SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Park City Mountain Resort will have to pay $17.5 million to stay open this winter during an ongoing court battle between two ski company titans.
The ruling is much closer to Park City's $6.6 million request than the $124 million demand from its opponent, Vail Resorts Inc., raising hopes that the ski season will go on when the snow flies. Attorneys for the Park City institution, however, said their clients would have to decide whether to post the money.
"We're certainly hopeful there will be a ski season," Park City attorney Alan Sullivan said.
Judge Ryan Harris required the resort to post the bond within a week to postpone an eviction he ordered in May. Harris ruled Park City missed a deadline to renew a decades-old bargain lease rate it got from a mining company in the industry's early days.
Attorneys for the other side said they wouldn't appeal the bond, even though it's below their request. An attorney for Talisker, the company that owns the land, said in a statement that any suggestion the resort can't pay is "foolishness."
"PCMR generated over tens of millions in profits over the past three years using Talisker's land without a right to do so," wrote John Lund.
Vail Resorts is guiding Talisker's legal strategy because it wants to run a resort on the land once Park City is evicted.
Park City residents and business owners who attended the hearing said the town would feel the absence if the historic resort shuttered for the season. Lost sales have been estimated at $185 million.
"I'm hopeful, yes, I think they're community players and they know the damage a closure would create," resident Myles Rademan said.
Without the resort that bears its name, "Park City is going to be in a world of hurt," said Mike Sweeney, owner of the Town Lift Plaza. Even though there are two other resorts nearby, tourists come to the area to experience all three, he said.
The Utah resort, one of the state's largest, has been a fixture in the state's ski culture for 50 years and served as the training ground for Olympians like Ted Ligety. The country's largest ski resort operator, Vail Resorts, wants to take it over as well as the neighboring Canyons it started operating last year.
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