Mountain News 

Canyons wants out of lease

PARK CITY, Utah — The owner of The Canyons, one of the several ski areas at Park City, continues to try to end his lease with American Skiing Co., the operator and developer.

In the latest wrinkle of this on-going story, Kenny Griswold told The Park Record that he had gone to Colorado to discuss options with several potential investors. He had specifically mentioned Vail. "Vail would do brilliant things," he told the newspaper.

Vail Resorts denies any meeting or negotiations. Griswold did not mention any other Vail-area organizations, although East West Partners, a development company with interests in Park City, also has close ties with Vail Resorts.

The story is rife with lawsuits and counter-suits. Griswold’s company had operated the ski area, but in 1997 leased the land at the ski area to the American Ski Company. The 50-year lease has a 150-year option. That arrangement also specified that the American Ski Co. was to build a golf course by 2002.

That golf course has not been built, but the reason why is a matter of contention. Clearly, the American Skiing Co. was in financial trouble several years ago when it unloaded Heavenly on Vail Resorts. Now, it is shopping Steamboat, but insists that it’s not motivated by financial duress. And The Canyons has "had three record years, both where skier-days and revenues and profits are concerned – three years in a row," said Tim Vetter, spokesman for the Canyons. The company also says it is not building the golf course now because Griswold won’t surrender the land.

Griswold maintains that American Skiing Co. is in financial trouble, and he wants to sever the relationship before the company defaults. "You cannot disguise the trouble that they’re in," he tells the Park Record. He also says that the American Skiing Co. is trying to buy him out.

Fractional real estate questioned

ASPEN, Colo. — The updated and upscaled form of time-share called fractional ownership has been taking the ski towns by storm. Developers claim fractionals will put people in town throughout the year.

For most ski towns, this is welcome news. Conventional tourism has been stagnant or even in decline. Ski towns have instead become the places of a) retirees, b) people for whom skiing is only an amenity, and c) second-home owner.

But in Aspen, there are increasing questions about whether fractional ownership really puts people on the streets the way that developers say it does. City officials have begun a study, reports The Aspen Times. "Assertions were made in the application process about economic activity. We’re testing those assumptions."

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