The growth in the Salt Lake Valley has brought along with it increased mountain recreation, particularly in beautiful Little Cottonwood Canyon. The year-round transit challenge is the result of avalanches, landslides and auto and bus congestion. With UDOT’s proposed zero emission, high-capacity, sustainable gondola PLUS the proposed LA CAILLE BASE STATION, now is our chance to preserve Little Cottonwood’s mountain access for future generations.
Little Cottonwood Canyon welcomes over 1 million visitors year-round, and the number is growing every year.
Year-round, Little Cottonwood Canyon visitors enjoy unparalleled access to some of Utah’s greatest outdoor attractions, including hiking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding and more.
Up to 7,000 vehicles (cars, trucks and buses) go up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon per day.
These vehicles produce 70 tons of carbon.
SR 210 is the most avalanche prone highway in North America with 64 active avalanche paths. Costly snow sheds would create a 3,100-foot cement tunnel that addresses three of these avalanche paths.
Many of the most significant traffic delays are related to traction due to heavy snowfall.
Extended road closures due to significant snowstorms create an unsafe lack of egress from Little Cottonwood Canyon. Only the gondola addresses this important safety consideration.
A gondola would allow Little Cottonwood Canyon ingress and egress in all weather conditions, even if the highway was temporarily closed to vehicles.
Opportunity — Secure Greater Access for the Future
UDOT is reviewing several transportation solutions for Little Cottonwood Canyon. Gondola Works supports the UDOT gondola option PLUS the proposed LA CAILLE BASE STATION. The gondola PLUS LA CAILLE BASE STATION would eliminate the need to widen the road or add tunnels.
The most recent public comment period in June 2020 to review UDOT’s three Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) transportation alternatives was the largest comment turnout UDOT has experienced since Legacy Highway.
Analysis of the 6,500 comments received indicates the vast majority of recreationalists, citizens, and commenters preferred the gondola alternative.
A Gondola solution for Little Cottonwood Canyon takes into consideration the following:
Dispersed access that is available year-round and accounts for recreation sites down canyon with additional shuttle service from gondola stops.
Canyon watershed protection is a high priority and should be studied. A gondola is the least watershed invasive alternative.
Traffic impact on communities at the base of the canyon.
Capacity and travel time improvements that allow for at least 3,700 people per hour for a travel time of 35 minutes from the La Caille Base Station to Alta.
Canyon closure transportation immediately following avalanche control work and during road closures due to road conditions or accidents.
Secondary egress for emergency access or life-saving transportation.
Parking that eliminates a redundant drive from bus stops.
Regional transportation connections that tie into mobility hubs and regional bus services.
Small environmental footprint in terms of physical space, viewshed, and carbon emissions.
Public/private partnership opportunities that contribute to the cost of the gondola. Any option will be a state project just like other UDOT transportation projects. Gondola is the only option that could have several revenue streams. Snowbird and Alta will be a large contributor to the gondola, paying for season pass holders and employees just as they do now to UTA for bus service.
Join us today in support of the Gondola Plus the proposed LA CAILLE BASE STATION to improve reliability, mobility, access and safety while also protecting the natural beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and our climate.
Gondola Works is a diverse coalition of stakeholders, canyon users and businesses who believe solving the long-term transportation problems of Little Cottonwood Canyon is a generational challenge is now is the time to get it right. Involved organizations include:
Alta Ski Area
Gondola Works is in support of the Gondola PLUS La Caille Base Station. We believe a high-capacity gondola that can operate in all weather conditions with low carbon emissions is the strongest transportation solution for Little Cottonwood Canyon. As the most avalanche-prone highway in North America, rubber-tired vehicles are not a long-term solution for carrying people safely on SR 210. Due to heavy snowfall, vehicle traction is the cause of many unacceptable traffic delays in Little Cottonwood Canyon and gondola removes that variable from the transportation equation. The gondola is a cost-effective, minimally impactful transportation solution that can handle today and tomorrow’s Wasatch Front population.
Show your support of the gondola PLUS La Caille Base Station option by sending a comment to UDOT. Comments are accepted at any time: