We’re All in this Together

By Deb Hartley
Apr 29, 2016

Bob Wheaton & Bill Rock on how their respective resorts and the city all work as one

From Park City Municipal News

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Park City Municipal Community News Interview Park City Municipal Corporation: Our three entities—the two resorts and the city government—are part of one ecosystem. How do the two of you work together?

Bill Rock: Bob has been an incredible partner, and I’d like to thank him personally. He’s been very helpful in introducing us to the Park City community, at both the personal and company levels. This is what makes Utah skiing really special: everybody sees the big picture and understands that when we all do well we all do well. Bob has been a fantastic proponent of this, and it’s been great working together.

Bob Wheaton: Well, thanks Bill. I agree. It’s been easy for me—for us—because one good thing about the ski industry is it’s a pretty small deal. Everybody knows everybody, so you can get to know people over time and watch their progress. Bill and I have known each other for years through the industry, so, like I said, it’s been easy for me.

PCMC: How about working with the city?

Wheaton: I’ve never been in another ski resort community that functions nearly as well as Park City, in terms of the relationships among the municipality and the resorts.

Rock: Our guests come to Park City as a destination because it’s a complete experience. There’s a reason why our resort’s tagline is “There’s only one”: there’s only one Park City. It has all the right ingredients: airport access, Utah snow, Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, Main Street. These are all components of the vacation. Collectively it’s the most compelling ski destination in the U.S., as far as I’m concerned. The fact that people can sample two different ski experiences is a huge advantage, and I haven’t even mentioned the resorts on the front of the range.

Wheaton: It’s this very thing that brought my wife and me to Park City 36 years ago. Park City is great, and it’s kind of the epicenter: Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, and Solitude are all close by, as are Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. Bill, I haven’t told you this story before, but one of the highlights of my previous ski season was bringing Solitude online. One day I rode the lift at Solitude with three guys who were visiting for a long weekend.

They had skied the day before at Park City Mountain, and they could not stop talking about the terrain. They said, and this is almost an exact quote, “There is no way that we could have skied every lift but we tried to hit all of the areas.” I asked if they were able to make it back to their car, and they said, “Oh no, there was not enough time to do that.” They had parked at Canyons, but ended up on the Park City side. So they said they took the bus back and it was great. This is just a great example of integration and cooperation of everyone involved.

If those guys had had a great time on the mountain but a crummy time getting back to their car, it would have spoiled their entire day. And I might add they had a great day at Solitude.

PCMC: What do you think, then, about the One Wasatch concept?

Rock: I think it’s a great idea. When we linked our two resorts, we essentially made the first connection. We’ve seen firsthand what a connection can do and how people respond to it.

Wheaton: I agree. And the resorts in each of the two canyons on the front of the range— Brighton and Solitude and Alta and Snowbird— are already connected. So it’s really just a matter of canyon-to-canyon at this point.

PCMC: Could Deer Valley and Park City Mountain be easily connected?

Wheaton: Yes, and that’s not by accident.

PCMC: How did that come about?

Wheaton: It was the same year that Empire and McConkies went in. Phil Jones was my counterpart at PCMR, and Billy Gray was their heavy-equipment operator. Chuck English was—still is—our director of mountain operations. The four of us spent a lot of time up on that ridge (where the two resorts abut) because we did not want to design ourselves out of the possibility of connecting in the future. This is why all those lifts are laid out the way they are. Once we put in Empire Canyon (or Empire Express) and PCMR put in McConkies, we actually had to adjust the property lines a little bit so that we could put the lifts where they really belonged, from a mountain-user standpoint. We designed it so that—with half a day and a decent-sized dozer—we’d be connected. It goes back to the whole idea of cooperation—it didn’t just start with Bill and me.

PCMC: How did your resorts do this past season, numbers-wise?

Rock: Park City Mountain had double-digit growth, double-digit skier day growth.

PCMC: What about Deer Valley.

Wheaton: Same deal.

PCMC: That’s pretty impressive. To what do you attribute it?

Rock: The return of good snow conditions certainly helped. We also spent $50-million over the summer to create the largest resort in the country. I think that message resonated around the world, and people wanted to come check it out.

Wheaton: I just want to pick up on something Bill said that’s kind of ironic: the return of “good” snow conditions. We ought to keep in mind that this past year’s snow was average. Average is not something either resort strives for, but when it comes to snow conditions…

Rock: We’ll take it.

Wheaton: When we’re talking about snow conditions, average is just fine.

PCMC: Do you each have a personal highlight from the past season?

Rock: Mine was cutting the ribbon on all the improvements, particularly the gondola. That day was really special. Our whole team took a lot of pride in it, and it was a fun day.

Wheaton: I have two highlights—one at each end of the spectrum. The first was the amount of powder days that we had and just the great ski season overall. The other was the windstorm during President’s Day week. Thousands of trees were downed—from one end of the resort to the other, across ski runs and everywhere else. My highlight was watching the staff focus on guest service, and observing the cooperation and integration among all the departments. We were able to fire some of those lifts back up by 2:00 pm. It was incredible to watch—it really was.

PCMC: The City has recognized three critical priorities of the community: housing, transportation, and energy (reduction, renewables, and net-zero carbon emissions). How do these align with your resorts’ goals and operations?

Wheaton: These are three of our highest goals as well. And we need to recognize that the best solution for any of them is a collective one— between Summit County, Park City, Park City Mountain, and Deer Valley. If the community can unify behind them, we can make a hell of a difference.

Rock: We’ve rolled out several company-wide initiatives that align with the city’s priorities. Housing is, for sure, front and center in our planning. We have very limited employee housing, and we’ve pledged $30-million across our mountain communities for potential housing projects. We’re in the process of identifying partners here in Park City to help us effectively deploy the money. And we’re already working closely with the city and county on transportation. The resorts’ parking staff and city transportation staff did things they’d never done before this past season to collectively address the issues. And I think it made a huge difference. We’ve also developed solutions specific for our employees—remote parking, shuttles, transit, you name it. In terms of energy reduction, we set a companywide reduction goal of 10 percent, which we met in 2011, so we launched another program called the Next Ten. We’re focusing on everything from fuel use to making our infrastructure more efficient.

PCMC: Summit Community Power Works, a local nonprofit, has made a big push to have businesses and residents switch out their light bulbs for LEDs. Are you doing this in your operations?

Rock: Yes, we’ve done pretty aggressive LED switch-outs. We also launched a program supporting SCPW and their goal of meeting the Georgetown Energy Prize. We partnered with Rocky Mountain Power to provide each employee with four free LEDs. We’re also helping fund smart thermostats: between the manufacturer rebate and our rebate, our employees can purchase them for less than halfprice.

Wheaton: The LED switch is a great program. The bulbs cost money upfront, but with all of the incentives through Rocky Mountain Power, they become affordable. And that’s not even considering the labor savings—especially for businesses with larger facilities. In bigger buildings, it’s not just a matter of standing on the floor and reaching up to change a bulb. You often need a ladder or lift, so doing it once and forgetting about it for 20 years is attractive. And the energy savings are immediately noticeable and trackable: that’s what makes them a prudent investment.

PCMC: Your single biggest use of energy is probably snowmaking, but this is essential to the customer experience.

Rock: Absolutely. One of the things our guests look forward to is consistency, especially with conditions. The good news is that snowmaking technology has gotten very efficient, so a key part of our energy-reduction plan is upgrading our equipment to keep pace with the state-of-the-art technology. Bob’s the real expert on this.

Wheaton: Snowmaking technology has just boomed, especially in the last five years, so new equipment will be our single biggest capital investment this summer.

PCMC: How has the technology improved? Wheaton: Both inputs—gallons of water and kilowatts—have gone down, which means the guns can create more cubic feet of snow with the same amount of energy. Beyond that, pumping efficiencies and compressed air technology in the guns themselves have also come such a long way. And the engineering has improved so much that the water particle actually explodes: you get more cubic feet of snow per particle of water. This means you get a bigger snowflake, which means better ski conditions. The more efficient guns are a sound business decision, but they are also the right thing to do for the environment.

PCMC: Some people worry that snowmaking wastes water.

Rock: This is a common misconception: it actually keeps the water in the watershed longer, releasing it back over an extended period of time.

Wheaton: It essentially acts like a reservoir. Folks should also remember that we are making snow before the occupancy rates in town spike, so it isn’t as if we’re diverting water that would otherwise be used to do dishes or wash laundry.

PCMC: Are you planning to relax in these few short weeks before things ramp up for summer?

Wheaton: We’re both going to Nashville next month for the NSAA—National Ski Areas Association Conference. Shelbyville, which is the center of the Tennessee walking horse community, is only about an hour away. My wife and I are going tack on a few days to go horse shopping.

Rock: And I think I’ll tour the Jack Daniels Distillery while I’m there. PCMC: Horses and whiskey—two things Tennessee and Park City are both famous for. I can’t let you leave without asking what your favorite locals runs are.

Rock: Now that we’ve combined, people tend to gravitate toward the center of the resort, but I like skiing off Condor—it’s fantastic. And with the Mother Lode lift being fast now, people are realizing that all that terrain under there had been under-appreciated. It’s really good skiing. It’s been especially fun for me as a newcomer, but I think everyone can rediscover some runs that may have been hard to access. Wheaton: For me, it depends on the day. On a powder day, I like Red Cloud lift. And, as far as groomers go, Stein’s Way.

PCMC: Well, you can’t go wrong on either mountain.

Go big: Ski Utah’s mega-resort

By Deb Hartley
Feb 10, 2016

By Dan Leeth, Special Contributor to the Dallas Morning News

PARK CITY, Utah — Faced with a sprawling web of roads, resorts and roundabouts, I reluctantly sacrifice my Man Card and do the unthinkable: I ask for directions.

“How do we get to the Waldorf Astoria?” I whisper to Siri, the all-knowing woman inside my iPhone.

My wife and I have ventured to Park City on a two-part mission. We want to see how well this hotel brand’s New York values play in Utah as well as test my wife’s bigger-is-better manifesto by skiing America’s largest ski resort. With Siri’s guidance, we wind our way to the hotel.

With only 175 rooms compared with the New York Waldorf’s 1,413, this Forbes four-star hotel seems friendlier, cozier and less ostentatiously elegant. It sports a gourmet restaurant and bar, a full-service spa, a heated outdoor pool and a pair of open-air hot tubs, one of which is adults-only. For kids and my s’mores-craving wife, free marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars appear nightly by the patio fire pit.

Accommodations range from standard guest rooms to spring break-worthy four-bedroom suites. All have gas-log fireplaces, and the suites feature full kitchens. We feel like we’re in a luxurious ski condo complete with robes, slippers and evening turn-down service.

“Luxury travel is shifting away from white gloves and linen and moving towards relationship, warmth and sincerity,” says general manager Kerry Hing. “It’s about time with family.”

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October Real Estate Update

By Deb Hartley
Oct 20, 2015

Snow Hut Progress!

By Deb Hartley
Aug 13, 2015

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It's Official!

By Deb Hartley
Jul 30, 2015

Vail officially announced the coming together of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons, saying "There's only one!"

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Park City's New Library

By Deb Hartley
Jul 23, 2015

We love our library.

Park City Library recently re-opened its doors after a prodigious renovation that included massive changes to both the interior and exterior. The result: one of the finest community gathering spots we've ever seen.

The new design seamlessly integrates the beloved brick facade of the historic High School with modern elements such as board form concrete, glass-walled conference rooms, Apple computers, installation art, etc... The airy light and colorful decorative elements bring life to a public space once associated with persnickity librarians saying, "shush."

In addition to housing a wealth of page-turners, the entrance is home to Park City Coffee Roasters and the neighboring dog park remains a favorite Bark City haunt. There are numerous big screen Macs, video editing stations, startup meeting areas, and kids features. In short, our library is a world class facility that does credit to our community.

If you haven't already, go pay the place a visit!

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Mountain Accord plan, with controls on development, wins approval

By Deb Hartley
Jul 16, 2015

Plan still must resolve connecting ski resorts

Bob Lloyd, The Park Record
This week's approval of the Mountain Accord plan was hailed by its executive board as a study in compromise and diplomacy.But amid the congratulations lie some thorny questions left unanswered, especially should the accord support connecting the major ski resorts in Park City and the Cottonwood canyons.

The board voted unanimously to accept the plan, but averted an 11th-hour dispute by agreeing to language that satisfied environmental groups' concerns about ski resorts connectivity.

Just 90 minutes before the meeting started, the opposing sides hammered out a compromise explicitly stating that upcoming studies would consider all ideas about connecting the resorts, even leaving them independent of one another.

The Accord's plan had implied it was open to all solutions, board members said, but the frank statement saved the all-or-nothing vote despite leaving the issue unresolved for now. All sides saw victory.

"We really needed those things to get support from our organizations and more importantly a lot of the partners that we represent," said Carl Fisher, executive director of Save Our Canyons, often the voice of environmental activists on the board. "Those additions were key. We wanted to not only support this but support this without conditions."

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Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp And Park Meadows Country Club Announce Management Agreement

By Deb Hartley
Apr 17, 2015

PARK CITY, Utah (April 17, 2015) – – Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp and Park Meadows Country Club announced today that they have entered into an agreement for Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp. to manage Park Meadows Country Club, Park City's only in-town, private golf and social club.  This partnership will join two of Park City’s legendary properties, known for the highest levels of service, best locations and the industry leaders in their respected categories. As a member-owned club, Park Meadows is a renowned Jack Nicklaus-designed, championship golf course and year-round country club. As experts in world-class hospitality, Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp currently oversees the legendary Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, Utah's only Forbes 5- Star hotel and spa, AAA 5-Diamond hotel and World's Best Ski Hotel; The Chateaux Deer Valley, a Forbes 4-Star hotel, AAA 4-Diamond hotel; and the Stein Eriksen Residences; a luxury 14-home and 40 condominium residence development at Deer Valley Resort; one of the most successful new developments in Park City scheduled to open in the fall of 2016.

“We are thrilled to merge Park Meadows Country Club with the legendary Stein Eriksen luxury collection and take on this new venture,” said Russ Olsen, CEO of Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp. “Park Meadows is a stunning Jack Nicklaus-designed course, where legends play, which will join with Stein Eriksen Lodge, where legends ski. We welcome the opportunity to attach the Stein Eriksen name to such a reputable, full-service private country club. The Stein Eriksen name carries with it a promise of legendary service.  The transition will be seamless in providing Park Meadows and its members the utmost level of golf and food & beverage experiences they have come to expect.”

Located just minutes from Park City's historic Main Street and ten minutes from Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park Meadows Country Club has been rated Utah's best private golf course by Salt Lake Magazine. In addition to the superior, 18-hole golf course Park Meadows Country Club boasts a professionally staffed pro shop, expansive driving range and practice areas, year-round indoor practice facility with golf simulator, clinics and instructions for all ages, fully equipped fitness facility, locker rooms and a staffed outdoor swimming complex. The Country Club is known for its breathtaking views and offers fine dining with both a casual outdoor setting and an elegant indoor dining room and bar for members and guests. In the winter, the Country Club also features groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails and hosts Tuesday Bluesday and Black Thursday ski groups.

“Partnering with the world-renowned, legendary brand of Stein Eriksen Lodge will be an incredible benefit to our current and future members,” said Steve Roney, president of the Park Meadows Country Club Board of Directors.  “This relationship provides services, benefits, and amenities not currently available in the market place and is creating a true Five-Star year round experience for our members.”

With the new relationship with Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp, Park Meadows Country Club members will have the exclusive opportunity to take advantage of the Stein Eriksen operated facilities and Five-Star Stein Eriksen Lodge & Spa.  Hotel guests will have the opportunity to experience Park City’s premier private country club during their stay at a Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp. property.  In addition, those interested in membership will have the opportunity to join one of the communities most well-respected Country Clubs.

“Park Meadows members enjoy an enhanced mountain town lifestyle, which is always something Stein Eriksen has taken great pride in offering its guests,” said Olsen. “Whether golfers or not, couples, families and individuals will continue to benefit from extraordinary service and a heightened quality of life at Park Meadows Country Club.”

For additional information about Stein Eriksen Lodge Management Corp's acquisition of Park Meadows Country Club, please contact John Perry at 435-659-6197 or jperry@steinlodge.com. Additional information about Stein Eriksen Lodge can be found at www.steinlodge.com.   Kathy Volz, GM of Park Meadows Country Club can also be reached at 435-649-2460 or kvolz@parkmeadowscc.com.

Wells Fargo initiates massive foreclosure case against Talisker

By Deb Hartley
Mar 09, 2015

by Jay Hamburger, THE PARK RECORD

Wells Fargo has filed a lawsuit against a group of firms under the Talisker corporate umbrella and others seeking to foreclose on $163.8 million worth of loans and accrued interest linked to prominent properties like Tuhaye and the Talisker Club.

The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 27 in 3rd District Court at Silver Summit, is the second spectacular case involving the Talisker corporate family after the highly contentious courtroom drama against the former owners of Park City Mountain Resort that ended with the sale of the resort.

Wells Fargo names 14 defendants in the lawsuit. Some of them include Talisker Finance LLC, United Park City Mines Company, Tuhaye LLC, Tuhaye Golf, LLC and Empire Pass Club LLC. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, the firm that tangled with the former PCMR owners, is also named as a defendant. Two entities under the umbrella of Stitching Mayflower were also named as defendants.

The loans date to the fall of 2010, when Wells Fargo and Bank of Scotland reached agreements to provide the loans. A firm called Midtown Acquisitions, L.P. later acquired the Bank of Scotland's interest in the loans. According to the lawsuit, the loan agreement was modified four times between late 2011 and late summer 2014. Wells Fargo serves as the administrative agent for both lenders.

When the loan was modified the second time, Talisker Finance LLC executed an updated promissory note, dated Dec. 20, 2013, with Wells Fargo.

The promissory note's principal amount was a little less than $76.5 million, the lawsuit says. The same day, a promissory note with a principal amount of approximately $66.9 million was executed with Midtown Acquisitions, L.P., it says.

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What are the latest happenings in Park City's real estate market?

By Deb Hartley
Feb 12, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO3J6KK-6ow&feature=youtu.be

 
 
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