News

November 10, 2022

Some Utahns wonder if gondola comments were considered after 2News investigation

A 2News investigation on how the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) handled a public comment process has prompted some people to wonder if they were listened to.

“I feel like it’s been ignored,” Scott Keller said.

“I don’t think it matters,” said Yayi Guo.

2News Investigates read through the more than 35,000 public comments submitted regarding a proposed gondola project in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

An analysis found more than 60 percent of those comments opposed the gondola. However, UDOT chose a gondola as it’s preferred alternative.

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October 27, 2022

Opinion: Why spend more than $500M when this option exists?

If the Utah Department of Transportation chooses a massive and intrusive gondola system as its recommended solution to traffic problems up Little Cottonwood Canyon, officials say the first step would be a yearslong phased approach that begins with enhanced busing, tolls, restrictions on single occupancy vehicles and public transportation mobility hubs.

This would be implemented while the state searches for gondola funding.

But, instead of a first phase, that sounds like a good test run for something that might make all other options unnecessary. Why not implement this and measure the results?

October 12, 2022

Here’s how much a toll in Little Cottonwood Canyon might cost you

If you are one of the many powder hounds along the Wasatch Front, you may soon have to pay if you are driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

After releasing the final draft of the canyon’s environmental impact study (EIS) that ruled a gondola would be the best solution for Little Cottonwood Canyon’s transportation issues, Utah Department of Transportation officials found that tolling could be a short-term solution to the canyon’s traffic snarls.

On Tuesday, Josh Van Jura, a project manager at UDOT, told the Salt Lake County Council the department is considering a toll of $25 to $30 per private vehicle driving up the canyon.

October 12, 2022

Ashley Liewer: Our canyons belong to all of us and need to be protected

Last week, our County Council had before them a resolution that opposed the proposed gondola construction in Little Cottonwood Canyon and encouraged a common-sense approach.

This does not mean that they can stop the gondola’s construction. Rather, it is simply a statement of whether or not they are for or against its construction. Aimee Winder-Newton, your council person, voted against the resolution. You have the chance to let her know your displeasure with this vote when ballots go out.

Unfortunately, three of our other council members voted against this resolution, as well. Like many of us, I am disappointed.

October 11, 2022

Letter: There have to be solutions to Little Cottonwood traffic problems that do not cost $500 million

I have skied at Alta for the last 20 years, so I thoroughly understand the traffic problem in the canyon. However, I don’t understand how so much taxpayer money can be spent for the benefit of the smallest number of Utah taxpayers.

The canyon really got crowded when the Ikon pass was initiated. People using the pass are mostly from out of state. Are we spending taxpayer money to pander to out-of-state skiers? Do UDOT and the “powerful players” think we need a gondola to keep up with other ski areas in the U.S. and the world? Many taxpayers do not ski, but use the canyon to hike and bike in the three other recreation seasons. The gondola does nothing to alleviate the parking problems at the hiking trailheads.

October 10, 2022

Watch: Alternative traffic options for Little Cottonwood Canyon

Brad and Emily, with the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, joined Kari to discuss alternative traffic options for Little Cottonwood Canyon.

October 9, 2022

Letter: Despite public outrage, UDOT and their cronies are poised to get their way on the gondola

Please, please keep writing about the proposed gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon!

This is the plan:

  1. 40 poles, each 15 feet in diameter, serviced by new roads big enough  for huge trucks, will cut through the wilderness of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
  2. The exact price has not been revealed by UDOT but it will be expensive to ride the gondola. (Between $50- $110 per trip)
  3. It only services two sites.
  4. It won’t run in the summer.
  5. It’s paid for by taxpayers but only benefits Snowbird, Alta, La Callie, The Tree Farm, and Chris McCandless and Wayne Niederhauser.
  6. It’s taken from transportation money meant for the entire state of Utah
  7. There’s new evidence (from Hawkwatch International) that  the gondola would kill and injure birds during night migrations through the canyon.

This is what UDOT has decided.

October 7, 2022

Toll proposal under discussion to reduce traffic in Utah’s Cottonwood Canyons

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Inside the Utah Department of Transportation’s Little Cottonwood Canyon Environmental Impact Statement lies a proposal to implement a toll in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons.

The goal would be to stabilize and reduce traffic volumes by 30% through travel alternatives.

October 5, 2022

Letter: Who are we trying to fool with the gondola? And who’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

Regarding congestion up Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC), proponents for the gondola talk as if Snowbird and Alta are virtually limitless in size, as if LCC is our own Chamonix. It’s not. Combined, Alta and Snowbird cover a mere 5100 acres. Chamonix valley is more than ten times larger, covering over 60,000 acres under the shadow of Mont Blanc at 15,780′.

Our resorts are quaint in comparison, the Solvang version of winter recreation. Alta’s traditional appeal to many of us has been its quaintness as a small mountain town near Salt Lake City. Snowbird is comparatively small potatoes too.

October 4, 2022

Split Salt Lake County Council votes to condemn gondola plan with new resolution

The County Council voted 5-4 to approve a resolution condemning the plan to build a gondola through Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has been vocal against a potential gondola through Little Cottonwood Canyon. Now the Salt Lake County Council has voiced its opinion as well.

October 4, 2022

Salt Lake Resident Gives 6 Point Argument Against The Little Cottonwood Gondola Project

One of the most divisive topics in the ski industry right now is the potential construction of a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The lift would help reduce canyon in the traffic and reduce the risks of driving up slick roads, but there are various flaws to the gondola as well.

In an opinion piece sent to the Salt Lake Tribune, David Scheer, a Utah resident, listed his concerns with the gondola proposal. Frankly, this is a really well-written list that coherently explains the risks of letting the gondola happen.

October 3, 2022

Forest Service hopes to reopen popular Big Cottonwood Canyon area closed over permit issue

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — The U.S. Forest Service is trying to work through a permit issue with private landowners right next to one of the most popular hiking trails along the Wasatch Front.

The disagreement has cut off public access to a road up Big Cottonwood Canyon that people use for hiking and backcountry skiing access in the winter.

October 2, 2022

Letter: Six arguments against a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon

UDOT’s preferred alternative for easing the traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) is to build a gondola at a cost of over $500 million that would be paid by Utah taxpayers. I would argue, however, this is not the best answer to LCC’s traffic jams for the following reasons:

1. UDOT’s own criteria emphasize that the preferred alternative must benefit all users of the canyon. The gondola only benefits patrons of Alta and Snowbird and, not incidentally, the owners of these resorts who would be, in effect, receiving an enormous public subsidy.

September 29, 2022

Gondola opponents question timing of UTA reduced bus service announcement

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (KUTV) — An advocacy group is raising questions about why Utah Transit Authority bus service up the canyons is set to be cut this winter, and why that announcement came right during the public comment period for a proposed gondola.

UTA announced this week limited bus service starting December 11 across several counties due to short staffing. The cuts impact two ski service routes up Little Cottonwood Canyon, among others. The transit agency said notice was necessary now so the changes could be made in time.

September 28, 2022

If resorts want a gondola, they — not you — should pay for it, George Pyle writes

Mayors from both ends of Little Cottonwood Canyon are united against expensive plan.

September 28, 2022

In a major move, UTA to sharply cut back bus service in three counties, and it’s going to affect skiers

20 routes will be reduced or curtailed.

A severe shortage of bus drivers is forcing the Utah Transit Authority to slash service this winter, including routes that serve ski resorts.

Starting Dec. 11, transit officials will scale back — and in some instances suspend — service on 20 bus routes in Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties. The cuts will not affect TRAX, FrontRunner or any other UTA services.

September 21, 2022

UDOT plans toll road in Little Cottonwood Canyon with gondola project

SALT LAKE CITY  — Utah’s Department of Transportation plans to institute a toll on the road going up Little Cottonwood Canyon to go along with a controversial gondola project.

In a meeting with Utah State Senate Democrats on Wednesday, UDOT officials outlined some of their plans as they faced questions from members of the minority caucus who said they have already heard a lot from their constituents. UDOT said its goal is to reduce traffic in the canyon by 30%, something it believes the gondola can do with a 2,500 stall parking structure at the base of the canyon. It also plans to rely on transit and tolling to push people to it.

September 20, 2022

City leaders drafting new response to Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola plan

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — The mayor, city council, and city staff members in Cottonwood Heights are in the process of drafting a new response to the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), as the agency explores the possibility of building a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

During a work session Tuesday afternoon, the city’s mayor and council members expressed frustration with how UDOT failed to address some of their concerns with the gondola plan.

September 19, 2022

Why Does the Catholic Church Care About Utah’s New Gondola?

The church announced its opposition to an eight-mile gondola connecting SLC to Alta and Snowbird. Hint: It’s about the money.

We don’t often hear about the intersection between skiing and religion, so when the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City came out in opposition to the Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola, we were curious.

Last week the Diocese, which is the hub for the state’s 300,000 Catholics, urged its members to oppose the building of a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The project, which was recommended by the Utah Department of Transportation last month and is currently in a 45-day comment period, was found to be the most efficient option to reduce traffic on State Route 215, which accesses Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Resort. The gondola could cost up to a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money.

September 13, 2022

Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City calls on members to oppose gondola project

SALT LAKE CITY  — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is urging its members to oppose a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon, arguing that the proposed project would harm the environment and take money that could be spent helping those in need.

“The gondola is not an option for the poor and using that kind of state funding, for an option that will not benefit anyone who is low income seems like a pretty poor use of taxpayer funds to us,” Jean Hill, the director of the Catholic Diocese’s Office of Life, Justice & Peace, said in an interview Tuesday with FOX 13 News.

September 13, 2022

Big Cottonwood Canyon trails no longer open to public after Forest Service agreement collapses

Forest Service, landowners at odds over motorized access to private land in Cardiff Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon.

A long-standing agreement that had enabled recreational access across private land in Big Cottonwood Canyon has collapsed amid of spate of finger-pointing and recriminations.

Hundreds of acres of old mining claims in Cardiff Fork form private parcels within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. A special permit has allowed owners motorized access to the land since 2012, but that permit expired on May 31, 2022. Under the deal, the recreating public could ski and hikeacross these inholdings situated in a glaciated alpine cirque at the heart of the Wasatch Mountains’ storied backcountry ski terrain.

But no more, according to Ben Kraja, the forest’s acting Salt Lake district ranger.

“It was their [the Cardiff Canyon Owners Association’s] decision,” Kraja said. “They notified us on May 31 they would not be renewing [the permit]. They think they own a right of way. We haven’t seen any credible evidence that a legal right of way exists.”

September 11, 2022

Letter: Tired of paying for corporate welfare? Demand a vote on the gondola.

Recently, Arches National Park has required reservations in order to avoid the long wait lines. Zion has implemented reservations if you want to hike the Angels Landing trail and Yellowstone has started reservations to enter that park.

Why? To make the visitor’s experience more enjoyable, safer by lessening the stress on the environment. None of these parks even thought about putting in a gondola to bring in as many people as possible.

I understand that ski resorts look at the profit they’ll earn by selling ski passes to the multitudes, but at what point is the number of people on the slopes deemed unsafe or too crowded?

September 8, 2022

KSL+: Is a gondola the right answer?

The decision is here. After years of research and public comment, UDOT is recommending a gondola to solve the canyon’s transportation problems. The project will cost an estimated $550 million. This week, we dive into the debate over the gondola and how to get people up the canyon, while decreasing traffic and minimizing the impact on the environment. We’ll also look at what comes next.

September 8, 2022

Hayden Johnsen: We need to hear more about parking and less about a Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola

If a gondola basecamp is the new destination, traffic will just spill out into Sandy and onto I-215.

We’ve heard a lot about the recently approved plans for a fancy new gondola that is going to solve our winter traffic problems within Little Cottonwood Canyon. Proponents of a gondola see it not only as a solution but as an engineering feat that will drive year-round visitors to see the canyon from a different vantage point. 

That is all fine and dandy. However, I want to hear more about plans for parking and less about the gondola itself. I realize the topic of parking is less exciting than that of the gondola, but it is where the plan that UDOT has selected fails.

September 2, 2022

Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola Controversy Reignites With DOT Recommendation

SLC skiers, the end of your traffic woes may be on the horizon. The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has made another step toward its goal of reducing congestion on State Route 210, which provides SLC residents access to both Alta and Snowbird via Little Cottonwood Canyon. UDOT’s solution? A gondola.

The proposed gondola will sit at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and carry passengers to stations located at the base areas of Alta and Snowbird. Each cabin is slated to carry 32 passengers and arrive every two minutes. A 2,500-car lot will provide parking for those making use of the gondola. The ride will take 30 minutes to Snowbird, and 36 to Alta. UDOT hopes that the gondola will alleviate traffic in the canyon. 

Brad Rutledge, WBA board member and co-founder, stands with his organization in viewing the gondola as a potential misstep. He believes that the gondola will be less convenient than driving, carpooling, or taking the bus. “It’s hard for me to imagine from a convenience standpoint people doing it [riding the gondola],” he said. If the gondola proves to be an undesirable option for skiers, Rutledge worries that the project will be an enormous waste.

September 1, 2022

The LCC Gondola Seems Like A Good Idea To Outsiders, But Locals Are Worried

The traffic heading up in the morning and down in the evenings in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon has been an issue for years. The two lane road is the only way to access Snowbird and Alta Ski Area, and it’s frequently closed due to avalanches and accidents.

So, what is Utah’s Department of Transportation to do about the problem? A number of solutions have been posed in recent years, but one has stood out as the most feasible- a massive gondola that runs from the base of the canyon up to the ski resorts.

August 31, 2022

Building a gondola for ski resorts is premature until we exhaust the simpler, cheaper options, Robert Gehrke argues.

From the start, there was an air of inevitability around the proposal to build a gondola to access the ski resorts up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Part of it is Utahns love big ideas, and a sleek gondola is, as I wrote last year, sexier than stodgy old buses.

More than that, though, it was the political power and the money behind the pro-gondola movement, from legislative leaders who weighed in supporting the project to the public relations push backed by the canyon ski areas.

August 31, 2022

What’s next for the gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon?

The Utah Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that its preferred option for Little Cottonwood Canyon is to build a gondola down the 8-mile canyon.

The decision, which has been years in the making, sparks numerous questions about the future of the canyon and the Wasatch Front.

Here’s what we know and what remains unclear following Wednesday’s ruling from UDOT.

August 31, 2022

Mixed reactions from community members and groups to gondola recommendation by UDOT

Community members had mixed reactions over the decision by the Utah Department of Transportation to back the gondola plan up Little Cottonwood Canyon. While some agree that traffic is a problem, they don’t believe building a gondola is the right move.

“I dont know where we’re going to park the cars,” said Sandy resident Theresea Pentilla. “It’s just going to cause congestion someplace else.”

August 31, 2022

Groups voice opposition to UDOT’s plans for Little Cottonwood gondola

Groups and communities surrounding Little Cottonwood Canyon are voicing their disappointment after the Utah Department of Transportation chose to move forward with plans for a gondola to alleviate the canyon’s congestion.

They argue that there are several viable options on the table that makes more sense.

“Response to UDOT’s decision… disappointed, massively disappointed, but not surprised,” said Brad T. Rutledge with the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance. “They’ve been faced with a really difficult challenge and there are a lot of influential people and entities at play that have been promoting the gondola.”

August 31, 2022

UDOT says it’s gonna be a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon (eventually)

The Utah Department of Transportation identified the gondola as its preferred alternative to address traffic issues in Little Cottonwood Canyon — but the agency doesn’t currently have enough money for it and for now, plans to enhance bus service.

This announcement follows more than 14,000 comments that were submitted in relation to the project’s environmental review. There were two alternatives on the table: more buses with a widened road or a gondola from the La Caille restaurant at the base to Alta and Snowbird ski resorts.

August 31, 2022

UDOT moves forward with $550M gondola, enhanced bus plan for Little Cottonwood Canyon

Utah transportation officials announced Wednesday that they are moving forward with a plan to build a gondola to handle growing traffic concerns in Little Cottonwood Canyon, though they admit it may take “years” for a final project to come together.

The Utah Department of Transportation selected “Gondola B” for its Little Cottonwood Canyon Final Environmental Impact Statement, over a plan to widen the road and use rapid bus transit. The massive project calls for a large base with 2,500 parking spaces about three-quarters of a mile northwest of the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, by the restaurant La Caille in Sandy, with a service that runs every two minutes, in a cabin that can hold up to 35 people.

August 31, 2022

UDOT makes its pick for Little Cottonwood Canyon — and it’s a gondola, eventually

The decision comes after years of analysis and input from the public.

The state’s recommendation is in, and it’s a gondola.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) said in an email Wednesday that building a gondola is the best option to solve the canyon’s lingering transportation issues in the long run. In the meantime, UDOT wants to implement an enhanced bus service, as the gondola will likely take years to build.

August 12, 2022

Proposals sought to address transportation stress in Big Cottonwood Canyon. But is it enough to address the canyon’s issues?

The Central Wasatch Commission is seeking proposals to find out the best way to address the transportation issues throughout the canyon.

As Utah’s population continues to grow, more and more people are escaping to the canyons of the Wasatch Front and enjoying the outdoors. The increase in visitors brings its challenges, particularly with how those delicate wilderness areas handle transportation.

July 29, 2022

‘Bracing for the next curveball’: What new federal transportation program means for Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox turned toward the Wasatch Mountains behind him and pointed out the double-edged sword many Utah communities face because they are so close to wild lands.

“As beautiful as mountains and forests are, wildfires and flooding can prove dangerous for our transportation grid, our property and our lives,” the governor said, noting that this risk of fires and flooding has expanded in recent years as a result of a changing climate.

July 28, 2022

Gondola up Little Cottonwood Canyon Proposal: Short-sighted, waste-of-money, elitist visions of grandeur should remain in the clouds
It appears that the $1-$2 billion dollar gondola-up-the-canyon proposal is currying favor with more elites. Snowbird has purchased the land where the base station and parking lot of the proposed gondola would be located.

July 28, 2022

Peter Dahlberg: A tunnel to Alta should have been one of UDOT’s LCC options
State’s review of options didn’t do the research on how tunnels have been built around the world.

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July 26, 2022

Opinion: A Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola is a ‘glaring misuse of taxpayer funds’
The Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic problem is only an issue for 5% of the year. Would we ruin a beautiful canyon to solve a limited problem?

By Talley Goodson

July 6, 2022

How much will UDOT’s Little Cottonwood traffic solutions really cost?

Opponents say maintenance, inflation, a Superfund site and earthquake mitigation could turn the estimated $592 million gondola into a $1 billion project.

The Utah Department of Transportation is gearing up for a decision it says will cost taxpayers north of $500 million in an effort to combat the paralyzing skier traffic that stacks up at the bottom of Little Cottonwood Canyon on weekends and powder days. 

But opponents and some local leaders say the current proposals, particularly the 8-mile gondola that would take skiers and snowboarders to Snowbird and Alta, will actually cost far more than the current $592 million estimate.

June 22, 2022

Community leaders say Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola advertisements are misinforming Utahns

You might be familiar with the advertisement from Gondola Works, advocating for a gondola to be constructed in Little Cottonwood Canyon, starring actor Bart Johnson.

Snowbird has been advocating for the gondola as a solution to little cottonwood canyon’s traffic problems.

“If you care about air quality, water quality, the safety of the people going up and down the canyon and the reliability of knowing how long it’s going to take to get up and down the canyon, the only option is gondola,” said Dave Fields, President and General Manager. “There are 64 avalanche paths in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It’s the most avalanche prone canyon in North America. We need a transportation solution that takes into account that reality. This is not like a commute in the Valley.”

UDOT estimates the busing solution would cost $510 million; it would mean a wider road with lanes only buses could use during peak traffic times. The gondola is estimated at $600 million; Little Cottonwood Canyon would be filled with more than 20 steel towers as tall as sky scrapers.

“We’re not trying to create more marketing gimmicks to attract Midwesterners or people from the East Coast,” said Brad Rutledge, Board Member for the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance. “We’re trying to solve traffic problems.”

June 22, 2022

Officials blast Little Cottonwood gondola as ‘boondoggle,’ call on UDOT to start over with canyon plan

As Utah transportation officials wrap up their multiyear study of potential transportation solutions for Little Cottonwood Canyon, two completely different visions have been staked out for the future of Utah’s world-famous ski destination, which is becoming more associated with traffic gridlock than with breathtaking outdoor recreation.

On one side is the ski industry-backed idea of an 8-mile gondola connecting Alta with the canyon mouth, which has drawn flack from elected leaders who see the project, with its 200-foot towers and suspended cables, as an eyesore and a boondoggle.

June 22, 2022

Leaders, advocacy groups blast gondola ‘gimmick’ as UDOT ponders popular canyon’s future

The future of Little Cottonwood Canyon became one of Monica Zoltanski’s major talking points during her campaign in last fall’s Sandy mayoral race.

She says it came with good reason. As she knocked on doors in the weeks leading up to the election, she said she kept hearing from residents of the city who opposed the plan for a new gondola; complaints about the idea haven’t stopped after she took over as the mayor of Salt Lake County’s fourth-largest city.

“The people of Sandy do not want a gondola up this canyon,” she said Wednesday afternoon, to the applause of a crowd of opponents of the project gathered at G.K. Gilbert Geologic View Park near the mouth of the canyon. “I will exhaust my last breath to make sure the decision-makers know this.”

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and five members of the Salt Lake County Council joined Zoltanski in pushing back against the gondola option Wednesday, as did Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, Rep. Gay Lynn Bennion, D-Cottonwood Heights, and a handful of other state and local leaders from across the political aisle.

June 22, 2022

Salt Lake County leaders reiterate opposition to Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola

A group of bipartisan elected leaders voiced their opposition Wednesday to the idea of a gondola being built in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

“The people of Sandy do not want a gondola up this canyon,” said Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski.

Zoltanski was just one of many people invited to a gathering organized by the groups Friends of Alta and Save our Canyons. Nearly a hundred people also came to hear those groups make the case against a proposed gondola.

“Not only do I think it can be stopped, I think it will be stopped,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

June 22, 2022

Community leaders express opposition to gondola in LCC

With more than 2 million visitors each year, the traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon is a problem that continues to grow, and UDOT has proposed two alternatives to reduce traffic. 

One is expanding the road to four lanes and enhancing bus services. The other is building a gondola that would go up and down the canyon. Both are expected to cost over half a billion dollars.

Gondola opponents say the proposal is fiscally irresponsible and will have limited benefit to the public. They say the gondola only stops at ski resorts and may only be used by people going to the resorts while costing taxpayers over $500 million dollars.

May 11, 2022

Little Cottonwood Canyon gondola proposal continues to spark public debate

This summer, the Utah Department of Transportation will announce their preferred alternative for fixing traffic congestion in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

In June of 2021 they whittled several options to two: a gondola from property near La Caille restaurant stopping at Snowbird and Alta, or a combined project widening the road and expanding bus service.

The gondola has become the lightning rod for public debate between a group called Gondola Works, backed by the two resorts, and Friends of Little Cottonwood Canyon, a citizen activist group opposing the gondola.

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April 5, 2022

UDOT delays recommendation on Little Cottonwood ski traffic solution

The Utah Department of Transportation announced a delay Tuesday in its yearslong search for a traffic solution in Little Cottonwood Canyon. 

The department will now identify a “single preferred alternative” by this summer, followed by a 30-day public review period.

Read the article here

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March 23, 2022

Opinion: Ski resort parking changes make a proposed gondola unnecessary
By implementing a reservation system, Alta and Snowbird have largely solved the traffic problem in Little Cottonwood Canyon without the need for taxpayer-funded solutions

Read the article here

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March 18, 2022

Utah lawmaker seeks audit as UDOT mulls controversial solutions to Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic

With the Utah Department of Public Transportation rounding the corner on its long anticipated antidote to Little Cottonwood Canyon’s traffic woes, several Utah lawmakers say the decision-making process requires additional scrutiny.

Read the article here

March 3, 2022

Opinion: As a visitor who skis in Utah, I say no to the gondola

I am not yet persuaded that the gondola project is justified when compared with other potential solutions, such as adding carbon friendly buses to the fleet or a seasonal rush hour toll system.

Read the article here

February 22, 2022

Are electric buses a viable solution for Little Cottonwood traffic problems?

A group of local elected officials, community activists and college students boarded a bus last month for a ride up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Their goal? To show that electric buses can be a viable solution for the canyon’s traffic problems.

Read article here

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February 13, 2022

Resolution calls for ‘least impactful’ solution for Little Cottonwood Canyon traffic. How will it impact gondola, bus proposals?

As the Utah Department of Transportation mulls over two potential solutions for traffic-plagued Little Cottonwood Canyon, one lawmaker wants to ensure that whatever the department recommends, it has the least environmental impact.

Read article here

August 26, 2021

Brad T. Rutledge: Pick a Little Cottonwood Canyon transportation solution that solves the problem

Expensive gondola would be just a fancy ski lift to boost ski resort private profits.

Read the article here

August 21, 2021

Activists float balloons in Little Cottonwood Canyon, to show what a gondola would do to the view

The balloons were round, but the environmental activists who flew them over Little Cottonwood Canyon hoped they made a point about what a proposed gondola would do to the view.

Read the article here.

December 19, 2018

Legislature Dives Into Canyons Management

A marathon legislative meeting Wednesday on the management of the Wasatch canyons ended with a vote by lawmakers to craft their own plan to safeguard the watershed and natural resources of a forested area visited each year by more than 10 million people.

The Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands voted unanimously to pursue state legislation establishing management strategies for the central Wasatch canyons.

Read the article here.

December 18, 2018

Utah Ski Area Wants Parking Problems Addressed Before Any Deal on Conservation

Alta Ski Area’s president and general manager is pushing back against a proposed federal designation for the Wasatch canyons, arguing it is premature given the congestion and transportation problems that haven’t been addressed.

Read the article here.

December 14, 2018

Alta Withdraws Grizzly Gulch “Keystone” From Land Exchange, But Mountain Accord Presses On

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance (WBA) has participated in Mountain Accord negotiations since its inception, although the group declined to sign the final document’s endorsement of a transportation connection between the two canyons (besides human powered, of course), which is a non-negotiable issue for them.

November 27, 2018

Central Wasatch Commission Approves New Draft of Wilderness Act Bill

Area Act would preserve thousands of acres of U.S. Forest Service land and add additional acres of wilderness, including approximately 975 acres in Summit County located along the ridge separating Park City and Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Read the article here

July 19, 2017

Bonanza Flats Conservation Marks Win for Wasatch Backcountry Alliance

Space for backcountry skiing in the Wasatch is a hot commodity, as proven by recent permitting issues for Little Conttonwood Canyon’s heliski company, Utah Powderbird. But in a recent win for the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, the sale of Bonanza Flats—a 1,350-acre parcel outside of Park City that serves as a wintertime touring destination—closed on June 15 and is now conserved after a joint effort by the WBA, Utah Open Lands and Park City officials.

May 18, 2016

Allied Forces: Backcountry Alliances Form Across U.S., Giving Skiers and Riders a Unified Voice

This isn’t the first time a group of backcountry skiers and riders has spoken up about access to their favorite zones. In 2013, when Canadian real-estate developer Taliskier Mountain Inc. proposed a gondola that would connect Utah’s Canyons to Solitude Mountain Resorts, Wasatch skiers took note. They organized to form the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance (WBA) and have since advocated for access and lobbied against development in Utah’s mountains.

Read the article here.

March 12, 2016

Free shuttle rides aim to reduce pollution, traffic in Little Cottonwood Canyon

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance saw a need for a better way to get to Little Cottonwood Canyon, so they asked their Facebook fans a poll question, “…Would you take a free shuttle ride to the canyons instead of drive your own vehicle?” And, out of 650 responses, 96 percent of them said YES.

Read the article here.

March 11, 2016

Traffic Control: The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Hosts a Free Shuttle Day for Little Cottonwood Canyon

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Shuttle Day was created in response to an online Facebook poll where the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance asked if skiers and riders would be interested in a one-day shuttle service up the canyon. Ninety-five percent of the polltakers responded yes to the question posed.

Read the article here.

March 11, 2016

Traffic Control: The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Hosts a Free Shuttle Day for Little Cottonwood Canyon

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance Shuttle Day was created in response to an online Facebook poll where the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance asked if skiers and riders would be interested in a one-day shuttle service up the canyon. Ninety-five percent of the polltakers responded yes to the question posed.

Read the article here.

March 9, 2016

Group to offer free Little Cottonwood Canyon backcountry shuttle Saturday

The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance will offer an experimental free shuttle service to bring dispersed recreational users such as snowshoers, hikers and backcountry skiers into Little Cottonwood Canyon Saturday.

Read the article here.

What Will Become of the Backcountry in Utah’s Wasatch?

Nature is as perfect as it could be before you touch it or develop. How can you enjoy skiing when everything has been developed? That takes away the whole point.

Jamie Kent, Wasatch Backcountry Alliance President.

Read the article here.

May 06, 2015

Sixth-Grad Avalanche Research Project

Will Schofield, sixth grader, shares his school project about avalanche safety, with a tour in Grizzly Gulch with his dad, and a shoutout to #keepGRIZZLYwild at the end.

May 03, 2015

Resorts United

Ski Utah continues to work with the ski resorts to try to make ONE Wasatch happen. “Our opposition will say that the reason it hasn’t happened is because it’s a bad idea, or that it’s about water, but the real issue is land use. And also, it’s really complicated.”

Read the article here.


April 29, 2015

Op-ed: Before Expanding Ski Resorts We Should Look at Golf

This op-editorial compares two sports with similar trends, and asks some relevant questions about what we should be investing in.

Read the article here.


April 24, 2015

Beerman on Mountain Accord: It’s Worth It

Park City Council Member Andy Beerman, also on the executive committee of the Mountain Accord says there are reasons to stick with studying the tunnel option from Cottonwood Canyons to Park City, if nothing else than to eliminate it once and for all.  He speaks with KPCW’s Lynn Ware Peek.

Read the article here.


April 23, 2015

Letter: Protect Alta with Albion Basin National Monument

An 89 year-old who has a long history skiing Alta, wants to protect it Albion Basin.

Read the article here.


March 29, 2015

PCMR Gondola: ‘Great news’ for Millionaires, but What About Skiers?

Who does the PCMR-Canyons interconnect really serve? A resort estate neighborhood, or skiers?

Read the article here.


March 26, 2015

Vail Resorts wins historic vote as Interconnect Gondola approved

Vail’s interconnect gondola has been approved. This is the first phase of the ONE Wasatch concept coming to fruition, but does not impact high value Wasatch backcountry terrain.

Read the article here.


March 21, 2015

Op-ed: Mountain Accord’s agenda is to get taxpayers to fund tourism industry
This ‪#‎SaltLakeTribune‬ Op-ed asks: who benefits from the proposed train & tunnel system…and who pays for it?

Read the article here.


March 15, 2015

Mountain Accord development plan worries some residents

A proposal to potentially develop parts of the Wasatch Front’s most popular recreation areas is rousing alarm among some nearby residents.

Read the article here.


March 14, 2015

Op-ed: Don’t let Mountain Accord opportunity pass without speaking up

There are times when citizens are asked to speak on a subject and together define a course for their community. The Mountain Accord process is one such opportunity because it invites us all to decide the future of the shared terrain that brings us our water, our recreation, our spiritual peace, our history, our jobs, and our visitors.

Read the article here.


March 13, 2015

Mountain Accord must move forward

This week’s announcement that Mountain Accord has extended its public comment deadline to an as-yet-undetermined date in the future is troubling. After all of the recent pep rallies and debates, this unexpected intermission suggests that the ambitious effort to find consensus among the myriad stakeholders along the central Wasatch Mountains has run aground.

Read the article here.


March 11, 2015

No Accord

Do you spend time in the Wasatch mountains? The future of the central Wasatch mountains as we know and love them is facing some daunting changes. You might have heard of the Mountain Accord, a process that has been going on for about a year, and the first big phase is ending with an important public-comment period.

Read the article here.


March 10, 2015

Deadline nears for Mountain Accord comments

This is our future! Let your voice be heard by commenting on the Mountain Accord before March 16th. If you are still feeling lost after reviewing the blueprint, please visit www.wasatchbackcountryalliance.org for more guidance. This is a unique to share your opinions with the officials of the Mountain Accord.

Read the article here.


March 3, 2015

Jay Meehan: Mountain meddling

As far as Mountain Accord goes, however, time is running out for cynics and non-cynics alike to get their opinions on the record.

Read the article here.


February 27, 2015

Together4Utah discusses One Wasatch and Mountain Accord proposals

In this episode of Together 4 Utah, Thomas Wright and Jim Dabakis, tackle the One Wasatch/Mountain Accord.

Read the article here.


February 24, 2015

Park City residents criticize Mountain Accord master plan during public meeting

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City residents had no problem criticizing the Mountain Accord Master Plan during a public forum Tuesday night at Park City High School.

Read the article here.


February 13, 2015

Tom Clyde: We’re just not that special

The Mountain Accord planning effort is presenting its work on the 24th at the Eccles Center. There has been a lot about it in the paper, and their website is worth looking at.

Read the article here.


February 12, 2015

Lawmakers Discuss Mountain Accord, Possible Olympics Bid

Lawmakers consider the impacts of Mountain Accord plans on future Olympic bids and Sen. Niederhauser requests to set aside $5 million this year for Mountain Accord.

Read the article here.


February 11, 2015

Slippery Slopes: Canyon Conservationists Have to Give a Little to Get a Little

City Weekly story about the Mountain Accord Blueprint including interviews with Carl Fisher of Save Our Canyons, Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf, SLC Mayor Ralph Becker, and Ski Utah’s Nathan Rafferty.

Read the article here.


February 11, 2015

Groups Collaborating on a Master Plan for Central Wasatch Mountains

Fox 13 video story on the Mountain Accord meeting at Cottonwood High School with interviews with some of the 200 attendees at the meeting including comments about ONE Wasatch and transportation.

Read the article here.


February 11, 2015

Public Meeting Seeks Input on Mountain Accord Project

ABC 4 Utah video story on the February 11, 2015 Mountain Accord public meeting including interviews with attendees.

Read the article here.


February 11, 2015

Resorts, Conservationists Prepared to Compromise on Future of Wasatch Mountains

Panelists from the Mountain Accord answered questions about the Blueprint proposal at a public meeting at Cottonwood High School on February, 11, 2015.

Read the article here.


February 10, 2015

Mountain Accord Q & A is at 6:00 pm Wednesday

A question-and-answer session on the Mountain Accord’s proposed “blueprint” for the future of the central Wasatch Mountains will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Cottonwood High School, 5715 S. 1300 East, in Murray.

Read the article here.


February 9, 2015

Mountain Accord Public Forums

If you recreate in the central Wasatch, drink water from this watershed, have moved here to be close to these mountains, grew up here, make your living from the tourists who come here because of these mountains, or care the least about the Wasatch, you have an invested interest in Mountain Accord. It’s time you get involved because the future of the central Wasatch as you know it is about to change.

Read the article here.


February 9, 2015

New Utah Blueprint Threatens the Future of One Wasatch

Last week, Curbed Ski analyzed the ambitious new blueprint released from Mountain Accord, a group of 20 public and private entities working together to preserve the future of Utah’s Wasatch mountains.

Read the article here.


Mountain Accord Program

The Mountain Accord Program (formerly known as the Wasatch Summit Program) is a public process that seeks to make integrated and critical decisions regarding the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains of Utah. The program will evaluate and address issues associated with transportation, environmental protection, watershed protection, economic opportunities, recreation, and land use within the Central Wasatch Mountains and adjoining valleys using a comprehensive and collaborative approach.

Read the article here.


February 6, 2015

Panelist weigh in on the Mountain Accord

When Rich Wyman first heard about the Mountain Accord initiative, he said he was really looking forward to what it could potentially deliver.

Read the article here.


February 6, 2015

Editorial: Wasatch ‘blueprint’ shows value of compromise

The broad consortium that came together for Mountain Accord is showing as much care for an open planning process as it is for the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains. In our age of political paralysis, that is no small accomplishment.

Read the article here.


February 4, 2015

Blueprint for Wasatch Mountains unveiled

Utah planners have unveiled a blueprint for the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. From resort expansion to new public lands, a lot of competing interests have had to come together, and now they’re looking to the public for feedback.

Read the article here.


February 3, 2015

Mountain Accord unveils grand plan for central Wasatch Front

SALT LAKE CITY — A vast blueprint for the central Wasatch Front that includes a network of trails, expansion of transit that could include trains to mountain resorts, and a tunnel connecting two canyons begins a public airing Wednesday as the plan balances protection of precious water and land resources with Utah’s growth and economic expansion.

Read the article here.


February 3, 2015

Plan to link ski resorts may be on hold for now

News has learned a massive plan to turn the central Wasatch mountains into one of the world’s largest playgrounds may not happen at all now. Wasatch Backcountry Alliance President Jamie Kent is interviewed here.

Read the article here.


January 20, 2015

RIP Grizzly Gulch?

The Newschoolers remind us that if ONE Wasatch becomes a reality, Grizzly Gulch, including Chad’s Gap would no longer be part of the Wasatch backcountry.

Read the article here.


January 16, 2015

European Trip Planned by City Hall, Summit Country

Representatives from City Hall and the County Courthouse are expected to travel to Europe to study transportation systems in communities in the Alps.

Read the article here.


January 14, 2015

In Salt Lake City, a Proposal to Link Ski Trails

A summary of the proposed ONE Wasatch by the New York Times. A quick look at both sides, supporters and opponents.

Read the article here.


December 15, 2014

Outdoor Alliance Trip to Washington, DC

Andrew McLean offers a trip report on Washington DC. An Outdoor Alliance initiative to lobby on behalf of a variety of outdoor organizations and causes, including Wasatch Backcountry Alliance.

Read the article here.


December 9, 2014

The Wasatch Backcountry Voice: Tom Diegel on Protecting Salt Lake City’s Mountain Landscape

An interview with Tom Diegel on the progress of Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, and the broader scope.

Read the article here.


November 16, 2014

Guest editorial: Mountain Accord is traveling down the wrong road

Opinion on where the leadership of Mountain Accord is taking the future of the Wasatch.

Read the article here.


October 28, 2014

Giving a Voice to the Backcountry

The formation of the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance is providing a voice to the Wasatch backcountry while new proposals keep developing.

Read the article here.


October 27, 2014

One Wasatch and the Backcountry Impact

A quick look at how the Wasatch backcountry would be impacted if ONE Wasatch became a reality.

Read the article here.


October 23, 2014

The Case Against One Wasatch: Overdeveloping Utah’s Mountains

Looking at the concerns around One Wasatch, what is agreed on, and how One Wasatch would skew the balance towards development and destroy the opportunity for backcountry solace and adventure.

Read the article here.


October 18, 2014

A Goal of Zero: The Avalanche Industry Looks to Change

A group of avalanche safety professionals is making bold attempts to drastically reduce avalanche fatalities in this country.

Read the article here.


October 14, 2014

Mountain Accord Yields Ideals for Central Wasatch

The executive committee at Mountain Accord will work over the next three months to mesh various proposals into one all-encompassing proposal.

Read the article here.


October 10, 2014

Mythbusting: An Outcry of Support or Cry for Help?

Save Our Canyons looks at the myths surrounding the One Wasatch concept. SOC answers questions and clarifies uncertain points around ONE Wasatch.

Read the article here.


October 1, 2014

Op-ed: ONE Wasatch’ ski connection favors resorts over the rest of us

Opinion pointing out that the ONE Wasatch concept offers little benefit to the locals who use the resorts and backcountry in the area.

Read the article here.


September 26, 2014

Vail Plans to Connect Canyons to Park City Ski Resort Next Summer

Vail Resorts announces plans to build lift next summer to connect Canyons Resort to the newly acquired Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR).

Read the article here.


September 22, 2014

Letter: Not ‘ONE Wasatch’ Without Alta Snowboarding

Letting to editor pointing out that for One Wasatch to be completed, Alta would have to permit snowboarding.

Read the article here.


September 18, 2014

Letter: Don’t Expand Resorts Footprint with ONE Wasatch

Letter to the editor expressing support for the Wasatch backcountry.

Read the article here.


September 15, 2014

‘One Wasatch’ Plan Aims to Connect 7 Ski Resorts in Utah

The ONE Wasatch concept calls for two new sets of lift – one between Big and Little Cottonwood, and one at Guardsman Pass. A concept called Ski Link would connect Solitude with the Canyons Resort.

Read the article here.


September 11, 2014

Vail Buys Park City Mountain Resort for $182.5M

Vail Resort Inc. acquired Park City Mountain Resort from Utah-based Powdr Corp. The $182.5M purchase brings an end to a heated three-year land lease dispute.

Read the article here.


July 16, 2014

The END of the Swiss 4-Vallee Agreement: Verbier’s 102,000 Acre System Gets Dismantled

Verbier and Switzerland’s 4-Vallees ski area will no longer be connected by a single ticket. The 4 Vallees agreements will end June 30, 2014.

Read the article here.


May 28, 2014

What Does Vail’s Takeover in Park City Mean for Skiers?

Park City Mountain Resort will likely merge with Canyons over the next season or two – what does this mean for the Wasatch local skiers?

Read the article here.


May 28, 2014

Fighting for the Little Guys

A small ski area survey sheds light on the value of the town hill. A quick look at the importance of community-minded ski areas.

Read the article here.


April 25, 2014

Neighborhood Watch: The Wasatch Backcountry Alliance

An interview with WBA President Jamie Kent on the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance and what it is working towards.

Read the article here.


April 22, 2014

War of the Wasatch

Article on Save Our Canyons and how they are pushing to protect watersheds and further development of the Wasatch.

Read the article here.


April 15, 2014

The Truth About Snow

An interview with the world’s top skiing climatologist, Daniel Scott.

Read the article here.


March 28, 2014

Ski Areas Envision ONE Wasatch

One Wasatch concept is revealed.

Read the article here.


March 27, 2014

Mountain news: ski areas envision a spider’s web of links

ONE Wasatch concept is revealed; doubts are expressed of the economic benefits.

Read the article here.


March 21, 2014

Forget the Alps: 100-Lift, 18,000-Acre Mega Ski Resort Planned in Utah

Concept released for ONE Wasatch by ski industry leaders in Utah. This would create what would be North America’s biggest ski resort complex.

Read the article here.


March 19, 2014

Plan Proposed to ‘Interconnect’ 7 Utah Ski Resorts

The ONE Wasatch concept is unveiled to connect all 7 ski resorts in Salt Lake City, and Park City.

Read the article here.


March 19, 2014

“One Wasatch” concept could change Utah’s ski industry

ONE Wasatch concept has two sides.

Read the article here.


March 18, 2014

Ski Industry to Push for Interconnected Resorts

Ski Utah to unveil a concept to connect ski areas with chairlifts between Salt Lake and Summit County.

Read the article here.


Feb 20, 2013

The Ski Resort Fight Over Park City Mountain

Read the article here.