Squaw & Alpine WILL Connect in 2.5 Years | Exclusive Interview with White Wolf owner Troy Caldwell

Miles Clark |
White Wolf as seen from Squaw.  If you look close you can see a little Troy in his snowcat in the bottom right
White Wolf as seen from Squaw. If you look close you can see a little Troy in his snowcat in the bottom right.  Alpine Meadows is in the shade on the horizon.

In 2010, Squaw Valley was sold to a private equity firm named KSL Capital Partners. KSL almost immediately acquired neighboring Alpine Meadows in 2011. Their obvious next move was to buy the 460-acre piece of land that lies between the two resorts and connect Squaw and Alpine, thereby creating the largest ski resort in the USA.  To make this happen, they’d need to negotiate with Troy Caldwell, the owner of White Wolf, for that 460-acre parcel in between Squaw & Alpine.

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with Troy Caldwell.  We spoke about where he and KSL are at on the negotiating table and how soon they estimate this Squaw-Alpine connect to be completed.  Here’s what he had to say (scroll down a bit):

Squaw in blue.  Alpine in red.  White Wolf in purple (the color of royalty).
Squaw in blue. Alpine in red. White Wolf in purple (the color of royalty).  Combined, they represent the largest ski resort in the USA  at over 6,000 acres.

 DETAILS of NEW SQUAW-ALPINE INTERCONNECT TIMELINE:

– Interconnect now 2-2.5 years away from completion, not 5-10 years out as previously thought

– Hand shake agreement currently between Troy & KSL, no signed contract

– Still planning for White Wolf ski resort to have both public and private zones

TROY CALDWELL INTERVIEW:

Troy Caldwell at his beloved White Wolf
photo: Seth Lightcap

Me:  So, how are negotiations going with KSL as far as the creation of the new interconnect between Squaw and Alpine?

Troy:  “It’s going well.  We’re moving forward and trying to figure everything out.  We’re aligned & headed for the same goal.” 

Me:  Great.  That’s what we all wanna hear.  So, you’re moving forward, but there’s been talk of a hand-shake agreement and no signed contract just yet.

Troy:  “That’s correct.  No signed contract, but we have a hand shake agreement.”

Me:  Ok, a hand shake agreement sounds like it’s working out so far.  What people really wanna know is how far off if the completion of the interconnect?  People are very excited to see this “biggest ski resort in the USA” realized.  Is the final product still 7-10 years out as you thought it was in our last interview?

Troy:  “We’re gonna up the ante on this one and get it done quite a bit quicker than what we previously thought.  We’re gonna lop off some time.  It was 5-10 years out, now it’s looking like 2-2.5 years away.  We’ve got our fingers crossed that we can make everything work out.”

Me:  Wow, that’s fantastic.  People around here are gonna be fired up about the new timeline.  Are you still planning to have your own ski resort with both public and private zones?

Troy:  Yes.  We are still plan on White Wolf having both public and private zones.  We’re gonna do the best we can to make the interconnect work in the best way possible for the big and small people.”

Proof Troy is one of us.  In 1974 he lit himself on fire and did this stunt for the ski movie:  "Children the of hildren
Proof Troy is one of us. In 1974 he lit himself on fire and did this stunt for the ski movie: “Children of the Morning.”  (this shot is of his buddy “Rocket” Raph Bertoli)

Me:  One thing so great about this project is that you know you have the entire community supporting you.  People around here respect what you’re you trying to do, they respect you, and they respect your history of being a ski bum, a professional skier, a blue collar guy, and living a life that most of us can relate to.

Troy:  “Thanks.  Yeah, we’ve got the support of the community and that feels good.  There are a lot of hurdles and obstacles to get there.  But, if a lot of people want something to happen, it’s usually gonna happen.”

Me:  Sounds good.  Ok, that’s it.  Thanks for your time, Troy.  Anything else?

Troy:  Nope, we’re just excited that it’s moving forward and hopefully a little sooner than we though.”

This new information from Troy about the timeline is spectacular.  Instead of having to wait a never-ending 10 years and not even know if we’ll still be able to ski by the time it’s done, we’re now only going to have to wait 2 1/2 years, an amount of time that will literally fly right by.  

* * *

I want to say thanks to Troy for this interview.  I know we are all gonna be ecstatic once we see the first signs of construction begin.

Check out my last two interviews with Troy here:  Troy Caldwell Interviews

Killer White Wolf terrain.  photo:  travis ganong
Killer White Wolf terrain. photo: travis ganong

Learn More about White Wolf:

WHITE WOLF DEATILS:

  • 460 acres
  • Purchased by Troy in 1990 from Southern Pacific Railroad for $350,000
  • Includes 75 acres of Squaw Valley ski resort that includes the upper half of the Olympic Lady chair and the top third of the KT-22 chair.
  • Troy was sued multiple times by Squaw Valley over the past 15 years
  • Connecting Squaw, Alpine, & White Wolf would create the largest ski resort in the USA

    TROY’S WHITE WOLF DREAM: 

    • A small high-end ski resort
    • Gondola & 3 ski lifts
    • Mid mountain hotel
    • Small village complete with ice skating rink
    • Troy understands that all of the above may not come to fruition, but this is his grand vision for White Wolf

     

     


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33 thoughts on “Squaw & Alpine WILL Connect in 2.5 Years | Exclusive Interview with White Wolf owner Troy Caldwell

  1. Sick. Think of the amount of lifts and terrian you’ll easily be able to ski in a day. stupendous.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  2. I don’t know why, but this kinda freaks me out. this connect, plus the title of biggest in US, plus the new village. We are talking about a completely blown up mega resort. This is why Squaw can justify this new village. This is the new Whistler Blackcomb

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    1. I think it’s gonna be sick. Think of week days with no one out. What will they let us actually ski in white wolf? will those cliffs be in bounds?

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      1. Weekdays with no one out? Not if it turns into a mega destination resort. Be careful what you wish for.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  3. Now all we need is a gondola from Tahoe City (64 acre park) to Alpine! Put that bus station and parking area to good use!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
  4. Not all of the community supports the destruction of the beautiful land that Troy had the foresight to purchase. We don’t want Alpine to turn into Disneyland, don’t want a mid-mountain hotel further scarring the terrain that is now peppered with ugly lift towers, don’t want a zillion more water-using people in the Alpine valley. We don’t want the “world’s largest ski area”.

    KSL has already demonstrated that they don’t care about Alpine’s culture and history – they view it as the little neighboring hill that doesn’t have “Squaw” terrain but is good for people who want to ski groomers and a great place to build endless terrain parks.

    People need to understand that bigger isn’t always better and not every mountain needs a ski lift on it. This is not a great project, it is a get-rich scheme for Troy (good for him for having the vision) and a marketing opportunity for KSL (“biggest ski area” hype). It will not be a good, functional connection between the resorts because the terrain is very difficult on SE facing and White Wolf is not really at Alpine.
    TeleJay

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +1 (1 vote)
    1. I feel your pain Jay. Thankfully, there is still a ski area in the central sierra where one can find his soul and not have to deal with traffic, crowds and conspicuous consumption. Skiing for some is not about the biggest, the most expansive, the most expensive, the most gapers or the most “look at how bitchin I am” types. I know a place…

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      +1 (1 vote)
  5. ^ go move somewhere else then and take the rest of the alpine whiners with you!! You can’t stop progress…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    1. Nice post. Guess it depends how you define progress, doesn’t it? It’s always good to hear from a true squaw scum–who will probably move to Bakersfield soon. xo

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  6. I really like what your site is bringing, a piece of constructive criticism though……please don’t resort to re-posting old links if no new info is included. It takes away from the otherwise great content you’ve been providing.

    Thanks!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
    1. I hear you Drew. Just wanted to get this back up as we have a lot of new users since this piece was put out. I apologize for the re-post. Glad you’re diggin’ the site otherwise. thanks.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      1. I see your reasoning. This is a topic of utmost interest to many of us, myself included. Thanks for listening and keep up the good work!

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  7. I hiked across White Wolf last summer on the Five Lakes Trail. Very beautiful terrain with a dozen or more lift towers already in place.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  8. I think the lift is purely a marketing gimmick, not that there is anything inherently wrong with a marketing gimmick, but I think this is just a bad idea. It will cost millions-cost that must be passed on to the skiers. It will not open up ANY new ski terrain. It will replace an underused shuttle bus with a lift that cuts across the entire West Face/75 Chute area, necessitating the removal of trees that provide critical wind protection and depth perception on Squaw’s most prized advanced terrain. It will go over the Five Lakes Trail that leads to Granite Chief Wilderness, then down across the valley to Alpine Meadows creating another eyesore for both valleys. If the lift is as fast as a detachable quad, it will take about the same amount of time to ride as the current shuttle bus. Most people either go to Alpine or Squaw for the day, so it is going to have negligible effect on traffic, but will require more energy to operate than the bus. The money wasted on this lift could be better spent on upgrading some of the existing chairs, expanding and improving snowmaking capabilities, or doing some environmental improvements to the area.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +2 (2 votes)

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