Park City, Utah. May 29, 2013. Vail Resorts posted an announcement today that the Colorado-based resort conglomerate has signed a long-term lease with Talisker Corporation to operate Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. The deal, according the Vail Resorts website, gives Vail Resorts control over all resort operations for Canyons, while Talisker retains development rights for four million square feet of real estate at the resort. Canyons will be included in the Vail Resorts Epic Pass ($689) for next season, joining Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, and Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar in the Lake Tahoe region.
“Talisker has an outstanding track record of high-end resort development,” Vail chairman and CEO Bob Katz says in the release. “We look forward to working together to create something truly extraordinary with Talisker’s four million square feet of remaining approved residential and commercial density at Canyons.”
Talisker, a Toronto-based real estate development company, does not have a good track record of getting along well with its Utah neighbors. Canyons Resort is currently embroiled in litigation with neighbor Park City Mountain Resort over land owned by Talisker but located adjacent to Park City Mountain Resort’s ski terrain and long leased to Park City Mountain Resort.
In the terms of the new lease, Vail Resorts would also get control of the Park City Mountain Resort land with no further considerations to Talisker, assuming the litigation ends favorably for Talisker. “We look forward to the litigation being resolved and hope that Vail Resorts can play a constructive role in helping to arrive at a solution that offers the best outcome for guests of both resorts,” Katz says in the release.
Talisker has also drawn the ire of local environmental groups and backcountry users over proposed plans for the Ski Link gondola linking Canyons Resort with Solitude Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Talisker has called the plan a “game changer,” and has dubbed it a traffic solution, while local environmental groups consider it a land-grab and claim the developers and politicians have been attempting to circumvent local input processes by avoiding the U.S. Forest Service and dealing with Congress directly. The proposal has also drawn local speculation that Canyons Resort has its eyes on acquiring Solitude.
The Ski Link proposal is not mentioned in the Vail Resorts release.
The lease has an initial term of 50 years, with six renewal periods that could extend the lease to a total of 350 years, according to the release. Vail originally tried to buy Canyons in 2007, when Talisker bought the resort from American Ski Corporation, and filed a law suit, naming Talisker and other parties, over the sale at the time, according to the Deseret News.