Mega ski resort plan has potential in Utah

ski resort

Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah is one of seven ski areas that would be linked by ONE Wasatch. Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Rumors have been swirling over an interconnected mega ski resort in Utah for years, but a Ski Utah press conference Wednesday was the first major power move by a united organization. In the conference, the group announced ONE Wasatch, an idea to connect seven of Utah's major mountains—Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Canyons, Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird—with added lifts and terrain, emulating European resorts throughout the Alps. The resulting mega resort would be connected under one lift ticket and would feature 18,000 skiable acres of terrain and close to 100 chairlifts—more than three times larger than Montana’s Big Sky, the biggest resort in North America.

An early glimpse at what could be the future of Utah skiing as we know it; photo courtesy of Ski Utah.

An early glimpse at what could be the future of Utah skiing as we know it; photo courtesy Ski Utah

A video with all seven resorts vowing their allegiance to the project was released Wednesday as well, but Ski Utah was clear to point out that there has been no official action taken.

"[ONE Wasatch] is a concept, not a plan," said Ski Utah in their press release. "At this time, resort partners have no specific execution timelines or chairlift assignments."

The release goes on to say that the purpose of creating ONE Wasatch is to start a meaningful dialogue rather than undertake specific action. Still, the announcement makes skiers and snowboarders wonder: How far off could this project be?

One potential hang-up is that Deer Valley and Alta don't currently allow snowboarding, making it very difficult for riders to connect from Little Cottonwood to Big Cottonwood and then on to Park City.  Another potential obstacle is that it could be really easy (and really unfortunate) to get stuck at the wrong mountain when lifts closed. Alta is about 40 miles to Park City by car, making for a long bus or cab ride for anyone who misses their connection.

Logistically, however, the seven-mountain resort is feasible. All of the connecting points are on private land that can be purchased without dealing with government interests—a huge plus for developers. In all, the connector would add only about 1,000 acres and 16 new chairlifts, according to website Curbed Ski. That's not a lot in the whole 18,000-acre scheme of things.

Still, an official plan seems to be a ways off, though maybe not as far off as initially thought. Who knows? We could be skiing DeerCanyonSolBrighTaBird sooner than we think.

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