Ski Utah and representatives from Alta, Brighton, Canyons, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR), Snowbird, and Solitude held a news conference today at Ski Utah’s headquarters to announce their support for an over-the-snow connection between all seven resorts via chairlift and ski run called ONE Wasatch.
Utah’s central Wasatch Mountains are home to seven mountain resorts in close proximity to one another. Connecting these resorts over-the-snow via chairlift and ski run would allow access to over 18,000 skiable acres, 100 lifts and more that 750 runs and all on one lift ticket. The proposed plan calls for connecting Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, connecting Big Cottonwood to PCMR, connecting PCMR and Canyons, and dropping the rope between Deer Valley PCMR.
ONE Wasatch is a concept, not a plan. At this time, resort partners have no specific execution timelines or chairlift alignments. The goal of ONE Wasatch is to establish a vision for a one-of-a-kind mountain experience by providing information, outlining the process, encouraging dialog and listening to feedback. Dialog and feedback are sure to come, too; local environmental groups and backcountry advocates have already expressed skepticism about the concept.
Several other problems face this plan. The first is the fact that two of the resorts in the plan do not allow snowboarding at the moment (Deer Valley and Alta). The second is the lease battle between Vail Resorts and Park City Mountain Resort, which has yet to be resolved, though key court dates in April might settle the matter.
Still, the Utah resorts are optimistic. “Connecting seven of Utah’s finest ski resorts while preserving both our water quality and a pristine backcountry experience is not an impossible task,” said Nathan Rafferty, president and CEO of Ski Utah. “With thoughtful planning and sincere cooperation, ONE Wasatch would add significantly to what is already one of the greatest ski destinations in the world.”
For more information on the plan, check out www.onewasatch.com.