SkiLink’s Footprint

| March 13, 2012

Last Thursday I had a chance to head up to Big Cottonwood Canyon and tour through the proposed Talisker SkiLink route. The actual details of this Wasatch abomination have been kept quite, or at least from public view, but by locating the beginning and end points, I was able to generate GPS waypoints of where the towers would have to go and what would be private property. The results are detailed in this five minute video which may contain shocking images, especially if you are use to skiing in the Willow Fork area.

Mike Goar, the Canyons CEO, and Ted Wilson, Talisker’s tram lobbyist, have repeatedly said that the backcountry would not be impacted with this tram, which makes me wonder if they are a) completely ignorant about the backcountry, or b) lying. The actual wording of HR 3452 makes no mention of prohibiting roads, off loading ramps, cutting ski runs, plugging in trophy homes or adding alpine coasters for summer recreation – it only says that public land should be sold to a private developer.  Since the developer is in business to cut roads, build trophy houses, install lifts and add summer amusement park rides, it seems naive to think they will do otherwise with this area.  Why would they?  It’s Utah and this would be private property.

Right-click here for SkiLink waypoint file (right click, save file as, import into your gps).

After this tour, the thing that struck me the most is just how much of an area 30 acres is.  In this case it would be a strip roughly 1.5 miles long by 165′ wide that would bifurcate a large chunk of Forest Service land in a divide and conquer manner. I can only imagine that the remaining upcanyon chunk of land will be sold off at some later time under the guise of ending world hunger, educating the children or curing cancer.
Help support and locate some imaginary tram towers with a Garmin eTrex Vista H from Click on the photo below…


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Category: Commentary

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (13)

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  1. Mike W says:

    I think some maps would have been nice for people not as familiar with the area… BUT great work on this issue.

    Combined with the Park City issue, it doesn’t seem like a stretch that Taliskier is trying set up pins to fall in the direction of some mega ski area.

    I watched the video on another site without seeing your conclusions here, and I think your final paragraph here precisely identifies that the rest will become manifest destiny of Taliskier if they are not stopped.

  2. Brody says:

    awesome summary, thanks for educating so many about the proposed reality.

  3. Andrew says:

    Fine idea Mike – I’ve updated it with a topo and the waypoints as well.

  4. Grizzly Adam says:

    30 acres is a foot in the door. 30 becomes 60, becomes 120…

    I don’t like Talisker. Wherever they are, there is conflict and controversy.

  5. Brad says:

    Andrew; Excellent work showing the impact and clear explaination of the nasty game “Talisker Ted” is playing. Here’s to hoping enough pressure can be applied to prevent the deal from going down.

  6. Matt says:

    What is the current status of this project? It passed the House or Senate? When is the next vote? Here is the Save Our Canyons how you can help link. Not sure just writing your political reps will draw much attention to the issue. I think we need to find more ways to draw attention to it. I’m afraid it will pass before many people are aware of it. Thanks for the info Andrew.

  7. Mark says:

    great work! this is really helpful in understanding the impact that ski-link will have on this area.

  8. Christian Buss says:

    Thanks for this. Made a donation to SOC. Thanks for highlighting the issue and SOC.

  9. Jerry says:

    Isn’t Willows part of a proposed wilderness area?

  10. Andrew says:

    Jerry – I think it is/was, which might be in part why Talisker is trying to do this, as in, “We’ll support the Wilderness, if we can have a 30 swath of private property through the center of it.”

  11. mm says:

    Their little swath would be worse than the horrible Kern pipeline scar. Something they said we’d never notice “in a few years. Been through Mueller Park lately? sonsabitches

  12. Rush Bowers says:

    Nice work, Andrew. This project is truly a sham. It is really too bad that Ted Wilson, once a protector of the Cottonwood Canyons, has gone to the dark side. Talisker must be paying him a nice wage.

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