The Salt Lake Chamber has a long history of support for the Utah ski industry. This support started in the 1930s when business leaders raised $10,000 to build the nation’s second chair lift at Alta, Utah. That initial investment has paid off and today the Utah ski industry contributes$1.2 billion to the Utah economy. The Salt Lake Chamber was also pleased to help Salt Lake secure and succeed in hosting exceptional 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Our commitment to promoting Utah as a winter sports capital continues today.
Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie has been asked to co-chair a coalition seeking to connect the ski resorts in Summit and Salt Lake Counties. Ski resort connectivity in the Wasatch Mountains has been studied for over 30 years and has the potential to create a unique ski experience unmatched by any in North America. The challenge is to connect the resorts in a manner that advances Utah’s ski industry and protects the natural amenities, including wildlife and the watershed, that are so important to our long-term prosperity and quality of life.
The Salt Lake Chamber supports the SkiLink proposal so long as it meets several well-defined criteria.
First, SkiLink must be a net positive for the environment. The Salt Lake Chamber and our members care deeply about the Wasatch Mountains. They are paramount to the Greater Salt Lake area’s watershed and natural beauty. We depend on them for recreation and solace. We also value clean air. The Salt Lake Chamber will not support any actions in the Wasatch Canyons that detract from these values.
Second, SkiLink must pass a rigorous local process that covers land use, water quality, wildlife and other related environmental matters. Much of the lands in question are in the public domain. Extensive local review by Summit and Salt Lake County, including public hearings, must occur.
Third, SkiLink must be considered along with other viable transportation options to enhance ski resort connectivity. As a community we will get one chance to do this right. We must consider a variety of sound ideas of how to do this correctly.
It is right that community leaders convene to consider options for ski resort connectivity. The Salt Lake Chamber will do its part in finding common ground for the common good so that we can connect selected ski areas in an economically and environmentally responsible manner.