Placer County supervisors have approved a base-to-base gondola between the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts. SF Gate reports Squaw-Alpine management is calling the decision “one of the last crucial steps” in uniting the resorts.
The new California Express Gondola will have terminals near the base of Red Dog at Squaw Valley and the base area of Alpine Meadows with mid-stations on Saddle run near the KT-22 patrol shack and another @ White Wolf. The Red Dog chair base terminal will be moved just southeast near Red Wolf Lodge.
The approval is not without controversy as it has been argued the new lift would impact both wildlife and the wilderness experience for hikers and other visitors to the mountain. The executive director of the conservation group Sierra Watch, Tom Mooers, had this to say:
“It’s just a part of [Alterra’s] broad vision of reckless development.”
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows President and COO Ron Cohen had a different take:
“This base-to-base gondola connection will tremendously enhance the skier experience, uniting our 6,000 acres of terrain without the need for a car,” Cohen said. “Moreover, the chosen alignment arrived at through this long and detailed process is the most environmentally favorable plan.”
The new base to base gondola has one final hurdle before it is fully approved and the Forest Service will have the final say.