The rumored move to combine neighboring Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts in Lake Tahoe finally happened today. The poorly kept secret was unveiled, but the agreement for Squaw to purchase Alpine didn’t offer everything that skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts were hoping would take place.
Contrary to many people’s view, Squaw and Alpine will not provide access from one mountain to the other, even though on a map it appears highly possible. The two resorts, located off Highway 89 in North Lake Tahoe, are separated by privately owned land.
“We can’t rule out anything, but at the same time, our focus is on the immediate right now,” said Andy Wirth, current president and CEO of Squaw. “Alpine Meadows has its unique characteristics and spirit and so does Squaw Valley. This is not about creating a mega resort.”
Squaw and Alpine have agreed to combine operations under common ownership. They will offer season passes and lift tickets that will allow guests to enjoy skiing and snowboarding on both mountains.
The transaction is expected to close prior to the commencement of the 2011-12 winter season. Wirth will take the helm as the president and CEO of the new combined entity of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
The closing of the transaction is subject to US Forest Service and the California Tahoe Conservancy approval
JMA Ventures (JMA),which owns Alpine, will continue to independently own and operate Homewood Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe.
The merger arrives less than one year after Squaw was bought by KSL, a Colorado investment firm. Squaw was founded in 1949 by Alex Cushing. The iconic Cushing died several years ago and the Cushing family sold the resort to KSL.
Under KSL’s ownership, Squaw announced a five-year, $50 million capital improvement plan that will upgrade two chairlifts, create a new village restaurant and bar, and add other services, including a snowboard and demo rental center, family recreation center, and day lodge.
Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics and known for its expansive terrain – over 3,600 acres –opened for skiing more than 60 years ago. Alpine Meadows began running its lifts in December 1961 and quickly gained and maintained a reputation for its varied terrain, friendliness, and family atmosphere.
The combination of the two resorts will create more than 6,000 skiable acres of varied terrain spread across eight Sierra Nevada mountain peaks, which boasts some of North America’s highest average annual snowfall, last winter exceeding 800 inches.
“Combining Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley will provide our guests something truly remarkable – a mountain experience unmatched in California, inclusive of expansive and family friendly terrain,” Wirth said. “In today’s economic environment, skiers and snowboarders are looking for more – more terrain and value. The all new Tahoe Super Pass and Tahoe Super Six which allow guests, with one pass, access to both of these incredible mountains provides unmatched value.
The companies also announced an all new dual mountain season pass and six-day card. The Tahoe Super Pass will be available starting at $439 for adults, with the unrestricted adult pass available for $799, providing unlimited skiing and riding at both resorts for the 2011-12 season.
The Tahoe Super Six pass is also available for $399 for adults and provides six unrestricted days of skiing and riding for this season. Both the Tahoe Super Pass and the Tahoe Super Six are immediately available for sale and additional information can be found at www.squaw.com or by contacting the Squaw Valley Resort & Activity Sales Department at 800-403-0206.
Squaw Valleyand Alpine Meadows say they will offer significant added value for all of their existing passholders (Gold, Silver and Bronze passes at Squaw, and Unfiltered, Slightly Filtered and Filtered passes at Alpine Meadows) for winter 2011-12. All of these passes previously purchased at Squaw or Alpine for winter 2011-12 will become valid for skiing and riding at both mountain resorts. Respective day of week and date restrictions will apply for previously purchased season passes. Those who previously purchased both a Squaw and Alpine pass or who have other questions regarding their existing pass can call 1-800-403-0206 or visit www.squaw.com.
Both resort owners have a deep commitment to the two resorts and to the Tahoe region. KSL immediate began improvements once it took over ownership of Squaw. Skiers and riders can anticipate that Alpine Meadows will see a substantial investment in the guest experience as well.
“As a long-time skier with a family dedicated to Tahoe, I’m excited to bring these two remarkable resorts together and we agree that a key element of success is maintaining each resort’s character,” said Todd Chapman, president and CEO of JMA. “While both resorts are unique, this partnership is a natural fit.”
Squaw and Alpine will conduct an online auction on eBay for the first issued Tahoe Super Pass. All proceeds raised from auctioning this first pass will benefit the Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe, an organization important to the guests and team members of both resorts.
Read more knotmove.com ski stories:
- Sierra-at-Tahoe still has season pass deals
- What’s new at Lake Tahoe ski resors for 2011-12 season
- Snowbomb Festival shows take place November in San Franicsco, Santa Clara
- Heavenly improvements for upcoming 2011-12 ski season
- Buy discount Tahoe Card by Sept. 15
- Shaun White talks about his snowboard/skateboard career
- Shaun White designing halfpipe at Northstar ski resort in Lake Tahoe
- Squaw Valley announces $50 million project
- What’s new at Kirkwood for 2011-12 season
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