As of late, Park City, Utah has been in the midst of two serious controversies: One is in relation to—believe it or not—its own name, and the other is in relation to the possibility of a Woodward facility setting up shop in town.
Vail Resorts, the Colorado-based owner of Park City Mountain Resort, is currently in the application process to trademark the term “Park City,” and that’s the basis of this first city-wide controversy. The company says they are applying for this trademark only to prevent other ski resorts from using the same name, but Park City locals aren’t so sure about that, resulting in ongoing tension that’s arising in a multitude of ways.
To start, many Park City businesses containing the term “Park City” are concerned about their futures. In other words, they’re worried they’ll have to change their names and reinvent themselves due to this potential trademark.
One of those businesses is Park City Powdercats & Heli Ski, who recently met with Vail Resorts to learn if they would need to change their name if the trademark application goes through. They came to an agreement that the name would not need to be changed, and Park City Powdercats & Heli Ski withdrew its formal opposition to Vail Resorts’ trademark application. Eight more businesses containing “Park City” in their names are working with Vail Resorts to discuss their own futures, too. Other concerned parties have until July 9 to formally oppose the potential trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to Park City’s local paper, The Park Record, nearly 100 filings had been made as of June 10.
This trademark controversy is about more than business, too. A large group of Park City locals, led by former Park City Mayor Dana Williams, is teaming up to protect the integrity of the city’s name, though business is certainly a large concern for them as well. These efforts have often been displayed at City Hall hearings, one of which Williams showed up to donning a shirt that read, “Don’t De-Vail-U Park City.” He explained that day that Park City is the locals’ “brand” and a name that the community “vehemently” defends. One of the main goals for Williams and his team is to have City Hall submit its own formal opposition to Vail Resorts’ trademark application, but that has yet to happen.
Woodward Park City
While the kinks continue to get worked out in relation to the trademarking situation, locals are also concerned over the possibility of Woodward Park City being built. The main source of concern is location, as the proposed action sports facility would be built at Gorgoza Park—10 miles from the base of Park City Mountain Resort—on a hill with nearby walking trails, as well as a scenic pond. According to The Park Record, residents are more specifically concerned about height allowances for the buildings, the environmental friendliness of the materials being used during construction, effects on wildlife and changes in traffic.
This second controversy—interestingly enough—intersects with the first one at hand; “Park City” is obviously contained within the proposed Woodward Park City name, meaning Park City Woodward is yet another business with potential future conflicts with Vail Resorts. Making this even more interesting is the fact that Woodward Park City is headed by Powdr Corp, who Vail Resorts bought Park City Mountain Resort from in 2014 after a heated legal battle.
While ski towns may sometimes seem to be quiet places with little conflict, Park City has certainly proven otherwise. Stay tuned for more information as these controversies continue to develop.