[R462R, Canyons Resort] has fired the first salvo in what promises to be a battle to build a gondola from the top of the resort down into Big Cottonwood Canyon and [R413R, Solitude Mountain Resort].

In a press release, Canyons Managing Director Mike Goar outlined the SkiLink plan, which the resort says will reduce traffic in the canyon and air pollution in the Salt Lake basin. An 11-minute ride would begin between Dreamscape and Dream Catcher chairlifts, rise over the ridge into Big Cottonwood Canyon and deposit skiers and snowboarders near Solitude’s Moonbeam parking lot.

Concurrently, Utah’s Republican delegation in Washington filed bills that would permit the U.S. Forest Service to sell 30.3 acres of public land to Talisker Mountain Inc., owners of Canyons Resort. If consummated, the deal would put all the land underneath the proposed eight-seat gondola into private hands—and eliminate the Forest Service from the review and approval process.

Opposition to the plan came right away from Save Our Canyons, an environmental group that is trying to balance innovative transportation options with watershed and wilderness protection. Carl Fisher, of Save Our Canyons, told the Salt Lake Tribune that selling the land to Talisker was “discouraging” public review, and promised a long fight over the proposal.

For more information on the proposal, click here.