A proposal to build a gondola that connects Tahoe ski resorts Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley has been approved by Placer County, paving the way to connect the two popular resorts under the same ownership. About 20 percent of the project will occur on national forest land, and the Forest Service has provided preliminary approval on the project.
The proposed gondola will include 8-passenger cabins and will be 2-miles long, including two base terminals and two mid-stations. It will be able to move 1,400 people per hour between the two resorts, which will now include 6,000 combined acres of skiable terrain.
“After successfully obtaining preliminary approval from the Tahoe National Forest earlier this year, the unanimous approval by the Placer County Board of Supervisors represents one of the last crucial steps towards connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows,” said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, in a statement. “This base-to-base gondola connection will tremendously enhance the skier experience, uniting our 6,000 acres of terrain without the need for a car.”
In 2011, Squaw Valley purchased the nearby Alpine Meadows, stoking postulation about a possible merger of the resorts in the coming years. Now, as the project comes closer to reality, skiers will be able to trek from one resort to another in just about 16 minutes.
One obstacle in the plan has been the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness, which environmentalists expressed concerns over the ecological impact of the project. But after 2,400 pages of studies, the plan has been deemed the most environmentally friendly and furthest away from the wilderness area as possible.
As of right now, there is no construction plan or timetable for the process. But since the construction will only take about 2 1/2 months, skiers can expect to be shredding a huge combined ski area in the near future.