Debating New Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Gondola

Greg Obernesser | | Industry NewsIndustry News

A proposed gondola lift connecting Squaw Valley to Alpine Meadows has been the at the center of contention by locals over various issues. The new lift, called the California express, seeks to unite the two resorts for the first time, eliminating completely the tough decision of whether to go to one resort or the other.

Gazex avalanche mitigation system. Credit: Salomon Mountain Academy

People opposing the idea of the gondola are worried about about its environmental impact, traffic, and avalanche mitigation noise. According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a handful of residents are worried about the gondola encroaching upon the Granite Chief Wilderness, an area made into wilderness to protect against development. Some are concerned about increased levels of traffic in an area that is already congested. The last concern is regarding the increased noise from avalanche mitigation work using Gazex blasts, which is louder than traditional avalanche bombs.

Squaw Valley Aerial Tram. Credit: Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley has made substantial steps towards addressing the concerns raised by the public. The resort has stated that the combination of the 6,000 acres, which constitutes both resorts, will significantly reduce the use of car or shuttle bus. This will help ease the traffic issue and reduce the local carbon footprint. The gondola will run adjacent to the wilderness area and would measure 11,300 feet with only 2,300 feet over NFS land. Squaw has even gone beyond that, according to this Change Petition,  they have limited the number and height of lift towers and eliminated access roads needed to be built using helicopters. Due to this, the public has been very positive and 7,000 people have signed the petition in support of the new lift.

Base-to-Base Infographic. Credit: Tahoe Weekly

Don’t know which side or argument to agree with or want to look more into the issues? Check out the United States Forest Service environmental impact report, or Squaw Valley’s informational page. Both are rife with potential answers to your questions! Or if you would like your voice to be heard, check out the Change Petition.

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5 thoughts on “Debating New Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Gondola

  1. I thought Andy Wirth had moved on from Squaw, apparently he’s spending his retirement writing articles for Snowbrains.

    I haven’t met one, not one, person who lives in Tahoe who supports this project yet you claim that a “handful” of residents are concerned about it. This is plain and simple misleading information.

    We all know Squaw buys “likes” and pays for signatures to their so called petitions, and pays Snowbrains for these sham articles. Every person who requested information online on this project was counted as a supporter regardless of their actual position.

    Once again Snowbrains is being willingly used for Squaw’s dirty work.

    Keep taking checks from Squaw, Snowbrains and keep writing uninformed garbage like this. You sold your skiing soul long ago.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Alpine Squaw Guy. The “handful” of residents is a direct reference to the Tahoe Tribune article and is stated as such.

      Squaw didn’t pay for this article. We’re simply trying to inform.

      This article was written from a neutral position so that we can all be better informed about this issue, regardless of where one stands.

      This article presents both sides.


  2. I’m only for it if top station is MOVED out of the Granite Peak Wilderness.

    Instead of KSL throwing money into fighting this how about replacing some sorely needed lifts like Red Dog, Emigrant, Granite Chief, Hot Wheels.

  3. Remove the change petition link please Snow Brains. Nobody I know or associate with here and in Tahoe supports the gondola and detriment to the surroundings. Losing a follower.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dave.

      Both sides of this issue are represented here.

      We’re confident in the neutrality of the reporting in this article.


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