Wasatch Powderbird Guides, a Salt Lake-based helicopter skiing operation, is trying to rally the residents of Summit County around the idea of a base helipad at The Canyons. The operation wants to pick up skiers and riders at the Snyderville Basin ski area and whisk them into the Wasatch backcountry.
The company has already used The Canyons as a shuttle stop for its Park City customers, said Rusty Dassing, a senior guide at Wasatch Powderbird Guides. But they'd rather do it by chopper. A county permit is needed to build the helicopter base. The application is currently under review.
Wasatch Powderbird Guides flies in and around the Cottonwood canyons and Millcreek Canyon. The new helicopter base, if approved, would wind up near Escala, south of Silverado and Westgate resorts at The Canyons.
Neighbors asked officials in Summit County to ban helicopters when the private Park City Helitours apparently caused a ruckus last yea,r but the County wasn't cool with a blanket ban on all helicopters. Whether they'll approve the Powderbirds' request is foggy.
The Wasatch Powderbirds is used to opposition. They fought a long (winning) battle with Save Our Canyons who hurled everything from noise to the survival rate of golden eagles in order to prevent The Powderbirds from renewing their special use permit and flying in the Cottonwoods. Currently, the guide service can operate in the three canyons every day but Sundays and Mondays and cannot fly two helicopters in the same area simultaneously.