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"We’ll bring a slice of that here," Rafferty said.
Alta GM Onno Wieringa said industry officials have been prodded by a series of Utah governors to interconnect the resorts, but conditions were never right.
Quipped Utah ski historian Mike Korologos: "You couldn’t get resort operators to talk to each other at a cocktail party in the [old] days, let alone agree on a master concept."
Times have changed, Wieringa noted, adding "we always said [interconnect] will happen when it makes sense between the ski areas."
It does now, agreed Brighton’s Randy Doyle. "Get this thing done," he said, and give visitors a chance to "savor the flavor of each resort. It will just be a dang lot of fun."
But it’s not in the eyes of the many conservationists and backcountry skiers who are dead set against resort expansion and see this as just another way for the ski areas to extend their reach over the central Wasatch Front.
He dismissed assurances of environmental sensitivity as a "talking point" that ignores the reality that "any time you build a lift or anything in the watershed there are impacts."
Fisher also concurred with the Backcountry Alliance’s Kent that compromises were made years ago giving the resorts the best ski terrain in the mountaintops, and that conservationists and backcountry skiers are simply trying to hold onto terrain that is rightfully theirs.
"Our members believe the current balance between opportunities for resort and backcountry skiing is a crucial component of Utah’s attraction as a winter-recreation mecca and that this balance must be protected," Kent said in a prepared statement.
He also released a letter sent last Thursday to Gov. Gary Herbert by almost 200 Outdoor Retailer trade show participants, asking Herbert to ensure that interconnect plans be considered as part of a larger study, such as the Mountain Accord, which is analyzing the future of the central Wasatch Front.
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