(file photo: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows)

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Plans Earlier Opening

Squaw Valley, CA – Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, which remained open through May 30 last season, plans to be the first major ski resort in the Tahoe area to open this winter, looking to once again host the region’s longest ski and ride season.

Resort officials have bumped the ski area’s projected opening day up from November 23 to fall within the window of November 11 and 18 this year, weather and conditions permitting.

(file photo: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows)
(file photo: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows)

Following the earliest opening in over a decade in the 2015-16 season, largely thanks to early season snowmaking efforts, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has invested over $1 million in snowmaking enhancements for 2016-17, adding to a total of $9 million over six years. At Alpine Meadows, improvements to snowmaking infrastructure on Kangaroo Run will benefit guests and ski racers who frequently utilize the run for training. At Squaw Valley, investments include three new SMI fan guns, 12 HKD low energy guns, replacement of air and water pipelines and upgrades to 102 automatic snowmaking hydrants, allowing the system to go online at high speeds. The resort now boasts a total of 317 snowmaking guns with a fully automated system at Squaw Valley.

Once the snowmaking system is fired up for the 2016-17 season, the snowmaking team at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will operate around the clock to prepare to open between November 11 and 18, officials indicate.

Two new PistenBully 600 Winch Cats designed for grooming steep slopes will join Squaw Valley’s grooming fleet this season. These powerhouse machines allow for maximum ground coverage and high angle grooming while providing fuel savings over current machines. A PistenBully 100 and a PistenBully ParkPro will join the fleet at Alpine Meadows, with the ParkPro dedicated to precision shaping in the terrain parks, marking a total of $1.4 million invested in quality snow surfaces across the resort. An additional $1.5 million in snow removal equipment will improve ease and timeliness of access to both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows on big snow days.

Alpine World Cup ski racing will return to Squaw Valley for the first time since 1969, reigniting the resort’s Olympic and World Cup legacy this winter. On March 9-12, 2017, the Audi FIS Ski World Cup at Squaw Valley adds to a total of 16 World Cup events scheduled to take place in the U.S. for the 2016-17 race season, the second highest ever. Olympic champions like Mikaela Shiffrin and Squaw Valley’s own Julia Mancuso will compete in a women’s giant slalom on Friday, March 10 and a women’s slalom on Saturday, March 11. The March 9-12 schedule of events features concerts, fireworks and parties. Visit WorldCupSquaw.com for more information.

In 2015, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows was the first Tahoe area resort to install a Gazex Inertia Exploder—a remotely controlled avalanche mitigation system that uses propane gas and oxygen to create a concussive blast, triggering controlled avalanches before they can become a hazard. With a $1.2 million investment for the 2016-17 season, four new major Gazex installations have been added: two at Squaw Valley located at Gold Coast Ridge and Mainline Pocket, and two at Alpine Meadows located at South Peril and High Yellow. In addition to Ski Patrol efforts, the Gazex Inertia Exploders may decrease delays in lift start times, and increase the efficiency of Ski Patrol in opening the ski areas.

Developed by the creators of the SkiLynx app, the new Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows mobile app will offer real-time lift, trail and snow data for iPhone and Android along with unique new features including easy group creation to stay connected with family and friends, including real-time tracking, location-aware smart messages, and a performance dashboard with daily and season-long data. including trails and lifts skied, vertical climb, miles covered, hours skied, average and maximum speeds, and the difficulty of trails skied. Users will also receive an email recapping their day’s performance data. Chairlift wait times will allow users to plan their runs and navigate the mountain efficiently. Users can pre-purchase lift tickets directly from the mobile app, adding convenience to the purchase process. Navigation off of the slopes is also easy with maps of The Village at Squaw Valley to point out key locations in relation to the user.  Summer 2017 features will include hiking maps, group features, and performance tracking of distance hiked, pace, locations visited and elevation gain. The app is optimized for smartwatches including Apple Watch, Android Wear and Pebble for iOS and Android.

To improve the guest experience, two ticket service areas will be expanded for the 2016-17 season, handling all lift access products including tickets, pack products and season passes. A new permanent ticket center in the Aerial Tram lobby built over the summer will be open with eight fixed locations to increase ease and convenience of the purchase process. In addition, two portable ticket stations will be added to The Mountain Stream ticketing location next to Uncorked Wine Bar, open on peak days and weekends, offering a total of seven ticketing stations for guests arriving through the eastern end of The Village at Squaw Valley.

Newly appointed Food & Beverage Director Steve Moberly and Executive Chef Tiffany Swan will lead the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Food & Beverage team with refreshed dining options and experiences for the 2016-17 winter season. A full lineup of events includes an expanded Moonlit Snowshoe Tour & Dinner series at the mid-mountain Chalet at Alpine Meadows, Farm to Table Dinner + Movie series at Olympic Valley Lodge and the ever-popular holiday dinners on Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. In addition, menus across the resort will be reinvigorated with more fresh and healthy options, including items locally sourced from the Tahoe Food Hub and more grab-and-go offerings to help guests get back out for more laps on the mountain.

Several new nonstop flight service routes have been announced for the upcoming year, offering more guests the opportunity to fly nonstop to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. JetBlue Airlines’ new daily nonstop service from Long Beach to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows via Reno-Tahoe International Airport launched August 5, 2016, offering one-way flights at a $59 inaugural fare through March 24, 2017. Delta Airlines announced a new nonstop service between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Reno-Tahoe International Airport, offering passengers connection opportunities from 90 destinations across the entire Eastern U.S. & Canada, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Africa and Europe. The flight will operate three times a week from December 19, 2016 until January 3, 2017 and will be adjusted to weekly, Saturday only service from January 7, 2017 until March 26, 2017.
Southwest Airlines announced new nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Beginning January 6, 2017 the flight will operate once a week until March 7, 2017.

Opened in March 2016, Mountain Concierge at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport serves as a convenient location for Reno locals and arriving visitors to plan their visit to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. The location offers direct-to-lift ticket sales, reservation booking for lessons, activities and rentals, as well as helpful resort information and a welcoming lounge for guests. Mountain Concierge will continue to offer the Fly & Ski Free deal during the 2016-17 season: guests arriving via commercial airlines can present their same-day boarding pass with a matching photo ID to receive a complimentary lift ticket.  Mountain Concierge also carries Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows branded merchandise and a selection of products designed and locally made in the Tahoe Region.

The 2016-17 ski and ride season also marks the beginning of a strategic alliance with China’s Genting Secret Garden Resort, future host of the snowboarding and freestyle events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The partnership with Genting Secret Garden Resort includes privileges for season pass holders, including five free days of skiing and exclusive discounts at the other resort, offering the opportunity to ski and ride at two Olympic host resorts.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has started composting all food scraps and organic waste generated at the resort to divert from landfills. This program falls in line with the new law, AB 1826, and supports California’s statewide goal to recycle more and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each year, California disposes of approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills, 30% of which could be used for compost or mulch. To help support this greenhouse gas emission reduction program, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has installed composting containers at all dining facilities for sorting food scraps and compostable paper products.

In April 2016, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows partnered with Protect Our Winters (POW) to offer free premium parking to guests who carpool to the resort with four or more passengers in the vehicle. Protect Our Winters, founded by professional snowboarder and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows athlete Jeremy Jones, is a non-profit whose mission is to engage and mobilize the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change. The POW Parking program aligns with the resort’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint, raise awareness about how transportation contributes to climate change, and promote carpooling and efficient transportation within the region.

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