Alta’s Proposed Mt. Baldy Tram: A Closer Look

Jake Rubnitz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
The proposed path of the tram

A large and controversial part of Alta’s master plan released in December of 2015 is the Mt. Baldy Tram. Seeing that Alta has been approved and able to move along with their master plan by adding a new chairlift this summer, it is important to look at what impact this tram would have. The tram is planned to run from Germania Ridge to a point just below the 11,068′ peak of Mt. Baldy. The current plans want the tram to move around 150 people per hour. Alta says that the primary purpose of the tram will be to allow ski patrol to more easily do Avalanche Control work using hand charges instead of projectile based measures. It is possible that skiers will also be allowed up the tram when conditions permit.

“This is not a promise to our skiers that this would happen, but a possible secondary benefit”- Connia Marshall, Alta Spokesperson

Views and the tradition of hiking Mt. Baldy are threatened by the proposed tram (Photo: Lee Cohen)

Building a tram and permanently impacting the mountain solely for avalanche control, does not seem like a responsible or efficient use of resources. Alternate solutions include installing GazEx systems, Installing a patrol cart like what is used off of Peak Express at Whistler, or simply sticking with the status quo. It is hard to believe that a tram will be installed solely for ski patrols use. Many locals are appalled by the idea of motorized access to the top of Mt. Baldy.

“The hike to Baldy has been a rite of passage for a lot of folks”- Carl Fisher, Save Our Canyons

Altas single chair welcome sign, a tribute to the resort’s history and culture (photo:

The ski industry is a business not unlike any other, in order to stay relevant resorts must improve capital. Alta has every right to do that, and they should. A mountain as historic and unique as Alta is going to keep its local flavor even when they install new lifts, lodges, or restaurants. In a way, it helps Alta stay local by making it harder for a corporate resort (i.e. Vail) to purchase it. It’s also great that many of the improvements being made focus on skier safety and avalanche control, but its hard to believe that disrupting the natural beauty of Mt. Baldy with a tram is the best way to do that. It’s only natural for the resort to change and develop, but the there are boundaries to this growth and development must be reasonable.

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