Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No SkiLink!

This is a letter that I sent to Rob Bishop, my Congressman about the proposed "SkiLink" from Canyons resort to Solitude in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

Dear Mr. Bishop,

 I am writing to you today because of your recent comments in the news about the proposed “SkiLink” gondola connecting Canyons resort to Solitude. I think that this project is ski area expansion masquerading as traffic reduction. I am disappointed by your decision to support this project and I think the project is misguided.

 Keep in mind that to even get to the proposed gondola (from Canyons) one would have to get to the top of the mountain by buying a $90 lift pass at Canyons, ride a cabriolet, a gondola, and two lifts to even get to the top of the resort where, presumably, the SkiLink ride will take skiers downhill to an adjacent resort where they will then be required to purchase a $68 ticket to ski at solitude. Is this 45 minute navigation of Canyons plus $90 worth the hassle of a 45 minute drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon? I don’t believe so. Furthermore, I would assume that most residents or visitors who decide to live/vacation in Park City are there because they want to stay/ski in Park City. There are lodging options at Solitude for visitors and many UTA buses that go up and down that canyon daily for people that are concerned about traffic and congestion.

While you as a state representative should be promoting economic growth, I don’t think that this should happen at the expense of developing Public Lands and negatively impacting an important watershed area. In addition to the SkiLink, additional parking, base facilities, lodging, etc. will all be required to accommodate the increase of people. Ironically, Solitude is know for not having lift lines or too many skiers on the mountain. That will no longer be the case if SkiLink is built.

 The Wasatch Range is a fairly small mountain range. Is would be impossible to undo and restore this land if it is sold to Talisker and developed for this proposed lift. It also sets a precedent for further expansion. More lifts at Park City, Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, and Brighton are being discussed. That is every major resort in the Central Wasatch. Backcountry enthusiasts and others who use these undeveloped slopes will never get them back. Not to mention the negative impact on the watershed that provides water for much of the Salt Lake Valley.

 I ask you to please reconsider your position on the proposed SkiLink, and say no to selling more public lands to Talisker.


 Layne Caldwell