Two Mountains, One Gondola
Ever since KSL Capital Partners, the owners of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, purchased neighboring Alpine Meadows in 2011, it has been a dream of SVSH President and CEO Andy Wirth to realize a longheld dream for the region and connect the two mountains with a base-to-base gondola. Fortunately for Wirth, the owner of the private land between the two ski areas and the key to any interconnect — Troy Caldwell — shared his vision. Today, the two announced that after four years of trying to make it work, they finally did.
“This is amazing for me,” said Caldwell, whose White Wolf property encompasses 460 acres that stretches from the top of KT-22 to the base of Alpine Meadows. ”From the time I got there in ’69, no one has been able to pull it off. My whole adult life I’ve been working towards this.”
In what both Wirth and Caldwell hope will be a game-changer for skiers not only in Tahoe and California but potentially in all of North America, the Squaw-Alpine interconnect, which will unify 6,000 acres of skiing into one experience, will be a high-speed, detachable gondola made up of three segments that can operate as a single unit or separately. Segment A will stretch from the base of Squaw Valley near Cushing’s Pond to the top of the KT-22 ridge, segment B will travel from the ridge over Caldwell’s property to Barstool Lake on U.S. Forest Service land, and section C will take skiers from Barstool Lake to the bottom of Alpine Meadows in an exact location yet to be determined. Each segment allows for loading and off-loading, so for instance skiers could use segment A to reach the KT-22 ridge and ski back to the base of Squaw, or during high wind events A and C could still run while B is closed. The gondola will be bi-directional and operate in a continuous loop.
“One of the exciting things with the gondola is that you take three gondolas and put them together to make one,” Caldwell said. “It makes it exciting to run it as a base-to-base loop or take segment C and head back down to Alpine.”