Ski town news roundup
August 26, 2013
Park City Mountain Resort v. Talisker Corp. lawsuit heats up
Park City, Utah — An attorney representing the Talisker Corporation side in its defense against a lawsuit filed by Park City Mountain Resort on Thursday submitted a memo to the judge in the case indicating that Talisker Corporation will not allow PCMR to remain on its land under the same circumstances as it has through the 1½ years of litigation.
The letter, signed by attorney John Lund and addressed to Third District Court Judge Ryan Harris, is one of the most dramatic statements made by either side during the case. Lund’s broaching of the possibility of the Talisker Corporation side moving against PCMR’s presence on the firm’s land will almost certainly heighten the tension in what is already among the highest-profile legal cases in Park City’s modern era. The lawsuit centers on a lease dispute between the parties.
The five-page submittal to the judge, made three days after a PCMR attorney sent Harris its own highly charged memo claims the resort put an earlier date on a critical letter in 2011 that PCMR believed was notice to Talisker Corporation that it was extending its lease of the land. The resort leases much of its terrain from Talisker Corporation. The Lund letter says information received from the PCMR side under a subpoena establishes “that PCMR intentionally backdated” the letter.
“Moreover, apart from misleading the Court, PCMR has also exploited its backdated letter to prop up the appearance that it has been proceeding in good faith, and thereby managed to occupy our clients’ property, for more than two years after the expiration of the Leases. In view of PCMR’s conduct, our clients are no longer willing to allow that occupation to continue as is, and we are reviewing all our options in that regard,” the letter says.
The Thursday filing by the Talisker Corporation side also included an Aug. 7 letter from Lund to Sullivan. The letter to Sullivan describes what Lund refers to as “the secret backdating of a document to deceive” the Talisker Corporation side.
The letter to the judge requests Harris schedule a court date to discuss the information, saying “there is an abundance of questions that should be answered.”
— The Park Record
Loan for Snow King pipeline stays alive
Jackson, Wyo. — Jackson Town Council members agreed this week to support a $1 million loan from the state for Snow King Mountain after some questioned whether it would be risky to do so on behalf of investors already in debt.
The council passed a resolution last week with a 4-1 vote that would allow Snow King Mountain Recreation to receive the loan — which is for 20 years and has a 0.5 percent interest rate — and a $500,000 grant from the Wyoming Business Council.
The money would be used to build new snowmaking infrastructure to the top of the Town Hill.
The town and the resort now must work out development agreements and easements to finalize the deal. The town actually would receive the loan and build the improvements, which include bringing an 8-inch water line to the top of the 7,800-foot mountain. Two pump houses would be built to help move the water.
The debt is to be paid off by Snow King’s lease payments to the town.
“Our belief in this project is unanimous,” James Peck, one of Snow King’s investors, said during public comment. “There are lots of great reasons to have this happen up on Snow King Mountain, and they’re not just related to the business interest of Snow King but also to the greater good of the town of Jackson.”
Indeed, a document submitted to the town shows that all seven of the managers and directors of the investors’ two land holding companies met Aug. 5 and unanimously voted to apply for the loan and grant.
The group is planning to add several attractions to Snow King Mountain as part of an overhaul of the ski area. They include an alpine coaster, restaurant, ziplines, new lifts and a climbing wall, among other things.
Some raised questions about lending more money to Snow King investors who already are in debt and who fell behind on payments for the Snow King Center, which they leased from the town.
The project was easy to support when it was a $1.5 million grant, he said. But the business council changed the parameters of the application to the loan-grant combination. That means the town will be on the hook if Snow King defaults on the loan.
— Jackson Hole News
Air quality deteriorates
near Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe — Douglas County Emergency Management and The Bureau of Pollution Control reported air quality in the Tahoe and Carson Valley areas could be categorized as “unsafe” soon, as smoke from the Rim Fire in Sonora billowed into the area.
The fire was estimated to be 54,000 acres as the end of the week, with most recent air samples classified as “moderate” levels in the Carson Valley.
National Weather Service radar shows smoke from the fire is traveling north to the area.
Additionally, smoke in the South Shore area continues to flow into the city from the American fire, which began Aug. 10. The fire was last reported to be 16,779 acres.
Tahoe National Forest officials have reported that five small wildfires in the area, created by lightning strikes Wednesday, are contained.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron, of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit said each of the fires were a quarter-acre to a full acre. The fires are located in Christmas Valley, Echo Summit, Blackwood Canyon and Heavenly Valley.
Tahoe National Forest is at “high” wildfire danger status, the third-highest level of fire danger, she said.
A news release from Douglas County said people should consider limiting “strenuous outdoor activity” to not risk having any health problems.
— Tahoe Daily Tribune
New fire team to take over Sunday
Sun Valley, Idaho — As containment of the Beaver Creek Fire approaches Sun Valley, a new management team will take over this week to supervise mop-up and rehabilitation work.
The Type 2 team of about 35 people will be less than half the size of the current Type 1 team. Incident Planning Section Chief Brian Eldridge said a few members of the current team will remain.
“They’ll provide a good bridge to make sure the incoming team has the information they need,” Eldridge said.
He said Thursday that the number of people working on the fire has been reduced from about 1,700 to about 1,400 as firefighters’ 14-day maximum work periods were reached.
“We’ll still be here, we just won’t be out patrolling,” he said.
Operation Sections Chief Jeff Surber said the effort to create a line around the fire on its northeast side near Baker Creek Road was “looking real good,” and the situation in Timber Gulch, south of Ketchum, was “getting more secure by the day.” No fire activity was visible there.
Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said he hoped that all trails outside of the burned area could be opened by the middle of the week in time for the Labor Day weekend.
— Idaho Mountain
Express and Guide
Mountaineers die near Chamonix, France
Chamonix, France — Two mountaineers have died in a mountaineering accident on the Aiguille d’Argentiere in the Mont Blanc Massif.
The pair of climbers set off from the Trient hut to ascend the Aiguille d’Argentiere on Wednesday morning.
The two climbers were near the Saleina glacier and were roped together when they fell some 400 meters, or roughly 1,300 feet, to their death.
The identification of victims is currently being established. A full investigation into the causes of the accident is under-way.