The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's decision to allow a five-year operating permit for a company to conduct helicopter skiing up Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

In its ruling issued Tuesday, the 10th Circuit panel agreed with U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart that the U.S. Forest Service acted appropriately and complied with federal environmental laws when it granted the permit to Wasatch Powderbird Guides, which has held a helicopter skiing permit for three decades.

Environmental group Save Our Canyons contended that helicopter skiing was not an acceptable use of the canyons and that the forest service failed to take into account several aspects of environmental impact to the area.

The judges stated that the forest service sought "extensive public comment" and "considered a variety of options and yielded a number of reasonable restrictions" before reaching its decision to grant the permit.