Vail Resorts, new owner of Canyons Resort, took a half-a-million-dollar step towards turning the public-relations corner in Park City.

The Colorado-based corporation had not been greeted with overwhelming warmth after taking over Canyons Resort from Talisker Corp. and pledging to oversee a rancorous lawsuit against Park City Mountain Resort, which many perceive as a “local” operation.

Tasiker contends PCMR allowed its lease on the slopes to expire in 2011 and forced the Summit County sheriff to serve eviction papers on PCMR—something Sheriff Dave Edmunds, said “broke my heart.”

But it was cheers not tears for Vail Resorts last night at the Kimball Art Center as the alleged carpetbaggers handed out grants to Park City charities.

President of Vail Resorts Mountain Division Blaise Carrig, who formerly worked at The Canyons before joining Vail, was breathtakingly frank when he told the roomful of Parkies that Vail Resorts had asked him “how to get into Park City.”

Said Carrig: “I told them, 'Throw a big party and give away money.”

(Applause.)

“If money doesn't get a hand," he joked. "I'm walking out.”

And give money is exactly what Vail did, handing out $500,000 (cash and “in-kind” contributions) to 10 local charities:

  • Park City Community Foundation: $250,000 challenge grant.

  • Park City Education Foundation: A gift to support pre-school education for 200 kids.

  • Youth Sports Alliance: “paving the way” for 1,000 kids to “learn the magic of winter sports”

  • Peoples Health Clinic: Support for a vision program

  • Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter: Support for tours for Summit County fourth graders.

  • Summit Land Conservancy: Help to purchase a final piece of the Weber River Initiative.

  • Recyle Utah: Partnership to teach children recycling.

  • Mountain Trails Foundation: 1,000 paid voluteer hours.

  • Park City Institute: aid in bringing artists and performers to Wasatch and Summit county students.

  • Kimball Art Center: Enable the center to inspire 6,250 students.

 Sadly, Eric McGill, who wants to start a wildlife education program, and Bubo, who staked out the party, didn't get any love from Vail.