Have you ever seen skiers and riders cruising around Squaw with a backcountry pack and tourning gear?… Me either. Exiting the confines of the resort has generally been a no go at Squaw Valley. But that might all change this season. It is looking promising that Squaw and Alpine will be allowing non-mechanized access through Five Lakes in the Granite Chief Wilderness area.
I had the chance to speak with Andy Wirth after a recent event where he was presenting Squaw Valley Ski Holding’s plans for the future of the resort. It was a brief conversation and I knew he wasn’t quite ready do divulge much information on the possibility of other backcountry gates opening at Squaw, but I was able to ask him this one “interview” question.
“is there a chance that we will be able to skin back and forth between Squaw and Alpine through Five Lakes this Season?”
His answer was a very plain and direct:
He did qualify the statement shortly thereafter by clarifying that Squaw is still working out the details with the Forest Service and that the resort’s utmost concern and priority is for the safety of its customers, and that the Five Lakes trail will not be opened without the proper evaluations and safety precautions etc… etc… But I did get the clear impression that Mr. Wirth was fairly pleased to be able to answer this question in the affirmative.
If the resort is working actively with the Forest Service to make this happen there’s probably a good chance it’s going to happen. And if Five Lakes opens up for skiers to trek freely back and forth between Alpine and Squaw, that’s good enough for me. I’d say they’re connected. It’s a short skin without much elevation change at all.
White Wolf is still the key to the possibility of a lift access connection between the two mountains and the mystery of that deal remains… elusive.
“I wouldn’t say we are in active negotiations, but we certainly have all talked about the possibilities” said Troy Caldwell, owner of the White Wolf property in a September interview with Moonshine Ink. White Wolf is the 460 acres of private land that borders both Squaw and Alpine just East of Five Lakes, but Five Lakes is in the Granite Chief Wilderness on Forest Service land.
Either way, White Wolf or no White Wolf, it would be pretty easy to ski back and forth between Alpine and Squaw through Five Lakes without setting foot on private property as long as the resorts and the Forest Service give the green light.