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Alta Blog

The Central Wasatch Commission and Grizzly Gulch

The Central Wasatch Commission and Grizzly Gulch

| 51 Comments | November 12th, 2018 | By Mike Maughan


The Central Wasatch Commission, the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Act (HR 5718) and Grizzly Gulch

Greetings to you all and it’s safe to say that we are all excited to see cooler temps in the forecast. Speaking of cooler temps, we will all be skiing in less than 85 days with our opening day slated for November 23rd.  

I am writing this piece to reduce confusion and misunderstanding regarding Alta Ski Area’s position regarding the re-introduction of the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Act (HR 5718). 

In the most recent draft of HR 5718 the drafters have removed Alta Ski Area from participating in the proposed land exchange with the Forest Service. Alta has not asked to be withdrawn from Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Act or requested to be removed or not participate in a land exchange with the Forest Service. The drafters made this move because Alta removed some of its private land in Grizzly Gulch from the list of lands it was willing to trade.  

Why has Alta elected to remove some of its private land in Grizzly Gulch from the land exchange? 

As allowed by the Mountain Accord agreement and the federal land exchange process, Alta Ski Area has elected to remove some of its private land in Grizzly Gulch from consideration in the land exchange with the Forest Service to preserve its skiing experience for current and future Alta skiers, to maintain the flexibility to accommodate growth and preserve its snowcat skiing operationsAlta’s inclusion of its private land in Grizzly Gulch in any land exchange was conditioned upon a public transportation solution, such as a tunnel or gondola, between Little and Big Cottonwood canyons which lacks sufficient development, support or funding at this time. The restrictive nature of HR 5718 and its lack of provisions to help accommodate and manage the projected recreational growth in the Cottonwood Canyons are also factors which contributed to Alta’s decision to remove Grizzly Gulch from the considered land exchange process. 

One of Alta’s core values is to preserve the skiing experience for our skiers. Alta has operated snowcat skiing on its private lands in Grizzly Gulch for the past 15 years. Retaining Grizzly Gulch will allow Alta to continue operations of its snowcat skiing program, as well as, accommodate future growth in our region so that our skiers can experience incredible ski days for years to come. We recognize the importance the Grizzly Gulch access provides the backcountry community and we continue to work with groups, such as the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance to address their concerns.

What is Alta currently proposing to include for consideration in the land exchange?

Alta's modified land exchange now includes approximately 561 acres of surface rights located in Grizzly Gulch, Emma Ridge, Honeycomb Canyon, Devils Castle and Mount Baldy, as well as, approximately 1,300 acres of mineral rights.

 

Alta Ski Area has taken the position that the re-introduction of HR 5718 should include the following:

  • Approved and funded transportation and parking solutions.
  • Language which preserves and facilitates the ability of the ski areas to accommodate projected growth within their special use permits and private lands.
  • Agreed upon language and illustrative maps from the primary stakeholders (ski areas, Forest Service, Town of Alta, Central Wasatch Commission, etc.).

 

 A win-win solution

Alta was an active participant in the Mountain Accord process and we recognize the work that was accomplished by a diverse body of stakeholders with significantly different interests. As the population along the Wasatch Front continues to grow we are committed to accommodating growth in a manner that manages the impact within the ski area and Little Cottonwood Canyon and believe that legislation can be drafted and introduced that is a win-win for all parties. It would be a shame for this to all unravel over the unwillingness of some parties to consider solutions that accommodate growth, minimize impact and preserve the environment in concert.

We hope the CWC and other stakeholders will continue to collaborate and work together to achieve a solution that accommodates those wishing to recreate in the Cottonwood Canyons while managing their impact and protecting the watershed and environment.

I look forward to hearing your comments as Alta works towards finding solutions to preserve the skiing experience here at Atla for years to come. 

Thank you,  

Mike Maughan

Alta Ski Area President & GM


  
Max September 10, 2018 Reply to Post

So this means that Alta is planning on developing Grizzly Gulch? I thought the idea was to "preserve the skiing experience." If there are more skiers on the mountain and more skiers coming over from BCC, then how is this preserving the skiing experience? Alta has always been my favorite resort for its backcountry access and dedication to slowing the flow on powder days, but further development seems to run contrary to this. I am confused on how, if development of Grizzly Gulch happens, you could be preserving the skiing experience. Please do not develop Grizzly Gulch and keep Alta as the gem that it is.

Richard Merten October 22, 2018 Reply to Post

The Alta SKI EXPERIENCE is and has been highly compromised by SNOWBIRD's reluctance to provide a substantial accommodating parking footprint for THEIR BOARDERS and SKIERS that tend to overpopulate the roadside of highway 210 between Snowbird and ALTA.......that causes pedestrian safety issues and backup on high density days.....

That said.....presents Alta destination skiers with a challenging and frustrating chicane of events just prior to parking at Alta.......

Alta has always exercised great leadership and discipline relative to its accommodating parking footprint and manageability of its skier arrivals......

The highway 210 experience could be improved........Snowbird is critical path to improving on that execution.

Bravo Zulu to Alta Leadership

Richard Merten Alta - Snowbird combined ski pass and backcountry guide

Also.......Alta is lightyears ahead of Snowbird on cellular coverage for backcountry skiers due to its strategic placement of cell element xmtrs/antennas.......I have experienced superb coverage in Grizzly, Lake Catherine, Dry Fork beyond the ropes areas.......but in Mineral Basin to American Fork there is no coverage........that is a safety issue even for those Snowbird skiers in Mineral Basin.....I do the backcountry circumnav from Supreme lift to Dryfork to American Fork...up Mineral Basin to Baldy lift to Sugarloaf spine multiple times of the season......coverage is always fine in Alta airspace.......non existent in Snowbird's Mineral Basin airspace.......

Also would like to see additional AV Pneumatic tower placement in strategic areas and on high gradient backcountry slopes such as the one Alta has on Cardiac Ridge beneath the telephone pole spine........those pneumatic air shots are great for safety assuredly.

Bob October 23, 2018 Reply to Post

The true ALTA SKI EXPERIENCE, which we currently experience, read about, and see on magazine covers may be significantly altered if enthusiasts and resorts don't open our mouths. "Anticipated" recreation growth from population and visitors has state and local agencies and committees scrambling to suggest and implement changes to accommodate the masses. Upon attending many local meetings regarding this topic I have yet to find leaders and coordinators talk about QUALITY, instead discussions revolve around quantity. And, "value" of the experience, especially for local patrons, never enters the equation. People that choose Alta do so for their own particular reasons, which may not be found at other resorts. Please spread the word to help keep the area unique and fulfilling.

I would like to see a pay to use shuttle system in addition to your mid slope parking for summertime access. Last summer proved difficult for many wanting to access longer trail systems and even hike with small children. Previous years access was more predictable and accommodating.

David Hackbarth October 31, 2018 Reply to Post

Mike and Alta owners,
Grizzly Gulch use for Alta cat skiing is absolutely minimal and largely a failure, as the number of cat groups that go out is totally minimal in comparison to the number of backcountry users that ski in the Grizzly Gulch area. The terrain in the Grizzly Gulch area is actually not very good for the ski area given the aspects. This area must be maintained for safe access to the backcountry areas. Attempts to change this area will bring very negative publicity to Alta and hurt your skier attendance.

Mike Doherty November 4, 2018 Reply to Post

I do not understand why you want a tunnel or gondola between the two canyons and then say you want to "preserve the sking experience".
Seems to me this would increase the number of people and "wreck" the experience.

H. S. November 5, 2018 Reply to Post

This statement is quite evasive as to what the Ski Company pans to do to meet “growing demand. “. One option the company repeatedly fails to consider is not trying to make ever more profit per year. It doesn’t own the land and has paid off all of its debts decades ago. It is not, therefore a normal corporation. As for “traffic”, this is solved by filling up and turning people back on the few weekends and high snow days. This has been as it always has been a problem only of you wake up late or want to make more profit thanks needed to keep up with inflation. Framing the “problem” the way the ski company has, on short, is a prescription for mischief and for the eventual sale of the resort to make “a killing”.

Rick Miranda November 8, 2018 Reply to Post

This quote seems to contradict "preserve the skiing experience" and rather focuses on the goal of "accommodating growth". The idea of 400 more acres of high density development is not attractive in the least given the two lane road and Snowbirds absurd parking practices.

From the SLTrib...
"Cox said he was frustrated that the neither the commission nor the U.S. Forest Service could answer those questions and speculated the resorts would acquire up to 400 acres for high-density development, inviting more people and cars into the already-choked canyons."

Matt Steward November 18, 2018 Reply to Post

Sadly the "Alta ski experience" is largely a thing of the past. Over promotion (powder alerts) and over crowding continue the degradation of the Alta ski experience which should be obvious to anyone who sits in two hours of traffic to reach the dumpster fire it has become anytime there is more than 6 inches of snow. Opening a transportation corridor between BCC and LCC will not improve the skiing experience neither will putting a chair in grizzly or a tram up Baldy. Sometimes more is less.

Allen S Jones November 18, 2018 Reply to Post

I hope that Alta will get written into the compact wording that will allow the company to retain its Skiers only status.
Allen

Scott G Morham November 20, 2018 Reply to Post

The Best thing you can do to retain the "Alta Experience"......is nothing. Don't bring more people into the canyon and don't "Upgrade" for the masses. Skiers don't need "upgrades", only Beaters need upgrades. Keep Alta as a Ski area, not a "Resort".

Jeff M November 24, 2018 Reply to Post

Bring back the pass lottery!

Peter Kaufman November 26, 2018 Reply to Post

What is the connection between a tunnel/tram/whatever between BCC and LCC and Alta's willingness to trade land in Grizzly Gulch?

This sounds more like an excuse for something Alta intended to do (withdraw its offer of a swap).

Also, such a link would do very little, if anything to relieve traffic in LCC.

Sendy Senderson November 27, 2018 Reply to Post

I love Alta!

John November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

I think the explanation provided is a poor cover for Alta's move to become expansionist. The old days of Alta being a leader of caring for the land are over. We'll never ski Alta again.

Joseph Pfisterer November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

I fully support Alta’s positive position towards collaborative efforts with the diverse group of area stakeholders to accommodate growth, minimize impact and preserve the environment concurrently.

The CWC should look, with strong suspicion, any efforts by special interest groups to remove Alta from a final agreement. In my opinion, whenever I have encountered this type of opposition, it very clear that the special interest groups goal(s) are antithetical the common good. Keep that in mind.

Scott Reichard November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

I'm curious about your 3 requests listed above.

"Approve and funded transportation and Parking solutions" is already happening with UDOT. They have $60+ million to determine solutions to improve access to and congestion for parking in LCC. The public, the ski resorts, SOC and WBA all have submitted ideas and formal plans through Mountain Accord and CWC. The bottom line is solutions are on the way.


"Accommodate projected growth" is also available under the options that were the compromises that were agreeable to the most stakeholders. It seems like bullying to not compromise on Grizzly Gulch/Patsy Marley lift service. Why not reach an agreement to maintain your avalanche protection zone, preserve cat skiing, preserve uphill travel and access for backcountry skiers (on your land and others land) and keep open the ability to put a limited lift in Griz. That would keep the skiing experience closer to the way it has been and is now.


"Agreed upon maps/language" is an easy solution once you actually compromise.

So why cant you reach a reasonable compromise?

Brad November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

Before signing your petition, I await clear answers to the comments re. Alta’s plans to accommodate growth and why the tunnel? Who are the other “special interests?” As a regular visitor from far away, preserving your options for high density growth does not clearly harmonize with preservation of the Alta experience.

Amy-Rose White November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

Let’s just call a spade a spade shall we? Backcountry users and many members of these so called “special interest groups” are also Alta passholders. We are not naive nor ignorant to the less than transparent way Alta made changes to the maps of the initial accord. Every other resort has made accommodations and compromises that would limit their expansion in the future. For Alta to demand the land parcel that would facilitate a lift up Grizzly Gulch and ultimately the connection to BCC and frame it as somehow maintaining the “ski experience” is insulting it’s customers. A lift up GG would increase traffic and eliminate key safe backcountry access in low angle terrain with short runs that funnel into a terrain trap. This has nothing to do with the preserving an experience and everything to do with increasing ticket sales. Sadly, this will be our last season as passholders at Alta.

Arly Landry November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

I love Alta. I ski at Alta. My friends work there. I sometimes work there. I've been skiing there since I was a small child. I even fell in love at Alta. But I also love backcountry skiing! Regardless of ownership rights, that land is sacrosanct to backcountry skiers, which are also growing just as rapidly as downhill skiers.

I don't support Alta's decision to "preserve its options for accommodating recreational growth" by developing Grizzly Gulch. Grizzly Gulch is already a place experiencing rapid recreational growth aka backcountry skiing!


The 'Alta experience' does not need to include expansion. The only thing you can do to guarantee my loyalty is to do nothing. Improve whats there but leave Baldy and Grizzly alone! Maybe snowbird would do that but thats not Alta!

Alta has is a special place. But it isn't the chairlifts, number of green runs or acrace that draw people from near and far, its the people, its the mountains, the powder snow and above all its the vibe of exceptional leadership and values. For many, including myself, it is home. But if Alta develops Grizzly I will not stand with Alta.

Dan Johnson November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

Mike,

As you can tell from these comments and those rapidly spreading through the news and social media, you are losing the public relations battle. The reason is simple. It's because we can see through your message.

If you really care about protecting the environment and preserving the magic that we all get to enjoy at the top of LCC, then clearly state your plans. Don't make vague comments about protecting Grizzly Gulch for possible expansion. You also keep changing the subject by talking about transportation issues. Of course there are huge transportation problems. Everyone agrees that something must be done - you don't get kudos for repeating that over and over.

Commit to keeping Grizzly Gulch lift free. It is the key access point to about 1/3 of the backcountry skiing in the central Wasatch. If there was a lift to Twin Lakes pass or the top of Black Bess, the side country would expand into Silver Fork and even Days Fork. That would be dangerous for the uneducated and tragic for those of us that get so much enjoyment from exploring those areas in relative peace.

Commit to protect LCC for all stakeholders, not just paid skiers, and we will happily stop complaining.

CHARLES D. DUNNELL November 28, 2018 Reply to Post

THE OLD " CAPITALISTIC " QUESTION!!??? QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY ! IS OVER CROWDING FOR THE MASSES OR FOR THE ELITE??? FOREIGNERS FLOCK TO OUR GREAT U.S. OF A. NOW!!! HOW MANY PEOPLE DO WE WANT??? AMERICANS SHOULD AND WILL COME FIRST ! WE HAVE AND ARE LOSING OUR NATIONAL PRIDE IN OUR OWN PEOPLE ! OVER CROWDED SKI RESORTS / AREA IS JUST AN EXAMPLE OF QUANTITY (MONEY / PROFIT). WHEN IS ENOUGH...ENOUGH???? PRESERVE YOUR..ALTA'S QUALITY! MY OLDER BROTHER, WHO LIVED IN CEDAR CITY AND DIED OF M.R.S.A. FROM KNEE SURGERY, WAS AN ADVOCATE FOR KEEPING RESOURCES MANAGEABLE, NOT OVER POPULATING AND PUSHING YOUR RESOURCES BEYOND THE LIMITS (ie: water over usage). WHEN IS CAPITALISM GOING TO STOP RELYING ON MORE AND MORE PEOPLE??? KEEP ALTA THE PLACE IT IS AND ONCE WAS, REGARDLESS OF POLITICS AND OTHER!! FOOD FOR THOUGHT. MEDICAL CARE: QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY (PROFITS AND MONEY)! YOU DECIDE !!??? WE CANNOT CONTINUE TO SUSTAIN AND INCREASE OUR POPULATION NOW! WE HAVE PROBLEMS BEYOND THE SKI AREAS OF THE U.S.A. ! I WISH YOU WELL AND HAVE A GREAT DAY AND BEYOND. SHOW LEADERSHIP FOR UNPOPULAR DECISIONS AND PLANNING...OR NOT ! UTAH IS AN OASIS...NOT AN ENVIRONMENT TO BE OVERPOPULATED! FROM A SKIER SINCE AGE 7 ALL OVER THE WEST, CANADA, AND MIDWEST...CHARLES D.

aaron pollard November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

Mike,

Here is what I don’t understand. You talk about preserving the alta skier experience by accommodating growth. That’s a paradox. What makes the alta experience unique is that it isn’t a corporate ski experience. Conditioning your the land exchange participation on a connection to big cottonwood...... A tram to the top of baldy...... Those ideas r the biggest threat to the alta experience I’ve heard in the last 15 yrs. Connect Alta to Big Cottonwood and by extension park city and the flood gates will open and flow towards the best terrain..... little cottonwood. No one I’ve talked to understands how a tram to top of baldy makes any sense from a skiing perspective. How about this as a business model: Keep costs low and work to keep the experience the same as it has been and market that. Because of Alta’s unique combo of terrain and snow, not to mention population growth, demand isn’t a challenge for Alta’s biz model. Since I’m at it, here’s an easy way to improve the Alta experience, work it out so pass holders get full ikon pass rights. Be bold. Think different.

Love,

Aaron

jeffrey kelley November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

part of the beauty of alta is that due to the work necessary to get to it and the hiking/touring to the long used stashes made accessible. this much limits the rif raf factor, which plagues any ski/ride zones that are made "easy" to get to. limiting the droves is a desirable goal.
i don't think a bcc/lcc connection is that bad of an idea as you need to get to the end of each respective cyn to access it (i'm assuming). that's already a small filter on the masses.
good luck!
jk

Evan November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

I assume this vague "accommodate future growth in our region" language about Grizzly means Alta wants to put a lift there. As a backcountry skier who enjoys a lift-free Grizzly this is of course concerning. It's great beginner terrain with good access, and is one of the best ways to access the fabled Wolverine Cirque.

Along with the Baldy tram (/sad-sigh), it's clear that Alta wants to expand and add more lift served terrain - like all resorts do. This wouldn't bother me so much if Alta had not previously put preserving Grizzly as public land on the table during the Mountain Accord process. Having it taken away again - and having Alta pretend to be a victim on top - makes it more frustrating.

Maybe Alta had not communicated very clearly to the public that their land exchange was contingent on an incredibly costly transportation solution? Or maybe that's just a convenient justification for changing their mind. I would, actually, like to see a European style train (through a tunnel, all the way to Park City!) - but my understanding is that it's way too expensive and serves too few people, and it's frankly outside the scope of this Federal Bill (which only exists because it's the only way to do the federal land exchanges). The transportation issue is a separate one from the land exchanges. I should note I do NOT approve of a "cheaper" canyon connection via ski lift. Only a train through the mountains (with low visual impact and no ski terrain impact) get's me excited.

I agree that we need a better transportation solution for LCC - and Utah has already allocated $66 million dollars of taxpayer money for this (to serve a few skiers!). But that should not make or break the CWC deal. A simple and fair dollar-for-dollar land exchange should be enough, so Alta can finally build a decent lodge/hotel, and Grizzly can be preserved for future generations of backcountry skiers.

Thanks for allowing a public place to comment, Alta.

rob trauscht November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

This is why our family canceled our passes to Alta this year. Nothing in the CWC threatens the cat skiing in Grizzly, this is all about adding a lift and cutting off accesss to even more of the central Wasatch for half the season. These plans will eliminate historic skiing features like Chad’s and Pyramid gaps and reduce access to the Wolverine cirque to the measly 4-6 weeks a year that ASL manages to open Baldy. Here’s hoping the major ski media outlets cover these attempts to eliminate the skiing that has kept ASL relevant in the last decade.

todd passey November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

I have been an Alta skier my whole life, I started skiing at Alta when I was 10 years old and have been a strong supporter of Alta ever since. I am now 48 years old, so that’s 38 years as an Alta skier. My family also skis at Alta. One of the reasons I have loved Alta is because it’s not corporate. Alta, like it’s slogan suggests is for skiers. I am a Skier and I am very alarmed by Alta’s intent to develop Grizzly Gulch an Patsy Marley Area. As a skier I also love Backcountry skiing, and Grizzly is one of the Wasatch’s most used and often safest Backcountry access points. Please understand that many of Alta’s regular patrons are also avid Backcountry skiers and that Grizzly gilt has is extremely important to us. So important that if Alta persists in this plan to develop Grizzly gultch, you will turn many of Alta’s strongest supporters into active enemies. I vow to be an outspoken activist against Alta if Grizzly Gulch is developed. I will put my time and money as well as any other means available to stop this. Please keep Alta a place for skiers and not excessive development. I welcome your response and also offer my assistance in finding a solution.

Kirsten Schiel November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

I support Alta, I have always loved the feeling of skiing at alta and the traditions that have been wonderfully preserved there. People choose to ski at alta because of those traditions. Because of the lack of change. Alta serves as a haven from the endless development and spread of other resorts all over the US. No one can argue that developing a lift in Grizzly gulch to connect Alta and Brighton, open up more land to lift service and possibly draw in more pass holders. But do we really want that influx affecting the community that alta has built? For Alta to refuse to compromise to work with the CWC because they want the ability to build a lift up Grizzly gulch is concerning to me as a back country skier because I do not want to lose access to the recreation and solitude that area offers me, but even as a skier who's first pick is Alta on a resort day, I am concerned what those changes would do to my resort. I grew up in Salt Lake skipping seminary and swim practice to brave the canyon in my jetta and ski laps on my own. Through the years of living in Logan for college, the years in New Zealand after that and returning home to SLC there is a comfort in the continuity of Alta's community. I am not the only skier who feels it, I am not the only skier who stays loyal to Alta because Alta feels loyal to me by maintaining their character and simplicity. I think Alta's biggest mistake in this whole process is that they believe they have to develop to compete when in reality they have to stay constant to out-compete the resorts buying selling and trading to be more like Vail. We ski alta because we fucking hate Vail.
We think greed when we hear the word Vail. When we hear Alta we think family, community, environment, tradition. Or at least we used to. Don't ruin that for us now.

J Todd Anderson November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

As a 5 year old, I had my first day skiing at Alta 51 years ago. I am so dissapointed in the approach you have taken with Grizzly Gulch. I have skied my last day at Alta, until you demonstrate through your actions that you really want to preserve our Canyons for future generations. And I would encourage others to do the same. It was always my favortie place to take my out of town friends to show them a more natural/home town ski experience. Other resorts have demonstrated the they would prefer to have this business, and my patronage.

Nic November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

Alta has one goal, to increase profits by monopolizing the upper LCC and limiting access to the local population. The fact that they continue to pursue expanding into Grizzly Gulch despite the overwhelming opposition from the local people, highlights this. They do not care about your "experience", nor do they care about the people of Utah. What I don't understand is why Alta ski pass holders continue to support these actions. Shame on you Alta!

Conor November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

Grizzly Gulch should be maintained as a resource for backcountry skiers. As lift access terrain it would provide a trivial amount of additional worthwhile skiing and take away from the experience of a core group of alta skiers who enjoy alta and the surrounding backcountry.

Phyllis November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

I have skied Alta since I moved here in 1964. I am sentimental about the days of Alf Engen, Harold Goodro, and Neff and Shirley Walker at the Watson Shelter. I have enjoyed the area's expansion with the Sugarloaf Lift and Point Supreme, and nice modern restaurants. But there is a time to stop. As you acknowledge, transportation in LCC is a huge problem, but this is nothing new. Stakeholders have been working on this for years and considerable money has been allocated for this purpose. I would suggest that the issue needs to be solved before ANY area considers trying to bring in more skiers. Then there is the issue of water. There is a limit on how many people the water supply can accommodate. In recent years, snowpack has not been reliable and climate change could seriously limit the snowpack that is the water supply for Salt Lake City.

Alta, you should have stayed in the CWC. Make no mistake, we know that YOU were the ones to withdraw because you changed your mind about Grizzly Gulch. The special interest groups you accuse of swaying the CWC are ski areas, public land managers, watershed managers, wildlife biologists, elected officials, land owners, educators, transportation and transit leaders, and local governments. Don't try to make it sound like something sinister.

If you are serious about preserving the "Alta Experience" that sets it apart from other ski areas, then leave it alone! Keep the hometown feel of intimacy and community. Little Cottonwood Canyon is a small and fragile canyon. It cannot support unlimited expansion. And putting more skiers on already crowded slopes works against the "Alta Experience." Opening up Grizzly Gulch to lift skiing might be a marketing tool if money is the only consideration, but it would destroy the backcountry skiing that makes the gulch so special. The same goes for any thoughts of putting a lift on Mt. Baldy.

If all you care about is creating an enormous ski area with lift towers on every hill in sight, then go work for Vail. Please preserve Alta for the special area that it is.

Peter S Lenz November 29, 2018 Reply to Post

I have been an Alta skier for years, but this relationship is coming to an end.
I do not support a tunnel or gondola connecting the Cottonwood Canyons.
I do not support expansion of lift serviced skiing into Grizzly Gulch.
This is nothing but crass commercialism, and is not consistent with the ideals
common to the Alta skiers and staff I once knew. I will never ski at Alta again unless and until these rapacious plans are totally discarded and disavowed by Alta Ski Lifts, Inc. I will advise all my friends to boycott your ski resort until moral leadership returns to Alta.

Ross Miller November 30, 2018 Reply to Post

Mike,
You misrepresent your plans to develop Grizzly Gulch. The skiing at experience at Alta is not limited to the lifts and we do not want a chair in Grizzly. Many of us are disappointed in you Alta Ski Area.

-Ross, SLC.

John O. Johnson November 30, 2018 Reply to Post

Dear Central Wasatch Commission

You have asked for comments on the proposed legislation for the Wasatch Mountains.
I have been part of the negotiations for many years including conversations between government organizations, ski resorts, non-profits, and private land owners.
As you know each of those entities has their own priorities and needs and the negotiations have been difficult and heart rendering. It has generally been agreed to accommodate the need for balance between the different stakeholders. More directly, everyone gets to share in the gain and share in the pain. We all get to receive something and in exchange we all need to give some something of equal value.
To name a few priorities most of us agree there needs to be better transportation solutions, strong watershed protection, economic viability for ski resorts and other business, conservation protection, protection for backcountry use, fixed ski resort boundaries, protection for private land owners, etc.
Most of the stakeholders have been willing to give up something in exchange for getting something in return. For example: Snowbird ski resort is willing to support more wilderness and give up private land outside their boundaries in exchange for consolidation of private land at their base.
Alta ski resort is the only stakeholder not willing to exchange something of real value in exchange for what they want to receive. They want a lot of land to develop a base, more water for snow making, and an improved expensive transportation system. They have only put on the table things of very little value. They want all the gain and no pain.
Under no condition should the forest Service or this agreement trade to Alta Ski Resort the 20 or so acres the forest service owns at the base of Grizzly Gulch.
Salt Lake City Public Utilities and most stakeholders agree wilderness is the best way to protect our watershed. More wilderness is essential for watershed protection and protecting the Wasatch Mountains and canyons.
Salt Lake County has done 2 creditable surveys over the past dozen years and 90% of Salt Lake County citizens have clearly stated they want no move development in the Wasatch. Please honor their request.
In exchange for significant gains the ski resorts must also agree to no further expansion of their resort boundaries.
Additional wilderness must also include all of White Pine. White Pine offers very little to Mt. bikers and will greatly help protect the watershed in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
This conversation between all stakeholders has been going on for many years. Please make sure all stakeholders give up something of equal value in exchange for receiving something.
Thank you for all your effort.

Sincerely
John O. Johnson

Kris December 12, 2018 Reply to Post

Spot on, John!

Eddie Stevens November 30, 2018 Reply to Post

I seriously doubt that any Alta skier wants a lift up Grizzly, a connection to BCC, or a tram up baldy. Obviously there are concerns about crowding in the canyon, but that should be addressed by UDOT in terms of more lanes in LCC and more parking. Please do not treat this like Vail would, think about the local community and not your bank account. It is hard to imagine buying a pass somewhere else, but as others have said, I will leave Alta and become a vocal opponent if these developments are pursued.

Spencer Parkin November 30, 2018 Reply to Post

There's not much I can say beyond what has already been said, but I would like to add my voice in expressing the strong opinion that Grizzly Gulch should remain free and accessible to back-country users. Season pass prices and lift ticket prices are going up year after year, pushing more people like me into the back-country. Why is skiing getting so expensive? Higher demand? Greed? At some point, we need to stop accommodating the demand, and keep the cost down, even if it means limiting the number of season passes sold per season, or the number of lift tickets per day. In other words, this will mean turning some people away (contrary to the nature of a business owner), but there are still plenty of ski days in the season for everyone to have a chance to ski at Alta on multiple occasions. Is Alta making a profit every year or are they struggling to make ends meet? If they're doing fine, then why can't they be content to live on what they make and just enjoy the protection they claim to provide for the ski-land they manage?

James Thompson December 1, 2018 Reply to Post

Shame on you Alta!! For many years you were the leader of Utah's Ski Resorts as being the most conservation-minded. But not now--because you've become the worst. I for one will not be skiing at Alta this year, and I intend to tell everyone I know to boycott your resort to do likewise.

Mark Levin December 1, 2018 Reply to Post

Gee..worth all the people below who say they are cancelling theis season pass and will never ski Alta again, I guess we'll have shorter lines at the lift.

Seriously, get real. Only a miniscule percentage of the public does backcountry skiing and there is a whole mountain range to do it in. And, it's not really "backcountry" skiing if you are within a mile or two of a ski area. It's time to interconnect, and expand, the ski areas !

Santiago December 1, 2018 Reply to Post

I’m opposed to any ski area expansion such as a lift up Grizzly Gulch or an interconnect tunnel. Larger resort just means more traffic.

Brooks Black December 1, 2018 Reply to Post

Alta has a lot more terrain than parking. Grizzly gulch is absolutely vital to the backcountry skiing community. Keep your snowcat operations but if you don't want people to fight you tooth and nail give up the possibility of grizzly gulch expansion. Future generations my ass skier days in the backcountry are increasing far faster than Alta days are. Most Backcountry ski areas are also Alta skiers. If you really want to expand why not go south behind supreme?

Powder Bird December 3, 2018 Reply to Post

I hope Alta will make sure that none of the people who say they have skiied their last day at Alta are inline on the next powder day. Seems like if they can all stay true to their word, traffic up the canyon and lines at the resort will take care of themselves; and all without a legislation or spending a dollar. Nicely done Alta!

Matt Steward December 2, 2018 Reply to Post

Off topic but huge props to the ASP for delivering a solid Alta Ski Experience to the locals since opening this year. Getting the terrain open to get the locals skiing powder this time of year is greatly appreciated. Aside from the obvious snow safety work I saw so many patrollers working very hard to get the traverses open. Thank you!!

Spencer Parkin December 2, 2018 Reply to Post

There's so much negativity and hatefulness on the internet as shown by some of the comments, that I wanted to add that, although I'm not in favor of Grizzly Gulch being developed, I wouldn't hate Alta, nor stop going to Alta, if they did develop it; and doing so, if they did, would certainly be within their rights. I would ride the lifts into Grizzly Gulch and enjoy lift service there. There are plenty of other places to back-country ski. That said, we don't need a lift up every mountain, and a connection to BCC's head probably wouldn't help the traffic problem.

David R. Smith December 3, 2018 Reply to Post

Like many other folks, I (and my family) have been skiing at Alta for years. As we've gotten older, we do most of our skiing by riding the lifts--but did a lot of backcountry skiing (we used to call it touring) in the past. We don't feel that a tram up Baldy or a lift(s) in Grizzly Gulch will enhance the "Alta" experience--but only detract from it! We would urge Alta management to focus on keeping Alta the great place to ski that it has always been by continuing their commitment to offering quality skiing and not trying to expand into Grizzly--continue to offer cat skiing there (if you wish), but don't build lifts there! Install Gazex devices (if necessary) to control avalanches on Baldy, but don't desecrate it with a tram!

Thanks for having run such a great ski area for so many years!

Fred Grimmer December 3, 2018 Reply to Post

Backcountry access to Grizzly Gulch is part of the Alta experience. Grizzly Gulch is a safe haven for many skiers when the avalanche risk is elevated, sometimes the only safe approach to Silver and Days Fork. Closing Grizzly Gulch to Backcountry access will limit the very few safe options available on high risk days and I think the public will see an uptick in mortality/morbidity.

Jerry Garwick December 4, 2018 Reply to Post

I have always supported Alta for skiers only and will hopefully come back for the next 45 years (God willing)

Edward Mitchell December 4, 2018 Reply to Post

There are many reasons to be concerned about Alta Ski Lifts and it's quasi-environmentalism, but experience has shown that you need to "follow the money" to really understand what's going on.

For example the Shrontz estate supposedly had a plan to develop a massive lodge on the Patsy Marley slope; they've been stymied thus far, but they seem hell bent on pushing it through. AND they are significant Alta Ski Lift shareholders. So does ASL represent just the skiing component of the resort or are there threads entangled into private development that the public should know about?

If Alta Ski Lifts is to be credible, they need to disclose who owns what shares of the business and who if any of these same owners have any vested interests in lands in GG, Patsy Marley, etc., etc.

Alta is too important a public resource to be left to the hands of private interests. ASL: disclose you're ownership and their Alta private land holdings in full or you'll not be taken seriously in the future when attempting to enlist public support for what may well turn out to be very narrow private interests instead of public interests.

Adam de Havenon December 6, 2018 Reply to Post

This seems contrary to the stated objectives of Alta, which will be the target of widespread ire from a diverse and large portion of the ski community. I never thought of Alta as a soulless corporation, but as so many things in the US, they have turned into a boardroom beast of profit. Way to go, ruining your legacy.

Kris December 12, 2018 Reply to Post

This is a smokescreen. Alta wants Grizzly Gulch so it can connect to Solitude. All signs point to Alta trying to make itself attractive to a buyer, like Alterra who owns Solitude. Consider:
- Alta has turned down swapping Grizzly Gulch for land around it's base of operations that could be used for parking, hotel rooms and other amenities that would make money for Alta.
- The skiing in Grizzly Gulch is not very good.
- Alta makes very little money from snowcat skiing.
- Resort skiing is flat or only slowly growing.
- There has been a lot of consolation (ski resorts being bought) the last few years, so it's a good time to sell.
The recent actions and attitudes of Alta management are the opposite of preserving the Alta skier experience. Alta management is spinning a tale to pacify the Alta believers so they won't take their ski dollars elsewhere. Folks, you're being bamboozled.

Sean Menk December 13, 2018 Reply to Post

This comment is spot on. Well said.

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