Can Placer County and Squaw Valley USA git er done?
Looking for a new extreme winter sport? Are you in need of a fresh, cheap thrill? Try accessing Squaw Valley USA after a big snowfall. I took some people there to go skiing Monday the 28th, after the most recent big dump of fresh powder, and Squaw Valley Road was in such terrible shape from lack of plowing we thought the car was going to disintegrate right out from under us. It was the most unpleasant experience I have had since my dad died three weeks ago. I was driving. It was a challenge just to keep my flailing carcass from bouncing into the back seat. Now I know what it must be like to drive around the streets of Baghdad trying to dodge IEDs as they explode all around you. The car was behaving like a grasshopper on a red hot skillet all the way from Highway 89 to the cable car building, only we lasted a lot longer. It was a flippin miracle. If I did an hour or two of yoga, sat in the hot tub for an hour and the sauna for fifteen minutes, got a massage and went to the chiropractor for a spinal adjustment, I would still feel pulverized with poison darts. Of course, this is nothing new. Squaw Valley seems to be the only ski area in the Sierra Nevada with this problem. Squaw Valley Road never gets plowed in time to provide the skiing public with a smooth road to the slopes after a big snowfall. This deplorable situation has existed for years.Reliable rumors tell me that the relationship between Squaw Valley Ski Corp. and Placer County is not amenable to mutual cooperation. In all fairness, I did not have time to make any phone calls. Not that I was ever very optimistic about getting the truth from anyone. Meanwhile, the skiing public has been suffering too long from the inexcusable state of affairs in Squaw Valley.Placer County is responsible for plowing Squaw Valley Road, but Squaw Valley Ski Corp., in my opinion, is equally responsible for this world class fiasco. The county has the means and the equipment to get the job done in a timely manner. If Placer County needs a little help getting organized perhaps someone at Squaw Valley Ski Corp. administrative offices should place a telephone call to the county and ask them if they have seen any of those big orange trucks with the curved chunks of metal on the front that might be used for removing snow from the road. Im sure if the telephone call were forwarded to enough people, eventually they would end up connected to someone who has heard of such equipment. Or maybe were just stuck with bad karma forever.Eventually, Squaw Valley Road did get plowed sometime Monday afternoon, after thousands of skiers hit the slopes with crooked spines. Its tough enough feeling all beat up after skiing. At Squaw Valley USA, when Placer County snow removal cant handle a little snowfall, you get to start your ski day feeling like youve been skiing icy bumps from nine to four. What a treat.Make sure the inside of your car is specially padded if you decide to try the wild ride after the next snowstorm. I would also recommend using an old vehicle, one that you dont mind destroying. Or try a golf cart. Wait until there has been some traffic on the road first. The gauntlet, or mine field, needs some time to develop its maximum degree of difficulty. Good luck choosing and maintaining your line. See if its smoother at 80 mph as opposed to a snails pace, which is bloody torture. Let me know if theres a difference.And take a video camera. It could make for some great footage on YouTube.Come on Placer County. Work with Squaw Valley for the people.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, experienced ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 25 years.
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