Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snowbird coaster is coming as county tweaks rules

Snowbird is poised to get the mountain coaster it wants to bolster summer business. The Little Cottonwood Canyon resort will be able to restart the process of seeking a permit for a coaster — planned now for private land next to the Peruvian Express chairlift rather than the lower face of Mount Superior — with the Salt Lake County Council’s 5-2 approval Tuesday of changes to its ordinance governing uses of the canyons and foothills.

But by the time the ordinance was revised, the coaster itself was a background issue. Conservationists were more concerned that revisions, particularly one permitting the county to grant waivers for construction on slopes exceeding 50 percent, could give resorts an opening to pursue other development projects.

Those projects could include SkiLink, a proposal to build a gondola tying Solitude Mountain Resort with Canyons Resort, or features that would advance the concept of interconnecting all seven ski resorts in Salt Lake and Summit counties. Salt Lake Tribune