Alterra Mountain Company, owner of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in the Lake Tahoe region, announced it will begin construction on its brand-new gondola connecting the two ski resorts this summer. The $60 million project will create 6,000 skiable acres between the two mountains, creating the third largest ski resort in North America.
The highly anticipated Base-to-Base Gondola (B2B) will take skiers and riders between the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows bases in approximately 16 minutes, currently a seven-mile drive. The B2B will be one of the most impactful lifts in North America with 8-passenger cabins and the capacity to move 1,400 people per hour between resort base areas. The project includes two main terminals, two mid-stations and additional base area improvements targeted to enhance the guest experience.
In 2011, Squaw Valley purchased the nearby Alpine Meadows, stoking postulation about a possible merger of the resorts in the coming years. Now, as the project comes closer to reality, skiers will be able to trek from one resort to another in under 20 minutes.
The project was green lit following approval from the Tahoe National Forest, which 20 percent of the project will lie on. One obstacle in the plan has been the nearby Granite Chief Wilderness, which environmentalists expressed concerns over the ecological impact of the project. But after 2,400 pages of studies, the plan has been deemed the most environmentally friendly and furthest away from the wilderness area as possible.
This is just one major change coming to two of Tahoe’s leading ski resorts. In 2020, Squaw Valley announced it would change their name to remove the â€œracial and sexistâ€ word â€œsquaw.â€ The new name is expected to be implemented in 2021.