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Alterra Opens Up Its Wallet; Squaw-Alpine Gondola Finally To Get Built

Alterra-Mammoth-Base Remake of Mammoth's base area is one of four major projects in the West by Ikon Pass owner Alterra. (Mammoth Mountain)

The purveyors of the Ikon Pass have announced a new round of investments at its major ski and snowboard resorts in the West, including the much-anticipated gondola connection between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.

Colorado-based Alterra Mountain Corp. said it would also spend money for on-mountain expansion and base area upgrades at Steamboat, and base area redevelopments at Deer Valley and Mammoth Mountain.

The interconnection at North Lake Tahoe's neighboring mountains will be an eight-seat gondola running between the bases of each resort -- taking 16 minutes to cover two miles one-way. Plans call for a terminal at each base, and two mid-stations on each mountain where skiers and snowboarders can disembark and head downhill.

When up and running (expected for next season), the new lift will eliminate the need to drive or shuttle between the resorts.

At Steamboat, plans call for pushing the Colorado resort's farther to the north to give 650 of new advanced and expert skiable acres -- plus a new teaching area. The terrain not only will be off the Pony Express chair, but it will also set the stage for a new gondola in the area.

Down below, Alterra will begin a three-year project for a much-needed revamping of Steamboat's main base. A plaza will be surrounded by retail, restaurants, and entertainment spaces -- plus streamline the flow from parking and shuttles to the lifts.

At Deer Valley, work will begin next year to construction base area facilities on the close-in parking lot adjacent to the Snow Park day lodge. Plans call for expanded skier services, more overnight lodging, more eating and drinking options, and a "ski beach." They also will include a transportation hub to ease flow from new parking facilities and the mountain.

And at Mammoth Mountain, it'll take a couple of years to get a reconfiguration of the Main Lodge and base area approved. But when work begins, the "Base Camp to the Eastern Sierras" will rise up with shined-up services, a concierge center for adventure activities, dining and retail, and luxury lodging with condos.

Across all its portfolio of 15 U.S. resorts, Alterra will pump money to streamline its digital platform to simplify transactions, expand mobile food ordering, and other destination services -- plus some $65 million for resort maintenance and planning.

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