Let's see: Memory Grove. Alta.

OK, so it doesn't sound as if the two would naturally go together.But Alta town officials intend to address that "identity problem" soon, developing its own Memory Grove in honor of the people who pioneered Utah's ski industry - not be be confused with Salt Lake City's northside Memory Grove.

The idea apparently appeals to the Salt Lake Valley Conference of Mayors, which got into the grove groove Thursday by endorsing the memorial plan.

John Goldner, Alta's town administrator, said the city proposes to locate the grove, complete with a low-profile, low-impact monument, northeast of Alta about a mile and a half up the summer road to Albion Basin.

He said the purpose of the grove is to "memorialize Utah's ski pioneers and the founders of Alta."

While Alta originally was an area that boasted a mining community with a population estimated as high as 5,000, the town was not incorporated until 1970.

"It (the Alta area) was never incorporated during its mining days," Goldner noted, "but everybody called it Alta."

The town administrator said Alta officials plan to ask the Salt Lake Area Council of Governments next week for its official blessing on the project.

Meantime, plans are being finalized for the memorial grove, and the Forest Service is reviewing the request.

Goldner said that in addition to a low-profile monument that can accommodate some plaques, the grove will feature four or five concrete benches and not much else.

"And it won't cost you anything," he assured valley mayors Thursday.

The town administrator indicated the LDS Church has agreed to donate the granite for the monument, and the town will handle maintenance.

Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini suggested that Alta officials make an extra effort to clarify that the memorial celebrates Utah's winter recreation heritage, not the Little Cottonwood Canyon's mining history.

In a related matter, the conference agreed to draft a letter supporting plans to expand the Snowbird Ski Resort.

Bob Bonar, Snowbird's president and chief executive officer, outlined an ambitious master development plan that calls for new facilities at Hidden Peak and Gad Valley as well as new chairlifts, more ski terrain and expanded snow-making capacity.

"We would like to have a lot of this done by 2002" and the Winter Olympiad, Bonar told mayors.

"It's mostly a face lift," he said, but the federal government still requires an environmental impact study before the development work can proceed. "We need to get through this cumbersome EIS process as quickly as we can."