New PCMR owner talks to Park City Council

Posted at 10:05 PM, Sep 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-19 00:05:35-04

PARK CITY, Utah -- The leaves are only just starting to turn in Park City, but all eyes are on the ski season that comes next, one many weren’t sure they were going to have until last week.

At Thursday night’s city council meeting, a crowd of residents were able to meet the people who are bringing it to them, Vail Resorts, the new owners of Park City Mountain Resort.

“I think there’s anxiety and uncertainty, and people want to know who this is. So, I wanted to come here and at least say, hey, this is who we are,” said Blaise Carrig, the president of the Mountain Division for Vail.

For at least the next 60 days, Carrig will be serving as the Chief Operating Officer in Park City.

While his main focus is on the upcoming ski season, Carrig did give residents a glimpse of Vail’s vision for the area, which includes eventually building a ski lift connection between PCMR and Vail’s other property, Canyons Resort.

“We’re going to start that process in earnest here in the next couple weeks, and if we could get there by the spring of next year, we would do it,” Carrig said. “Our vision of it is people would ride both ways.”

The plan is on par with the concept of One Wasatch, a proposal to connect the seven central Wasatch ski areas using chair lifts.

‘We’re not going to take the lead on that,” Carrig said. “But I think the interconnect between Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort would be a great first step in One Wasatch.”

However, any development or changes will be met with heavy scrutiny by the town Vail is now calling home.

“This is the first time we will have a publicly held corporation running a ski business in our town, competing with our local businesses. That’s new. So, there’s a good side, and there’s a concerning side to that,” said Tim Henney, a Park City councilman.

City officials took a trip to Vail last week to get a sense of how they do business, and whether or not that business would work in Park City. They spent three days touring Vail and one day visiting Steamboat Springs, Colo.

“Vail now controls ¾ of the skiing in this valley. So, you have to understand what they do, how they do it and why they do it,” said Myles Rademan, who has been leading the City Tour program for the last 42 years.

Concerns from residents that Vail would hurt local businesses and try to transform the city into another resort town were assuaged, somewhat, by the end of Thursday’s meeting.

“This is what they have said, that they would do nothing to damage or jeopardize the brand that Park City represents. So, they're on record as having said that, and I plan to hold them to what they have said,” Henney said.

As they prepare for their first ski season, Vail has no problem making promises, especially ones that include a future on Park City’s slopes.

“They should hold us to that promise,” Carrig said.