Thursday, May 22, 2014

Things are hot in Park City, The Canyons and Vail...

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The snow has melted, and things are heated in Utah's Park City. After months of deliberation, and years of an ongoing dispute between Talisker and Park City Mountain Resort, a Utah  judge ruled May 21, 2014 that Park City Mountain Resort missed its ski terrain lease renewal in 2011, and the three subsequent years.

The judge also ruled that Park City Mountain Resort ’s owner, Powdr Corp, was not denied the first right of refusal to operate Canyons Resort prior to Talisker reaching their deal with Vail Resorts. Talisker owns much of Park City Mountain Resort 's ski terrain,  and operates the abutting Canyons Resorts  which they recently leased to Vail Resorts.

According to Ski Area Management, CEO of Powdr John Cumming said in response to this court decision “Even if Vail ultimately prevails in this litigation, it cannot possibly operate a resort on the leased property. They do not own the adjacent lands and facilities that are essential for ski operations to take place. And they are not for sale.”

There is no dispute that Park City Mountain Resort does own the base facilities where Park City Mountain Resort 's ski lifts emanate from. But as a result of this ruling, it cannot operate on the majority of the ski terrain - for which a $150,000 a year lease was offered in 2011 but not renewed by Park City Mountain Resort. Therefore any rate, term or right of access has expired according to the judgment. In an open letter in March of 2014 by Robert Katz ,Vail Resort CEO, Vail Resorts had been "willing to purchase the base and parking facilities from Park City Mountain Resort " at fair market value. Powdr Corp continues to appear to have no interest in this. Re: Powdr, that's not a typo- that's how the corporation name is spelled - not Powder.

Powdr and Park City Mountain Resort have referenced Vail as a bully, saying Vail was looking for a "steal of a deal" and that Vail would monopolize this Utah ski region if they operated two of Park City’s three ski resorts.

Powdr and Park City Mountain Resort will appeal, and say they plan to operate this season as usual. Meanwhile Vail Resorts and Talisker are looking for a negotiated settlement and back rent for the unpaid lease of terrain dating back to 2011. While Vail owns and operates 10 ski resorts - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado ski country, and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California, Powdr owns 9 from Mt Bachelor in Oregon to Pak City Mountain Resort, Ski Las Vegas, and Killington/Pico in Vermont. Ian Cumming, founder of Powdr, recently bought majority share of Snowbird Utah in May from Dick Bass... but that deal reportedly will not be part of Powdr's ski resort conglomerate...

As for future plans at Park City Mountain Resort, Vail Resorts expressed full support of One Wasatch, Ski Utah's proposal to interconnect  seven Utah ski resorts,  Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, and Canyons using six lifts, all on private land and with private funding, on one ski pass. ONE Wasatch if approved by public and state permitting would be European like in its vast ski connection of unique resorts, to include 18,000 skiable acres, 700 trails, and 100 lifts connecting Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons and Park City.

Currently, Deer Valley and Alta, while willing participants in the Wasatch interconnect, do not allow snowboarders. But that's another pending lawsuit  in Utah - snowboarders claiming that Alta's snowboard ban is discrimination on US Forest Service land. Wow, can't everyone in Utah get along? Do we need a ski group hug?

For the latest ski news you can use, be sure to check our websites, Family Ski Trips and Luxury Ski Trips till snow flies again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Longest ski season in the East and West!

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Bragging rights are earned in the ski biz by claiming the longest ski season. A serious commitment to snowmaking and man power are required to ski from Halloween to Memorial Day, Mother Nature's cold support helps too.

Killington has stepped up to the plate the past few seasons. This winter, Killington hosted the most skiing in New England, 199 days from October 24, 2013 to May 18, 2014. The Beast of the East had an even longer season the previous year, October 14, 2012- Memorial Day May 27, 2013.

For other late spring skiing resorts in the East, Jay Peak stayed open for Mother's Day skiing closing May 11, 2014. Sugarloaf closed May 4, Sunday River's last day of skiing was April 20 and Bretton Woods gave free skiing on Patriots day April 21. The good news for New England skiers and riders is that Killington, Sunday River, and now Jay Peak and Sugarloaf are all vying for longest ski season bragging rights. The winners - skiers!

2013-14 was a super cold and snowy winter for much of the North East. The Weather Channel exhausted its A-Z snowstorm names across the country starting with Atlas, to #26 Zephyr that dumped 43 inches of snow in Colorado May 10-13. That became rain that wiped out the East remaining skiing.

Still skiing out west is Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Mt Hood Timberline and Mt Bachelor in Oregon, Mammoth in California, and Snowbird Utah. Aspen's Ajax will reopen for Memorial Day weekend skiing since they have so much snow.

After those last sweet spring corn snow turns, pack your snowboard and ski gear away properly, clean & dry, so you are ready to ski next October. Halloween skiing is just a few months away!

While you are waiting for next winter, check out our Family Ski Resort Vacation Guide and our latest Luxury Ski Vacation recommendations to plan your next ski vacation.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Storing your ski gear for summer

Mt Bachelor Oregon
Our Family Ski Vacation blog has moved, follow us at our Family Ski Vacations blog!

Ski season is over for most of us. We at Family Ski Trips ended with 50 ski days, 26 ski resorts in 3 countries. That made for well over 1.3 million vertical feet skied and some amazing adventures - no bad days as they say. We are grateful and we are packing it in... How about you?

Yes, there are a few ski resorts still spring skiing this May - Killington and Jay Peak in the East, and in The West - Mammoth California, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Colorado, Snowbird in Utah and Mt Bachelor in Oregon will keep going into May at least. In Canada Whistler Blackcomb and Lake Louise are still skiing. In Europe you can keep skiing in Zermatt, Saas Fee, Adelboden, Davos, Ischgl, Gstaad Glacier 3000, and Solden, and Val D'Isere.

Only the most intrepid skier are still carving turns or hiking to ski Tuckerman Ravine - earning their ski turns. Most skiers and riders got their fill of snow and skiing during this epic snow witner and have turned the page to warm weather activities of golfing, biking, boating....

Switzerland's Jungfrau - Murren Schilthorn
But before you fast forward to summer sports, don't forget to store your ski gear properly. You don't want to toss everything in the basement in May only to find rust on your ski edges and mold on your ski clothing come fall. See our helpful ski storage tips and how to pack your ski gear away properly to prevent damage and protect your prized ski possessions.

See you on the high seas, until I see you on the slopes next winter! We have big plans for next year's Luxury Ski Vacations to ski Idaho's Schweitzer and Silver,  Whitewater and Red Mountain in BC next ski season, as well as exploring more of Europe skiing the Swiss Alps of St Moritz, Davos Klosters, Laax and Lenzerheide.  Cheers!

By Heather Burke Editor of www.familyskitrips.com  & www.luxuryskitrips.com