Not sure who you run around with but all my longtime Utah backcountry friends who earn their turns would simply vomit at that statement.
I guess my observation would be that IF, by some strange quirk of fate, I lived in Park City or the Canyons, I'd be thrilled to death with One Wasatch. I'd be able to have much easier access to much better skiing.
If I lived in greater Salt Lake and skied the Cottonwood Canyons, however, I'd be violently opposed to this project. Park City has enormous bed capacity and a nearly endless supply of additional private land on which to build more beds. The Cottonwood Canyons, of course, have a very limited number of beds and almost no private land left to be developed.
That means that the Park City business and real estate community stands to be a huge beneficiary of a scheme that would allow tourists from PC to get to Cottonwood Canyon skiing. The hordes will just keep on coming and the development will keep on spreading. Actual powder skiing in the Cottonwoods will keep on diminishing thanks to ever more bodies chasing it from both sides of the divide.
I'm glad that you're pleased with this project. I'm also glad I don't still live in the area so I don't have to watch the inexorable sprawl.
Nice post, thank you. But I'm a bit concerned about your friends' vomiting if they read this. I've found that if I stare straight ahead at the horizon and sip on green tea, that often helps. On boats. Maybe it will work on the internet, too?
Yes, I live in Park City, and am thrilled about One Wasatch. But let's be honest about the unfounded fears of backcountry ruination and the perceived fears of a massive influx of Parkites to the other Cottonwoods. First we have to dispel the image that resort skiers don't exist. Because they do, and they outnumber backcountry skiers at a ratio of oh, um, let's say 20,000 to one. So while you are right -that a bunch of people will flock from PC to the Cottonwood resorts- there will obviously be traffic the other way as well. Locals from Sandy, West Jordan, Provo, wherever, will want to experience the Alta-Snowbird trek to Park City or wherever for lunch and trek back. Why? Because it will be pretty cool, that's why. Based on my experiences in Europe -and now Park City- The vast majority of those skiers will be taking intermediate blue square groomers to and fro. Yes, those such as myself will be using those runs to access Baldy at Alta or Honeycomb Canyon, but the vast majority will simply be on punter runs.
So given that, it's pretty hard for me to understand why the backcountry crowd is so flummoxed by an interconnect. Are all of these intermediate skiers all of a sudden going to overload the White Pine trailhead and have a burning desire to track-out the Pfiefferhorn in an hour? Are they going to ride a lift and say, "Hey! Let's climb Mount Superior and track it out!" To me and my many knowledgeable backcountry friends, none of this makes any sense. One Wasatch is not going to ruin Beartrap -which is already tracked out, btw- Willows, Hidden Lake, Stairs Gulch, Mt. Aerie, Broad's Fork, White Pine, or many other thousands upon thousands of other acres of backcountry Mecca. It's just not going to happen.
Before you bring up Grizzly Gulch, let me beat you to it. First, it's private property. Sorry, but many of us who have owned property don't agree with a certain element that insists on trespassing and claiming it for themselves. I would say that the property owners are extremely generous -given liability issues- to let people use the area, but it's not anyone's birthright to use the area. Through the Mountain Accord process, they say a train will go under the mountain under Grizzly, connecting Solitude and Alta. Ski Utah is happy with that plan -as am I- and if it can be pulled-off then the property owners have decided to cede all of the above-ground land to permanent protection status. If the train doesn't happen, I would envision a gondola. Of course, Quicksilver just set the gold-standard for connection gondola's, and laughably, some who think they are superior stewards of the environment will try to convince you that a multi-year rail project is much more environmentally sensitive than a gondola that can be completed over one summer, not make any noise, and be dormant most of the year. Cheers!