Snowbird Ski Resort has been making headlines lately, opening a brand new 23,000-sqaure-foot lodge at the top of Hidden Peak as part of the resort's recent $35 million capital investment project. And the ski area doesn't look to be slowing down. Snowbird announced this past week that they want to build two new ski lifts and a zip line on land they own in Mary Ellen Gulch. Expansion into Mary Ellen Gulch, which is in the American Fork Canyon, has long been a controversial issue for the ski area, with some arguing that future development will be detrimental to the environment.
Snowbird president Bob Bonar confirmed that plans are moving forward on Snowbird's proposal to develop skiing and other amenities in upper Mary Ellen Gulch. The move would likely add hundreds of acres of skiing to the resort's current 2,500 acres. Right now, the ski area has said it would like to build two new chairlifts and a zipline, but Bonar reiterated that Snowbird would not build hotels or condos on its land in the canyon. Bonar stated that, "The proposal does not include any potential lift connection with lower American Fork Canyon creating a second access to the resort from Utah County." It's also not confirmed yet whether the new lifts will be a gondola or a chair lift.
In order to begin construction, Snowbird must receive approval from the Utah County Board of Adjustments and a hearing was held last Thursday. According to Bonar, if the project is approved, this would be the first improvements in Mineral Basin and Mary Ellen Gulch since 1999.
· Snowbird announces expansion plans in Mary Ellen Gulch [Herald Extra]
· Snowbird asks to expand [First Tracks]