If you are a skier, snowboarder or just your average resort hopper, you could be in for a sweet winter treat. Today, it was announced that Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley would soon be connected by gondola service between the two massive mountain resorts.
The plan will allow winter enthusiasts to enjoy both epic North Tahoe resorts on one connected line. Operating from base to base, the gondola will make the journey in a three stage trip (you can read more: Interview with Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth | Tahoetopia). Starting at the bottom of Squaw Valley it will traverse the ridge between the two mountains and then down to the bottom of Alpine Valley.
This is both a rumor and a dream come true. The rumors started when the two resorts merged in 2011, bringing together two of the regions most revered and skied properties under one vision. Read more: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadow Announces Base-to-Base Gondol
Even then the idea of connecting the resorts was being voiced by the top officials. Just after the 2011 merger, Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth had this to say, “The vision of connecting the two resorts does not escape me, but we have to be focused on this season.”
It would seem that time has come, and CEO Andy Wirth commented recently to Powder Magazine, “Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows is something skiers and snowboarders both who live here and who visit have dreamed of for decades.”
This move may bring the gondola service through U.S. Forest Service Land. The plans will be submitted to the forest service and the county officials for approval this summer. There has been some local resistance to the plan, but overall the public support has been positive.
The question of support has bee asked on Twitter, Facebook and Powder magazine to help create a public conversation on the subject. As with all major construction undertakings of this size, there will be an ebb and flow to get to the final outcome.
The overall goal is to unite these two picturesque resorts with one main line. Currently, you can purchase a lift pass that works at both resorts and the shuttle between the two is included in the purchase price. This move, to move people over the mountain will reduce auto traffic on the roads between the two resorts.
The CEO Andy Wirth is a well-known leader in the Squaw Valley area and quite the inspiration in the area both from a business and personal aspect. His leadership has brought these two resorts in to a community wide unison and connected future.
Mr. Wirth was also known for a near fatal skydiving accident a few years ago that nearly took his life. It would seem that he not only healed from this near tragedy, but he got better. It seems his second chance at life is being well applied to future ventures. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/09/andy-wirth-squaw-valley.aspx
Andy Wirth’s application of this vision has taken on a life of its own. He is a man who has a real plan to move a mountain, or at least move them closer together. Telling Powder Magazine, “It’s not about size. It’s more analogous to turn-for-turn, acre-by-acre, when Alpine Meadows and Squaw are joined. I think we have one of the preeminent ski experiences in North America.”
In a world of connection, this plan brings people together one turn at a time.
Read more: Andy Wirth – Squaw Valley CEO and Philanthropist