It may have taken Snowbird 20 years to get and open their new Summit at Snowbird Lodge, but let the flood gates fly.
Two new lifts, a gondola and the highest elevated zip lines in North America are all on tap for the Little Cottonwood Canyon Resort now that the Utah County Board of Adjustment has approved the resort’s expansion plans into American Fork Canyon.
There are water studies that need to be done over the next two years before construction begins on Snowbird’s private property that borders Mineral Basin. That was the County’s biggest concern but according to the resort, “all environmental conditions required under Utah County code were met or exceeded by Snowbird’s plan for operational expansion into upper American Fork Canyon.”
They will monitor the water to determine a baseline of quality standards in order to compare future water quality measurements against the current levels. They will submit quarterly reports to Utah County agencies for independent review.
Once they complete the studies, Snowbird hits it hard with two new chairlifts along the southern boundary of Snowbird’s current terrain. Mineral Basin Express will be upgraded to increase rider capacity. One of the new chairlifts in Mary Ellen Gulch will provide access to Sunday Saddle, which borders both Mary Ellen Gulch and Mineral Basin. A gondola will stretch from Hidden Peak to Mary Ellen Gulch and the gondola will also support a zip line system,
“We’re very excited about the permit approval from the Utah County Board of Adjustment, the new lifts planned for Mineral Basin and Mary Ellen Gulch will greatly expand the year-round recreational opportunities at Snowbird,” said Bob Bonar, Snowbird President and CEO. “We have over 45 years of proven stewardship in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the same balance, protection and in some cases recovery of the environment will be practiced in Mary Ellen Gulch.”
Personally, I can’t wait to dive into Mary Ellen. Snowbird has had the area open to snowmobile and backcountry tours for years, but now we won’t have to work so hard to experience that wonderful bowl. Yes, I’m a slacker.