Vail Resorts could medal in any U.S. bid for a Winter Olympics.
The Colorado-based operator has properties in three of the places that are seen as contenders to become the bid city once the United States Olympic Committee mounts an effort to secure another Winter Olympics, perhaps as early as 2030.
Salt Lake City, Denver and the Reno-Lake Tahoe region are three of the places that are considering a bid. Vail Resorts has properties in each of the three locations.
Park City Mountain Resort would be expected to have an important role in a future Olympics in Salt Lake City, as it did during the Winter Olympics in 2002. It hosted skiing and snowboarding events in 2002 and is seen as a potential venue for snowboarding and freestyle skiing events in a future Olympics. There also are possibilities involving Vail Resorts' properties in a Denver bid or a bid in California and Nevada.
The Vail Resorts' portfolio includes the Colorado mountain resorts in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. It seems almost certain a Denver bid for an Olympics would involve at least some of those resorts. They are accessible from Denver via an interstate highway and offer the terrain needed for skiing and snowboarding events.
The firm's holdings in the Lake Tahoe region include the mountain resorts at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. They are between Sacramento and Reno.
A Vail Resorts representative said the firm would be "proud to be a part of hosting a Winter Olympic Games in any one of the three regions of Colorado, Utah or Tahoe." Kelly Ladyga, the vice president of corporate communications, said Vail Resorts will work with Olympic efforts in any of the areas.
"We will participate and coordinate with . . . Salt Lake City on its exploration into potentially pursuing a bid and expect that be considered again as a venue. Our understanding is that cities in other regions where we have resorts may also consider pursuing bids, and we will participate with them as well," she said.
The exploratory committee in Utah that determined the Salt Lake City region should pursue another Olympics did not include a representative from PCMR or Vail Resorts. The committee in Denver includes a Vail Resorts figure, Chris Jarnot, who is the firm's executive vice president over the mountain division.
PCMR, though, sent the Utah exploratory committee a letter expressing interest in further discussions about the role the resort could play in an Olympic bid.
Colin Hilton, who is the president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and was a member of the exploratory committee in Utah, said the PCMR leadership has indicated Vail Resorts does not have a preference regarding which location may be selected as the bid city that is then forwarded to the International Olympic Committee to compete against the international field of candidate cities.
"They've stated to me there is no favoritism. … They are remaining objective," Hilton said.