Utah’s ski industry leaders want to connect seven ski resorts in the Wasatch mountains. Ski Utah held a press conference Wednesday along with the general managers from the resorts to outline the interconnect concept.
Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty says it’s not a specific plan yet, but a concept. They call it One Wasatch, and the goal is to create the most efficient and enjoyable interconnected mountain resort ski experience in North America.
“It would allow us to have something nobody else has, and from a business perspective that’s a really big deal,” Rafferty says. “We’re talking seven ski areas and 18,000 skiable acres. That’s more than twice the size of our nearest competitor in North America, and similar to something you would see in Europe.”
The ski resorts involved are Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, Canyons Resort, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort. The concept does not yet define exactly where the chair lifts would lie, but Rafferty says they would be on private land. The entire project - estimated to cost about 30 million dollars - would be privately funded. The plan would not include the controversial Skilink proposal that would have connected Canyons to Solitude using some federal land.
Rafferty says One Wasatch aims to recognize watershed protection and back-country ski preservation as key elements, but Executive Director of Save Our Canyons Carl Fisher is still opposed.
“We’re not at all excited about this concept,” Fisher says. “We realize that there is only one Wasatch, and we need to steward that Wasatch. This is certainly not a plan to be a steward of the One Wasatch that we have. It is a plan to increase the amount of development in the headwaters of our watersheds.”
Rafferty and the ski resort managers would not give a timeline on when One Wasatch might be completed.