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Vail cuts 42 jobs as it lines up to run Canyons Resort

Published June 25, 2013 3:59 pm

Ski industry • New operator says most of resort's 1,800 workers will remain after July 1.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

More than 40 Canyons Resort employees learned they will no longer be part of the operation when Vail Resorts Inc. takes over next week.

Denver-based Vail Resorts, which signed a long-term lease last month to run the Park City-area resort for Talisker Mountain Inc., said Monday it will retain most of the resort's total workforce of 1,800. But 42 positions in Utah were eliminated after the industry giant did a "comprehensive review [of] areas where we need to consolidate duties, change or redirect resources and eliminate duplicate efforts," said Vail spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga.

"We have reviewed Canyons' organizational structure to determine any necessary changes to create alignment with our other mountain resorts to ensure operating efficiencies moving forward," she added. Vail Resorts operates four resorts in Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge) and three around Lake Tahoe (Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood).

Ladyga expressed regret for the layoffs. "The loss of jobs, no matter how small the number of people impacted, is always difficult and is not something that we take lightly," she said.

Vail previously announced that industry veteran Mike Goar would remain as Canyons' general manager. Ladyga added Monday that "most of the current senior leadership have been asked to join Vail Resorts," but declined to elaborate on the departments where cuts occurred, "out of respect to the people affected."

Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, marketing arm of the state's $1 billion-a-year industry, said he did not know any specifics about the cuts but added a reduction in force seemed "inevitable" since Vail has a well-established corporate structure that would not need duplicated efforts by personnel in Park City.

Vail's stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, closed Tuesday at $60.92 per share, up 59 cents from Monday but down about $6 a share since May 29, when Talisker brought in Vail to run the Utah ski resort. The companies were rivals to obtain Canyons when American Skiing Co. went through liquidation, with Talisker winning.

In the lease agreement with Vail, Talisker retained development rights for 4 million square feet of real estate around the resort fringes.