Squaw to Remove 5,000 Trees from Red Dog Area = New Lines & Better Skiing:

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Map showing where the tree removal will happen.  It appears it will all occur on Red Dog Ridge east of Heidi's Rock.
Map showing where the tree removal will happen. It appears it will all occur on Red Dog Ridge east of Heidi’s Rock.

Squaw Valley will be cutting down and removing over 5,000 trees in the Red Dog area this fall.  The trees targeted for removal will be dead and dying trees off Red Dog Ridge near Heidi’s Rock.  Squaw is saying this will open up 100 acres of quality tree-skiing terrain.

Red Dog holds some of the biggest, best looking trees at Squaw.
Red Dog holds some of the biggest, best looking trees at Squaw.  photo:  snowbrains.com

We know, we know, removing trees isn’t generally a cool thing in California, but these trees are dead and this tree removal will be great for opening up the skiing off Red Dog Ridge.  After these trees are pulled out, there will be space to charge hard in the Red Dog zone.

Miles finding a steep spot under the Red Dog chair.  photo:  Hank de Vre
Miles finding a steep spot under the Red Dog chair. photo: Hank de Vre/snowbrains.com

There is no question, Red Dog holds the best tree skiing at Squaw Valley.  Arguably the only tree skiing at Squaw.  With the trees thinned, you’ll be able to charge harder, ski faster, and find new lines off Red Dog.  Cool.

Image of the removal going on at Squaw right now.  photo:  squaw valley
Image of the removal going on at Squaw right now. photo: squaw valley


Squaw | Alpine announces plan to enhance skiable terrain through project to improve forest health

Enhanced skiable terrain includes three new glade areas and new connector trail that will provide unprecedented access to tree skiing and riding on the lower mountain. The project will use the most environmentally sensitive practices possible.

[Olympic Valley, Calif.] October 21, 2014 –
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows today announced plans to enhance skiable terrain through a month-long, ecological forest thinning project at Squaw Valley beginning this week. More than 5,000 dead or diseased trees will be removed from Red Dog region of the lower mountain in an effort to improve the natural habitat, reduce the risk of wildfire, and provide unprecedented access to tree skiing and riding in the targeted area.

Red Dog chair.  photo:  snowbrains.com
Red Dog chair. photo: snowbrains.com

As a result of the project, skiers and riders can expect nearly 100 acres of enhanced skiable terrain this season in the Red Dog region. The terrain, rated upper-intermediate to expert, will include three newly designated glade areas – Red Dog Glades, Paris Glades and Heidi’s Glades- as well as a new connector trail on Champs Elysees that will eliminate the current lengthy traverse.

“This effort will result in the creation of new, gladed tree skiing for our guests, and will ultimately feel like a terrain expansion due to the new access,” said Mike Livak, executive vice president of Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.

This part of the Red Dog terrain has previously been inaccessible, or extremely limited, due to a dense population of standing and fallen trees on the forest floor, eliminating the ability for skiers and riders to negotiate the terrain safely.

About the forest thinning project
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is conducting the forest thinning project to improve forest health and preserve the area’s incredible natural resources for the local community and visitors to enjoy. Lower-level vegetation that could potentially serve as fire fuel will be removed from the East end of the ski resort from Red Dog Face to Poulsen’s Gully.

“The current drought and the King Fire bring into sharp focus the issue of forest health and how it affects our community right here in Squaw. Thinning provides valuable benefit by effectively utilizing the available water for the most viable trees, and the removal of dead or diseased trees dramatically reduces the risk of fire. While this work is expensive for private landowners, our community will benefit from Squaw| Alpine’s investment in fuels reduction and forest health and I commend the company for doing the right thing,” said Peter Bansen, Squaw Valley fire chief.

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows will conduct the project by lifting the dead and diseased trees from the targeted area via helicopter; this will eliminate the need to skid or drag the fallen trees along the ground in sensitive areas, thus minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Most of the trees will be processed for timber, and the remaining materials will be chipped for future use, allowing Squaw | Alpine to ensure that all forest materials harvested will not be wasted.

“Our goal is to return the forested areas in the Red Dog region back to a more natural and healthy state by removing the potentially dangerous overgrowth and deadfall,” said Livak. “Although this project is costly, it’s worth the investment to improve the environment while also improving skiing and riding at the resort.”

The newly enhanced terrain is expected to be open for the 2014-15 winter season. Squaw Valley is scheduled to open for skiing and riding Wednesday, Nov. 26. Alpine Meadows is slated to open Friday, Dec. 12.

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6 thoughts on “Squaw to Remove 5,000 Trees from Red Dog Area = New Lines & Better Skiing:

  1. Ya’ll need to look through the bullshit. They’re dumbing down the skiing. It is just a happy coincidence that this action can be marketed as healthy forestry. It is true that some parts of the forest in the RD area could benefit from selective cutting. But what I’ve seen of this project so far, is the saddest & most disappointing changes made on the mountain in my thousands of days spent here. There has been heavy logging on the skier’s left of Heidi’s, including many large old trees. Trees nearly 5 feet in diameter. Go for a hike and see for your self. I’d like to say a lot of mean things about #2, but instead I’ll stop here.

    1. Yep, agreed, people are not as informed and do not have access or videos to the old growth healthy being fallen.

      Pays for heli time, selling big timbers to the mill.

      Typical spin by marketing pr, but wait, it’s an election year. Oh and where’s the red dog lift upgrade, oh right, permit expired,,,

  2. Squaw is selling this well. Fire reduction! More skiing! They are deflecting from the implied placing of names on the trail map (the “Glades”) where there weren’t any, and this will bring the hordes to RDR, red dog face, the poke below the champs cat track, and Poulsen’s. Sweet.

  3. I was half of a 2-man crew which picked up trash on Upper & Lower Mountain in the off-season of 1987. At least ten 40 yard containers (dumpsters) of trash were removed that summer/fall. We were only to pick up the discarded trash. The idea was to get the runs as clean as possible so that Squaw could open on an 18 inch base of natural snow (There was no snowmaking on the mountain, at that time).

    No mention was ever made about removing the fallen trees. I never saw or even heard of an inventory of the fallen trees/branches though it was obvious in many areas that the tree debris existed.

    There were some infected and dying trees which were cut to widen ‘Mountain Run’ and were hoped to be used for firewood. They were of such poor quality that I don’t believe they were acceptable for that purpose.

    This is the first time, for me, to hear of anything close to thinning and creating gladed skiing areas. This should have been done years ago by the previous owner (Cushing) and his management team at the time (Mott).

  4. totally agree with thinning. this forest is the junk planted by Weyerhauser (or similar) and has nothing to do with natural density of trees. Get to every acre at Squaw that has re-forested white fir trees, and thin hell out of them, dead, diseased, and perfectly healthy trees. It’s an un-natural mess out there, created by lumber companies.

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