Vail Resorts acquires long-term lease to Canyons, Utah’s largest ski resort

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Vail Resorts agreed to a 50-year lease to operate Canyons Resort, the largest ski resort in Utah, on May 29, 2013. (Photo: Canyons Resort)

Vail Resorts agreed to a 50-year lease to operate Canyons Resort, the largest ski resort in Utah, on May 29, 2013. (Photo: Canyons Resort)

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The largest mountain resort operator in the United States got a little bigger Wednesday, bringing the largest ski resort in Utah under an umbrella that now includes ski and snowboard properties in six states.

The Broomfield-based company announced Wednesday that it has entered into a long-term, 50-year lease with the Talisker Corporation to operate Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah. That lease agreement includes six 50-year renewal options.

With 4,000 skiable acres and 3,190 vertical feet, Canyons is the largest ski resort in Utah.

Citing the resort’s size, “easy access to the town of Park City and $75 million in recent resort improvements,” Vail Resorts chairman and chief executive officer Rob Katz called Canyons “the perfect complement to our collection of world-class mountain resorts.”

Katz isn’t alone in his esteem for Canyons. This last year, “Outside” magazine ranked the resort the fourth best in North America, while “SKI Magazine” ranked the resort among its top 10 in North America for the first time.

Listed among the “Top 10 reasons SKI Magazine readers love Canyons Resort” was “access.” Considering the resort is located less than 35 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, that may be a prime reason why Epic Season Pass-carrying Coloradans come to appreciate Canyons, as well.

The Epic Pass, which is currently selling for $689, will now grant customers unlimited access to Canyons, as well as unlimited access six other ski areas — Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, and Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood in California. Last year, season passes at Canyons alone sold for $849.

Vail Resorts also operates the Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton ski areas in Minnesota and Michigan, respectively. Those resorts are not part of the Epic Pass.

The company announced it will pay $25 million in annual fixed payments for the new Canyons lease, and estimates the resort will generate about $17 million in 2014, increasing to $25 million by 2017.

The lease agreement Vail Resorts reached with Talisker to operate Park City resort is similar to its lease to operate Northstar and its resort-only acquisition of Kirkwood.

Also included in the lease agreement with Talisker, which will retain the rights to develop 4 million square feet of real estate at Canyons, is land under the ski terrain at the adjacent Park City Mountain Resort. That land, the plans for which still include a golf course, is subject to pending litigation.

“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.

AlertMe