Employee housing, more efficient snowmaking in plans for Palisades Tahoe

Alterra investments to focus on enhancing guest, employee experiences

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows began making snow on Oct. 17 in preparation for opening day on Nov. 15.
Provided/Ben Arnst/Palisades Tahoe

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Employee housing, enhanced base area offerings and more efficient snowmaking are in the plans for Palisades Tahoe with Alterra Mountain Company’s Tuesday announcement that it plans to invest $500 million into resorts.

In the year ahead, Alterra said it will invest almost $400 million for lifts, snowmaking, summer adventures, additional guest amenities, and resort infrastructure; $50 million dedicated to employee housing; and $40 million for technology upgrades to better connect and streamline the guest experience.

In the past year, Alterra completed three projects, including the opening of the new Base to Base Gondola that remade Palisades Tahoe into the largest ski area in California, the opening of Steamboat’s industry-redefining Greenhorn Ranch Learning Center in Colorado, and the first stage of its Wild Blue Gondola, which will ultimately become the longest gondola in North America and the fastest in the country. 

“In our first five years, Alterra Mountain Company has established itself as a proven leader in the outdoor industry, and we intend to continue to innovate by investing in large-scale projects that will deliver differentiated guest experiences,” said Jared Smith, President and CEO for Alterra. “These projects, and our investments in the years ahead, demonstrate our unwavering commitment to evolving our destinations to better serve our guests and to improving the experience our employees can expect when living and working in our mountain communities.”

Alterra plans to double its portfolio-wide employee housing capacity over the next five-year investment period. In 2023, the company said it will add almost 500 workforce housing beds with significant expansion at Palisades Tahoe and other resorts. The company said it is also in the planning stages for about 1,000 additional affordable workforce housing beds across Palisades Tahoe and a few other resorts.

More Efficient Snowmaking

To help ensure a consistent season length and a quality experience, Alterra is investing in  robust, multi-year snowmaking enhancement programs designed to bring higher efficiency equipment to all resorts, most notably overhauling systems at Winter Park Resort, Steamboat, Palisades Tahoe, Sugarbush, Snowshoe and Mammoth Mountain. These new systems favor increased energy efficiency and reduced water usage allowing our destinations to improve our guest experience while reducing our environmental impact.

Expanded Beginner Terrain and Ski Racing Courses

In an effort to introduce more guests to snow sports, Alterra continues to make sizable investments in beginner terrain and racing facilities. The company’s investments include Steamboat’s new premier Greenhorn Ranch dedicated beginners area featuring terrain-based learning, four magic carpets, and the Greenhorn Ranch Express, a detachable quad lift. In addition, enhancements are being made to beginners areas in Deer Valley Resort, Stratton, Snowshoe, and Big Bear Mountain Resort.  

Alterra is also making significant investments in recreational ski racing infrastructure, adding free racing courses to each of its mountain destinations in partnership with newly-minted FIS all time World Cup record-holder, Mikaela Shiffrin, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, and Outside Interactive, Inc., owner of NASTAR. Alterra and its partners hope offering these investments for free will invite and ignite the next generation of ski-race champions.

Enhanced Digital Guest Technology Improvements

Alterra is committed to utilizing consumer technology to ease and enhance our guests’ journey from booking to arriving at our destinations. As a result, the company is investing significant capital to improve its digital capabilities. In the year ahead, guests will benefit from additional Ikon Pass app features, significantly streamlined booking and packaging options, new RFID gate technology at most resorts, and a more connected experience on and off the mountain.

In addition, the company has significant plans to enhance the base area offerings at Deer Valley Resort, Winter Park Resort, Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain in the years ahead.

Palisades Tahoe making snow in this 2019 file photo. Alterra Mountain Company, who owns Palisades, plans to upgrade snowmaking systems this year.
Provided/Ben Arnst/Palisades Tahoe

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