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What Vail's Purchase of Park City Means for Skiers This Year

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It's been a big week in Park City. Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort for $182.5 million just as Ski Utah announced new details on their plan to create a European-style 18,000-acre mega-resort. And though Utah has long been an iconic ski destination with 4.1 million skier visits last year, it looks like the state is jonesin' to compete with Colorado for some of its 12.6 million skier visits. Luckily, Curbed Ski is here to break down what happened, what it means for this winter, and what the future holds for Utah skiing.

The Vail purchase of PCMR is the latest bombshell in a multi-year lawsuit that has had its fair share of dramatic news cycles. You can check out the backstory over here, but here's a bullet-by-bullet summation of the sale details:

· Vail Resorts bought PCMR for $182.5 million in cash, ending all litigation between Talisker Land Holdings, LLC and PCMR.
· The sale includes PCMR's base area, parking lots, lower ski terrain and lifts, as well as the water rights and snowmaking equipment. The sale also included rights to the Park City Mountain Resort name.
· The sale agreement stipulates that Vail must retain PCMR employees in their current roles and PCMR employees will transition to Vail's payroll system this month. PCMR President Jenni Smith, however, opted to resign. Vail's Mountain Division President Blaise Carrig is serving as interim chief operating officer until a new resort president is named.
· After Vail's acquisition of PCMR, shares of Vail Resorts on the NYSE increased 11.7% to $87.53 per share.

Here's what the sale means for skiers this year:

· PCMR is set to open on November 22. Canyons will open November 28.
· PCMR and the Canyons (also operated by Vail Resorts) will operate separately for the 2014-2015 ski season.
· PCMR will now be on the Epic Pass, the Vail Resorts season pass that features 22 ski areas. 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.

And here's what could happen in the future:

· Vail Resorts wants to connect Canyons and PCMR via a chairlift as soon as possible, hopefully in time for the 2015-2016 ski season. This would make it the largest ski resort in the United States with 7,000 acres of integrated skiing terrain. You can check out our side-by-side comparison of the biggest ski areas in North America over here, but for comparison's sake, Whistler Blackcomb has 8,171 skiable acres and the second biggest ski resort in North America, Big Sky, has 5,750 acres.
· A combined PCMR and Canyons resort may operate under the PCMR brand.
· As part of the sale, Vail Resorts has inherited over 600,000 square feet of development approvals. Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, wants to move forward on these plans with community input. All information indicates that Vail will invest heavily in PCMR.
· With Vail strengthening its position in Utah, it's likely that we'll see cheaper skiing. Outside reports that last year, after Vail Resorts added Canyons to the Epic Pass, four other resorts- Snowbird, Alta, Deer Valley, and PCMR- added three free days of skiing at reciprocal resorts. The take home? Ski season pass wars brings down the cost of season passes.
· Vail supports the ONE Wasatch concept so it's likely that having the PCMR-Talisker lawsuit decided will accelerate the timetable. In an email to Outside, Rob Katz said "We support the One Wasatch concept and look forward to working with Ski Utah and the other resorts to make it a reality."
· With ONE Wasatch moving forward and the Vail marketing machine getting into high gear, Utah will start seeing an uptick in skiers and visitors.

There you have it, Curbediverse. Now what's your take?

· Vail Resorts puts Park City Mountain Resort in its Epic lineup [Park Record]
· Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz says time to focus on the future [Park Record]
· Vail Just Bought Park City: Now What? [Outside]
· Breaking: Vail Resorts Buys Park City Mountain Resort [Curbed Ski]
· All PCMR-Talisker Lawsuit Coverage [Curbed Ski]
· Vote Now: Is ONE Wasatch the Next Big Thing For Utah Skiing? [Curbed Ski]
· New Map Shows How 7 Utah Ski Areas Could Become One [Curbed Ski]
· Which Ski Resort Has The Most Skiing in North America? [Curbed Ski]