The Canyons blames Wolf |

The Canyons blames Wolf

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A golf course may never be built at The Canyons as a result of Wolf Mountain Resorts Managing Partner Kenny Griswold suing Summit County to undo a development agreement that required the now-defunct American Skiing Co. to build the links in 2002.

"We want the golf course built," Griswold told The Park Record. "We’re tired of waiting around and listening to [county officials] get maneuvered by other people, and have a new excuse for why the golf course is not built."

Chief among the amenities promised by American Skiing Company when The Canyons formed in 1999 was a world-class, 18-hole golf course, explained Griswold, who leases land to ASC on which The Canyons is operated.

The embattled American Skiing Co., which is now out of business, agreed to complete the course in 2002. The construction, however, still hasn’t begun.

"For a period of time, American Skiing was in financial trouble and they had difficulty stepping up and agreeing to build the golf course," said David Gee, an attorney Summit County hired to assist with negotiations at The Canyons.

Roughly 25 landowners at The Canyons agreed to cooperate to build the golf course by providing land and other concessions.

"The landowners thought they had an agreement that set forth a golf course design and placement, laid out hotel parcels and residential development parcels, provided for affordable/employee housing, located roads, chairlifts, and ski trails creating a world class ski and golf resort," Griswold’s lawsuit, filed Oct. 15 against Summit County, states.

Griswold blamed Summit County for not enforcing the development agreement to penalize ASC for not completing the course on time.

"Attempts to implement [the golf course] have resulted in repeated and widespread litigation on virtually every issue covered by the agreement, to the point where construction and development at the resort have been impeded for years," Wolf Mountain’s lawsuit against the county states.

The golf course is not built and the Summit County Commission improperly approved a new plan for the course this year, making the development agreement at The Canyons "null and void," officials at Wolf Mountain claimed.

Officials at American Skiing Company disagree.

"In recent years, the plan for the course has been close to construction more than once, only to be held up by Wolf Mountain. They have placed blame on nearly everyone but themselves, and now seek to terminate the very agreement under which the course can be built," said American Skiing Co. spokesman David Hirasawa in an e-mail sent to The Park Record. "Wolf has said publicly how anxious they are to start construction on the golf course; yet the actions Wolf has taken are in direct opposition to their comments."

Griswold countered that before American Skiing Company builds a shoddy golf course at The Canyons, a judge should declare the county cannot enforce the development agreement.

"We find it frustrating, disappointing and in clear contradiction to prior statements that Wolf continues to be the largest obstacle in advancing the goals of the community as a whole," Hirasawa said.

Officials in Summit County breached the development agreement by not requiring ASC to construct the course on time and when they approved the new golf plan this summer, the lawsuit filed by Griswold states.

Some land was left out of the new golf course plan to resolve a dispute with Griswold so construction of the facility could begin, Gee said.

"We’re trying to figure out what it means," Gee said about the lawsuit Wolf filed against Summit County.

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