The Canyons ski area says Park City Mountain Resort can have new lease

Park City officials had begged the two sides to reach settlement

By Paul Foy

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, April 14 2012 9:34 p.m. MDT

PARK CITY — A Park City ski area said Friday it was willing to offer new leases for much of the land where a neighboring rival operates and settle a lawsuit that had merchants and town officials begging both sides for a settlement.

Park City Mountain Resort filed the lawsuit last month accusing the Canyons resort of trying to drive it out of business by refusing to extend the leases for years longer.

The Canyons' Toronto-based resort operator, Talisker Corp., filed court papers Thursday saying Park City Mountain Resort let the leases expire and failed to submit written notice it wanted them extended.

Talisker asked a state judge in Summit County to dismiss the lawsuit.

However, the Canyons' managing director, Mike Goar, told the Associated Press that negotiations are ongoing on a new set of leases.

"We're back at the table, talking about a solution. I'm optimistic we're going to work through it," Goar said Friday.

Talisker, a longtime real-estate operator around Park City, owns much of the ski terrain at Park City Mountain Resort, which leases 3,700 acres of upper-mountain land for ski lifts, lodges and slopes.

It isn't clear how or why Park City Mountain Resort let Talisker snatch up its prime ski terrain. Park City had leased the ski lands from United Park City Mines since the 1960s, but Talisker bought the mining company in 2003 and became a landlord.

Then, in 2009, Talisker bought the Canyons resort from American Skiing Co. Talisker outbid Colorado's Vail Inc. for what is now Utah's largest ski area.

"Our desire has always been to quickly and fairly resolve this dispute for the benefit of our employees and our community, who bear the brunt of uncertainty," Jenni Smith, president and general manager of Park City Mountain Resort, said in a statement released Friday to the AP.

She added, "We will continue our discussions with Talisker and look forward to working with them on a reasonable solution."

Neither side is revealing terms of the negotiations, but Park City Mountain Resort had been paying just $155,000 a year in rent for the Talisker-owned land, according to its lawsuit.

Canyons officials say they pay $3 million a year to lease much of their ski resort from independent landowners.

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