Photo Credit: komar Pow In Solitude
They’re already trying to connect ski resorts in the Wasatch via Tram. Is Tahoe next? This announcement couldn’t be timelier coming on the heels of the HUGE NEWS that Squaw has finally purchased neighbor Alpine Meadows after years of speculation. What’s more is the North Shore merger coupled with this news from Utah provides even greater speculation that perhaps the real energy behind the Squaw-Alpine merger is to facilitate a European style ski resort linkup from Squaw Valley, to Homewood Mountain Resort.
The main argument from those backing the Utah plan is that skiers would be able reach the Solitude ski resort without having to drive from the Salt Lake Valley. The traffic is sometimes unbearable according to residents of the area. That is the major push for this plan; the access road to reach Big Cottonwood Canyon is often extremely congested.
Photo Credit: Solitude
It sounds as though the plan is still in the baby stages as the route for the tram has not yet been chosen. While a formal proposal may be offered in as little as two weeks, the idea is that skiers and snowboarders could board a tram, possibly a chairlift if the tram isn’t allowed, ride over the Wasatch Divide, and drop into Big Cottonwood Canyon. These patrons would then be able to take the lift service back to the Canyons ski resort at the end of the day.
Photo Credit: altachalets Blower in the Canyons
Ted Wilson is a spokesperson for the Canyons. He was recently quotes saying, “We have 5,000 to 8,000 cars going to Big Cottonwood Canyon on the big weekends.” “We believe that we could save up to a million miles of car traffic (each winter) on the Big Cottonwood side.”
While you might think many environmentalists would approve of a plan that takes so many vehicles off the road and creates far less air pollution than the Salt Lake area already deals with daily, Carl Fisher, the executive director for the local environmental group Save Our Canyons has doubts. His thoughts are, “You have to ride maybe four lifts (at The Canyons) to get to where you would take this interconnect down to Solitude.” “Canyon skiers could flood the area more than they already are.” “The Wasatch is becoming a very, very crowded place and there’s a bunch of different uses that take place in this area.” He even said backcountry skiers could be forced out of the area if the tram brings a major influx of downhill skier and snowboarder traffic.
Photo Credit: powdertravel The Canyons Ski Resort
Like the rumors of a major resort in Tahoe that connects Squaw to Homewood on Tahoe’s West Shore, this Utah rumor has been ongoing for decades. Mr. Fisher believes, “It’s definitely a step toward creating one huge mega-resort in the Wasatch.” Many locals in Tahoe think the same of the merger between Squaw and Alpine. Only time will tell.