The SkiLink proposal is flawed, supported by phony data. It ignores the larger issues regarding transportation, the need for public transportation, population and tourism growth in Utah.
One of the biggest flaws in the analysis is the starting number of 75,000 additional skier visits. This number is not supported by a study, merely a conversation between the Canyons and a ski lift salesman. This arbitrary number forms the basis for the entire analysis.
Next, the transportation study is based upon the top ten skier days of 2010, which skews the results and magnifies the amount of vehicle miles traveled. If we were to base the U.S. economy off of the top 10 biggest sales days in a given year, would the results even closely resemble the economic situation we are in today? This is not to say we don’t need public transportation, but this project is too self-serving and costly to our municipal watershed to justify the overstated benefits.
To argue this is transportation and not ski area expansion is disingenuous. A person must ride at least five lifts once at the Canyons before getting to SkiLink. This does nothing for the million people living in the Salt Lake Valley who are trying to get up the Cottonwood canyons. Proponents of the project say no “backcountry” will be impacted, however they propose to construct lifts and conceivably roads to service said lifts in an area where there is nothing currently but wildlife, aspen, pine and fields of wildflowers.
There is no doubt we need to find transportation solutions that benefit the poor air quality of the Salt Lake Valley and reduce traffic congestion in the canyons. This gimmicky ploy to sell off our treasured public lands, our refuge from the city, and the watershed of our livelihood to corporate interests who have no regard for anything other than their bottom line is not the answer.
Carl Fisher is the executive director of Save our Canyons.