Judge delays decision on Park City Mountain Resort’s ski season

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SILVER SUMMIT -- A judge has delayed his decision on how much Park City Mountain Resort will have to pay if it wants to have a ski season this winter.

At the end of a long hearing on how much of a bond PCMR should post, 3rd District Court Judge Ryan Harris said he wanted an extra week.

"The parties have submitted significant new information today that I would like some time to review," he told the court. "In light of the parties' request this week that the mediation deadline be extended until Friday, that's the other reason I'm going to hold off."

A new hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 3.

The judge's comments let the air out of an anxiety-filled hearing. The courtroom was packed with people from the Park City community, who worry about the economic impact if PCMR doesn't open.

"We want to see this resolved," said Summit County Council Chairman Christopher Robinson. "It has a big impact on our community, on our economy, on a lot of jobs and our small businesses."

PCMR has been locked in high-stakes litigation with Talisker Holdings, the landlord over the mountain the slopes are on. The judge ruled PCMR missed a deadline to renew its lease and signed an eviction order.

However, he ordered both sides into mediation to resolve the dispute. Wednesday's hearing concerned a bond amount to ensure a ski season for PCMR.

During the hearing, PCMR said it was willing to post between $1 and 6 million in a bond. Talisker, on the other hand, suggested they should post as much as $124 million.

"Talisker's theory of rent is a perversion that would destroy PCMR," the resort's attorney, Alan Sullivan, told the judge.

Sullivan argued that because PCMR owns the base of the mountain, the parking lot and the buildings, it should only pay about $1.8 million. He argued that Talisker's land is "an island" without PCMR.

But Talisker attorney Howard Shapiro said PCMR has overstayed its legal authority to be there, and they should pay as much, if not more, than Vail Resorts is willing to for the property. Vail operates the nearby Canyons Resort.

PCMR attorneys told the judge that if the case were to go to trial, they would show that Vail Resorts paid above-market value for Canyons to get to PCMR.

Outside court, Talisker attorneys declined to comment. Sullivan told reporters that PCMR was willing to post a bond -- within reason.

Meanwhile, mediation continues with an extended deadline until Friday. He refused to divulge any details.

"The mediation is not tied to the bond amount," Sullivan said. "The mediation goes on."

Kelly Ladyga, spokesperson for Vail Resorts, sent Fox 13 this statement Wednesday:

All the parties are working hard through the Court-ordered mediation to bring an end to this dispute recognizing that all of us need to get things resolved very quickly. John Cumming recently said that he believed the chances the mountain will be open this season are quite high and we completely agree. We understand that the legal process has created unnecessary uncertainty, but we remain confident in all parties doing the right thing and ensuring that there is no disruption for our guests or for the community.

6 comments

  • Bob

    Talisker is playing hard ball and as landlord holds all the aces. If PCMR doesn’t like the landlord’s terms they only have one option – leave.

    • Bob

      Sure. Talisker can do helicopter skiing. But PCMR owns all the lifts, all the snowmaking, and all the terrain at the bottom of the hill. And all of the resort-owned buildings. Even the ticket booths.

      Neither party can operate without the other. If I were Vail I’d be suing Talisker for renting them a hill that they cannot access.

      I don’t understand why a judge should have to name the size of the bond, though. Talisker can name whatever price they wish. PCMR can pay it, or pound sand. Neither side owes the other anything.

      I didn’t think there was any possibility that the parties involved would actually skip a ski season, since they both stand to lose HUGE sums of money, but then that’s what people said about the Baseball Strike. Those guys went ahead and cut off their heads to spite their faces. Perhaps these two groups of knuckleheads are that dumb, too.

      PCMR can file for bankruptcy and “reorganize”, and just sit on their equipment and property for a season and not really lose much. Just lay everybody off and watch Talisker and Vail twist in the wind. That would be a shame, because I know some of the back story behind this issue. PCMR deserves what they get, but at this point they wield enormous power as spoilers.

  • Steve Brown

    No, Talisker doesn’t lose if PCMR closes…and neither does Vail. Vail eventually gets paid because PCMR won’t win on appeal. Canyons get massively more skier/snowboarder days, because Deer Valley doesn’t want the undesirables (snowboarders). Talisker get paid no matter what, because Vail Resorts has the cash flow.

  • J W Lettich

    I’m trying to make ski reservations for six in December and airline tickets have gone up in the last three days. I’m about ready to book Denver instead. So to say that PC has not lost business yet is totally inccorrect. Get your acts together.

  • J W Lettich

    By the way, I’ve usually purchased my airline tickets by mid June………. Does PC really want my money?

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