The proposed tram to Twin Peaks at Snowbird is not the only lift controversy in the Wasatch these days. The new lift proposal for a gondola that would connect Canyons to Solitude is running into some solid opposition right out of the gate. What else is new? Save Our Canyons calls it a “ruse to sell lift tickets.” No way a ski area trying to sell more lift tickets! That would be a terrible idea. They should be protested and demonstrated against!! Occupy Canyons!!!
To be fair I am not all for this new lift either. First off it will make BCC more crowded, which means that there will be less options for places to invade when LCC gets too crowded on big powder days. Second, it will be an eye-sore in the canyon and especially on the Wasatch Crest Trail , a beautiful place that both canyon folks and city dwellers frequent in the non-snow months. Third, ….well I can’t think of a third. It does bother me however that some people just insta-hate on anything new, different or better before even considering both sides. What do you think?
SLC officials worried about proposed ski lifts
A proposal to link two Utah ski resorts with a series of ski lifts that cross the spine of the Wasatch Mountains has drawn criticism from environmental groups and Salt Lake City officials concerned about the impacts on the watershed.
The proposal to build either chairlifts or a tram would run contrary to the 25 years of planning that have been used to balance the recreational uses and watershed protections within the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, said Jeff Niermeyer, director of the city’s Public Utilities Department.
“We anticipate the new ski area developments would have significant direct and cumulative impacts on public lands and our watersheds,” Niermeyer said. “These watersheds currently provide a high quality, sustainable drinking water supply because of protective policies and regulations.”
The project is being proposed by Talisker Corp., which owns The Canyons resort near Park City. That resort is currently the largest ski area in the state.
Partnering with Talisker on the project is Solitude Mountain Resort, located in Big Cottonwood Canyon east of Salt Lake City.
The plan is still in its nascent stages, with resort officials pitching the idea to local groups.
As the proposal progresses, extensive studies will be done and all environmental regulations will be followed, said Mike Goar, managing director for The Canyons.
“Best management practices for design and construction would be employed to maintain and protect water quality in the watershed,” Goar said in a statement.
Ted Wilson, the government relations director for Talisker, has said connecting the resorts would allow skiers to park their cars in one place and ski at both resorts in one day. Doing so might mean the reduction of thousands of cars on busy weekends in the busy canyon leading to Solitude.
Environmental group Save Our Canyons is opposed to the plan, and described it as a “ruse to sell lift tickets” at The Canyons on their website. The group is skeptical of the projected reduction in canyon traffic, and said even if the lifts don’t open more backcountry terrain the impacts from building the towers would be significant.
Laura Briefer, project manager for Salt Lake City Public Utilities, echoed those concerns.
“The commercial ski areas in our watersheds are nationally renowned … We understand that these businesses plan for growth and improvement,” Briefer said. “However, the new ski area expansion plans are in addition to the opportunities that ski areas currently have approved for significant growth within their permitted boundaries, adding to concern of cumulative negative watershed impacts.”