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Connecting 7 Wasatch Ski Areas in Utah: Could it Really Work?

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The big news out of Utah just keeps coming, this time with Ski Utah's announcement of One Wasatch, an idea to connect seven of the state's best ski areas on a single lift ticket. For decades, Utah skiers have thrown around the idea of connecting Alta, Brighton, the Canyons, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Snowbird, and Solitude. But this is the first time that Ski Utah and all of the included ski areas are on board. If it happens, One Wasatch would rival European resorts in size and scale, with 18,000 acres and 100 chairlifts. We break down what the proposal means, it's potential problems, and ask, what do you think?

Despite a video (see below) that shows officials from all 7 resorts on board, One Wasatch is quick to say that they are "a concept, not a plan. At this time, resort partners have no specific execution timelines or chairlift alignments. The goal of ONE Wasatch is to establish a vision for a one-of-a-kind mountain experience by providing information, outlining the process, encouraging dialog and listening to feedback."

So what would need to happen? In terms of physically connecting the resorts, not that much, actually.

1. Connect Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.
2. Connect Big Cottonwood to Park City.
3. Connect PCMR and Canyons Resort.
4. Drop the rope between Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort.

One Wasatch claims that all seven central Wasatch ski areas could be connected with as few as six chairlifts and as little as 1,000 new acres. All three connections would be made on 100% private land, and the lifts would be 100% privately funded by the resorts who operate them. Initial estimates are less than $30 million for all three connections, which is a steal to get 18,000 connected acres.

But beyond the logistics, Curbed Ski anticipates a few problems. What about the fact that Deer Valley and Alta don't allow snowboarding? Will One Wasatch only be available to skiers? And how does Vail Resorts' obvious interest in Park City Mountain Resort (and other Utah ski areas) effect plans? Vail has a history of opting out of ski associations, like when the ski industry giant withdrew its membership from Colorado Ski Country USA way back in 2008.

Finally, there are plenty of practical concerns, like what happens if a family staying at Deer Valley finishes the day at Alta. How do they make the 42 mile, hour long trek back to Park City? And how much is a One Wasatch lift ticket going to cost? Finally, will there be a One Wasatch season pass, because if so, sign us up!

And of course there are the environmental, water, and land concerns. All that will take a while to sort through.

Problems aside, One Wasatch sounds like a pretty epic idea to bring European-style skiing to the United States. What do you think Curbediverse? Let us know in the comments.

Video from One Wasatch:

· One Wasatch [Official Site]
· One Wasatch concept would connect seven Utah ski areas in an 18,000-acre, 100-lift resort complex [Denver Post]
· Snowboarders Sue Alta Ski Area, the Internet Freaks Out [Curbed Ski]
· PCMR vs. Talisker archives [Curbed Ski]