Third snowiest season in Squaw Valley history ends this weekend
Special to The Union
The third snowiest season on record at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will finally come to a close on Sunday when the resort ends winter operations for 2018-19.
The mountain received 719 inches of snow at Squaw’s upper mountain during this past season, which included a record-setting 315 inches of snowfall in February.
Once the resort closes for the season on Sunday, it will have spun lifts for a total of 212 days, which is the fourth most in the history of the mountain.
“The Squaw Alpine team worked their tails off this season — if you see any of them around town, give them a high five,” said Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows President and COO Ron Cohen in an email. “They delivered the goods, over and over and over again, absolutely crushing an insane nine-month long season! The passion and enthusiasm we see from our guests makes all of that hard work worthwhile, so on behalf of our whole team I want to say thank you to everyone who came out to ski and ride with us this season.
“From the biggest February ever, to a remarkably long and fun spring, and now rolling into a spectacular summer, this year stands as testimony to what everyone loves about Squaw Alpine and the North Lake Tahoe region.”
Squaw’s snow total this season was 9 inches shy of the 2016-17 total of 728 inches. The 2010-11 season is the largest on record with 810 inches of total snow at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain area.
This past season was highlighted by a record-setting February, in which an average of nearly a foot of snow a day fell at the resort. The snowfall that month broke the resort’s February record by 10 feet, and also set the record for most snowfall in a month.
The mountain was later hit with a series of spring storms that dropped 37 inches in May, all of which fell during the second half of the month.
“In addition to great conditions, we also saw new programs like Mountaineer and POW carpool parking working hard for us this season,” said Cohen. “Together, they took well over 40,000 vehicle trips off the road and helped reduce the number of days our lots were full from 40 in 2016-17, when we had comparable snowfall, to just six this season. It shows what’s possible with community collaboration and ingenuity, and I know there’s plenty more where that came from.”
The resort also raised more than $40,000 this past month through its Five Dollar Friday lift ticket promotion, which will help the Tahoe Fund and Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition install up to 266 bike racks in the Tahoe Basin.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will conclude the ski season at Squaw this holiday weekend with the Lake Tahoe 4th of July Freedom Fest.
Funitel, Gold Coast, Shirley Lake, and Big Blue lifts are scheduled to spin at the resort, which reported a base of 7 feet on the upper mountain, through Sunday, July 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the final weekend, hundreds of skiers and riders dressed in patriotic outfits will hit the mountain, celebrating Independence Day by getting in the final turns of the season. Live music will be performed at the resort throughout the holiday weekend. There will also be a pool and hot tub party at High Camp on Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
The resort will conclude ski and snowboard operations on Sunday, followed by live music and specials at Fireside Pizza.
“As a newcomer here, I could not have asked for a better first year,” said Cohen. “I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming part of the community, and I have tried my absolute best to help foster a positive, collaborative culture. It’s been a ton of fun, and I think we’ve made great progress. As we look to next year, the entire team is working on implementing close to $20 million of capital investments, and so our future looks really bright. The new Treeline Cirque high speed chairlift at Alpine Meadows is going to take the Alpine experience to a new level.”
The Treeline Cirque lift will replace and expand upon the existing Hot Wheels triple chairlift. It will have an unload-only mid-station where the current top terminal of Hot Wheels is and a 1,300 foot extension up to the top of Sherwood Cliffs, with its top terminal landing between Art’s Knob and the top terminal of Sherwood Express.
“Every time we talk about how transformational it will be, we get even more excited,” Cohen added. “This team is fired up, and we’re getting ready to blow the doors off next season.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union based in Truckee. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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