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Could There Be Two Park City Ski Resorts In Utah? Ask Vail

Here’s an interesting conundrum. Can the owners of the Park City (Utah) ski resort face competition for the name Park City? Hypothetically, it could become an issue.

This week, the court in Utah, as you may have read, has ruled on the long-raging battle between the Park City ski area operated by the company Park City Mountain Resort and its next-door neighbor, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, which owns adjacent Canyons ski area. It seems that Talisker owns the land under much of the world-famous Park City resort, its next door neighbor. Somewhere along the line, someone at Park City forgot to renew the lease. And so Talisker said they were taking the land back. The court has sided with the Talisker. The plot thickens, because the world-famous Vail enterprise out of Colorado now runs the Canyons resort and would be thrilled to take over the Park City property as well.

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View from the Short Cut fixed triple chairlift at The Canyons resort in Park City, Utah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s where this gets interesting. What if that happened? Would they try to call their part of the resort “Park City?” One side of the equation is that Park City is the name of the town. Calling a resort Park City Ski Area may be something that virtually anybody in town is able to do. They may not be able to use Park City Mountain Resort, but that name (and its abbreviation PCMR) is mostly just known to locals. So, were Vail to prevail in the dispute (the case may be tied up in appeals for a long time) they could try to extend the reach of the Canyons Resort with Park City as a separate mountain, but a connected area.

For the time being, the fact is that the existing Park City Mountain Resort does still own the rights to the land where its base lodge and certain lower mountain areas are located. So they would stay in that business, presuming they could find a way to make it feasible. Logic might dictate that the companies really have to find some realistic settlement to all of this.

But two Park City ski areas? It’s not impossible. If I were to take over new land in Park City, I would be thrilled to be able to use name Park City for the area. Canyonlands, though hardly a “poor stepchild,” is, de facto, the number three player in town behind Park City and the world-famous, deluxe Deer Valley ski area.
A couple of interesting takeaways: First, there’s always an advantage to naming your business something that could be uniquely yours. Park City, Vail, Aspen — all of these famous resorts are named after the place where they’re situated. But that doesn’t have to be the case. (See: Deer Valley, Snowbird and many others.) Second, if you have a lease which says there’s a renewal date, it is not just a suggestion. Ask Park City.

This post originally appeared on Forbes

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