SkiLink is a program that aims to combine two resorts in Utah by developing a gondola system connecting Solitude ski resort to Canyons ski resort. Supporters (of which there are not too many but of the four companies two are the resorts involved and one is a lift company) rattle off reasons such as ease of use to ski them both in one day, and no longer having to burn to day passes and fuel to hit them both up if you wanted to ski both in one day. I tried to find more, but to be honest the SkiLink site seems more like a poorly run political campaign where the politician doesn't have any real strength or passion behind their idea…almost like they want such and such to be passed because perhaps they have some back end deal in the works.
Now on the other side we have Stop SkiLink, and, well, er, before I go any farther I need to say that I am falling on the side of the Stop group….so yeah this is going to be biased as hell. Now where was I? Oh yeah the supporters of the Stop SkiLink are not only outdoor industry heavy hitters…ever heard of Black Diamond, Petzl, POC, Gregory, Mountain Hardwear, DPS skis….and yeah the list goes on and on and on. If you look at this side of the fence the main argument can be summed up as "Why do we need this?". Seriously that's it, all these folks are really asking is for proof that this makes any kind of sense to anyone other than Canadian developer Talisker who describes themselves as "Talisker is a luxury real estate, recreation and hospitality company, dedicated to offering exceptional alpine and golf lifestyles". Oh yeah and the properties in the new development range would start at $1,000,000…JUST FOR THE LAND…the homes would start at $4.45M and head up to over $26M. But yeah that's not elitist at all, it's all about the community as a whole.
Sure Stop SkiLink also brings up environmental studies and the facts surrounding where the money would go and what the selling off of land which the USFS owns (and yes the USFS is opposed to SkiLink as well) would mean when the big money and international real estate developers get involved. After all we have all seen what happens when the development train start rolling. Concrete cancer and mindless amounts of waste, empty buildings, and over priced gated elitist communities.
As a guy who prefers escaping into the wilds deep enough to escape the slightest hint of civilization which seems damn near impossible if you simply look skyward and you'll quickly be reminded at how difficult this can be. Now imagine "earning your turns" by skinning to a great stash only to see a gondola creaking overhead and dropping folks right on top of your hard earned powder stash, of course this would not be before they stop by the summit McDonalds for their instant gratification heart attack. Man this pisses me off! (No fast food chains have been suggested by either side…but a Starbucks…no, I'm kidding…I hope).
So for me to think that big money is going to sweep in and not only adversely impact a watershed, a habitat for multitudes of flora and fauna, build more roads and infrastructure all towards the end of making a profit for a few enrages me and lessens my ability to hold my tongue.
Hell Ed Abbey is no doubt working diligently to dig out from his grave in the desert to start monkey wrenching again. Please heck out both sides and support the one you think makes the most sense, logically, ecologically, and sustainably. My vote is pretty obvious I think.