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Vail Offers to Buy Park City Base Facilities, PCMR Says Hell No

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Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz officially offered to buy Park City Mountain Resort's base facilities yesterday but PCMR isn't having it, claiming that Katz's actions amount to a Vail takeover. Things are getting plain nasty in the battle over PowdrCorp/PCMR's lease renewal, which they allegedly failed to renew on time from Talisker Land Holdings. Now, Vail Resorts (and their copious war chest of $5 million) is calling out PCMR's CEO, John Cumming, for accusing Vail of never making a serious proposal to settle the land-use lawsuit. Katz claims this just isn't true, and sent a five-page letter to Cumming and the media showing just how nice and cuddly Vail Resorts can be. Could this be the magic letter that brings peace? Hint: Not so much.

After Talisker/Vail filed a second eviction notice to PCMR/PowdrCorp on March 14., Cumming said, "Vail should be talking with us about ways to resolve this dispute since, as we've said before, eviction of PCMR from the property will leave Vail with land that cannot possibly be used for any economic purpose. Without the base and parking facilities, which neither Vail nor Talisker owns, Vail cannot operate a ski resort."

Au contraire, Vail believes. Here are the most important gems (and our handy editorial comments) from Vail's carefully crafted and oh-so-friendly letter:

1. Vail sums up their take on the entire land-lawsuit dispute: "A landlord believed that its tenant's lease had expired and wanted higher rent. The tenant refused to pay and sued the landlord, so the landlord found a new tenant." Well that was simple.

2. Vail has long had an interest in expanding to Utah. This is definitely true because everyone knows Vail wants to take over the world.

3. Vail wants to connect Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort. They are also a proponent of the One Wasatch concept.

4. If the Court rules that PCMR's lease with Talisker was renewed, then Vail will offer their "sincerest congratulations." Uh, we're not so sure about this one. No one ever offers their congratulations when they bet millions and lose.

5. If the Court rules that PCMR's lease has expired, Vail will become the tenant and they intend to use and operate the terrain. They will do so with or without PCMR's base and parking facilities. Really? Read below for how it will all work...

6. If Vail doesn't own the PCMR base facilities, they will access the terrain from the Canyons and connect Canyons and PCMR with a new chairlift. But this isn't Vail's first choice because they agree that the use of the PCMR base lands allow for a much better guest experience and running the ski resort out of the base area is critical for the Park City community. We can't tell if this plan is all bluff or not.

7. Vail would be willing to purchase the base and parking facilities from PCMR for fair market value. This doesn't surprise us.

8. If PCMR loses its lease to the mountain, Vail is "willing to hire substantially all of the PCMR employees who are involved with running the resort." This is true whether or not Vail buys the base and parking facilities. As much as some in Park City hate Vail Resorts right now, this makes a lot of sense. Why hire new people when you can hire the people who already do a great job?

So there you have it, 5 pages of Vail Resorts PR magic distilled into 8 helpful points. So did Katz's words woo PCMR and Cumming enough to bring them to the negotiating table? Oh hell no. Cumming responded, "PCMR is interested in exploring all possible solutions that will preserve the independence of PCMR." He went on, ""What we won't agree to is a Vail takeover. Vail's domination of the ski market in Summit County would be bad for our community, bad for our guests and bad for our employees."

So what do you think, Curbediverse? Is Vail a big, bad, greedy bully or is PCMR a whiny loser who needs to sell out while they still can?

· Vail offers to buy Park City Resort's base facilities [Salt Lake Tribune]
· Is Vail About To Take Over Park City Mountain Resort? [Curbed Ski]
· All PCMR vs. Talisker Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]