By Bob Goligoski, Correspondent
The long-awaited linkage of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two legendary Lake Tahoe area ski resorts, will finally take place, according to a report from Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC, which owns both resorts.,
Andy Wirth, president and CEO of the firm, said that it has reached an agreement with Troy Caldwell, owner of a rugged sliver of land separating the two resorts, which will allow the consolidation of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
Under the plan, the two resorts will have a base to base connection via a new, high-speed, detachable gondola.
“This base-to-base gondola,” said Wirth, “will offer our guests the ability to easily explore and experience the unique attributes of these two mountains via a brand new aerial connection, while simultaneously reducing vehicle traffic between them.”
The drive between the two resorts is probably a good 6 to 8 miles. Right now, skiers and riders at Squaw Valley can gaze down a steep mountainside into the base facilities at Alpine Meadows. The new gondola will travel over KT-22 peak at Squaw Valley.
Caldwell’s private land between the two resorts has long been known as “White Wolf.” There are no plans currently being contemplated to allow skiing or riding down the steep terrain along the gondola route on Caldwell’s land.
The planned connection between the resorts will result in a sprawling winter mecca of more than 6,000 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski areas in North America. The ski complex will boast 42 lifts and 270 runs and trails.
The plan must be approved by Placer County and the U.S. Forest Service.
Completion date of the project will depend on when the applications are submitted and when government approvals are made.
Michael Gross, director of environmental initiatives for the two resorts, said, “The plan will be executed with incredible care and concern for our environment, and with the intention of taking cars off the road, effectively reducing vehicle travel between the two mountains. Skiers and riders will be able to explore both mountains with a single lift ticket or season pass.”
Design elements in the plan call for minimizing the number of lift towers and eliminating the need to construct access roads.