We will spend a billion dollars of tax revenue putting buses in the sky because buses on the road aren’t classy enough. It’s madness.


(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Skiers and snowboarders line up for the ski bus along Wasatch Blvd. near Big Cottonwood Canyon as the Salt Lake Valley gets covered in snow on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.

Since government agencies have pushed ahead with plans for a gondola in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC), despite strong public opinion against it, we should ask why they’re doggedly preferring a gondola over buses? What is so wrong about buses, and why are gondolas worth the billion dollar price? They’re both mass transportation containers after all, except that one uses existing road infrastructure and the other dangles from cabling connected to giant, expensive towers that would impact the environment and mar the scenic beauty of the canyon. Do they think a gondola would imbue a fancy European flair, and transform LCC into a Cowboy Chamonix? Probably.

Somehow buses on roads that anyone can afford won’t suffice. Does standing in a gondola holding skis magically class you up? Is that their gambit? Do they think an ostentatious gondola will help make the ski resorts even more crowded and empty the canyon road of cars? They seem to be making assumptions informed by class stereotypes that only poor people in the U.S. take the bus and rich people drive their own cars. Or wait, is this more of an amusement park thing? Maybe it’s both? Neither take is compelling.

Let’s try to sum this situation up: Ski resorts in recent years grew largely due to discount passes (e.g., Epic, Ikon) that promote ski tourism and — to accommodate the traffic problems we now have on maybe a dozen weekend days a year — we will spend a billion dollars of tax revenue putting buses in the sky because buses on the road aren’t classy enough for people wealthy enough to ski?

I remain confused. How many days a year will the gondola even operate? Will Big Cottonwood Canyon need one next? Park City? It’s all madness, utter madness.

Grant Sperry, Salt Lake City

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