Ski industry » Colorado companys move into Utah brings expectations, uncertainty.
By Mike Gorrell
The Salt Lake Tribune
File photo (Lynn DeBruin, AP) Vail Resorts, Inc. takes over this season as the manager of Canyons Resort, Utah's largest ski area in terms of acreage and the site of the U.S. Grand Prix, a snowboardcross event.
But the industry giants arrival also has been unusually fractious among Utahs historically harmonious collection of 14 independently owned resorts, each with its own niche.
No sooner was Vail introduced May 29 as the new operator of Canyons Resort than it took a lead role in litigation that theoretically could shut down neighboring Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR).
That sent jitters through Park City. The whole Utah ski community took note, knowing there are broader ripple effects from what happens in that three-resort hub Deer Valley being the third for the destination skier crowd.
And while Vail has said it has no plans to act on an eviction notice delivered Aug. 28 to PCMR, there is still great uncertainty about what will emerge from the lawsuit.
Will there be two independently owned resorts? Or will Canyons and PCMR end up as one giant resort controlled by Vail and Talisker Corp., which owns Canyons and most of the mountainside PCMR leased for the past 50 years a lease PCMR allegedly failed to renew on time.
John Cumming, chief executive of PCMRs parent company, PowdrCorp., denies that such a lapse occurred. He pleaded his case in the court of public opinion two weeks ago with a guest editorial in the Park Record newspaper, telling Vail and Talisker "their efforts to take over PCMR are futile and not in the best interests of the community."
Blaise Carrig, who oversees Vails operations in Utah as president of the companys mountain division, rejected any caricature of Vail as a big bully coming into Park City and pushing the locals around.