.

The disclaimer has since been attached to materials outlining season-pass options for the next ski season. It says the resort is "confident" that it will open for the ski season, but it outlines protections for people who purchase season passes should the entire season, or part of the season, be cancelled due to the lawsuit.

According to the disclaimer, PCMR will provide refunds for the entire cost of a season pass if the resort does not open for the ski season. The disclaimer says a season-long closure is an "unlikely event." It also outlines a prorated refund for holders of season passes if the case forces a closure for part of the ski season.

Resort attorneys reviewed the language of the disclaimer, a resort spokesperson said.

Krista Parry, the spokesperson, said PCMR began its season-pass sales for the next ski season in April, earlier than staffers could recall them being sold in previous years. The sales started within weeks of PCMR filing the lawsuit.

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Parry said the resort was "overwhelmed" by the number of people who bought season passes by May 15, the first of a series of deadlines for purchases. PCMR did not expect sales to be as strong as they were, she said, projecting that overall season-pass sales will be similar to past years.

Season passes in the spring and summer are priced lower than they are in the weeks before the resort opens for skiing. PCMR offers a variety of season passes catering to different age groups and involving a checklist of pass-holder benefits. Resorts have long marketed season passes months before the start of the ski season.

Parry said resort managers wanted the disclaimer on the marketing materials as a way to alleviate concerns about the 2012-2013 ski season.

"The last thing you want is for people not to have confidence . . . We want to keep reassuring people we will be open next year," she said.

At the time the resort filed the lawsuit, toward the end of the most recent ski season, PCMR officials said the remainder of that season would not be affected and summer attractions would open as normal. It said, though, there was uncertainty about the 2012-2013 ski season. The ski season usually opens in November and lasts until April.

The key defendant in the lawsuit is a firm called Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, the owner of Canyons. It centers on a dispute about PCMR’s lease of land from the Talisker firm. The resort claims it must stop Talisker Land Holdings from interfering with its business or trying to shut it down in an attempt to eliminate PCMR as a competitor of Canyons.

There are no court hearings scheduled in the case. The lawsuit was filed in Third District Court at Silver Summit.

There would be wide-ranging implications for the Park City economy if PCMR does not open for the next ski season or if part of the season is cancelled. Such a shutdown would send ripples through the lodging, dining and entertainment sectors as well as businesses like ski shops and taxis that rely on skiers or snowboarders for their customer base during the season.

The disclaimer posted on the PCMR website follows:

Park City Mountain Resort is confident it will be open for the 2012-2013 season, but in the unlikely event the pending lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings results in the Resort closing for the season, the Resort will refund the full season pass price paid by holders of 2012-2013 season passes. If the Resort is required in the lawsuit to close for a portion of the 2012-2013 season, the Resort will prorate the refund based on the period the Resort is closed.