By Jill Adler
There are more than a few entities who would like to put the kibosh on SkiLink. Gauging from the packed church at last night’s forum in Park City, Utah, the proposed gondola between Canyons Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort will definitely not go quietly.
“Park City residents are here because they’re concerned about this being in their backyard,” said Sierra Club’s Tim Wagner. The discussion centered on whether to support a land swap between the feds and Talisker Corp. which owns Canyons. Congress would have to sell 30 acres of federal land in Big Cottonwood Canyon for SkiLink to run and backcountry enthusiasts fear that means Talisker would have some serious control over their playground.
Those ‘for’, like the idea of propelling Utah skiing to the forefront of the industry. They say it would light the fuse to connect the other Utah resorts and create a ski experience similar to those in Europe and unlike anything in this country. They add it would alleviate traffic and congestion in the canyons, and create 500 jobs.
Those ‘against’, say a gondola would crush the backcountry and set a “dangerous precedent.”
Solitude Mountain’s Dave DeSeelhorst says that’s not a realistic fear. There’s plenty of water available outside of this particular watershed space and the gondola could be built with minimal environmental impact.
There’s still time to weigh in. The possibility of construction is a long way off. First Congress has to approve the sale and then the local governments would need to meet to decide whether SkiLink is a viable and beneficial project before Canyons can make a groundbreaking move.
The panel discussion last night is the first of many public forums to come about SkiLink. We’ll keep you up on the drama as it unfolds.