Squaw Valley, CA Re-Submits Plan For Mountain Coaster

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Squaw Valley Ski Holdings has resubmitted an application for their mountain coaster, the Timberline Twister. The coaster would wind through the woods between the Far East chairlift and the lower part of the Red Dog chairlift, with the base of the ride situated next to the base of the Far East chairlift on the East end of the parking lot.

“The top of the Twister would be at about 6,645 feet elevation and the lowest elevation would be about 6,205 feet. The total area of disturbance for construction of the track and ancillary equipment is estimated to be approximately 2.8 acres. Most of the track would be within the forest, but portions would extend into the existing clearing for lower Far East chairlift/old ski jump hill and the existing parking lot southwest of the Far East chairlift bottom terminal.” – excerpt from Squaw Valley’s application to Placer County

The coaster would be on tracks ranging in height from 1.5 feet to 43 feet.

It would be open during summer and winter. 

 “At present, Squaw Valley Resort expects the Twister to operate during the ski season (November 23 through April 27) and the summer (June 15 through September 7).”

This project is being described as similar to 30 other gravity mountain coasters operating within the U.S. and Canada.

“The purpose of the Timberline Twister project is to provide guests with an additional opportunity for adventure and entertainment, thereby improving the diversity and accessibility of recreational offerings that are available at the Resort on a year-round basis.

It is anticipated that the level of visitation to Squaw will remain the same, as many of those guests who are staying in the Village, riding the cable car, skiing, hiking, attending concerts and shows, etc. will also enjoy a ride on the Timberline Twister to round out the range of activities enjoyed during their visit.  

The Twister is expected to increase revenue yield per guest, but it is not expected to generate incremental additional visitation. Based on discussions with operators of similar facilities and internal financial modeling, Squaw determined that the Timberline Twister would be financially successful with a projected 88,000 annual rides.” – excerpt from Squaw Valley’s application to Placer County

The agencies needed to approve this project include: Placer County, Squaw Valley Fire Department, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Placer County Air Pollution Control District. This proposal is separate from the new village expansion proposal.

Back in 2013 Squaw Valley had plans to add a mountain coaster, but withdrew its proposal early on in the planning process. A member of the Squaw Valley municipal advisory council to Placer County at the time said he wouldn’t be surprised if Squaw Valley would resubmit plans for the coaster in three to four years.

Many resorts in the Lake Tahoe area have looked to expand their summer entertainment offerings for guests. In 2010 Northstar Ski Resort also submitted plans for a mountain coaster and withdrew after public backlash.

“Squaw Valley wants to have a coaster similar to Heavenly’s.” Photo/LTN file, Lake Tahoe News

Heavenly Ski Resort’s, in South Lake Tahoe, Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster was closed this winter due to damage after the unprecedented amount of snowfall the area received. 

“New this winter, fly through the forest and around boulders while taking in panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. Experience the thrill of this gravity-propelled mountain coaster as you race down the 3,400′ track, descend 300 vertical feet, and accelerate around two lateral loops.” – Heavenly

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