Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alta Explores New Lift on Flagstaff

KCPW public radio in Salt Lake City broke the story yesterday that Alta Ski Resort is exploring the option of putting a lift up the very popular Flagstaff Mountain which is across the street to the north from the current Wildcat lot.

Currently a very popular backcountry skiing destination and somewhat of a right of passage for those seeking to access the immediate backcountry here in the Wasatch, the ridge up Flagstaff could at some point in the near future be void of the many switchbacks from ascending skiers and in it's place rope lines and moguls. Not to mention an access road which would likely need to ascend to the peak.

Flagstaff Mountain - Looks good no? (I'm standing on the road taking this picture)

It was THIS good!

It's not that this terrain is so impressive, which is really isn't comparatively speaking. That's not to say I personally haven't enjoyed many a powder run on it's south facing aspect where a proposed lift would go.

It's that this route is likely the 2nd or 3rd most popular backcountry skin track in the Wasatch which accesses prime north facing aspects like Days, Main Days, Holy Toledo, Toledo Bowl, Jaws, and Silver Fork to name a few in the immediate vicinity.

Citing concerns of avalanche control in lieu of Homeland Security wanting to be rid of avalanche guns that launch artillery into the snowpack, this lift would not really give the resort that much advantage from a terrain stand point but as long time local backcountry skier and Athlete Andrew McClean states,
" would be very devastating for the backcountry skiers."
I would agree entirely.

As you can imagine the message boards have lit up with nearly 10 pages at and 7 pages deep with comments on

I imagine there will come a time for some public opinion. I hope that the backcountry skiers both in Utah and from all around who understand how this lift could detrimentally affect the already crowded Wasatch wouldn't wait until that time arrives. - Alta contact us

--all images taken by Kendall Card are of or on the south face of Flagstaff




Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few people have asked me what can be done to prevent a lift from being built up Flagstaff. I think the best thing to do right now is to write a letter to Onno Wieringa, Alta Ski Area, PO Box 8007, Alta, UT 84092 U.S.A.

Doesn't need to be long or scholarly.

Just let Onno know what your concerns are about the proposed lift - whether that be loss of the Flagstaff-Grizzly bc area, increased traffic from the lift to Silver, Days and Cardiff, immediate visual or other impacts of the lift itself, or reasonably forseeable developments that will follow that lift's construction. The long-term cumulative impacts of this lift on the watershed, backcountry skiing, and development in upper LCC need to be studied very carefully before any construction is done. Input from the USFS, Town of Alta, SLC public utilities, and Salt Lake County should be gathered.

Once you've done that, consider sending a copy to the USFS. They own some of the land that would be affected by traffic from the lift, and they have a stake in Alta Resort's long term planning, which would obviously be affected by this lift.

Let me know if you send a letter. Thanks,
David Witherspoon

6/13/2008 12:51 PM

Blogger powstash said...

Thanks for the comment David! I appreciate the info you've supplied here.

6/15/2008 6:35 PM


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