TRAVEL TIMES FROM UTAH COUNTY TO SNOWBIRD — VIA LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON OR VIA AMERICAN FORK CANYON WITH THE PROPOSED GONDOLA
Snowbird and a few misinformed politicians talk about how great it would be for Utah County residents to access Snowbird resort from American Fork Canyon to give Utah County residents a faster route to Snowbird. A little research shows this makes no sense at all.
To compare how long it would take Utah County residents to access Snowbird from Little Cottonwood Canyon or American Fork Canyon, we used Google Maps to see the estimated travel times. These are the results from Google Maps:
Provo to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort via Little Cottonwood Canyon takes 54 minutes.
Provo to Tibble Fork Reservoir in AF Canyon (the proposed base for their new gondola) takes 38 minutes. However, the proposed gondola is 5 miles long from Tibble Fork to the top of Snowbird. Wikipedia says a detachable gondola can go 10-12 mph. At 12 mph, that adds another 25 minutes for a total of 63 minutes.
The American Fork Canyon route would take 9 minutes longer than the current route!
We also looked at both options from Thanksgiving Point:
Thanksgiving Point to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort via Little Cottonwood Canyon is 37 minutes.
Thanksgiving Point to Tibble Fork Reservoir is 27 minutes. Add the 25 minute gondola ride and the total time via American Fork Canyon is 52 minutes – 15 minutes longer than the current route!
We also looked at both options from Cedar Hills – the city at the mouth of American Fork Canyon:
Cedar Hills to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort via Little Cottonwood Canyon is 47 minutes.
Cedar Hills to Tibble Fork Reservoir is 18 minutes. Add the 25 minute gondola ride and the total time via American Fork Canyon is 43 minutes – only 4 minutes shorter than the current route. Cedar Hills residents are the only people in Utah County that would save a few minutes to Snowbird at the expense of destroying AF Canyon.
In addition to not saving any time by using AF Canyon, that route isn’t a practical option for the average skier. The top of Snowbird is very technical terrain, which makes it difficult for anyone less than an expert skier to get to the other lifts.
Building a gondola from AF Canyon to Snowbird makes no sense at all. This is one more reason why Snowbird should leave American Fork Canyon out of Mountain Accord and let the local residents decide the future of American Fork Canyon.