Alta Blog

A Message From Our GM, Mike Maughan

A Message From Our GM, Mike Maughan

| February 3rd, 2018 | By Connie Marshall

Why the Baldy Tram?

• Currently Alta Ski Area uses artillery, avalaunchers and helicopter bombing to do avalanche mitigation work on North and East facing Mount Baldy. The use of artillery and avalaunchers for avalanche mitigation work is being phased out and may not be available in the future. If we are unable to do avalanche mitigation work on Mount Baldy a significant amount of terrain we currently ski would be closed frequently.

• Artillery and avalauchers cannot be used for avalanche mitigation work on Mount Baldy during the day when Alta and Snowbird are open to the public. Consequently, we are often required to close this area during a storm or wind cycle. A tram will reduce the number of daytime closures.

• The Mount Baldy tram supplemented with remote avalanche control devices will allow Alta to do avalanche mitigation work on Mount Baldy without the use of artillery and avalaunchers.

Why not use Gazex or other remote technologies?

• There are currently 23 shot locations on Baldy that would require Gasex or other remote technologies. Many of the locations the devices would be placed are ski terrain. Installing gas lines to these locations would require significant blasting and terrain disturbance in order to protect the gas lines from avalanches and skiers.

• The visual and environmental impact of exclusively using Gazex devices or other remote technologies would significantly detract from the beauty of this iconic peak in our ski area. Why did we select this location for the Baldy Tram?

• We have three alternatives for installing a tram to the top of Mount Baldy. Two of the alternatives are completely on private land. However, both of these alternatives would require the installation of lift towers and would be highly visible on the ridgeline. Both of these alternatives are more subject to wind issues.

• The desired alternative is located on public and private land and will have significantly less visual and environmental impact than the other two alternatives. The top terminal will be located on private land on the Northeast face of the peak in a pocket which shelters if from the prevailing wind direction. This location is located 340 vertical feet lower than the top of Mt. Baldy. This alternative will provide more opportunities to do avalanche mitigation work during the day when the ski area is open, as well as, facilitate avalanche mitigation work to open the ski area.

• The top terminal is designed to be constructed into the face of the Northeast side of the peak so that little if any of the buildings will break the skyline outside of the ski area.

• No towers will be used minimizing the impact on the environment and view.

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