What is SkiLink?
SkiLink is a proposed transportation solution between Park City and Big Cottonwood Canyon. The “Solution” is a gondola between Canyons Ski Resort and Solitude Ski Resort.
Why SkiLink is NOT what the Wasatch needs.
SkiLink is being persued by a Canadian land development company, Talisker. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Talisker is the owner of Canyons Ski Resort and was center behind the Park City Mountain Resort lawsuit in the Spring that is still on going.
Talisker has already previously tried asking the USFS politely to sell them a strip of land cutting through the heart of the Wasatch (Over 30 acres). Quite obviously the USFS declined due to obvious shortfalls in their transportation solution (more on this later). However Talisker wouldn’t stop there, now they are lobbying our legislators to push a bill through the government REQUIRING the USFS to sell the land to them.
Correction: Talisker never even opted to ask the USFS for the ability to lease or buy the land. Some studies have shown that up to 94% of Salt Lake County residents want to halt further resort expansion. Due to this Talisker knew they would stand no chance against the public and opted to go down the shady path of lobbying congress to push through a bill that would require the USFS to sell 30 acres that is not for sale. The USFS did not know of the attempted land grab until the bill was written. Thank you Andrew McLean for the corrected information.
Lifelong Wasatch backcountry user and Save our Canyons volunteer Christian James Overson had this to say about SkiLink:
“I have enjoyed the Wasatch and backcountry adventures here since being a kid and I say NO to Public Land grabs and politicians whom bypass the proper procedure for commercial development here in Salt Lake and Summit Counties”
Talisker, who hired their own company to evaluate the effects of the proposal, are claiming the gondola will eliminate 18,000 car trips up Big Cottonwood Canyon per year. However what they aren’t admitting to is how much time it will take to access the 11-minute long gondola. It will take 5 different ski lifts in order to even reach the base terminal of SkiLink. The total ride time for those lifts alone is 32 minutes. That number does not take in account time waiting in line, skiing from one lift to the next, maintenance issues and possible weather delays. Not to mention if you live in Park City and wish to ride over to Solitude you will be forced to buy a $96 lift ticket in addition to a Solitude ticket.
Below is a video made last season demonstrating the considerable effort that is required to get to SkiLink.
SkiLink is about money, not public transportation. If the transportation was truly an issue why haven’t our legislators pushed harder for other solutions that are available for public use? Some of these ideas include: trains up the canyons, more busses, tunnels, and paving Gaurdsman Pass to allow winter time traffic.
Extreme ski mountaineer Andrew McLean, who lives in Park City has some special words about SkiLink.
“Let’s see… it starts in a private gated community with limited access, costs $96 per person per day to ride it, creates a doughnut hole of public property surrounded by private land, crosses a historic scenic trail, crosses a designated scenic highway, forces a sale of public lands that weren’t for sale to begin with, promises to attract 75,000 new skiers a year while at the same time reducing traffic and pollution, and is being proposed by a secretive foreign real estate developer with a questionable local environment track record.”
This private gated community that Andrew speaks of contains homes valued at 5-26 million dollars. These are the only “Public” that will be able to access SkiLink in a timely fashion. Oddly enough this gated community is owned by Talisker.
The fact that Talisker is trying to bypass the traditional resort expansion process of public hearings and rushing it through their own way by buying votes in congress is alarming. To all of Salt Lake City our watershed is the most precious thing we have. 60 percent of our drinking water comes from the protected watershed and that is why we have the processes we have due to the extremely fragile nature of the water shed and any variation could have long last effects.
The “Facts” and why they aren’t so true.
SkiLink supporters claim that the addition of one gondola to the already packed Wasatch will add 500 new jobs and $51 million to the economy. However the numbers don’t add up. Currently there are about 123,000 tourism related jobs and $6.5 billion in tourist spending. That equates to about $52,800 in revenue per job. So with those numbers another 500 jobs will only add $26.5 million to the economy.
SkiLink is advertised as a simple transportation solution. Riding 5 lifts, paying for a separate resort and well over an hour of time seems far more complicated than the current 1 hour drive between resorts.
SkiLink will cut 1-million pounds of CO2 per year all while bringing an additional 75,000 skier days per year? Doesn’t seem too likely.
How you can help stop SkiLink!
First and foremost spread the word about Talisker and their shady ways to everyone you know, especially the ones who support this outrageous project. Secondly “Like” and “Share” on Facebook, Save our Canyons and Stop SkiLink Now.
However spreading the word is not enough to stop a multi-billion dollar machine like Talisker. In response to the need for money to help further raise awareness of this atrocity, Stop SkiLink Now is holding a Gala Fundraiser on November 2nd. This will be a huge event with several speakers including Ski Mountaineer Andrew McLean. There will also be many silent auction items in addition to appetizers, desserts, bar and live music. Tickets the event are $100 dollars and tax deductible. If you would like to attend or donate email Jamie@StopSkiLink.org or call (801) 860-8181.
The support from businesses around the entire state against SkiLink and Talisker is amazing. If you can’t attend or donate please do your best to support the sponsors of the movement:
Black Diamond Equipment, Voile, Red Rock Brewery, Caterina, Save our Canyons, Winter Wildlands Alliance, The Pub, Desert Edge Brewery, Cucina Toscana, Vivace, Liberty Heights Fresh, Cakes d’fleur, The Dodo, Carlucci’s Bakery, Granatos, Pinion Market and Cafe, Cannella’s, Patagonia Outlet, DPS Skis, Crooks and Nanny’s Board Co., Performance Longboarding, Wildrose, Centered City Yoga, Vortex, Wasatch Touring, Bluehouse Skis, Jackelin Slack Photography, Akka Yoga Studio, Jump City Bounce, Wanderlust Images, Qwella Medical Spa, Dr. Keith D. Sonntag DDS, Beehive Cheese, Costume Jewelry Inc, Ergo Baby, So Cupcakes, Namedroppers, SAG Belts, Ben Behunin Pottery, Petzl America, Main Event Catering and Powderdawgz.