Deja Kirkwood of Reno Outdoor Recreation Examiner raises some questions about the 2022 bid for the winter olympics in Tahoe.
examiner.com: You already know Lake Tahoe resorts are merging under new umbrellas. Vail Resorts owns Northstar California, Heavenly and a number of other epic winter resorts in Colorado. KSL Capital Partners purchased Squaw Valley USA and created Squaw Valley Holdings, which obtained the majority of Alpine Meadows in September, 2011. JMA sold Alpine Meadows, but has plans to improve Homewood Mountain Resort.
The Reno Gazette-Journal mentions that the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition recognizes the 2022 Olympics as a potential opportunity. Astana (Kazakhstan), Barcelona (Spain) and Munich (Germany) are also very possible candidates, listed on Wikipedia. The International Olympic Committee will announce the winning bid in 2015.
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Alex Cushing may have scraped together the necessary facilities in a few years, but times are different. Modern Olympic Winter Games estimate selling tickets to 5 million fans. There are more events and double the number of athletes, too.
It’s safe to guess that if someone is interested in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, they are already building. And Squaw is.
Squaw’s Renaissance is underway. In the new publication SQUAW, resort CEO Andy Wirth writes “We’re taking every facet of this incredible resort to the next level: new restaurants, lodges, lifts, and a vacation reservations system are only a few of the upgrades.” While Squaw’s initial press release about the “Renaissance” doesn’t mention additional lodging, there it is on the cover of SQUAW and in Andy’s letter. Now Squaw is promising new accommodations.
Why? There are tons of places to stay in Olympic Valley, between The Village, Squaw Valley Lodge, Resort at Squaw Creek, the Christy Inn, Olympic Village Inn, Red Wolf Lodge, the Valley View condos, the Squaw Meadows condos, and the Tavern Inn. For crying out loud, there are tons of vacation rentals in the neighborhood, too. But for some reason, KSL is looking at adding rooms.
KSL is known for flipping resorts. Squaw could change hands again, and again, before 2022. But will more lodging necessarily make Squaw more valuable? Or will it just make it better suited to host a modern Olympics?
Preparing for millions of visitors to Squaw Valley at one time also raises questions about transportation and parking. Participants and visitors will arrive by automobile for the most part. Locals of Vancouver watched as mountains were blasted away to improve the road to Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth said yesterday that for Squaw to deliver the most extraordinary customer experience, the infrastructure of the roads must be improved. This was part of his answer to a question about crowding at Squaw. Rest assured, the mountain’s uphill lift capacity can handle all projected visitors, according to Wirth, but the two-lane roads in Tahoe’s cities will need to be “improved.” If Andy doesn’t have Olympics on the brain, it sure seems like there’s something driving his passion for improving the area.