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'ONE Wasatch' Just A ‘Concept’ Say Utah Ski Execs; But Interconnect Has Resort Support

ONE Wasatch

The long-pondered connection among seven resorts in the Wasatch Mountains became an official “concept” March 19, as executives at each resort joined hands in support of the project.

 

By erecting chairlifts in strategic locations, skiers and snowboarders would have access all the way from Little Cottonwood Canyon to Park City under one lift ticket – and the moniker “ONE Wasatch,” according to SkiUtah which has been gently pushing for this idea for years.

 

“With thoughtful planning and sincere cooperation, ONE Wasatch would add significantly to what is already one of the greatest ski destinations in the world,” said Nathan Rafferty, head of SkiUtah, at a press conference.

 

SkiUtah and the resorts were quick to say that no specific plans or funding are even in the works. However, the presence of the leadership of AltaSnowbird, SolitudeBrightonCanyonsPark City Mountain and Deer Valley at the press conference displayed a solidarity that appear essential to the idea’s future success.

 

“ONE Wasatch is a concept, not a plan,” Rafferty said. “At this time, resort partners have no specific execution timelines or chairlift alignments.”

 

The group did release a series of maps to indicate areas of over-the-snow connection between resorts. They showed at least three new lifts, as well as existing boundary-to-boundary links. 

 

If and when it occurs, the interconnection of these seven resorts would unleash more than 18,000 skiable acres, 100 lifts and more than 750 runs upon the skiing and snowboarding public.

 

Environmental issues will assuredly be part of future negotiations. Save the Canyons executive director was quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune as saying, "It’s a concept we’re definitely not excited about, whatsoever.” Backcountry activists have long opposed any lift access in the off-piste areas they cherish.

 

In addition, friction between ownership of Park City Mountain and Canyons over a lease lawsuit further complicates the situation – as does the existence of skier-only Alta and Deer Valley in the mix. Also, the plan does not include the controversial -- and currently dormant -- SkiLink that would have linked Solitude and Canyons via gondola over U.S. Forest Service land.

 

However, Alta and Snowbird, and Solitude and Brighton already permit crossover between areas over contiguous borders.

 

Map: ONE Wasatch is an official "concept" (Ski Utah)

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