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Coalition is forming to support SkiLink proposal

Published April 25, 2012 12:28 pm

Ski industry • Business, government officials see gondola as golden opportunity.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Twenty Utah business and government leaders are uniting to support Talisker Inc.'s controversial proposal to connect its Canyons Resort outside of Park City with Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon via a gondola called SkiLink.

A news conference has been set for 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce to discuss the "Lift Utah Coalition." Its members see SkiLink as "an important first-step opportunity to demonstrate that connecting ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains via a gondola can be done in an economically and environmentally responsible manner," according to a release.

Co-chairmen of the coalition will be Salt Lake Chamber President and Chief Executive Lane Beattie, Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan and former Salt Lake City Mayor and U.S. Sen. Jake Garn.

Salt Lake City officials are concerned about SkiLink, and other proposed developments in the Cottonwood canyons, because of potential effects on watersheds critical to the water supply of the city and residents along the Salt Lake Valley's east bench.

The conservation organization Save Our Canyons and advocates of backcountry recreation also object to SkiLink, which is being pushed by Republican members of Utah's congressional delegation.

Those lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Forest Service to sell a parcel of land in Big Cottonwood to Talisker, at fair market value, so that the Canadian company has only private property to deal with in extending a gondola from Canyons to Solitude.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribmikeg