PARK CITY — As snow fell on Wasatch Mountains peaks over the weekend, urgency intensified as negotiations continue between landowners and Park City Mountain Resort in allowing it to continue operating through the 2014-15 ski season.
Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, the owner of much of the land on which the resort operates, sent a letter to 3rd District Judge Ryan Harris on Monday morning, asking for the second time to extend the deadline for court-mandated mediation to 5 p.m. Friday.
The two parties failed to reach agreement by the initial Aug. 15 deadline, as well as the second deadline that ended Sunday.
"As of this morning, the parties continue to work in good faith with the mediator," Monday's letter states. "The parties do not request the extension of any other deadlines imposed by the court."
After the resort failed to renew its lease in 2011, Talisker presented the resort with an eviction notice last August. Harris, however, stayed the notice, and the two parties were ordered to work toward resolving the dispute.
Park City Mountain Resort has accused Talisker of trying to run it out of business by refusing to extend its tenancy after the landlord entered a long-term lease agreement with Vail Resorts, which now operates Canyons Resort adjacent to Park City Mountain Resort. Talisker has denied such claims.
A court hearing scheduled for Wednesday is expected to determine a bond amount that would allow Park City Mountain Resort to continue operating on the roughly 3,000 acres of disputed land. Park City Mountain Resort officials have said the resort is willing to pay a fair market lease to keep it open during the coming ski season.
"Talisker and Vail Resorts are completely committed to finding a resolution to this dispute that is in the best interests of all the parties and the Park City community," Talisker officials said in a statement. "As such, we appreciate continuing to be in the court-ordered mediation process, and we remain optimistic that the parties can come together and bring closure to the disruption caused by the litigation."
Jenni Smith, president and general manager of Park City Mountain Resort, says the resort recognizes the urgency with ski season approaching.
"(Park City Mountain Resort) will continue to negotiate with Vail in the hope that a reasonable settlement can be reached," Smith said. "The Park City Mountain Resort team lives in this community and realizes what is at stake. Only PCMR will be able to operate the resort for the upcoming 2014-15 season, unless a long-term solution is reached immediately.
"Our goal is, and always has been, to keep the resort open for the 2014-15 season."