Wintertime resorts are always looking for ways to keep the cash registers ringing during the warmer months. One of the most popular summertime diversions has been the on-slope roller coaster, and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is hoping to join the growing list of resorts that offer high-speed dips and turns and thrills, no snow required.
The Little Cottonwood Canyon resort received preliminary approval in January to move forward with the project, despite objections from a local conservation organization. Resort officials must complete a variety of studies and reports to the satisfaction of county planners, before the track can be built.
The mountain coaster relies upon gravity to speed toboggan-style cars that hurtle one or two passengers down a 3,300-foot track that descends about 400 vertical feet. Most of the coaster tracks will be constructed across State Road 210 on the side of Mt. Superior, although a bridge is proposed across the roadway will run the coaster cars into the main Snowbird village area.
Carl Fisher, executive director of Save Our Canyons, told the Salt Lake Tribune his group has problems with the visual intrusion of a coaster on the natural landscape.
"This type of recreational opportunity," Fisher added, "is out of character with the area it is being proposed - one of the most prominent and scenic peaks in the Cottonwood canyons."
Snowbird's Jared Ishkanian told OnTheSnow that public comments will continue to affect the design of the coaster.
"We've been listening to the public's feedback, both positive and negative, during these last two week, and one of the major concerns is a bridge over a scenic road," Ishkanian said. "We're currently exploring an option that would have the coaster run under the road. Nothing is finalized yet, but we respect people's concerns in regards to a bridge, so it's an option we're taking a good hard look at going forward."