[Olympic Valley and Tahoe City, Calif.] – The combined resorts issued a press release Tuesday regarding this year’s investment, which follows the $15 million in base area and on-mountain improvements from last winter (2011-12), bringing the total investment to more than $38 million, to date. The new projects for the upcoming season reflect Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows’ continued dedication to creating a welcoming and extraordinary experience for guests. New projects for the upcoming ski and snowboard season include significant snowmaking improvements at both resorts; a new high-speed, six-passenger chairlift and improved High Camp beginner experience at Squaw; and a mile-long terrain park at Alpine Meadows.
“We are very excited about the significant investment devoted to capital improvements for the upcoming season,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “Snowmaking improvements, in particular, for this season and in the future, will be substantial and will vastly improve the consistency and quality of our snow surface and afford us an excellent opportunity for top-to-bottom skiing quite early in the winter season.”
The 2012-13 winter season marks year two of the Renaissance. Originally billed as the five-year, $50 million capital improvement plan bringing dramatic improvements to Squaw Valley alone – the Renaissance will now total nearly $70 million in improvements to both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows by winter 2015-16. Year one of the Renaissance brought a renovated base village with new restaurants, bars and fire pits to Squaw Valley, as well as other amenities including completely revamped terrain parks in partnership with Snow Park Technologies (SPT), the new SnoVentures™ activity zone with tubing and mini-snowmobiles, and the world’s first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks.
Fall 2011 saw the merger of Squaw Valley with neighboring Alpine Meadows ski resort – a truly historic event that allows skiers and riders to experience 6,000 acres, 43 lifts and over 270 trails on one lift ticket or season pass. With the addition of Alpine Meadows to the Squaw Valley family – the resorts now enter year two of the Renaissance – a five-year plan now slated to bring nearly $70 million of innovative improvements to both resorts.
What’s New at Squaw Valley for 2012-13:
New Big Blue Express, Six-Passenger Chairlift
For the 2012-13 winter season, Squaw Valley is investing in new chairlifts and lift line improvements to greatly enhance the beginner experience and the terrain park experience, as well as to improve the overall flow of the upper mountain.
The resort will install Big Blue Express, a new, high-speed six-pack chairlift, to replace the High Camp chairlift. The base terminal of Big Blue Express will start where the base of the High Camp lift was formerly located and will extend to the top of the Shirley Lake ridgeline - providing easy access to the Shirley Lake, Solitude and Granite Chief chairlifts. This new alignment will not only provide quicker and easier travel to Shirley Lake and beyond, but it will also give skiers and riders access to beginner and intermediate terrain that was previously inaccessible via the old High Camp chairlift. The new Park Pulley telecord, a modern day version of a tow lift, will be also installed to provide easy access to the Belmont terrain park and to eliminate traversing across the mountaintop meadow.
The Links double chairlift will be removed and replaced with a triple chairlift named Mountain Meadow, which will be realigned to bring skiers and riders up to the ridgeline near the top terminals of the Solitude and Silverado lifts. The primary purpose of this realignment is to provide a more suitable and accessible learning area with a better fall line for Squaw’s beginner skiers and riders.
These lift improvements combined with Squaw’s $2.6 million snowmaking improvements and grooming initiative will provide more efficient and convenient travel and flow on the upper mountain - and a better overall experience for skiers and riders this coming winter.
Substantially Improved Snowmaking
To ensure snow surface conditions regardless of Mother Nature’s plans, Squaw Valley will be investing in the resort’s snowmaking system for the 2012-13 winter season. Squaw Valley will be pursuing a variety of system-improvements including the installation of new, high-technology air/water guns, replacement of manual fan guns with fully automated versions, rebuilding of pumps and compressors, and installing state-of-the-art monitoring and control equipment. Together, these improvements will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness throughout the entire system, from Squaw Creek and Red Dog to Gold Coast and the Mountain Run, ensuring the best possible snow surface from top-to-bottom.
Olympic Plaza Bar
Squaw Valley’s legendary Olympic Plaza Bar will be completely remodeled for winter 2012-13 to feature table service dining for lunch and après ski in an upscale ‘mountain contemporary’ atmosphere. With $300,000 in renovations, the redesigned Olympic Plaza Bar will pay tribute to the resort’s Olympic heritage with collage murals commemorating the 1960 Olympics, and the bar’s new comfortable lodge furniture (think rustic chic) that will be perfect for relaxing after a day on the slopes. Menu items will include signature flatbread pizzas, artisan meat and cheese platters and delectable finger foods.
New Sports Shop: Parallel Sports Shop
Located in a prime location just steps away from the slopes, Squaw Valley will be opening Parallel Sports Shop featuring the latest ski technology as well as a complete line of outdoor wear and street wear for the whole family. With over 5,000 square feet of floor space, the new ski shop will be the place to find the industry’s most coveted brands, including innovative technical apparel and sophisticated fashion for on and off the mountain. The shop’s welcoming staff will serve as ambassadors of adventure – ready to share info on their favorite secret stashes and tips for a great day on the mountain.
The new shop will work in conjunction with the resort’s demo program – meaning skiers can try as many demo skis as they like and deduct the rental cost off of a brand new pair of skis in the retail store. Trying as many skis as possible couldn’t be easier with Squaw’s two demo centers – one located on top of the mountain, and the other at a ski-up location in The Village.
New Snowboard Shop: The Ledge Board Shop
Designed with riders in mind, Squaw Valley’s new snowboard shop will be filled with a cool vibe and welcoming staff ready to talk about the latest technology and snowboard fashion.
From the latest snowboards to street wear, this store will be stocked with all the essentials from both big names and niche brands. The new shop is just over 2,000 square feet and will be located in the heart of The Village at Squaw Valley.
Squaw Now a Burton Learn to Ride (LTR) Center
Squaw Valley is partnering with Burton and their acclaimed Learn to Ride (LTR) program for winter 2012-13. Burton’s LTR program is designed to make learning to snowboard fun and easy by combining proven teaching methodologies with beginner-specific equipment. As part of the LTR program, Squaw will be offering specially designed equipment for beginner snowboarders (both kids and adults). Burton’s LTR catch-free technology helps establish control and confidence which ultimately leads to linking turns faster. LTR boards feature a softer flex, radical sidecut and forgiving edge bevel, all of which are designed to reduce the likelihood of catching an edge. Along the same lines, LTR boots and bindings are extremely comfortable with softer flexing, allowing the rider to more easily guide the board into a turn. Already a staple of Squaw’s Snowboard School, Burton’s LTR teaching methodologies help new riders to learn to make and connect their turns faster – making for a great first time experience on the hill.
What’s New at Alpine Meadows for 2012-13:
Improved, More Efficient Snowmaking
New snowmaking upgrades will significantly improve efficiency, making it possible to generate more snow faster – delivering better surface conditions earlier in the season. As a result, park features will be created and additional terrain will become accessible sooner. Upgrades will include computer-driven automation to control the snowmaking operation. The automated system monitors a range of data (e.g. temperature, humidity, flow, etc.) making it possible to configure the operation of specific snowmaking units based on conditions in that area. This greatly improves snowmaking efficiency, resulting in a larger quantity of higher quality snow in a shorter period of time.
Tahoe’s Only Mile-Long Terrain Park
With the recent partnership between Alpine Meadows and Snow Park Technologies (SPT), skiers and riders can look forward to continued terrain park improvements and an enhanced park experience throughout the winter season. Snow Park Technologies is renowned in the terrain park business with 15 years of experience designing parks for major resorts and events nationwide including the Dew Tour and Winter X Games.
One of the most exciting changes to the terrain park experience is the expansion of the medium and large park. The combined parks, from Terry’s Return to Dancefloor, will offer an entire mile-long park run making it the longest terrain park run in the Tahoe region. Also brand new this year, there will be a beginner progression park on Subway where lessons will be available. Guests eating out on the sundeck can enjoy the view of skiers and riders testing out their skills at a new base area jib arena. New jibs will be added this season, including four new beginner boxes, two intermediate boxes and four new snowmaking pipe jibs, increasing the park's fleet to more than 60 jib features.
Burton Adult Learn to Ride (LTR) Center
Like Squaw Valley, Alpine is also partnering with Burton and their acclaimed Learn to Ride (LTR) program for winter 2012-13. As part of the LTR program, Alpine will be offering specially designed equipment for adult beginner snowboarders.
Redesigned Ticket Office to Improve Guest Experience
The ticket office has been reconfigured, complete with an improved look and streamlined customer experience by providing a centralized place for guest information and products. The ticket office will have seven windows, including an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible level window, enhancing the efficiency of ticket operation and improving the customer experience by providing one-stop shopping for a variety of Alpine’s services and packages including tickets, passes, and lessons.