In the latest installment of the Highlander Protocol (there can be only one!), and also the latest installment in the ongoing dispute between Talisker Corporation and Park City Mountain Resort, Vail Resorts offers to buy Park City Mountain Resort (PDF).
NOTE: Vail is moving to acquire the land around the base area and parking lots owned by PCMR. Not the mountain itself, which is owned by Talisker Corporation, and whose ownership is not in dispute. Vail Resorts is the current lessee. PCMR, the former tenant/lessee is disputing the termination of their lease with Talisker. Confusing? Just a little.
The obvious angle is pursuing plans to connect PCMR and The Canyons, which would be a game changer not only for the SLC/Park City area, but for skiing/snowboarding in general. I’m not convinced it is really a good thing, with Vail’s ever-expanding-rape-and-pillage-crisis-of-capitalism business model, but we can leave that discussion for another day.
As you know, [Vail Resorts] has had an interest in coming to Utah for a long time and has had a serious interest in Canyons that dates back to 2007. We approached Talisker about the Canyons again in August 2012 and our conversations initially focused solely on that resort. However, Talisker indicated an interest in also leasing to us the PCMR land. They indicated that they were not happy with PCMR as the tenant and wanted to bring in an operator like Vail Resorts.
CEO Bob Katz responds to some allegations that Vail Resorts has only been interested in stealing this property:
Just to be clear, Vail Resorts would be willing to pay fair market value for any of the assets you have that would be helpful to us in operating the resort. We would also be willing to jointly retain independent third parties to help us arrive at a fair value. While each situation is unique, there have been countless appraisals performed on land and parking facilities at the base of ski resorts. If you were willing to sell those assets, we are confident we can reach a fair price for both parties and ensure the continued smooth operation of the resort.
As someone who would stand to benefit from this (I can grab an Epic Local pass for next-to-nothing), it’s enticing. But I really feel like in the long run, the consolidation and monopolization of the industry can’t be good.