Squaw Alpine, CA Base-To-Base Gondola Agreement Reached & Lawsuit Dropped

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Base-to-base gondola. image: squaw alpine

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort, CA has reached an agreement with the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League to dismiss the League’s lawsuit against the base-to-base gondola that is planned to connect Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows.

Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog habitat is to be protected.

Full details below:

image: squaw alpine

Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Reach Agreement on Base-to-Base Gondola

by Squaw Alpine on February 5th, 2020

[OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif.] Feb. 5, 2020 – Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (Squaw Alpine) and Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League (the League) are pleased to announce that they have reached a comprehensive agreement to dismiss the League’s lawsuit against the approval of the Squaw Alpine Base-to-Base Gondola. The agreement details protection measures for Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog habitat and for the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness Area.

Specifically, the agreement conserves potential habitat for the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog and provides funding for its monitoring, research, and potential re-establishment. The agreement also provides funding for the conservation of lands within the Congressionally mapped boundaries of the Granite Chief Wilderness Area and places operational limits on the gondola operations to mitigate impacts to the Wilderness Area.

The League’s lawsuit against Placer County also named the United States Forest Service. The lawsuit was filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and challenged the adequacy of the environmental analysis and the County Board of Supervisor’s decision to approve the project.  “As a high value Sierra wilderness area, the Granite Chief Wilderness needs ever more safeguards to ensure we leave such wild treasures for future generations,” stated Daniel Heagerty, director of the League.  “Squaw Alpine has made significant and greatly appreciated commitments to minimize wilderness impacts and invest in important endangered species conservation efforts. We are very pleased with the Agreement we reached with Squaw Alpine.”

The agreement includes:

  • The League agreed to dismiss its lawsuit against the Squaw Alpine Base-to-Base Gondola.
  • Squaw Alpine agreed to conserve approximately 27 acres of the resort’s private property. These lands, which include pristine wetlands and deep natural ponds, have the potential to serve as habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog. 
  • Squaw Alpine agreed to provide funding for the study and potential restoration of the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog, which was once one of the most abundant amphibian species in California, but has since neared extinction in the state due to habitat loss, fish introduction, climate change and disease.
  • Squaw Alpine agreed to provide separate funding, to be held in trust by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, for the acquisition of private holdings within the Granite Chief Wilderness Area and high resource value lands and/or conservation easements. Land eligible for purchase with the funds include the area within and adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness. 
  • Squaw Alpine also agreed to operational limits for the gondola designed to mitigate potential noise, visual, and other impacts to the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness. This includes signage and strict enforcement of the ski area boundary at the KT-22 mid-station, and an annual gondola closing date of no later than April 30. The gondola will operate during the winter season only, when both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are in operation, or will stop operations by April 30th.

The League filed its lawsuit challenging the approvals in September 2019, and the agreement was reached in November. “We are very happy to have worked collaboratively with the League to address their concerns so that resources could be directed to environmentally beneficial purposes, rather than funding an extended lawsuit,” said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “We are eager to get going on this game-changing transportation project. We thank the League for its productive approach to resolving the dispute.”

The gondola will connect Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, uniting over 6,000 acres of some of North America’s most iconic ski and snowboard terrain. “Squaw and Alpine are two very different resorts, but one thing they share in common is their guests’ amazing passion for skiing and riding,” Cohen continued. “We look forward to preserving the two unique cultures, while at the same time offering our guests the ability to experience both without having to get in a car or shuttle.”

The Base-To-Base gondola plans. Credit: SVAM
The Base-To-Base gondola plans.
Image showing where the Base-to-Base Gondola would travel. It would travel directly over the Rock Garden and Dead Tree areas of KT-22 and there would be a unloading station at the Saddle of KT-22. image: squaw magazine
Squaw/Alpine’s Original Base-to-Base gondola plan. image: squaw magazine

Image of the proposed Base-to-Base gondola path on the Alpine side. Photo: SVAM

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7 thoughts on “Squaw Alpine, CA Base-To-Base Gondola Agreement Reached & Lawsuit Dropped

  1. As long as the corporate iKlowns barley able to ski KT22 like Ron Cohen n such are ok with ruining the legacy if what KT22 always has been about, the best advanced lift accessed uncrowded black diamond terrain in N.A. if not the world with a gondola mid-station full off kooks, then I guess its all good bro.
    Iklowns abound in these times now no doubt
    Wayne Poulsen WWII B-17 bomber pilot and war hero, original founder of Squaw and where KT22 peak got its name is just rolling in his grave.
    Rahn Cohannnn CEO of squaw now is a military veteran and war hero too right? Pffffft…..

  2. It won’t open any new terrain, and Alpine will be flooded with people who parked at Squaw. Parking will still totally suck at both resorts and lift lines will be much worse at Alpine. I agree with the last post, what about a bunch of employee housing??? That would do a lot to show us locals that you care about local problems and actually have a heart. Chasing the dollar with your mostly pointless gondola marketing scheme makes us resent you. That money doesn’t stay here, it goes to Colorado and beyond. If you want to impress us, build nice employee housing for a lot of employees, pay a living wage to all employees, hire more local people rather than J-1’s (and stop bitching in early and late season when they are gone) donate (more than those super-measly Wirth donations) to local fire safety projects, local schools, and some other stuff that really needs work around here. Lead with integrity, not greed. Do the right thing, and you’ll find a great long term marketing scheme at the same time. Imagine that!!

    1. En pointe.
      But do the corporate dick-heads of Alterra Mtn Corp truly understand anything about community?
      We already know the answer to such.
      They are waaay smarter than the rest of us dontcha know…..

  3. Nice work enviro do gooders. You made Squaw spend millions of extra dollars to make sure a gondola couldn’t be seen from a Wilderness Area. I wonder how they are going to recoup all the million in attorney bills your lawsuit created? The rest of us can get our checkbooks…

    Good work. Lots of dust and publicity. Several years of delay. What was achieved?

  4. Not a Peak to Peak gondola that accesses any new terrain but a Base to Base only.
    And so whats the point?
    Oversold and overcrowded skiing at any ski area regardless of hyped up marketing is not a good product to deliver dummies.
    Hey Squawalpine Alterra, corporate skiing stikl sucks
    Got affordable employee housing?
    Idiots total idiots

  5. SImple fix: quit being so spoiled and choose one mtn one day, and go to the other mtn the next day. You know you drove up from the Bay for the wknd anyways, so you can ride multiple days in a row. Plus, with the exception of very few skiers/riders, you can’t even explore all one mtn has to offer in a day.

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