The latest news in ongoing wranglings between Vail Resorts and PCMR, Vail Resorts has offered to buy Park City Resort’s base facilities. The offer comes in the form of a 5-page letter from Vail CEO Rob Katz, who says that Vail Resorts will buy Park City’s holdings for what he described as “…a fair price for both for both parties…”
This is just the latest in a disagreement between Vail Resorts and PCMR that began when Vail Resorts suddenly secured the lease of the land where the mountain and chairlifts of PCMR are located. PCMR felt undercut by the deal, since they have operated the resort for years. The current lawsuit revolves around whether PCMR renewed their lease with Talisker Holdings. It doesn’t look like Vail’s offering is about to end the current stalemate.
Park City sent a written intent to renew two days after the official lease renewal date in the spring of 2011, and heard nothing more about it until 8 months later (investing $7million in the resort in that time), when they got word their lease was invalid. Park City and Talisker went to court over the disagrement. The next 18 months PCMR offered to renegotiate, and increase the annual lease payments from $155,000 to several million, but Talisker refused. In May 2013, after a $25 million deal with Talisker, Vail secured the rights to run Park City Resort. Part of that deal involved taking over Talisker’s legal battle.
Katz’ claims his interest was in simply acquiring Canyons from Talisker, but Talisker would only deal with all their land, including the land that PCMR operated the resort on. It’s a little hard to believe Katz on that one, considering he came from a Wall Street background and that he made offers to buy PCMR in the past.
PCMR is owned by Powdr, made up by Ian Cumming (one of the highest paid executives on Wall Street) and his two sons. So this is by no means a big resort vs. local ski hill, this is big resort vs. big resort; Powdr owned more ski areas in the U.S.A. until 2014.
For the 2013-2014 season PCMR operated Park City, but the future is uncertain. For now, PCMR (well, Powdr) owns the lower 15% of the mountain, including all facilities, and the water rights. Vail can’t use PCMR’s water to make snow.
For a pretty-dang comprehensive backstory check out this article.