Squaw Valley Ski Resort

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Squaw Valley
The Village at Squaw Valley in July 2007
The Village at Squaw Valley in July 2007
Location Squaw Peak
Placer County, California
Nearest city Truckee, California
Reno, Nevada
Coordinates 39°11′46″N 120°14′06″W / 39.196°N 120.235°W / 39.196; -120.235Coordinates: 39°11′46″N 120°14′06″W / 39.196°N 120.235°W / 39.196; -120.235
Vertical 2,850 ft (870 m)
Top elevation 9,050 ft (2,760 m)
Base elevation 6,200 ft (1,890 m)
Skiable area 4,000 acres (16.2 km2)
Runs 177+
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 15% easiest
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 35% more difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 50% most difficult
Longest run 3.2 miles (5.1 km)
Mountain Run
Lift system 33
Lift capacity 58,000 per hour
Terrain parks 3
Snowfall 450 in (1,140 cm)
Snowmaking yes
Night skiing yes
Web site www.squaw.com
Alpine runs of the 1960 Winter Olympics

Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, California, is one of the largest ski areas in the United States, and was the host site of the entire 1960 Winter Olympics.[1] It is the second-largest ski area in Lake Tahoe after Heavenly, with 30 chairlifts, 3,600 acres (15 km2) and the only funitel in the U.S.[2] Since Squaw Valley joined forces with Alpine Meadows in 2012, the resorts offer joint access to 6,200 acres (25 km2), 43 lifts and over 270 trails.[3] The resort attracts approximately 600,000 skiers a year.[4]

Located west of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada with a base of 6,200 ft (1,890 m) and a skiable 3,600 acres (15 km2) across six peaks, the resort tops out at 9,050 ft (2,760 m) at Granite Chief.[5][6] Not far from Donner Pass, the area receives heavy maritime snowfall, frequently receiving 40 feet (12 m) or more in a winter.[7]

A scenic aerial tramway rises 2,000 ft (610 m) to High Camp at an elevation of 8,200 ft (2,500 m) above sea level. At High Camp, tourists have access to the facilities of Squaw Valley, including a pool, roller skating, dining, shopping, and high-altitude disk golf.

Squaw Valley is home to several annual summer events. The resort brings in accomplished yoga teachers and many well-known musical performers every July.[8] Summer also welcomes a wide array of concerts and beer and wine events including the Brews, Jazz and Funk Fest, Peaks and Paws and Bluesdays.

Andrew Wirth is the resort's current CEO.[9]

History[edit]

Base area in December 2006

Former University of Nevada star skier, Wayne Poulsen, purchased the first 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of Squaw Valley Ski Resort from the Southern Pacific Railroad.[10] Poulsen already had a history in the area: in 1931, he had placed third at an Olympic trials at Granlibakken in Tahoe City.[11] Shortly after, Poulsen met Harvard alumnus and trained lawyer Alex Cushing, who brought capital, political connections, and increased access to the project.[10] Cushing had fallen in love with Lake Tahoe after a visit to the Sierras in 1946.[11] After a disagreement over the resort's future, Cushing gained control of the project and became the chairman of Squaw Valley Ski Corporation. The resort opened in 1949, and Cushing remained its chairman until his death.[10]

Cushing modeled the resort after European ski destinations. He re-engineered the model of traditional U.S. ski resort by locating a swimming pool, ice rink, roller disco, and restaurants on the mountain instead of at the base. His designs also brought the most advanced lift technology to the U.S. for the first time.[10] When Squaw Valley opened, its Squaw One lift was deemed the longest double chairlift in the world.[11]

Squaw Valley's enormous success can be largely attributed to the visibility that came from hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics, a direct result of Cushing's effort and determination. During the planning stages of the 1960 Olympics, Innsbruck, Austria, was the leading choice for the Olympic site. In 1955, however, Cushing secured the bid after winning over the International Olympic Committee in Paris with a scale model of his planned Olympic site. The Winter Olympics in 1960 were the first to be televised live, making the games accessible to millions of viewers in real-time. The event signaled the rise of U.S. skiing to the level of world-famous European skiing, and Squaw Valley's preparedness for the games showed the international community that U.S. ski resorts offered world-class facilities.[10]

Squaw Valley also hosted the World Cup in 1969 with four technical events: slalom and giant slalom for both men and women.[12]

In 1978, Squaw Valley experienced one of the worst cable car accidents in history. On a stormy afternoon on April 15th, the Tram at Squaw Valley came off of one of its cables, dropped 75 feet (23 m) and then bounced back up, colliding with a cable which sheared through the car. Four people were killed and 31 injured. The weather was awful and the destroyed Tram hung in a very hard-to-reach location in hostile terrain. The survivors owe their lives to the Herculean rescue effort put forth by Squaw Valley staff and locals.[13]

Squaw Valley was purchased by KSL Capital Partners in November 2010.[14] A year later, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort merged under the new umbrella leadership of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC. The new company operates as one, with joint lift tickets and single season passes for visitors and free shuttles between its locations, but preserves the individuality of the two resorts.[15]

Squaw Valley was designated a California Historical Landmark in 1960 during the Olympic Games. The area was dubbed the Pioneer Ski Area of America, commemorating 100 years of skiing in the Valley since it became the first U.S. location where organized skiing took place.[16]

Chairlifts[edit]

Aerial tram on its way
to High Camp

In general, the mountain is divided into the Lower Mountain, branching form the village at elev. 6,200' and the Upper Mountain, branching from the Gold Coast and High Camp mid-mountain lodges at elev. 8,200', keeping with Cushing's more European model. However, these divisions are entirely arbitrary as the entire resort flows continuously with runs and chairlifts throughout.

Lower mountain chairs (elev. 6200')[edit]

Name Type Vertical rise Capacity per hour General terrain
Aerial Tram Tram 1,886 ft (575 m) 700 Access to upper mtn.
Gold Coast Funitel Funitel 1,742 ft (531 m) 4,000 Access to upper mtn.
First Venture Fixed-grip triple 98 ft (30 m) 800 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
SnoVentures Carpet Carpet 35 ft (11 m) 2,400 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Tucker Carpet 15 ft (4.6 m) 2,000 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Exhibition Fixed-grip quad 808 ft (246 m) 1,636 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Far East Express Detachable six-pack 960 ft (290 m) 2,600 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Red Dog Fixed-grip triple 1,239 ft (378 m) 1,800 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Squaw Creek Fixed-grip triple 1,309 ft (399 m) 700 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Squaw One Express Detachable quad 1,660 ft (510 m) 2,400 Access to upper mtn.
KT-22 Express Detachable quad 1,767 ft (539 m) 2,100 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Olympic Lady Fixed-grip double 1,175 ft (358 m) 1,100 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Cornice II Fixed-grip double 1,248 ft (380 m) 1,118 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Boon Carpet Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Murphy and Wiley Carpet Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg

Upper mountain chairs (elev. 8200')[edit]

Name Type Vertical rise Capacity per hour General terrain
Bailey's Beach Fixed-grip triple 95 ft (29 m) 1,266 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Belmont Fixed-grip double 75 ft (23 m) 914 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
The Pulley Rope tow Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Mountain Meadow Fixed-grip triple 222 ft (68 m) 1,805 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Emigrant Fixed-grip triple 761 ft (232 m) 1,558 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Gold Coast Express Detachable six-pack 563 ft (172 m) 3,075 Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Big Blue Express Detachable six-pack Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Shirley Lake Express Detachable six-pack 717 ft (219 m) 3,200 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Siberia Express Detachable quad 916 ft (279 m) 3,000 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Solitude Fixed-grip triple 660 ft (200 m) 1,800 Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg/Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Broken Arrow Fixed-grip double Example 1,200 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Granite Chief Fixed-grip triple 999 ft (304 m) 1,565 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Headwall Express Detachable six-pack 1,750 ft (530 m) 2,400 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Silverado Fixed-grip triple 1,371 ft (418 m) 1,346 Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg

Alpine Meadows merger[edit]

In September 2011, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort and Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced their intention to merge ownership. The merger united the two popular ski destinations under common management by Squaw’s Valley’s parent company, KSL Capital Partners, LLC. Alpine Meadow’s parent, JMA Ventures, holds a minority stake. The new umbrella entity for both resorts is known as Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC.[15] It has been discussed in the media that the new company Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC, will seek to eventually combine the two resorts into one mega resort through an agreement with a ski resort located on the mountain connecting Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, called White Wolf Mountain.[17] This proposed combination is supported by White Wolf Mountain owner Troy Caldwell.[18] If connected via White Wolf, the combined ski area would be the largest resort in America with over 6,000 acres, only slightly smaller than Whistler Blackcomb in Canada at 8,100 acres.[19]

Lake Tahoe[edit]

A view of the North Bowl and Lake Tahoe from the top of headwall

The Lake Tahoe area is located on the border between California and Nevada.[20] The area centers around Lake Tahoe itself, the second deepest lake in the U.S. which was voted America’s “Best Lake” in 2012 by The USA Today.[21] Lake Tahoe is home to 18 ski resorts, including Squaw Valley.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics". Olympics. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lift World: Lift-Database - Funitels". Seilbahntechnik. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Smith, Kelsey (September 27, 2011). "Set the rumors to rest - Squaw & Alpine merge". Transworld Business. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ "About Squaw Valley". The Wanderlust Festival. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Granite Chief, CA". TopoQuest. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The Mountain". Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Mountain Stats". Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Wanderlust Festival". The Wanderlust Festival. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  9. ^ Pollock, Jennifer (February 17, 2011). "Squaw Valley's CEO, Andy Wirth, Looks Forward to New Era". 7x7 Magazine. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "History of Squaw Valley". Skibutlers. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c "Lake Tahoe History". Ski Lake Tahoe. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Squaw Valley information". Triposo. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.moonshineink.com/sections/spot/30-years-later
  14. ^ Marino, Jonathan (November 24, 2010). "Squaw Valley Bought by KSL Capital Partners". Mergers & Acquisitions. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Reynolds, Christopher (September 28, 2011). "At Lake Tahoe's North Shore, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows come together". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Pioneer Ski Area of America, Squaw Valley (No. 724 California Historical Landmark)". Sierra Nevada Geotourism. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  17. ^ Shueh, Jason and Renda, Matthew (November 3, 2011). "State of the Lake Tahoe ski industry: ‘This is our time'". North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ Whiting, Sam (March 9, 2008). "Troy Caldwell's dream of an Alpine-to-Squaw route lives on at his White Wolf Mountain". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Whistler Blackcomb - Trailer Maps". Whistler Blackcomb. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Official Lake Tahoe Visitor Bureau". Visiting Lake Tahoe. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  21. ^ Bly, Laura (August 10, 2012). "'Big Blue' Tahoe reigns as USA's best lake". USA Today. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Orbitz Insider Index Reveals Top 10 Ski Destinations for 2010". Orbitz. January 21, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]