Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows parent company plans $181M in improvements at its resorts | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows parent company plans $181M in improvements at its resorts

Submitted to the Sierra Sun

New surface lifts at High Camp at Squaw Valley will be geared to improve connectivity with High Camp facilities and enhance the beginner experience, according to a news release.

Alterra Mountain Company announces its plans to invest $181 million in capital improvements across its 14 North American mountain destinations for the upcoming year, a news release states.

"Marquee 2019/2020 projects aimed at enhancing the guest experience include new high-speed lifts at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Winter Park, direct to lift access at Deer Valley Resort, an expansive renovation of the Bobbie Burns lodge at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, and an upgrade of Steamboat's gondola," the release states.

The $181 million plan includes $32.3 million toward improved gondolas and lifts, according to the release, a $27.1 million investment in innovation to offer customer-friendly technology, $8.3 million towards state-of-the-art snowmaking, $6.2 million dedicated to expanded dining experiences, $6.3 million in summer activity investments, and nearly $10 million in planning efforts to unlock future potential terrain and lift expansions, base area developments, new dining facilities, and four-season activity offerings.

"Alterra Mountain Company's unique year-round mountain destinations offer skiers, riders and summer visitors of all ages from all over the world special, memorable experiences, and each aspect of our business plays a part in bringing the guest back year after year and inspiring a lifelong love of the mountains," Alterra CEO Rusty Gregory said in the release. "We are committed to investing in everything from lifts to snowmaking to creative dining experiences, and technology that weaves it all together for a seamless visit."

At Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, work will replace the Hot Wheels lift at Alpine Meadows with a new high-speed quad with an extended second leg to the ridge, granting skiers and riders quicker access to the Alpine and Sherwood areas, Alterra announced. New surface lifts at High Camp at Squaw Valley will be geared to improve connectivity with High Camp facilities and enhance the beginner experience.

These capital projects are part of an improvement plan totaling more than half a billion dollars through the 2022/2023 season, focused on elevating the guest experience at all destinations, after an initial $170 million investment for the 2018/2019 season.

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New detachable high-speed chairlift at Alpine Meadows

Alpine Meadows will see continued investment following last year's $1.4 million renovation of its Base Lodge. A new high-speed detachable quad chairlift will replace the existing Hot Wheels triple chair, adding a mid-station at the current terminus and a 1,300-foot extension up to the east ridge of Ward Peak, landing between Art's Knob and the top terminal of Sherwood Express.

A total ride time of about five minutes will give skiers and riders direct access from the base area to both the Alpine and Sherwood sides of the ski area. The new express chairlift will be a four-minute ride from the Alpine Meadows base area to the mid-station, providing convenient access to some of the area's best low-intermediate terrain.

At the top terminal, just one-minute's ride from the mid-station, guests will have immediate access to the Sherwood Cliffs, Art's Knob and all of the terrain served by Sherwood Express, which boasts the closest view of Lake Tahoe anywhere in the resort. Here, intermediate and expert guests can experience one of the mountain's most spectacular areas, with wide open glades and access to the secluded Ice Bar, an on-snow hangout that comes alive for spring skiing.

"The new lift will benefit the Alpine Meadows experience on many levels," said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. "Terrain currently served by Hot Wheels is frequently used by learners and ski and ride school as the next progression after the beginner terrain in the base area. A detachable lift will make loading and unloading much easier for these groups, and the ride time will be more than cut in half. Alpine Meadows is a fantastic place to learn how to ski, and I am proud that we are continuing to foster that quality. In addition to those clear benefits, the new lift extension will directly connect guests to some of Alpine's best intermediate and expert terrain.

"The lift's location is favorable in high winds and inclement weather," Cohen continued, "and the extension creates access to the Sherwood area without the need for the current multi-step process that requires a long and sometimes nearly impassable traverse."

Construction will begin this spring, as soon as conditions allow.

New surface lifts and terrain enhancements at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley will also see improvements to on-hill connectivity with new surface lifts in the High Camp area. A new rope tow will create fast and convenient access to High Camp, avoiding the need to traverse uphill to get to the High Camp facilities. At 8,200 feet, the recently renovated High Camp is home to multiple dining locations, the High Camp Pool & Hot Tub and a 30-acre beginner area, all with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. High Camp's extensive beginner terrain will be further enhanced for 2019-20 with infrastructure improvements, including a new "magic carpet" surface lift, snow fencing, and other skier experience enhancements that will help novices and Ski & Snowboard School students to fully utilize the terrain with less interference from other skier traffic. Construction will begin this summer, as soon as conditions allow.

"$17 million in capital improvements by Alterra Mountain Company represents a strong commitment to continue to invest in Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, optimizing our infrastructure in a way that provides great access for everyone, whether you are a seasoned veteran or a first-time visitor," said Cohen. "This big investment at Alpine Meadows shows an enduring focus on the family-friendly atmosphere, great snow conditions and incredible terrain that make Alpine one of Tahoe's favorite resorts. We are coming into the second half of what has proven to be an incredible season so far, and with these changes on the plate, the outlook for 2019-20 is wildly optimistic."

Source: Alterra Mountain Company/Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

ALTERRA PLANNED PROJECTS

Big Bear Mountain Resort, California — Big Bear Mountain Resort will expand its bike park, increase parking capacity for guests, and make notable improvements in skier services and dining facilities to the base area.

Mammoth Mountain, California — Mammoth Mountain will undergo a $10 million second phase renovation of its busy Canyon Lodge, focusing on expanded restaurants and skier service improvements. The popular Mill restaurant will also undergo renovations, adding 50+ seats to the dining area. Significant upgrades to snowmaking will bolster Mammoth’s reputation for early-November openings, and supplement its natural snow and high-elevation advantages with greater early-season coverage.

Deer Valley Resort, Utah — Deer Valley Resort will have direct-to-lift access for winter 19/20 after an investment in RFID technology. This will streamline and speed up the on-mountain experience, and Ikon Pass holders will no longer have to visit the ticket window, giving skiers more time on the mountain.

Steamboat, Colorado —Steamboat is planning a $15 million replacement of its gondola this year. The new gondola will follow the same alignment, taking skiers and riders out of the base area and up to the Thunderhead Lodge, and will significantly reduce ride times. In addition, new level-walk-in cabins will boost uphill capacity by nearly 30%, up to 3,600 skiers per hour, providing skiers and riders more time on the mountain.

Winter Park Resort, Colorado — Winter Park Resort will replace the Sunnyside lift at Mary Jane, currently a fixed triple lift, with a new Leitner-Poma detachable high-spe ed six-pack, increasing uphill capacity by 800 people per hour and reducing the ride time from eight minutes to 3.8 minutes. The new lift will improve skier transit out of Parsenn Bowl and through the Lunch Rock area. Winter Park will also reinforce its summer activities by adding new bike trails, rope courses, and climbing walls.

CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, British Columbia, Canada — The beloved Bobbie Burns lodge in British Columbia will experience a $6.4 million ($8.4 million CAD) renovation, the largest infrastructure project that CMH has undertaken since 2002, with a complete redesign and modernization of existing guest rooms. In addition, the construction of a new wing will increase the number of single rooms, bringing the lodge capacity to 37 guests in winter, and enable CMH to offer a four-person private heli-ski ing program starting in December 2019. Nearly $1 million ($1.2 million CAD) will be spent on run development throughout CMH’s heli-ski tenures. For summer 2019, guests will be able to navigate canyon ledges and glacier-fed waterfalls on the new Zillmer Canyon Via Ferrata, launching at CMH Cariboos.

Tremblant, Quebec, Canada — A $4 million snowmaking upgrade and expansion will contribute significantly to greater consistency of early-season openings with high-quality conditions, building upon Tremblant’s reputation as the premier ski destination in the region and preparing the destination for future planned expansions. Phase II of a major $7 million renovation of the Grand Manitou at Tremblant will include refreshes to dining spaces and other interior and exterior renovations.

Stratton, Vermont — Stratton’s debut in the world of mountain biking will begin with the construction of a completely new mountain biking park and trail network, complete with green, blue, and black trails, as well as various features.

Snowshoe, West Virginia — Alterra Mountain Company is increasing its investment in mountain biking, constructing new bike trails and features at Snowshoe, which is consistently ranked among the top mountain biking destinations in the region. Snowshoe will play host to the final round of the 2019 Mountain Bike World Cup in September 2019.

Blue Mountain, Ontario, Canada — To offer unique outdoor family experiences, an elevated forest adventure course, including tree houses, bounce nets, and slides, will be constructed for family summer fun.

Alterra Mountain Company’s multi-destination pass product, the Ikon Pass, will go on sale on March 5, for the 2019/2020 winter season, offering skiers and riders access to 38 mountain destinations across North America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. Ikon Passes can be purchased at http://www.ikonpass.com.

Source: Alterra Mountain Company