Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ONE Wasatch concept?
ONE Wasatch is a long-discussed idea of connecting the seven central Wasatch ski areas using chairlifts and a network of ski runs. It would create North America’s largest ski circuit offering 18,000+ acres of terrain and over 100 lifts all on one lift ticket.
Why call ONE Wasatch a “concept?”
While all seven ski areas are committed to the idea, none of them have immediate plans to initiate their portion of the project at this time. Even without imminent plans, this commitment represents a significant step towards the overall goal of a connected Wasatch.
Who is behind the ONE Wasatch effort?
ONE Wasatch is a cooperative effort between the seven central Wasatch ski areas (Alta, Brighton, Canyons, Deer Valley, Park City, Snowbird & Solitude). As the association representing Utah’s ski areas, Ski Utah is helping to facilitate promotion of the concept.
Does ONE Wasatch circumvent the Mountain Accord process which is already underway?
No. If anything, it makes the Mountain Accord process more important than ever. Utah’s ski industry has and will continue to be dutifully involved in every aspect of Mountain Accord. With the ONE Wasatch concept on the table, all Mountain Accord participants will have a clear view of the ski industry’s vision of the future.
What’s the appeal for skiers and riders?
Bigger isn’t always better, but more options is always a good thing. It’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Seven resorts on one lift ticket allows for an amazing array of options.
Would ONE Wasatch be a good thing for Utah’s ski industry?
It’s all about differentiating Utah from the competition and offering more. Connecting Utah’s central Wasatch ski areas would create the largest contiguous ski circuit in North America offering unparalleled access to seven unique ski experiences.
This idea has been batted around for 30 years. Why is now the time to connect our resorts?
Utah skier days have increased dramatically since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games (from approximately 3 million skier days to consistently over 4 million per year). Connecting the resorts would both efficiently expand the capacity of Utah’s ski areas while creating a significant marketing advantage over other ski destinations.
If this concept is so great why hasn’t it happened sooner?
It’s a big commitment that takes thoughtful planning to be done right. In addition, planning, approvals and funding for each of these connections is substantial.
This concept seems like a lot of work. The ski industry is doing well already. Is this worth all the hassle?
In a word: yes. The potential benefits to Utah’s ski and overall tourism industries are significant. The term “game changer” is often overused but in this case it may be appropriate. Utah has the opportunity to offer a ski experience unlike any other in North America.
If not in North America, where can you find a similar ski experience?
A handful of ski areas in North America are connected, but on a scale nowhere near that of ONE Wasatch. The only real comparisons are found in the European Alps. Think Trois Vallees in France (Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens) or the Arlberg region of Austria (St Anton, Lech, Zurs, Stuben and St. Christoph).
What would a day skiing in the Wasatch look like if these resorts were connected?
Connecting Utah’s central Wasatch ski areas only adds options to the great ski experiences we already enjoy while making parking and getting into the mountains more efficient.
How would skiers pay to access multiple resorts?
Any talk about pricing is premature. To be sure, the concept wouldn’t be worth pursuing if it priced out the majority of the skiing public. Current wireless lift ticket technology is already available at many of these resorts which could offer some incredibly flexible options.
How does resort connection work in Europe? Would it work the same here in Utah?
The goal is to learn from a tried and true European model while maintaining the best that Utah has to offer. Typically a lift ticket at one of the European ski circuits offers access to several resorts and literally hundreds of lifts. In some cases it also acts as your ticket for public transportation (bus/train) or even your room key. A seamless and efficient ski experience is the result.
What benefits have other ski circuits in Europe experienced?
Places like Trois Vallees in France and the Arlberg region of Austria are known worldwide for their quality ski experience stemming from options and efficiency. A concept like ONE Wasatch would truly transform the sport of skiing in both Utah and the United States.
How many new lifts would be needed?
All seven central Wasatch ski areas could be connected with as few as six chairlifts.
How much new terrain would be needed to make all these connections possible?
As little as 1,000 acres.
Who owns the land where the connections are proposed?
All three connections can be made on 100% private land.
Who pays for the new lifts?
The lifts would be 100% privately funded by the resorts who operate them.
What would be the total cost for a project like this?
Initial estimates are less than $30 million total for all three connections.
How long would it take to install?
All three connections could be completed in a typical summer construction window.
What’s the timeline for a project like this?
At this point these connections are in concept-form only.
How would ONE Wasatch affect the watershed?
Since the Wasatch Mountain Club built a rope tow at what is now Brighton Resort in 1944, Utah ski areas have been thoughtful and responsible stewards of Salt Lake City’s watershed for almost 80 years. Any ski area improvements including new chairlift construction would be subject to the necessary approval process and public comment to ensure any and all commitments to watershed preservation remain in tact.
Are there development plans other than the ski lifts/runs needed to make the connections?
No. Development of anything other than chairlifts and runs is not part of the ONE Wasatch concept.
How would ONE Wasatch affect backcountry ski terrain?
The Utah ski areas recognize that easily accessible, high-quality backcountry skiing is a valuable resource to both locals and destination guests looking for a non-resort experience – a priceless asset on many levels. Thoughtful planning to preserve that unique aspect of the Wasatch is not lost on resort operators. Utah ski areas are committed to working with the rapidly growing backcountry community to come up with the best possible solution in creating a seven-area connection while preserving backcountry terrain.
How would this affect traffic in and around resorts?
ONE Wasatch is a ski experience, not a transportation solution. However, there may be some efficiencies created from being able to access multiple resorts from varied locations.
Would ONE Wasatch be available to both skiers and snowboarders?
Both Alta and Deer Valley are currently skier-only resorts. Like any privately owned business, the guest experience each Utah resort chooses to offer is up to the individual entity.
Park City Mountain Resort and Vail/Talisker are currently involved in a legal battle. How will this affect ONE Wasatch?
The legal dispute will one day come to a close. Regardless of the outcome, both resorts believe in this concept and agree that a connected Wasatch will provide guests with a better overall experience.
Would ONE Wasatch create one giant mega-resort or would resorts maintain their independence from one another?
Utah’s greatest attributes as a ski destination include not only the proximity of the resorts, but the different atmosphere and amenities offered at each. While resorts would collaborate under the ONE Wasatch banner to promote a unique North American ski experience retaining the distinct personality and vibe at each would remain an important aspect of the overall experience.
What kind of economic impact would this create?
Visits to Utah’s ski areas have increased 42% since the Olympic year of 2001-02. Hopes are that ONE Wasatch will continue the long legacy of resort infrastructure improvement that allows Utah’s ski industry to offer the best possible ski experience for our guests while maintaining competitiveness in a marketplace that continues to innovate and evolve.
Does ONE Wasatch potentially have a summer application?
Lift-assisted hiking and biking options would be a logical addition to the winter component at some point.
Would you have to be an expert skier to be able to ski between all seven resorts?
The goal would be to make this experience available to a wide range of abilities with groomed, “intermediate” trails being the base level.