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Squaw Valley adds connection to Alpine Meadows


Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley are two major Tahoe ski resorts. The two companies combined in 2011, and a recent announcement will make them even closer. In April the two resorts announced plans to make a gondola that will carry people from one base to the other.

It is to start at the bottom of the Squaw Valley, and go over a ridge between the two mountains and then go back down to the base of Alpine Meadows, according to recent press.

“Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows is something skiers and snowboarders both who live here and who visit have dreamed of for decades,” Squaw Alpine CEO Andy Wirth said on making the announcement.

Troy Caldwell owns land between the two mountains, and the gondola will run along the western edge of his property.

Talk of connecting the two resorts has been going on for some time. Wirth said the idea goes back to the beginning of the resort, which was founded by Wayne Poulsen. Wirth said before his arrival at Sqauw Valley, most negotiation was done through lawyers. He developed a relationship with Caldwell, which was key to working out an agreement for the route of the gondola.

Wirth said 20-25 percent of people who ski there, ski both mountains the same day. Even with bus service, there is still travel on roads between the two mountains. Wirth said the gondola should reduce traffic on the roads there, but he did not know how much.

Wirth is CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, and is the grandson of former U.S. National Park Service Director Conrad Wirth. Andy Worth has worked in the resort industry for 25 years. He began his resort career at Steamboat Springs resort in 1986. In 2007 he became chief marketing officer at Intrawest, which bought Steamboat Springs in 2007. In 2010 he made the move to Squaw Velley. In October of 2013 he had his right arm nearly torn off in a skydiving accident in California. Worth landed on a steel post because of wind, and was severely injured. He was able to slow the bleeding until he was rescued. He had 23 surgeries on his arm, and had fully recovered.