Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows today announced a comprehensive agreement with the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League regarding the proposed California Express gondola. The environmental advocacy group will drop its lawsuit contesting approval of the project in exchange for new conservation efforts by the ski resort. The Forest Service issued its Final Record of Decision approving the gondola on January 31st. With these developments, all major hurdles have been overcome.
“We are very happy to have worked collaboratively with the League to address their concerns so that resources could be directed to environmentally beneficial purposes, rather than funding an extended lawsuit,” said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “We are eager to get going on this game-changing transportation project. We thank the League for its productive approach to resolving the dispute.”
Squaw Alpine will set aside approximately 27 acres of private property for conservation. These lands, which include pristine wetlands and natural ponds, have the potential to serve as habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog. Additionally, the resort agreed to provide funding to study recovery of this endangered species. Squaw will also grant money for the Truckee Donner Land Trust to acquire parcels elsewhere in the vicinity of the Granite Chief Wilderness.
Vail Resorts reports a great quarter: skier visits up 14.3 percent and lift revenue up 16.4 percent with season pass sales for next year trending up 9 percent and 13 percent in units and dollars. “We are still absolutely aggressive on looking for additional resorts that we think add to our network and make the experience that we provide our guests better,” says Rob Katz on the quarterly conference call.
Quebec tallied 4.6 million skier visits last winter, a ten year high for a province with three new chairlifts already under construction for next year.
New Hampshire resorts logged 100,000 more skier days than 2017-18.
The New Hampshire Business Review profiles legendary resort developer Les Otten.
The privately-held conglomerate behind Leitner Ropeways, Poma, Leitner-Poma of America and Skytrac announces the highest revenue in the company’s history for 2018: €1.02 billion. The group built approximately 100 ropeways around the world last year, up from 75 in 2017.
A 16 minute flight between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows took a jump forward this morning as the Truckee National Forest and Placer County released the draft environmental impact statement for the California Express gondola. The big three stage lift was first proposed by the owner of both mountains, KSL Capital Partners, more than two years ago and is now being championed by Alterra Mountain Co. At 808 pages, the EIS required under the National Environmental Policy Act outlines three possible alignments which could unite the steeps and village at Squaw Valley with the beginner and intermediate paradise of Alpine Meadows.
Two of the alternatives are new while the other two should be familiar to readers of this site. Other concepts such as a pulse gondola, expanded shuttle service and even an underground train were eliminated as part of the preliminary review, which was completed by SE Group and Ascent Environmental of Sacramento. Alternative 1 is the required no-action option, which would keep Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows separate but equal. Shuttle buses would continue running every 30 minutes between the two mountains, which already share a common lift ticket.
The lift would move 1,400 skiers per hour in 8-passenger cabins painted white to blend in with the winter environment. It would operate from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm with skiing allowed from the mid-station(s) when conditions permit. There would be separate drive systems and separate cabin parking facilities at each end so two sides could operate independently. The middle section of the lift would operate as part of the Alpine Meadows side and approximately 40 percent of the cabins would be stored at Squaw Valley with the remaining 60 percent at Alpine during storm events and the summer.