We’ve seen some major success points in recent weeks for Squaw Valley Ski and CEO Andy Wirth. For one, Andy Wirth was recently appointed to the Reno – Tahoe Airport Authority Board. Wirth brings with him a host of experience and knowledge of working with flights from all over North America thanks to his background in resort management. Next up, Wirth’s Squaw Valley is finally getting the much requested addition that fans and locals have been clamoring for: a base to base gondola that attaches Squaw Valley to local resort, Alpine Meadows.
The addition of a base to base gondola had been a dream of Squaw Valley’s Founder, Wayne Poulsen, when he first got his resort started. Over the past several decades, however, the addition of a gondola seemed less and less likely due to the holding out of landowner Troy Caldwell. Caldwell owns and works the land in between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, which he calls ‘White Wolf’, and had been reluctant to allow any sort of construction to begin on it. However, CEO Wirth and Caldwell finally reached an agreement whereupon Squaw Valley would begin construction of their gondola along the western edge of the property. From there the gondola would span a peak and land over in Alpine Meadows.
The agreement to create a gondola is a fulfillment of an almost 6 year promise by CEO Andy Wirth. Wirth had begun talking about connecting the two popular resort mountains back in 2011 but he had always run into obstacles with Troy, who he calls a neighbor. Wirth and Caldwell both had wanted to take care of the wildlife and land without putting anything in jeopardy. When he was younger Wirth had served as a wilderness ranger and he cites that employment as why it is so important to him to reduce effect on certain areas of White Wolf: namely Granite Chief Wilderness and Five Lakes.
When construction on the gondola is complete it will make Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows one of the largest ski areas in the entirety of North America. You can tell that Reno – Tahoe natives are getting excited for the future of the resort.