Squaw Valley Development Plan – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?

Claire Weiss |
KT-22. Squaw Valley. photo: miles clark
KT-22. Squaw Valley. Photo credit: Miles Clark

According to WSJ, the Board of Supervisors in Placer County, Calif., late Tuesday approved a plan by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings LLC to build a significantly expanded village at the base of the historic resort site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

The prior details of this plan are included in this article, but the hearing just occurred on Tuesday, with the Board voting 4 to 1 in favor of the project.

You can find the details of the Squaw Valley development plan here.

The plan in numbers:

  • 4 season resort
  • $2M annually to Olympic Valley environmental initiatives
  • $6M dedicated to park and recreation planning, including improved hiking and biking trails in Squaw Valley
  • 9-acres of Squaw Creek restored and protected
  • $20M toward transit initiatives
  • $150M in new infrastructure, including road, utility, and Fire/EMS improvements, and more
  • $22M in annual tax revenue generated by redevelopment in Squaw Valley will help fund public services, including schools, road improvements, transit services, and public safety

So, is it good or bad?

New investment initiatives will definitely benefit the resort. No doubt that new lodging, restaurants, and other businesses and infrastructure are great for the ski community.

The Village at Squaw Valley, CA, during a night shot with the mountain run in the background
The Village at Squaw Valley, CA, during a night shot with the mountain run in the background. Photo credit: boundforsnow.com

Will the resort preserve the current amazing style of the 60s we all know? According to an updated plan, the height for new buildings is reduced and comparable to what exists today, with an average building height of 67 feet.

The project proposes that 90 percent of the redevelopment would happen on disturbed lands and existing asphalt parking lots already zoned for development. If approved, it will provide new on-site lodging and recreation opportunities, create more year-round local jobs, offer on-site affordable workforce housing.

But what about parking lots? Will there be enough parking for all those passionate skiers and snowboarders on Powder days? Well, that’s an unanswered question.

People who have opposed the project are also concerned that it will create too much pollution, traffic, and noise. According to the project plans, a large waterpark is also planned to be built.

According to Sierra Watch:

Proposed development in Squaw Valley threatens everything we love about the Tahoe Sierra – and provides another great opportunity to prove that we can work together to protect the places we love. Clearly, the negative impacts would spread throughout the region – with more traffic clogging Highway 89, less water flowing in the Truckee River, more light pollution in our night sky, and even diminished clarity in Lake Tahoe.

They even launched the campaign Keep Squaw True (rephrasing the famous Keep Tahoe Blue) to preserve the current state of the resort built in 1960.

1960 Olympics, Squaw Valley. Photo credit: thetahoejournal.com

If you’re an investor or a skier, you can make a difference and voice your opinion. How do you want the resort to look? What do you think is better for the resort and community?

And let’s hope we will still have the opportunity to enjoy skiing or hiking on the mountain, instead of being stuck in traffic on the way to the resort.

Granite Chief, Squaw Valley. Photo credit: Claire Weiss

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3 thoughts on “Squaw Valley Development Plan – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly?

  1. “They even launched the campaign Keep Squaw True (rephrasing the famous Keep Tahoe Blue) to preserve the current state of the resort that was built in 1960.”


    The Keep Squaw True folks wanted a smaller development than what just went through, not to keep Squaw exactly the way it is. Responsible development vs. overdevelopment, plain and simple.

    Placer County went for overdevelopment, which is fitting considering most of their populations are in Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln, aka “The Armpit of California.”

    Prepare for Sierra Watch to sue the pants off these out of town kooks! #keepsquawtrue!

  2. Get ready for permanent gridlock on 89. This plan is a travesty and should not have been approved. The county has been sold a bill of goods on empty promises.
    And screw AW and KSL. a 100′ water park the size of a MalWart ??? Seriously?? Not what the community wants or needs when the biggest ‘wet amenity’ is 6 miles down the road in TC. It’s a damn shame when out of state private equity pirates can shower Placer county with what amounts to bribes to get their way over the local community concerns.

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