We just got back from the One Wasatch press event. Almost weren’t allowed in, but cooler heads prevailed after agreeing not to speak unless spoken to. So, what is the hubbub? What is “One Wasatch?” You can go to their website, or read on… we’ll spare you the pitch.
One Wasatch is a concept driven by Ski Utah, supported by the seven central Wasatch Resorts. Their goal, to interconnect all seven resorts with three or so lifts, offering one lift pass to ski between all seven resorts. They have stated that they hope to align all these lifts on private land. It should be noted that the Wasatch, will not be One Wasatch for snowboarders as 2 of the 7 resorts will continue to prohibit snowboarding. At the press event, it was also stated that SkiLink has been taken off the table, but that the Canyons Resort feels it is still a viable connection between the resorts so it is not “off the table.”
Before we continue, here’s what you can do. First, please sign our petition to Stop Interconnect/One Wasatch by clicking here. Second, the Mountain Accord is a public process grappling with issues like this. Go there and make a public comment. The public comment period CLOSES March 28th!
One thing that Ski Utah and the resorts got right is that, there is only One Wasatch. Kudos for recognizing that. We only have one; One Watershed, One for year round recreation, One Viewshed, one Wasatch for a growing population of nearly 2 million people. And since we only have one Wasatch, we need to share it. One Wasatch fails to do that and represents the defacto expansion of 7 Wasatch ski areas. It should be noted that recent Ski Utah studies found that 5% of the Utah population ski.
We found it ironic that while describing the need for interconnect, Ski Utah President, Nathan Rafferty, talked about how he skied from Park City Mountain Resort’s Legacy Lodge at 9:30am last weekend, skied to Snowbird, and was back to Park City by lunch (1:30pm). What a wonderful experience! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sounds like the only thing standing in the way of an interconnect is a cost sharing structure amongst the resorts. They can sell the experience without building more lifts, lodges, condos, and restaurants.
We’d like to know what it is that the resorts [think they] need. One reason we had interest in participating in the Mountain Accord, was that we felt there was a way to get resorts the visitors they are interested in via transportation improvements. What was stated at today’s event, was that they want both — transit and lifts. This is too much!
The Wasatch Mountains are a finite resource — the ski areas proved our concerns of over 4 decades that their desire to infinitely expand has no end in sight. At what point is enough, enough! Last year was SkiLink, this year One Wasatch, what scheme is next? The resorts are asking for compromise, we feel that we compromised when these resorts were established. The Wasatch is compromised enough, the appropriate balance exists.
Last, on the issue of private land. It might be possible for them to build the lifts on private land, but the terrain they will be skiing on will surely encompass public lands. But because they didn’t identify alignments, there is no way of knowing exactly how much. You can view our prior post on interconnect and look at our interactive map to learn more about rumored links.
The Wasatch is too amazing of a place to be lost for a marketing ploy by the ski industry. We hope that you’ll get engaged, bring your friends and join Save Our Canyons to stop interconnect… for the umpteenth time! It was a bad idea 30 years ago, a bad idea 20 years ago, a bad idea 10… 5… 3… and 2 years ago.
We only have One Wasatch – let’s fight to protect it!