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Opinion: What we haven’t considered about a gondola up Little Cottonwood Canyon

Little Cottonwood Canyon has a winter capacity issue on powder days. What would we do with a gondola the rest of the year?

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A green sign reading “Gondola Works” stands at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

A Gondola Works sign is pictured near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Cottonwood Heights on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Gondola Works is a coalition of stakeholders, canyon users and businesses that supports a high-capacity gondola in the canyon. The Utah Department of Transportation is currently weighing the feasibility of two options to reduce traffic in the canyon: an 8-mile gondola that would take the public to Snowbird or Alta, or an enhanced bus system with a widened road.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

I speak to you from the common folk who work hard and play hard in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC). Call me Bruce. I am well known, and I go up and down the canyon every day. I am not rich, judging by my vehicle and ski gear, and I do not share the values that would spend $592 million for a problem that occurs only a few wintery days a year. 

Exaggeration and greedy hype have gotten us monstrously overcomplicated options. I don’t support the wasteful spending to put an eyesore of a gondola in the Wasatch.

In the spring, summer and fall there is no need for a gondola. UTA doesn’t run buses year round in LCC. Did you know that? Will the gondola stand idle most of the year?

It’s not a transport issue.

It’s a winter capacity issue. LCC is at capacity on every powder day now, not just weekends. COVID-19 and the updated parking rules at Alta and Snowbird have been the experiment we always needed. The results — long bus lines and bad drivers with poorly maintained vehicles — are the problems to work on.

Please tell your elected officials that we have bigger problems than one canyon’s traffic on 3-5 days per year. For example, the drought.

Utah needs to run a trim budget during inflationary times, especially on megaprojects that will inevitably exceed cost projections. Please do not waste money on one beautiful and special canyon that will be forever changed and scarred with a gondola or avalanche tubes on the road.

Matt Bouis (Bruce)