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Park City ski season is safe — for now

Published July 5, 2012 10:52 pm

Lawsuit • But dispute with Canyons owner presses on.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Go ahead, get that season's pass. Park City Mountain Resort definitely will be open for the 2012-13 ski season.

Under normal circumstances, such a statement would be something of an odd, no-brainer. But in Summit County, PCMR is in a lease dispute with United Park City Mines, which owns the ski terrain along the Wasatch Back just west of the old mining town.

Talisker Corp. operates the nearby Canyons Resort and acquired United Park City Mines in 2003.

When lease negotiations broke down in March, PCMR filed suit in 3rd District Court and alleged publicly that Talisker was up to no good. PCMR officials said if it didn't get its lease renewed, it would be forced by its competitor to cease operations.

Nonetheless, PCMR has not dialed back its marketing efforts in hopes a lease agreement will be reached with Talisker. For skiers and boarders willing to shell out for 2012-13 season passes, PCMR had added a disclaimer — it may not open.

Such a scenario would be financially crippling for Park City and Summit County.

That conundrum was put to rest this week — at least temporarily — when Talisker issued a statement saying it would ensure PCMR would open for the upcoming ski season.

"Talisker confirmed today that it has provided Park City Mountain Resort with a written commitment not to close PCMR during the upcoming 2012-13 ski season," it said. "That binding commitment, at a rent that essentially assures PCMR a profit over this period, was delivered to PCMR in April, weeks prior to PCMR's suggestion to the marketplace that it might not be open for the upcoming ski season."

The statement went on to say Talisker "is disappointed that PCMR continues to circulate incorrect and inflammatory information to the public."

Talisker officials did not respond to a request for an interview.

PCMR and its predecessor, Park City Ski Area, have leased terrain from United Park City Mines for four decades. In its suit, PCMR maintains that it was in lease-extension negotiations when talks broke down.

"Prior to March 2011, [PCMR] gave both United Park City Mines and Talisker unequivocal notification that they intended to extend the agreement for an additional 40 years, to the year 2051."

Talisker, on the other hand, has said the lease expired and PCMR must negotiate a new lease.

In its lawsuit, PCMR states its annual lease rate is $155,000.

By contrast, Canyons will pay about $3 million this ski season for ski terrain it leases from Wolf Mountain.

In a statement issued Thursday, PCMR officials said Talisker's "financial demands" for a new lease are "completely unreasonable."

"Although we're encouraged by Talisker's public statements that it doesn't intend to attempt an eviction during the next ski season, the parties have been unable to resolve this dispute," the statement said. "We have always desired a fair and quick resolution to this dispute for the sake of our employees and the greater Park City community."

PCMR officials did not respond to a request for an interview.

csmart@sltrib.com