The California Express Gondola Connecting Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows

Chris Wallner | | Industry NewsIndustry News

The California Express is a proposed gondola that would connect Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows. The project is currently pending approval by public agencies. If it is approved, the gondola could be installed and ready to go as soon as the 2019-20 ski season.

The California Express. Image: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley Press Release:

By: Sam Kieckhefer

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Eyes 2019-20 Winter Season for Opening of California Express Gondola

Guests and Community can Help Realize Long-Held Dream of Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows 

[Olympic Valley, Calif.] Oct. 25, 2017 – Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows formally announced its plan to install a base-to-base gondola connecting The Village at Squaw Valley and the base area at Alpine Meadows today. The freshly branded “California Express” gondola is targeted to open ahead of the 2019-20 winter season. The connection of these two great mountains will realize the long-held dream of the pioneers who brought the sport of skiing and the 1960 Winter Olympics to Squaw Valley nearly 60 years ago.

The proposed connection is currently under a joint agency review and assessment with the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Placer County. With help and support from the local community and loyal resort guests, once it is open, the gondola will finally offer skiers and snowboarders a cohesive, seamless ski and ride experience that includes access to the 6,000 combined acres of incredible terrain at both mountains without use of a car, and additional lift access to the top of the KT ridge.

“With the connection of two of California’s most iconic mountains via a gondola offering spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada, we wanted a name that was fitting and had a clear association with California,” said Andy Wirth, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “Naming the gondola the ‘California Express’ was a natural choice. Especially since California, more widely known for its beaches than mountains, also offers some of North America’s most abundant snowfall, stunning scenery, and world-class ski and snowboard terrain.”

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is committed to ensuring the gondola is sensitive to the environment, native habitat, and nearby public lands when it is built. To this end, the design plan for the California Express prioritizes environmental sustainability at every step. This includes:

  • Protecting and preserving all identified critical habitats;
  • Avoiding crossing into the Granite Chief wilderness boundary;
  • Reducing car and shuttle traffic between the two mountains that impacts guests, residents and employees;
  • Minimizing visual impacts by limiting the number and height of gondola towers to maintain the scenic beauty of the area; and
  • Eliminating the need to construct access roads by using helicopters and overland crews for construction.

Pending approval by public agencies, the resort believes it can make the California Express a reality in time for the 2019-20 winter season. Residents and resort guests can voice their active support for the California Express to make this long-held dream reality.

To learn more about the California Express and how to help make it happen in time for the 2019-20 winter season, visit

The view from the northern end of Alpine Meadow’s Estelle Bowl. Squaw Valley and Alpine. Image: Rachael Woods/Squaw Alpine

What do you think? Will this proposed gondola benefit skiers & riders at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA? Let them know, voice your opinion here.

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7 thoughts on “The California Express Gondola Connecting Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows

  1. KSL wants the gondola for a marketing bullet-point that Squaw/Alpine skier don’t care about: “Largest ski resort in CA.” EVERY skier I’ve talked with would MUCH rather see that money spent on badly-needed chairlift upgrades for Red Dog, Granite Chief, Squaw Creek, Solitude, Alpine Bowl Chair, etc. to alleviate lift-lines– especially on storm days. Most skiers have little interest in skiing both resorts on the same day– except maybe in late spring (for Sherwood mornings) when there’s no traffic and the shuttle bus is adequate. KSL cares more about their marketing bullet-point than what their customers want.

  2. The douche level in this video is off the charts! Keep spewing more lies, Mr. Wirthless. The only people you listen to are your superiors. JT really needs to take him skydiving again.

  3. “With the connection of two of California’s most iconic mountains via a gondola offering spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada…”

    “Minimizing visual impacts …”

    At every chance KSL has pushed the idea that the gondola will be constructed in a manner that will “minimize it’s visual impacts,” an attempt to gloss over the fact that their current alignment will unquestionably tarnish the spectacular surroundings of 5 lakes and the Granite Chief Wilderness, but now it seems Andy & Co, want to also eat their cake too. In their words, not only will this stupid thing be totally inconspicuous but it will also provide spectacular views.

    A general rule of thumb is that if you have an expansive viewpoint, you can also be seen from just as far.

    Note to Squaw, if you were looking for a project that the community was even more united against than the village you bought from the County, then I think you may have found it. Even Squaw’s own projections have found that virtually no one will ride this on a daily basis.

  4. This will not only increase Gaper traffic to Alpine Meadows’ private stashes, and tarnish their locals’ mountain feel, but it will also over crowd and quickly track out what used to be the best lift accessed terrain in America, KT-22. There will be that many more people that do not belong on terrain like that, as well as creating many more skier/snowboarder obstacles on terrain that is not safe when inexperienced riders ski unexpectedly under steep chutes, and cliff bans, or simply clog up the flow on such faces. All in all going to be a terrible situation due to the vast increase in traffic/inexperienced traffic on the KT and Olympic Lady Terrain. This should get a big veto in the name of quality of skiing/riding and safety!

  5. eff off KSL! leave Alpine alone. quit ruining nature for the sake of the almighty dollar…. greedy corporate jerkoffs.

  6. I’m sure the environmentalists are going to tie this up in courts forever because human being are such dreadful creatures modifying the environment.

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