Alta Ski Area wants to take the curve out of Corkscrew and the cat track out of Alf’s High Rustler this summer.
The earth-moving project is one of three involving ski resorts — along with four trail-improvement proposals — that are being considered for approval by the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Preliminary analysis by the forest’s Salt Lake Ranger District has determined the projects do not have enough impact to warrant a detailed environmental analysis.
But before giving final approval, District Ranger Cathy Kahlow is accepting public comments on the projects through Feb. 28.
In their application, Alta officials said the intermediate hill coming off Wildcat and Collins lifts hits a chokepoint in Corkscrew, which has twists as the name suggests and a pitch that increases from 28 percent to 38 percent.
So Alta would like to regrade the large mine waste-dump that forms Corkscrew’s inner wall and separates it from Nina’s Curve, said Forest Service ranger Steve Scheid.
The result is designed to make both Corkscrew and Nina’s more friendly for intermediates, he added, increasing the flow of downhill skier traffic and eliminating the need for a cat track to cut across the lower third of Alf’s High Rustler to provide an easier way to the bottom.
And, Scheid added, it would “improve skiing on High Rustler for experts.”
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort has two proposed summer projects.
The first would add more mountain biking trails for expert and advanced riders in the resort’s Gad Valley. Snowbird wants to add about 3 miles of spurs off of the Gad Valley XC Trail to give more-elite riders extra challenges and thrills. These spurts would be 4 feet wide, with grades of 10 to 12 percent, Scheid said.
“To minimize the risk of less-skilled riders inadvertently taking the downhill routes,” he added, Snowbird will put warning signs on the ground and on trail maps. All bike renters also will be instructed to stay on the proper trail.
Snowbird’s second project involves reassembling a building that used to house part of the Gad 2 lift replaced this past season. The resort wants to rebuild the structure in a spot called Matrimony Flats, the staging area for Snowbird’s trail-grooming equipment.
Four trail improvement projects are up for comment.
One would shore up the base of two rock-climbing areas in Big Cottonwood Canyon (one at “The Pile,” just above the ‘S’ curve, the other near Dogwood picnic site) to reduce sedimentation entering the creek.
The other three involve short sections of trail in Lambs Canyon, in Big Cottonwood Canyon near the junction of the Mill D trails to Dog and Desolation lakes, and in upper Millcreek Canyon off the Great Western Trail.
Public comments on the U.S. Forest Service’s list of proposed small summer projects may be sent:
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By phone at 801-733-2660
By fax to 801-733-2684
Or hand-delivered to the Salt Lake Ranger District, 6944 S. 3000 East, Cottonwood Heights.