Squaw Valley and Alpine Studying Backcountry Access
This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have teamed up to study the possibility of opening up backcountry access gates for those of us who like to wander beyond the boundaries.
This could potentially open up a HUGE amount of side-country, lift accessed terrain. Since Squaw and Alpine merged, one of the biggest questions has been what their plans are for the terrain that separates the two resorts. Now we have a good idea.
Ducking ropes has traditionally been a big no-no at Squaw, and many passes have been confiscated for skirting the rules. It looks like that attitude has changed with the KSL acquisition. Halleluiah!
Backcountry access is a no-brainer at many famous resorts like Telluride, Jackson Hole, and the like. It doesn’t look like there will be any movement on the existing policy for this season, but I’m happy to see the new management bringing Squaw into the 21st century.
See below for the official press release
Squaw and Alpine Meadows Announce Study to Determine Possibility of Backcountry Access Gates
SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. — Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are announcing a new pilot study to determine the possibility of creating backcountry access gates permitting on-snow travel between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
During the 2011-12 winter operating season Squaw and Alpine Meadows management, ski patrols from both resorts, and the US Forest Service will begin a pilot study to investigate the possibility of creating several backcountry access gates permitting travel between Squaw and Alpine Meadows. If successful, the pilot study would result in a policy which could permit skiers and riders with specialized backcountry training and equipment to access the wilderness land connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
“We will be working with closely with our partner, the United States Forest Service, to conduct the pilot study,” said Andy Wirth, CEO of both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “With the safety of our guests and our team members as our primary concern, we will be doing our due diligence to determine whether or not backcountry access between Squaw and Alpine Meadows is a possibility.”
Since Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows joined under common ownership this fall, both resorts can be accessed on one lift ticket or season pass for the 2011-12 winter season. Shuttles will run constantly between Squaw and Alpine Meadows this winter, providing convenient and quick access between the two resorts.
The boundary management policies of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will remain much the same as they have in previous years. With the exception of the conditions dependent pilot study, Squaw Valley’s boundary will remain closed as it has in prior years. The Alpine Meadows Ski Area boundary will be managed as it has been in the past. The project will include route selection, potential issues relating to backcountry access during in-bounds closures, search and rescue issues, and interface with private land and wilderness areas.
The goal of the pilot study will be to determine whether or not feasible locations for backcountry access gates exist – and if so, where the best locations would be in terms of topography and exposure. The pilot study will be launched when adequate snow conditions have been reached.