Ravell Call, Deseret News
I would like the skiers who think SkiLink is such a terrific idea to explain who wants to drive to Canyons (or Solitude), ride a gondola to the other side, buy two day passes or one expensive joint pass, then ride back at the end of the day. I go downhill skiing 60-70 days each season and visit several local resorts, and I can't see the appeal of this proposed gondola. But maybe it's not locals but tourists who are supposed to line up for the ride and are ready to pay the price.
The traffic impact statement on SkiLink's website claims that 53 percent of skiers on a busy day are visitors, and about 20 percent of the time they "roam" from the resort where they are staying. Are Canyons' visitors so eager to roam over to Solitude? I would think they might be more likely to visit another Park City resort, or perhaps go to Alta or Snowbird. If you spread that 20 percent of 53 percent around, it doesn't sound like enough traffic to justify this gondola. Since Talisker is surely not proposing SkiLink as a public service, there must be a profit motive lurking somewhere behind their scheme.
I've skied in the alps, and frankly, I like the idea of linked resorts, but this sounds like a link to nowhere. Canyons and Solitude are both fine resorts, but how does connecting these two with a gondola improve the downhill skiing experience? After all, one can already buy a pass for Solitude/Brighton or Snowbird/Alta; Park City Mountain Resort abuts Deer Valley for another potential link. It would make more sense to have a shorter link from Park City's Jupiter Bowl to Brighton, and then eventually a link from Brighton to Alta — always assuming that environmental concerns can be dealt with. Unfortunately, this kind of leaves Canyons out in the cold, so to speak, but maybe they could find a way to connect with Park City Mountain Resort or merely be satisfied with the extended terrain they already command.
Incidentally, the SkiLink website's section on the possible effect on watershed misuses the term "urban myth." I'll forgive them if someone will just explain why we should want this link to nowhere.
Jan Harold Brunvand
Salt Lake City
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