Vail Resorts takes over operations at Canyons Resort in Utah

By Eric Wagnon,

Ending years of anticipation and speculation regarding Vail Resorts’ entrance into the Utah skiing market, the nation’s largest ski resort operator announced Wednesday that the company has entered into a 50-year lease with Talisker Corporation to operate Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. The company also announced that Canyons will be added to the popular Epic Pass for the 2013-14 ski season. Talisker, a Canadian real estate company, will retain the development rights for the remaining four million square feet of approved residential and commercial properties at the resort.

“With 4,000 skiable acres, easy access to the town of Park City and $75 million in recent resort improvements, Canyons is a perfect complement to our collection of world-class mountain resorts,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “I commend the Talisker and Canyons team for the outstanding work they have done to redevelop the resort. We look forward to building on that momentum and including Canyons in our industry-leading season pass products, which next season will offer guests access to Colorado, Tahoe and Utah on one season pass, a first in ski industry history.”

Vail Resorts initially wanted to purchase Canyons from American Skiing Company in 2007. The company even filed an unsuccessful lawsuit at the time to prevent the sale to Talisker. In the legal filings, Vail Resorts accused Talisker of being one of the parties in a “blatant conspiracy.”

While former legal opponents Talisker and Vail Resorts are now partners in the resort, current and possibly future legal issues involve neighboring Park City Mountain Resort. Some of the terrain within Park City Mountain Resort that is actually owned by Talisker has already created pending litigation. The transaction between Talisker and Vail Resorts includes this disputed land.

“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 said.