Thursday, May 15, 2014

Long-Time Operator of Park City Mountain Resort Purchases Majority Interest in Snowbird

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THE NEWS

Dramatic developments within the Utah Ski Industry continue to be announced at a sizzling pace, with the latest bombshell the announcement that the family that for years has operated Park City Ski Resort has purchased majority interest in Snowbird.  And in the midst of a legal dispute with Vail Resorts over their continuing right to operate Park City. 

An article by Mike Gorrell in the Salt Lake Tribune reports that "Ian Cummings, a businessman intimately familiar with Utah's ski industry since his family owns Park City Mountain Resort," has purchased majority interest in Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort from Dick Bass, one of the founders and a current owner.  Bass will remain chairman of Snowbird's board.

Gorrell quotes Bass, 84, a Texas oilman and renowned adventurer. "This partnership will enable Snowbird to achieve more rapid growth and even greater benefits for our guests, and will continue to promote our founding philosophy of providing a year-round destination mountain resort for the enhancement of body, mind and spirit - with our ever-present emphasis on environmental protection and sensitivity.".

This blog's April, 14, 2014 post reported the buyout offer from Vail Resorts to purchase Park City Mountain Resort, owned by the Cummings family, and the lawsuit involving PCMR, which is in danger of losing its' lease to operate the Park City ski resort...It is now clear that the Cummings family will continue to operate at least one major Utah ski resort, Snowbird, regardless of the final outcome of the legal action and lease dispute related to their operation of the Park City ski resort.  Adding to the intrigue of the future landscape once all the legal actions and buyout possibilities are settled, is the long-proposed interconnect, recently christened ONE Wasatch, between ski areas in the Park City area (Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons) and those in Little and Big Cottonwood canyons (Brighton, Solitude, Alta, Snowbird).  Existing animosity between future partners could be an interesting dynamic.

According to the Tribune article and Gorrell, "the management team will remain intact and the company is proceeding with plans to break ground in July on the two-year Hidden Peak project, to build more biking trails on the mountain, and to renovate the Snowbird Center and Cliff Lodge."

Bob Bonar, Snowbird's president and CEO, is quoted by Gorrell. "It will take a little while to digest how the new partnership works.  I have a lot of respect for Mr. Bass and for his family, who really have wanted to keep this a family partnership, a family owned and operated resort."

Development news also continues from the Ogden Valley, as the new owners of Nordic Valley, which had been renamed Wolf Mountain for the years it was a part of Wolf Creek Resort, announced plans for ski-in/ski-out residences, on-mountain expansion, and a major concert series this summer at the resort.  Nordic Valley will also host the revival of the highly popular Ogden Valley Balloon Festival, to be held this August.  You can check out everything that is going on and planned at the Nordic Valley website.

The real estate market at Utah's Ski Resorts and along the east benches of the cities snuggled against the Wasatch continues to heat up, and is shifting, rapidly in certain areas, from a buyer's to a seller's market.  There are good deals to be had, but the ramifications of all the major development news over the past months will surely continue to put upward pressure on prices.