Squaw Valley, CA – Officials at Squaw Valley USA on Tuesday announced the details of the Lake Tahoe area ski and snowboard resort’s five-year, $50 million capital improvement plan that will add dramatic improvements to the ski area, both on and off the mountain. Plans include everything from new food and hospitality offerings to new beginner and advanced high-speed chairlifts, trail improvements and a new state of the art mountain information system across the resort’s 4,000 acres.
“Squaw Valley is an incredible and diverse mountain, and we are committed to honoring every aspect of the mountain’s history, legacy and legend,” said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve talked to guests, skiers and riders regionally and around the country and learned that the very caliber of this mountain may have kept some visitors away, and we are dedicated to creating an approachable and friendly experience for our guests of every ability level. This philosophy is present in every aspect of our mountain and base area improvement plans—and will remain a theme as we continue to change.”
YEAR ONE: Winter 2011-12 / $15 Million
Squaw Valley USA will be investing approximately $15 million in base area and on-mountain improvements for the 2011-12 winter season.
Realizing that Terrain Parks are critically important to many customers, Squaw Valley is placing a renewed focus on creating terrain parks with a variety of small, medium and large features for the upcoming winter season. With significant resources allotted for terrain park improvements, Squaw Valley’s parks will have new boxes and rail features in addition to jumps and snow features. The resort will also add benches in key areas of the parks and at the top of key chairlifts for snowboarders looking to strap in or relax and enjoy the majestic views.
New Grooming Machines
After purchasing six new grooming machines during the 2010-11 season, Squaw Valley will be further improving their grooming program this winter with the addition of four new snowcats and new winch “pick points” to enable enhanced grooming on popular terrain. Squaw Valley will also be releasing a new grooming map for the 2011-12 winter season so the resort’s groomed terrain will be easier to find.
Upper Funitel Terminal
Those riding North America’s only Funitel, a 28-person gondola, will now arrive to a more welcoming space at the Gold Coast Complex. The once utilitarian space will be transformed with new ceiling panels, new flooring and new lighting. New lockers will also be installed for increased on-mountain storage and restrooms will be doubled in capacity. The Gold Coast Complex will also be host to a ski-up coffee shop.
New Information Boards
Squaw Valley has partnered with Lumiplan and Brand Connections to create new state-of-the-art information boards. Squaw Valley will be the first ski resort in North America to offer this technology. Functioning like the flight information boards found in airports around the world, Squaw Valley’s information boards will display real-time lift status updates as well as projected lift opening times and reasons for delays, should they occur. The information boards will also designate which runs were groomed overnight.
Additional features of Squaw Valley’s new communications system will include iPhone app features such as location-based viewing which will interact with the new mountain map.
New Trail Names & Mountain Map
This winter, Squaw Valley’s ski runs will have formally established trail names for the first time in the resort’s 62-year history. Squaw Valley is working with artist Gary Milliken to generate new trail map artwork. In addition to the artwork, Squaw Valley is simultaneously naming and assigning degree of difficulty levels to the never-before-named ski runs. Choosing from hundreds of unofficial trail names used by ski patrol, grooming teams and long-time Squaw skiers and riders, Squaw Valley has named runs from top to bottom, opting to use the most popular names of many of the ski runs.
New Mountain Signage
Squaw Valley will be installing all new on-mountain signage for the upcoming ski season. Approximately 200 new signs designating trail names and difficulty ratings will now mark Squaw Valley’s trails. The resort will also implement grooming flipper signs designating which runs were groomed overnight, as well as “Easiest Way Down” signs at the top of main lifts marking the least difficult routes from the top of the run to the bottom.
NEW FOOD & DINING EXPERIENCES:
New Village Restaurant & Bar
Centrally located with some of the best views of the mountain, this new food and drink experience will anchor the Village’s dining scene. With Levy Restaurants as consultants, the current Blue Coyote will be re-launched as the place to be for cocktails on the outdoor patio, cold brews and drinks as well as dinners for groups of all sizes. Guests will be able to play helmet cam video from the day on the restaurant’s TVs or choose the late-night bar playlist from one’s own iPhone.
Revitalized KT-Sundeck at Olympic House
Squaw Valley’s iconic peak, KT-22, is the backdrop for the après ski party hosted on the deck at Olympic House. KT-Sundeck will be completely redesigned and enhanced with outdoor fire pits for lingering, live music and on-mountain K-banas, Squaw’s own cabanas with views of KT-22 for an intimate après ski experience. The entire KT-Sundeck will feature an indoor/outdoor bar serving beer, cocktails, pitchers of margaritas and just about anything one can think of to toast the day. Bar food and snacks will include flatbread pizzas, burgers and appetizers for sharing. Just inside, a walk-up stand will serve burritos, burgers and pizzas for on-the-go food and beverage options. Eating areas inside will be enhanced with comfortable seating options with mountain views.
Bar One Lounge at Olympic House
The current Bar One space will be enclosed to create a new dining and beverage concept for guests who desire a more relaxed experience. A signature chef’s harvest table will offer a seasonally inspired menu including fresh soups, salads, antipasti, hand-carved meats and desserts. The new area will be home to afternoon events such as wine and chocolate tastings.
Top of the Funitel Market & Café
The current Crossroad Cafe will be transformed into an on-mountain market designed especially for the skiers and riders who want to hit the slopes right away. The menu will offer breakfast sandwiches, performance-oriented snacks (including a make your own trail mix), homemade soups, hot and cold sandwiches and pocket-ready desserts. In addition, a new signature dessert called Funi-Cakes, created with a nod to the resort’s high-speed Funitel, are reminiscent of a cross between a doughnut and a funnel cake, served warm and topped with sweet cream cheese, chocolate, cinnamon sugar or fresh berries.
Wildflour at Olympic House
The popular Wildflour Baking Company will have an expanded new home in the transformed ground level of Olympic House. With more space to create, the Wildflour menu will expand to include additional breakfast sandwiches, soups and salads to accompany their famous cookies.
NEW SKIER SERVICES:
As phase I of a multi-year program, the evolution of Squaw’s Snowsports School will focus on improving the beginner learning experience. Three new magic carpet lifts, new rental gear, progression-based terrain features and a new lesson structure will be in place to assure ease and enjoyment of learning to ski and ride. The new design of the Snowsports School will also provide increased service and a streamlined reservation and registration process for guests of the School.
Additionally, a major portion of the interior of the 17,000 square foot Squaw Kids facility is being remodeled and refurbished to the learning experience. Future plans include improvements to the High Camp beginner complex at el. 8200’, additional magic carpet lifts and on-mountain children’s attractions.
New Snowboard & Demo Rental Center
Squaw Valley’s main snowboard rental shop and demo center will be re-opening in a new slopeside location next to the resort’s main ski rental shop, providing a more convenient location for skiers and riders renting or exchanging gear. The new combined snowboard and demo rental center will offer the latest in ski and snowboard technology including a new Salomon rental fleet. The new shops will also offer electronic registration and custom-designed technician pits, enabling skiers and riders to get through the shop and on the mountain faster. Squaw Valley offers both a base and a mountaintop demo location, allowing skiers to seamlessly try out the latest skis until they find the perfect fit.
New Salomon Rental Fleet
This season, all skiers and riders will be tackling the mountain with state-of-the art of equipment developed by Salomon. The new rental fleet includes all new rental skis (Salomon Enduro 750LXR) and performance snowboards (Salomon Drift Rocker) which will be available at Squaw Valley’s main ski and snowboard rental shops. Squaw Valley’s main ski rental shop will also offer new men’s and women’s Tecnica Phoenix Max SR Air Shell ski boots with adjustable air bladders to create a comfortable and custom fit.
In addition to the resort’s main ski and snowboard rental shops, Squaw Kids Children’s Center will also be renting all new Salomon rental equipment for kids ages 3 through 12.
New Day Lodge & Family Rec Center
The base level of Squaw Valley’s Olympic House base lodge will be transformed into a new day lodge and family recreation center. The area will provide a comfortable and cozy place for families and friends to change into their equipment or relax before or after spending time on the mountain. The area will be expanded to include new windows, opening up the area and creating a spacious venue to gear up or unwind.
New Central Reservations Platform
Customers booking through Squaw Valley Central Reservations will now be able to reserve vacation packages online or over the phone. Squaw Valley’s new Central Reservations platform will also offer Live Chat, so users can talk to a sales specialist as they book their winter vacation 0nline.
New Sales and Services Center
Located adjacent to Olympic House, Squaw Valley’s new sales and services center will enable skiers and riders to purchase lift tickets, season passes, activity products and sign up for snowsports lessons all in one place to get on the mountain as quickly and easily as possible.
The removal of the resort’s ticket portals will eliminate the barrier between the Village and the base area, creating a mountain “beachfront” in the Village providing enhanced views of Squaw Valley’s peaks. This new beachfront plaza will serve as a new venue for guests to relax around social fire pits, listen to live music and enjoy make-your-own s’mores.
YEAR TWO: Winter 2012- 13 / $20 Million
Squaw Valley USA will be investing approximately $20 million in capital improvements for the 2012-13 winter season, including significant lift upgrades for the upper mountain.
As part of the five year capital improvement plan, Squaw Valley will be installing two new high-speed detachable lifts—one lift replacing Granite Chief servicing intermediate and advanced terrain, and the other lift replacing the High Camp chairlift. The existing High Camp chairlift will be refurbished and reinstalled in a new location with improved alignment. These new lifts, slated to open for the 2012-13 winter season, will have an uphill capacity of 7,200 skiers per hour.
The lift upgrades and expanded intermediate groomed runs are designed to maximize the resort’s terrain by ability level. The newly aligned Links and High Camp express chairlifts have been engineered to accommodate the natural fall lines of the High Camp area slopes, allowing beginner and intermediate skiers to easily enjoy all of the terrain that the area has to offer. The improvements will make the area ideal for teaching beginner lessons, allowing new skiers and riders to easily make their first turns of many overlooking beautiful views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada.
Squaw Valley’s five year and $50 million capital improvement plan will continue to evolve to include further lift innovations, new experiential concept stores and new mountain adventures for kids and families, resort officials indicate.