The Californian resorts of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have announced that they will be joining forces in time for the 2011/12 winter season. The two Lake Tahoe resorts will effectively merge their holding companies and offer twin resort lift passes as of this winter.
With two of Ski Lake Tahoe's resorts combing forces it's great news for skiers, though the merger is yet to complete, the two resorts are already offering lift passes that will cover both ski areas, including full season passes, but they have also announced a new six day all-access lift ticket valid in both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley is renowned for its legendary terrain and boasts local rides such as Jeremy Jones, the resort hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and boasts 3,600 acres of terrain, the new infrastructure means the lift pass will cover 6,000 ski-able acres an area that boasted over 800 inches of snowfall last winter. Prior to the decision to combine forces Squaw Valley had announced $50 million of investment over the next five years and it is now expected the Alpine Meadows will benefit from a cash input.
The huge investment is expected to see several new bars and restaurants, both in resort and on the mountain, with some of the current venues benefitting from a revitalisation. The resort will also be investing in 10 new piste bashers, new snow park equipment and a renovation of the upper Funitel terminal, among many other resort improvements.
Andy Wirth, President and CEO of Squaw Valley said: "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. 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 allow guests, with one pass, access to both of these incredible mountains, providing unmatched value."
The two resorts are currently owned by JMA Ventures (Alpine Meadows) and LSL Capital Partners (Squaw Valley) and have agreed to combine operations under common ownership with the transaction expected to commence before the start of the 2011/12 season. The new company will see the current owners of Squaw Valley take the majority shares, with their current CEO due to talk the helm of the combined entity.
Todd Chapman, President and CEO of JMA Ventures (JMA), owner of Alpine Meadows, said: "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. While both resorts are unique, this partnership is a natural fit, as what unites our brands and the spirit of our mountains is our guests’ desire for exploration and adventure."
More resorts under one lift pass is always good news, especially in an area that boasts Northstar and Heavenly within driving distance for a couple of extra nights. The only thing this news leaves me to speculate about is whether any of this investment could be used to add new lifts and ski area to further link the two domains.
Written by Stephen Adam