Gondola Set To Link Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows; Base To Base
Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC announced it has reached an agreement with the owner of private land located between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows to create a base-to-base gondola connection between the two mountains.
The gondola would make it easy for skiers and riders to explore both mountains with a single lift ticket or season pass, without needing to travel between the two by car.
“For decades, skiers and riders have talked about connecting these two world-class resorts,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC. “Over the last four years, we’ve made significant improvements to enhance the skier experience at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The base-to-base gondola 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 planned gondola connection between the two mountains is due to a partnership between Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell, the owner of the private land dubbed “White Wolf,” located between the resorts. The estimated completion date of the project will be subject to Placer County and U.S. Forest Service approvals once applications are submitted.
“Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows through White Wolf is literally bringing my long-time dream to fruition,” said Troy Caldwell. “I’ve waited years for this to happen, and am pleased to have reached an agreement with Squaw Valley Ski Holdings to allow skiers and riders to easily move between these two incredible mountains.”
Plans to connect the two mountains have commenced, and include the possibility of the lift to be constructed as a high-speed, detachable gondola that would operate between the base of Squaw Valley and the base of Alpine Meadows, traveling over the KT-22 Peak. There are no plans currently being contemplated to allow skiing or other non-skiing activities along the lift route or on the White Wolf terrain.
Squaw Valley and Caldwell will work with mountain planners at SE Group to design and construct the gondola connection to ensure good stewardship of the high alpine environment whose natural beauty is integral to the overall Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows experience. The planned base-to-base gondola will be carefully designed to minimize the overall footprint and potential visual impacts to the adjacent Granite Chief Wilderness, as well as maintain the scenic beauty of the area.
To accomplish this, design elements include minimizing the number of lift towers and eliminating the need to construct access roads. The result of these efforts would significantly reduce necessary timber removal and vegetation clearing for construction, and would minimize impacts on watershed, soils and natural resources throughout the planned lift corridor.
Recognizing the visual sensitivity of the surrounding area – particularly the adjacent Granite Chief Wilderness, measures will be implemented to minimize the potential for adverse visual impacts from the perspective of design, materials and equipment selection, and operational practices. In addition, it is anticipated that the operation of the gondola will substantially reduce both resort shuttle service and guest vehicular traffic between the two resorts, leading to a reduction in overall vehicular emissions.