Letter — Tram removal is a deal with the devil
The recent fire that started at the gondola area is a perfect example of why the removal of the tram makes no economic or environmental sense.
I had submitted an article to the editor last year in which I outlined that the removal of the tram will have a negative effect on mountain safety and skier enjoyment of the Heavenly area. When I first wrote about the TRPA’s deal with the ski area and called it “A Deal with the Devil,” I did not anticipate the risk to summer mountain users as an alternate source of evacuation of the upper mountain. The TRPA regulates the use of the mountain property. They demanded that a minimum of tree cutting was to be used to install the gondola. The recent experience of the fire is a obvious example of the shortsightedness of the TRPA.
They were so concerned about the appearance of the area that they gave no consideration to fire safety. If a wide cut had been made, it would serve as a fire break between the west and east sides of the ski area. Further, if the work road that had been used to create the gondola was built wider, it would serve as a means to fight fire in the gondola area and provide a possible ski run to serve as a means for skiers to return to the bottom of the mountain.
I urge my fellow citizens and the new owners of the ski area to voice their feelings to the “Tahoe Regional Planning Association.” The new owners of Heavenly may have an opportunity to create a better ski area if the TRPA would allow them to use some common engineering sense. Two situations come to mind: first, the open deck design of Sky Deck should be improved to provide some covered shelter for bad weather conditions and, if a lodge is going to be built at the top of the gondola, the design should be used to eliminate the steps that presently are there. All skiers now must walk down two stories of steel steps before they can put on their skis. The same is true of the home-bound skiers who must climb the steps to get to the entrance of the gondola.
South Lake Tahoe