Yes. Park City Sucks.

Not the town, but Vail's use of the word PARK CITY for their resort. The Park Rag, and this website, have been credited as the first media source to call-out Vail's use of the Park City name and the trademark issues associated with it. However, we weren't really first. We believe Park City Lodging was the first to go up against Vail for the words "Park City." Kudos to them. It ain't easy going against the King of the MTN.

Since we first published our original Park City Sucks website in January 2016, the issues have morphed. Now over 100 claims have been filed against Vail's application for trademarking the name Park City. Vail has fired back with an explanation that they acquired the name when they bought POWDR Corp, that everyone outside of Utah just calls the resort Park City, and that if they don't trademark it someone else will.

Perhaps what is more concerning is that according to the Park Record,  companies like Park City Powdercats are settling with Vail over the term. We don't know the details, but what has always seemed strange is that if Vail would allow anyone to use the name Park City, except for a "Ski Resort," why would anyone have to settle anything? "Ski resort" seems  pretty straightforward.

So, it's about to become ugly.

Here is what is likely to happen:

  1. There will be a boycott of the Epic Pass and Vail this year. You'll start to see bumper stickers this fall.
  2. People won't buy passes and therefore, there will be less visitors on the slopes buying $16 hamburgers. Ancillary sales will go down.
  3. People will attempt to hit Vail where it hurts... the equity markets. Park City isn't some bumpkin' town full of ski bums. It doesn't take more than a post or two regarding a potential boycott to sites like Seeking Alpha to negatively impact the stock.
  4. Park City is a bastion of anti-corporate liberalism. There's more than one person in town who knows a writer at the NewYork Times. It doesn't take much to sour visitors on the big, bad ski resort that is attempting to kill the little town. "Save the town by skipping it this year!"

We honestly never thought it would get this far. I sat down with Vail Park City COO Bill Rock and Mountain Community Relations Manager Kristin Williams in March. Parts of the conversation were good. They noted they had reduced the breadth of their patent. Good. They were extremely friendly. Great! They said words like "allow" and "let" a little too often. Bad.

We frankly thought that like many issues in Park City, people would vent and scream and then go back to mountain biking. In this case, it appears not. Vail has touched a nerve.

As stated many times, the Park Rag thinks the best way to end this mess is for Vail to obtain the trademark and then turn it over to the city (and the public domain). In the agreement the city agrees to exclusively allow Vail to use the name Park City Mountain Resort and to not allow any entity to use Park City in relation to a ski resort over 1 acre. Vail agrees to pay for the defense of the trademark related to them.

We're not lawyers. So, the above is probably too simple. That said, Vail's people are geniuses. I say that in all honesty. I know they can figure a way to make this work. They just need a reason.

That said, we in Park City shouldn't forget who is buttering our bread. While Vail's marketing campaign about "$50 million in additions to PCMR and Canyons" always seemed self serving... they do make sizable donations that likely make Pre-K in our schools possible.

So, there should be a compromise tomorrow. 

That said, sometimes you have to play a game of chicken to figure out you should have made a deal upfront. 


Note: This website has been created and is managed by Park Rag LLC. It is not affiliated with Park City Municipal, Park City, or Vail Resorts.

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