DOZENS OF GROUPS, COMPANIES OPPOSE UTAH’S SKILINK (UPDATED)

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Publish Date

11/01/2012

This article has been updated to include a statement from Canyons owner Talisker regarding future consideration of its SkiLink proposal.

SAM Magazine—Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 1, 2012—More than 80 companies and conservation groups have signed a petition initiated by ski equipment supplier Black Diamond to oppose SkiLink, a proposal to connect Canyons Resort with Solitude Mountain Resort via a major gondola. Canyons owner Talisker said it looks forward to joining other stakeholders in considering the proposal.

Among the petitioners opposing SkiLink are Patagonia, The Wilderness Society, Mountain Hardwear, Armada Skis, The Conservation Alliance, Eastern Mountain Sports, POC Sports, Protect Our Winters and Jones Snowboards. More local supporters of the petition include Save Our Canyons, Alta Lodge, Wasatch Touring, and Friends of Alta.

While the concept of a Utah interconnect is at least 30 years old, the current incarnation has drawn opposition in part because it would transfer ownership of the liftline, about 30 acres of land, from the Forest Service to a private company, Talisker, which owns Canyons. Several Republican members of Utah’s Congressional delegation are sponsoring a bill that would take control of the project away from the Forest Service and leave it to local and state officials, who presumably will be more pro-development.

Opponents claim that there are better ways to implement a transportation plan and to interconnect the resorts. In addition, they point out, SkiLink would diminish the backcountry skiing around the gondola; that terrain is currently among the most popular backcountry terrain in the state.

Supporters of the proposal argue SkiLink will, among other things, reduce auto traffic between the major resorts in the Wasatch. It would be possible in the future to interconnect all seven resorts—Deer Valley, Park City, Canyons, Solitude, Brighton, and Alta—and create a European-style “ski circus.” A study commissioned by Talisker predicts that this would increase visitation and thus boost the local economy.

On Friday, a day after the SkiLink petition was made public, Talisker was invited to take part in a Future of Wasatch Mountains Meeting organized by Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker and others. In a statement, Talisker said, "We look forward to joining other stakeholders in discussing important transportation, environmental and economic issues."

Talisker said the federal legislation that would allow a greater local involvement in the planning process "represents an unprecedented opportunity to explore an environmentally responsible pilot project that will ease congestion between the canyons, create jobs and provide economic benefits, and enhance the skiing experience."



Comments

Changing is awfully hard to do

These groups and companies are in denial of a society moving forward and have probably never experienced interconnects like Les Trois Vallees or Les Portes du Soleil in France. I know that for a fact because I live in Utah and I have asked many of the antagonists involved. Yet, they wouldn't trade back their iPhone for an abacus! Wake up to the 21st century, Utahans. If you don't British Columbia, Colorado or Lake Tahoe will soon eat your lunch!

Ski Resort Manager...

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OUCH!!!

Seriously?

This is the reason Utah does less skier visits that than the 4 ski areas in Colorado. An opportunity for Utah to gain a competitive advantage over all other competitors in the U.S is presenting itself and this is how its received. The resort in the Park City area should raise the season pass price to make up for the lost revenue.
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Consider the source

The findings of "A study commissioned by Talisker...." support Talisker's investment idea? What a coincidence! That's like saying "In a taste test commissioned by Del Monte, Del Monte vegetables were found to be the most delicious."

.... and the Verdict is -

BAZINGAAAAAaaaa!!!

SkiLINK is a great idea, but at this point rather poorly thought out. There are better ways to skin this cat.

AND, for those not paying attention, Talisker is not the ideal candidate to be in a leadership - let alone OWNERSHIP - position on this Magilla. NO.... better to have a commission or some less partial and more Utah-centric group plan and administer this baby.

IF the premise is to reduce traffic up the canyons, well, that's just silly it won't happen. It will probably INCREASE traffic if you think about it logically. That said, NOT connecting the resorts is a huge waste of massive potential synergies and dynamic opportunity to create an utterly unique and high-value ski experience. It's probably a good idea to scrap the illogical justification that this is a traffic improver - be honest and call spade a spade: It's simply a phenomenal way make a quantum leap enhancement of the Utah skiing experience. It's the ski industry equivalent of the "killer app."

By the way, if there's a legitimate concern about improving traffic up the canyons, the real solution would be the much more adroit use of mass transportation as in Europe. This could be done through a combination of shuttle busing (least expensive), rail (very cool but more expensive), or a tunnel (are you f'ng kidding?? This would be insane, but awesome (and awesomely expensive!) There are many workable variants on this type of planning.

Backcountry skiing is certainly high-value, sacred ground (not literally, of course; metaphorically). That said, there are lots of very cool BC areas in the Wasatch, areas that could be kept separate and areas that could be opened up (accessed) that aren't currently if there was a MASTER PLAN for the entire Parleys/Millbrook/Big Cottonwood/Little Cottonwood/ canyons. There is a group called Wasatch Canyons (may have that wrong... sorry!) that purportedly exists to contemplate such matters but NOBODY is claiming that they or any other broadly representative group has had much to do with the SkiLINK idea... thus, the current SkiLINK plan was not created by a consortium of ski area and backcountry skier stakeholders. I believe that as long as the premise is "we really should do something to connect our amazing ski terrain - now let's just figure out the best possible plan" then there is a pragmatic and hopeful way to create a new and very special skiing dynamic in Utah.

I'd summarize by saying we can and should do better! BUT let's not now blow the opportunity to have a positive and constructive 'partnership' with the Utah legislature, the Federal Gov't (Forest Service) and local governments in Park City and the other ski resort communities. Let's make this happen in a way everybody can be happy with and proud of. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

.... and the Verdict is -

BAZINGAAAAAaaaa!!!

SkiLINK is a great idea, but at this point rather poorly thought out. There are better ways to skin this cat.

AND, for those not paying attention, Talisker is not the ideal candidate to be in a leadership - let alone OWNERSHIP - position on this Magilla. NO.... better to have a commission or some less partial and more Utah-centric group plan and administer this baby.

IF the premise is to reduce traffic up the canyons, well, that's just silly it won't happen. It will probably INCREASE traffic if you think about it logically. That said, NOT connecting the resorts is a huge waste of massive potential synergies and dynamic opportunity to create an utterly unique and high-value ski experience. It's probably a good idea to scrap the illogical justification that this is a traffic improver - be honest and call spade a spade: It's simply a phenomenal way make a quantum leap enhancement of the Utah skiing experience. It's the ski industry equivalent of the "killer app."

By the way, if there's a legitimate concern about improving traffic up the canyons, the real solution would be the much more adroit use of mass transportation as in Europe. This could be done through a combination of shuttle busing (least expensive), rail (very cool but more expensive), or a tunnel (are you f'ng kidding?? This would be insane, but awesome (and awesomely expensive!) There are many workable variants on this type of planning.

Backcountry skiing is certainly high-value, sacred ground (not literally, of course; metaphorically). That said, there are lots of very cool BC areas in the Wasatch, areas that could be kept separate and areas that could be opened up (accessed) that aren't currently if there was a MASTER PLAN for the entire Parleys/Millbrook/Big Cottonwood/Little Cottonwood/ canyons. There is a group called Wasatch Canyons (may have that wrong... sorry!) that purportedly exists to contemplate such matters but NOBODY is claiming that they or any other broadly representative group has had much to do with the SkiLINK idea... thus, the current SkiLINK plan was not created by a consortium of ski area and backcountry skier stakeholders. I believe that as long as the premise is "we really should do something to connect our amazing ski terrain - now let's just figure out the best possible plan" then there is a pragmatic and hopeful way to create a new and very special skiing dynamic in Utah.

I'd summarize by saying we can and should do better! BUT let's not now blow the opportunity to have a positive and constructive 'partnership' with the Utah legislature, the Federal Gov't (Forest Service) and local governments in Park City and the other ski resort communities. Let's make this happen in a way everybody can be happy with and proud of. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

circus is the key word

circus is the key word

Black Diamond, MYOB

Let the Utah snowsports industry grow, sensibly. Connecting resorts offers visiting and local guests more choice, exciting opportunities and safer experiences (and more jobs). Help grow Utah and let it become a more appealing destination.

Yes Black Diamond, you make some products in the USA and many in China. Patagonia, an American headquartered company, manufactures very few products in the USA. Why the reference? No one is controlling how you do business and where you manufacture your products. Perhaps you should shift your support to American growth, and more specifically, Utah growth.

Made in the USA!

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