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10-17-2006, 07:52 PM #1
old yet new - Connecting Canyons and Ski Resorts
October 17th, 2006 @ 3:35pm
John Daley Reporting
A tunnel from Alta to Brighton and a year-round road connecting Park City with the Cottonwood Canyons, that's a new proposal that leaders in government, tourism and the ski industry will soon discuss.
"Talking Points" were posted on a ski website. They lay out a bold proposal that would connect seven resorts and allow Utah to start seriously challenging Colorado. However, there are two big questions about impact on the environment and money.
As the crow flies, Utah's seven Cottonwood Canyon and Park City resorts are separated by just a few miles. For years the mountains have harbored dreams of connecting all of them by tunnel road or both. Now comes a new dream with a proposal mysteriously posted on a ski website, with talking points for 25 influential government and ski industry leaders.
The idea is a single bore tunnel linking Alta and Brighton and a year-round road on Guardsman Pass between Brighton and Park City. The cost estimtate is between 300 and 400 million dollars.
Nathan Rafferty, President, Ski Utah: "In the ski industry we're always looking way down the road, and we look at our neighboring ski regions to the east and the west and see some of the issues they've got with traffic and it only makes sense to start taking a look at these things."
Long-time conservationist Alexis Kelner has heard these ideas before, dating back to a road up Catherine's Pass going back to 1945 scrapped for cost, which he says will be just one of the questions ahead.
Alexis Kelner, Trustee, Save Our Canyons: "What do you do with all of the trucks hauling stuff down? Where are you going to put it? The debris that'll come out of the construction of a tunnel such as that would fill the University of Utah stadium. Little Cottonwood Canyon, or in the valley? Where are you going to put it in the valley?"
Impact on water supplies would be another issue, though ski leaders say these discussions are very preliminary.
Alexis Kelner, Trustee, Save Our Canyons: "It's a watershed canyon. All of those canyons are watershed canyons."
Nathan Rafferty, President, Ski Utah: "I don't even want to talk about having to pay for it. That's way down the road, but right now we're just talking about infrastructure and what might be."
The first meeting to discuss these plans is November 3rd in the Governor's office.
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10-17-2006, 09:46 PM #2
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10-18-2006, 07:15 AM #3
Dont you think it would be alot cheeper to just put in lifts? Why do they need to make a connecting road? Makes no sense to me.
How sweet of a commute would that be to get on the lift at brighton and ride into park city. Much better than taking parleys or some tunnel.
10-18-2006, 08:24 AM #4
i know a number of people who would love this. and it would make things practical for tourism. it likely, to some degree, would reduce evening traffic in the cottonwood canyons, especially during the heavy tourism times.
but one thing to keep in mind ... this is not the alps! this is the wasatch. our government and tourism administration and the mighty dick bass have tried to make the wasatch more and more like the alps ...
but in my most humble and honest and enviromentally extreme opinion (IMMHHEEO), i truly believe this approach, while practical, will continue (likely dramatically so) to degrade (in MANY ways) the natural wonders that bless the wasatch mountains.
10-18-2006, 08:58 PM #5
Originally Posted by Summit42
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10-18-2006, 10:01 PM #6
summit42 ... why on earth would you be in support of this? you were just complaining the other day about how crowded utah ski areas already are. this will SURELY only worsen it. can't have your cake and eat it too.
also you can easily argue that if people want to ski the cottowood canyons they should stay in salt lake rather than park city ... but considering the fact that great bars in salt lake are being shut down, it's no wonder people want to stay in park shitty.
personally i think it would be ironic. at the moment people are enamored by what there is not ... but if this were to go through, i would hope the old cliché would ring true ... "don't know what you have until it is gone."
it'll be a sad sad day ... oh well, one more cliché for ya all ... bit pessimistic, but "all good things must end."
10-19-2006, 05:52 AM #7summit42 ... why on earth would you be in support of this?
I don't support it at all. I pretty much see it as spending "300 and 400 million dollars" so tourist can save money on gas. If they would like to put in the 3 or 4 lifts to connect Canyons, PCMR, DV, Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird then fine, Sweet deal.
But a a tunnel so people can save time on their commutes from resort to resort... that's just stupid. Where are you going to put the extra dirt?
10-19-2006, 06:06 AM #8Originally Posted by stefan
10-19-2006, 08:03 AM #9Originally Posted by Summit42
make no mistake.
there really is no reason for them to consider doing this if it doesn't attract more people to the state. this is the whole point. currently, it doesn't seem that there is sufficient reason to create tunnels or lifts. but they have seen an substantially increased trend of skier days over the past 3-4 ... they look at this and think people want to come to utah. (i am sure the excellent snow years have been a large part of the reason as the drought has let up, and the cheaper canadian dollar possibly has lost some of its appeal).
they want to jump on the streak and push it further ... is this what you want?
i just don't believe you can consider the addition of these lifts in isolation. it comes with a price and i don't mean a price tag.
while i would never agree on tunnels, i would think they are far more in line with what people are interested in as they will be functional at all hours of the day (including the drinking hours). folks could stay in one place or the other, because a car can transfer all of their stuff back and forth. it's possible that the connecting lifts would be operational for periods before ski areas open and for periods after so people don't lose the precious morning hours and late afternoon hours.
but it all boils down to another question ... this is only one step in the process, the process that continues ad infinitum. how far are you willing to let the process go and how soon are you willing to let it go there?
in my opinion, it's already gone far enough. for ages i have opposed snowbird's expansion into mineral basin ... and since they have expanded, i have boycotted them for that. and of course that's not enough for them, they salivate at the canyon to the west of them!!! [don't get me wrong snowbird is a superb mountain, i don't support them or use their lifts, but i do ski the terrain when it's feasible]
if alta were ever to expand, i would certainly have problems too. it already bothers me that they do cat skiing in grizzly gulch and they've acquired the land to the west ... AND onno has admitted to me that it's NOT IMPOSSIBLE that such an expansion could ever happen. when wolf mountain was bought and i saw the expansion ideas in the master plan when it finally came out for the canyons, i was horrified ... 5000 acres and abutting PCMR.
deer crest ... bonanza flat ... interconnect ... southern wasatch ski areas ...
why should this snowballing process end? and why don't more people question the ramifications? what will we be left with and will we be happy with it. the subsequent generations won't know any better, as we, the current generation don't know any better. many folks were HORRIFIED by alta's expanision into the point supreme area!!
the sierra nevada and the colorado rockies are significantly more expansive ranges than the wasatch. yet the folks in utah want the wasatch to compete. the effect is enormous when you look at the percentage of area affected.
also i am avoiding the fundamental point of why i believe expansion is bad. this is because i feel folks should be thinking of their own reasons why they feel expansion is bad. if they don't feel expansion is at all a bad thing, then perhaps they should examine other areas of the nation or the world, where process has superceded that of utah, and ask, is this what we want here? if they still feel it's not a problem, so be it. but sometimes it's hard to realize the ultimate product without an example.
but alas ... money rules our world and it's an uphill battle opposing it.
10-19-2006, 08:52 AM #10
So you solution to over crowding is......
10-19-2006, 09:34 AM #11Originally Posted by Summit42
crowding is relative. it should be apparent that ski areas would prefer having larger crowds every day if they could. so from their point of view, while it can be busy during weekends (perhaps i should say saturdays) and any other busy time during holidays or the relatively busy 3 months of the winter that tourists focus on utah, they would be satisfied if more days were similarly crowded. naturally this goes against the grain of your perspective and experience as a skier and customer. but this is the reality. those "slumps" could easily become more crowded with more frequent and increased visitation (possibly achieved by quick interconnection, though not obvious just yet). i guess as far as ski areas go, there truly is no sense of entitlement to solitude.
my stance is to oppose expansion and deal with crowds if you want to ski at ski areas ... or just enjoy the relative solitude of the backcountry.
how 'bout a parallel with cities? in the west, the view is that when a city gets crowded, expand as far as you can to where you can have some of your own space for yourself. well, cities take over and you get urban sprawl. worrying about crowding in ski areas is going to yield the same thing ... ski area sprawl .... giving depth to the endearing term was angeles.
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