Thanks to a new gondola, the wait will soon be over for a way to easily ski or snowboard at Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows on the same day.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced recently the state-of-the-art, highly anticipated Base-to-Base Gondola (B2B) will likely begin construction this summer.
Officials with the ski resort are unsure at this point if the new Gondola will be available for next season.
Although the ski resort hopes the new Gondola is ready for the 2021-22 season, the construction timelines and opening date are dependent on weather, conditions and logistics.
This base-to-base connection will take skiers and riders between the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows bases in approximately 16 minutes – currently it’s a seven-mile drive.
Prior to merging, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows were neighboring ski resorts with varying terrain. The Tahoe ski resorts merged in 2011 under a different company and are currently in the Denver-based Alterra Mountain Company group of ski resorts.
The addition of the gondola will make Squaw-Alpine the third-largest ski resort in North America. Only Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and Park City Mountain in Utah would now be larger ski resorts than Squaw-Alpine.
At the inception of the 2011 merger, the question lingered: would Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows eventually be connected? Fairly quickly, the answer came back as a yes, but the process has taken nearly a decade to get to this point.
Several years ago, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows reached a settlement with Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League’s lawsuit. The agreement details protection measures for Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog habitat and for the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness Area.
The project received final approval from the Tahoe National Forest, which concludes the approval process. The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved the project unanimously in July 2019.
The B2B will be one of the most impactful lifts in North America, featuring 8-passenger cabins and the capacity to move 1,400 people per hour between the resort base areas. The gondola will offer access to 6,000 acres of skiing and riding for all skill levels and have iconic 360-degree views.
The $60 million gondola project includes two main terminals, two mid-stations and additional base area improvements targeted to enhance the guest experience.
ALTERRA CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS: The Squaw-Alpine gondola was part of Alterra Mountain Company‘s plans to invest $207 million in capital improvements for the upcoming year that included transformational base area and on-mountain developments at Steamboat Springs, Deer Valley Resort, Squaw-Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain.
This year’s $207 million plan includes $111 million in significant resort projects, $31 million in enterprise technology systems, $65 million in resort maintenance and planning to continue to support the company’s commitment to enhance the guest experience.
“This past season has proven that our guests are loyal, passionate and looking forward to the many seasons ahead. And we plan to provide them with a premier guest experience as we focus on the long-term future of our mountain destinations,” said Rusty Gregory, CEO, Alterra Mountain Company. “Alterra Mountain Company has exceeded our initial five-year goal to invest over half a billion dollars into our destinations, in just four years.”
This year’s capital investments will focus on four major destination developments and a commitment to technology, infrastructure and advancement.
MAMMOTH IMPROVEMENTS: The new vision for Mammoth Mountain’s Main Lodge area builds upon the Mammoth legacy, according to the Alterra press release. This plan is in the permitting phase and scheduled to begin construction in spring 2023.
“It’s rooted in the history and setting of the mountain, the town, and surrounding Eastern Sierra, to curate a lively new year-round gateway for those who are passionate about mountain adventure,” the release stated.
“It will create the Base Camp to the Eastern Sierra, providing the world’s best ski beach, state-of-the-art services, Adventure Concierge Center, an array of boutique dining and retail experiences, luxury lodging and a variety of residential ownership options, complete with unparalleled club amenities and programming.”