Vail Resorts, Inc. has acquired Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) for $182.5 million. The deal ends an epic legal battle over PCMR’s lease for most of the on-mountain terrain, and removes the uncertainty that had hung over the resort for the past few years after a court ruled that PCMR had failed to renew its lease and eviction loomed.
The purchase includes the PCMR base area, parking, lower ski terrain and lifts, as well as water and snowmaking for the entire mountain, and is effective immediately. Vail Resorts holds the lease for the land above the base area, and has thus unified the resort under its management.
In a prepared statement, Vail Resorts said, “With the acquisition, all aspects of the previously disclosed litigation with respect to PCMR have been settled, and this dispute will no longer pose any future threat to disrupt the operation of the resort.”
“First and foremost, we are very pleased to bring a permanent end to this dispute and provide assurance to the guests and employees of PCMR, and to everyone in the Park City community, that they no longer have to worry about any disruption to the operation of the Resort. This has been a difficult period for everyone involved, and I commend John Cumming and Powdr Corp. for helping to find a solution to this situation,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
“Selling was the last thing we wanted to do, and while we believe the law around this issue should be changed, a protracted legal battle is not in line with our core value to be good stewards of the resort communities in which we operate,” said John Cumming, CEO of Powdr.
As part of the agreement, Vail must retain PCMR employees in their current roles for the coming season. “A sale was the only way to provide long-term certainty for PCMR employees and the Park City community,” Cumming said.
Vail will begin to put its stamp on the resort nonetheless. Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts, will act as interim chief operating officer for the resort. “We understand that this acquisition represents a change for all of the employees of PCMR and I look forward to working with everyone on the PCMR team as we develop a vision for the future of the resort,” he said.
Mountain operations of PCMR and neighboring Canyons, for which Vail Resorts also holds a long-term lease, will remain separate for the 2014-2015 ski season. However, Vail expects to connect the two resorts in the future.
In the meantime, the purchase means that Park City will now be part of Vail’s Epic Pass products, although not all details are set just yet. What is certain is that all Park City Mountain Resort passes for the 2014-15 ski season will continue to be honored, and can be exchanged or upgraded for a season pass that will also be valid at Canyons. The majority of all lift tickets sold at either resort will be valid at both PCMR and Canyons.
As for Powdr, “The sale positions Powdr well for future growth, and we’re excited to explore new lifestyle and mountain sports opportunities,” Cumming said. “We’re happy that the community now has long-term certainty and we trust Vail will responsibly carry forward the legacy of PCMR and be a champion for the Park City community.”
He added, “My family and I are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to play a role in making PCMR what it is today, and we deeply appreciate the dedicated employees and all of the people who have supported us over the years.”