Squaw Valley USA announces details for a $50 million capital plan? New base lodge, expanded restaurants and two new high-speed chairlifts planned
[Squaw Valley USA] July 26, 2011 – Squaw Valley USA announces the details of a five-year, $50 million capital improvement plan that will add dramatic improvements to the on-mountain and base village guest experience. Plans include everything from new food and hospitality offerings to new beginner and advanced high-speed chairlifts, trail improvements and a state of the art mountain information system. All enhancements are designed to better enable guests to embrace their desire for adventure, exploration and immersive experiences, whether solo or with families and friends. Whether it’s discovering new terrain or socializing at the end of the day, improvements to amenities and customer service will allow skiers, riders and guests to explore Squaw Valley’s 4,000 acres and vibrant alpine village like never before.
“Squaw Valley is an incredible and diverse mountain, and we are committed to honoring every aspect of the mountain’s history, legacy and legend,” said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s president and chief executive officer. “We’ve talked to guests, skiers and riders regionally and around the country and learned that the very caliber of this mountain may have kept some visitors away, and we are dedicated to creating an approachable and friendly experience for our guests of every ability level. This philosophy is present in every aspect of our mountain and base area improvement plans—and will remain a theme as we continue to change.”
YEAR ONE: Winter 2011-12 / $15 Million
Squaw Valley USA will be investing approximately $15 million in base area and on-mountain improvements for the 2011-12 winter season to improve the guest experience in the following:
Realizing that Terrain Parks are critically important to many customers, Squaw Valley is placing a renewed focus on creating terrain parks with a variety of small, medium and large features for the upcoming winter season. With significant resources allotted for terrain park improvements, Squaw Valley’s parks will have new boxes and rail features in addition to high-quality jumps and snow features. The resort will also add benches in key areas of the parks and at the top of key chairlifts for snowboarders looking to strap in or relax, and enjoy the majestic views.
New Grooming Machines
After purchasing six new grooming machines during the 2010-11 season, Squaw Valley will be further improving their grooming program this winter with the addition of four new snowcats and new winch ‘pick points’ to enable enhanced grooming on popular terrain. Squaw Valley will also be releasing a new grooming map for the 2011-12 winter season so the resort’s groomed terrain will be easier to find than ever before.
Upper Funitel Terminal
Those riding North America’s only Funitel (28-person gondola) will now arrive to a welcoming space at the Gold Coast Complex. The once utilitarian space will be transformed with new ceiling panels, new flooring and new lighting. New lockers will also be installed for increased on-mountain storage and restrooms will be doubled in capacity. The Gold Coast Complex will also be host to North America's first ski-up coffee shop, which will serve as a fun and innovate way for skiers and riders to get their daily dose of caffeine.
New Information Boards
To assist skiers and riders in making the most of their runs, Squaw Valley has partnered with Lumiplan and Brand Connections to create new state-of-the-art information boards. Squaw Valley will be the only ski resort in North America to offer this technology. Functioning like the flight information boards found in airports around the world, Squaw Valley’s information boards will display real-time lift status updates as well as projected lift opening times and reasons for delays, should they occur. The information boards will also designate which runs were groomed overnight.
Additional features of Squaw Valley’s new communications system will include iPhone app features such as location-based viewing which will interact with the new mountain map. Squaw Valley will use leading-edge technology that has been previously implemented at top European ski resorts.
New Trail Names & Mountain Map
This winter, Squaw Valley’s ski runs will have formally established trail names for the first time in the resort’s 62-year history, making the mountain more accessible than ever before. Squaw Valley is working with artist Gary Milliken to generate new trail map artwork. In addition to the artwork, Squaw Valley is simultaneously naming and assigning degree of difficulty levels to the never-before-named ski runs at the Lake Tahoe resort. Choosing from hundreds of unofficial trail names used by ski patrol, grooming teams and long-time Squaw skiers and riders, Squaw Valley has named runs from top to bottom, opting to use the most popular names of many of the ski runs.
New Mountain Signage
Squaw Valley will be installing all new on-mountain signage for the upcoming ski season. The new signage will ensure that Squaw Valley’s 4,000 acres of inspiring terrain are easily navigated by skiers and riders of all ability levels. Approximately 200 new signs designating trail names and difficulty ratings will now mark Squaw Valley’s trails. The resort will also implement grooming flipper signs designating which runs were groomed overnight, as well as “Easiest Way Down” signs at the top of main lifts marking the least difficult routes from the top of the run to the bottom.
NEW FOOD & DINING EXPERIENCES:
New Village Restaurant & Bar
Centrally located with the best views of the mountain, this new food and drink experience will anchor the Village’s dining scene. With Levy Restaurants as consultants, the current Blue Coyote will be re-launched as the place to be for cocktails on the outdoor patio, cold brews, signature drinks and great dinners for groups of all sizes. From rockin’ burgers to seasonally fresh salads and not-to be-missed appetizers for sharing, skiers, riders and resort guests alike will feel comfortable in their own spot here. Inspiration for the new space will come from real people, amazing athletes and the mind-blowing lore that have made Squaw the legend that it is. The space is designed to give all Squaw enthusiasts a chance to celebrate and tell the stories of their runs, tricks and mountain discoveries through easy to use and share technology features. Whether it’s posting a helmet cam video from the day on the restaurant’s TVs or choosing the late-night bar playlist from one’s iPhone, the color and vibe at this hot spot is truly one of a kind, just like its guests.
Revitalized KT-Sundeck at Olympic House
Squaw Valley’s iconic peak, KT-22, is the backdrop for the now equally as epic après ski party hosted on the deck at Olympic House. KT-Sundeck will be completely redesigned as the ultimate spot for skiers, riders and guests to gather and bask in the day’s adventures, the mountain’s afternoon light and the energy of great times. The sundeck will be enhanced with outdoor fire pits for lingering, live music and an industry-first, on-mountain K-banas, Squaw’s own cabanas with views of KT-22. For those looking to reconnect with friends and family, the K-banas will provide an intimate après ski experience. The entire KT-Sundeck will feature an indoor/outdoor bar serving beer, cocktails, pitchers of specialty margaritas and just about anything one can think of to toast the day. Great bar food and snacks will satisfy the biggest appetite including flatbread pizzas, burgers and appetizers for sharing. Just inside, a walk-up stand invites guests to indulge in big-on-flavor burritos, burgers and pizzas for on-the-go food and beverage options. Eating areas inside will be enhanced with comfortable seating options–and, as always, incredible mountain views.
Bar One Lounge at Olympic House
The current Bar One space will be enclosed to create a new dining and beverage concept for guests who desire a more relaxed experience. A signature chef’s harvest table will offer an ever-changing, seasonally inspired menu that allows guests to savor fresh soups, salads, antipasti, hand-carved meats and desserts. The new area will be home to afternoon events such as wine and chocolate tastings.
Top of the Funitel Market & Café
The current Crossroad Cafe will be transformed into an on-mountain market designed especially for the skiers and riders who want to hit the slopes right away. Wired for convenience and flavor, the menu will offer breakfast sandwiches, performance-oriented snacks (including a make your own trail mix), homemade soups, hot and cold sandwiches and pocket-ready desserts. In addition, a new signature dessert called Funi-Cakes, created with a nod to the resort’s high-speed Funitel, may quickly become the most craved item on the mountain. Reminiscent of a cross between a tasty doughnut and a funnel cake, warm Funi-Cakes are topped with sweet cream cheese, chocolate, cinnamon sugar or fresh berries.
Wildflour at Olympic House
True to its name, the wildly popular Wildflour Baking Company will expand its appeal this winter. Home of the warm, melt in your mouth cookies beloved by every one of Squaw’s legendary athletes, Wildflour will have an expanded new home in the transformed ground level of Olympic House. With more space to create, the Wildflour menu will expand to include additional breakfast sandwiches, soups and salads to accompany the ever-famous cookies.
NEW SKIER SERVICES:
As phase I of a multi-year program, the evolution of the Snowsports School will include a specific focus on significantly improving the beginner learning experience. Three new magic carpet lifts, new rental gear, progression-based terrain features and a new lesson structure will be in place to assure ease and enjoyment of learning to ski and ride. The new design of the Snowsports School will also provide increased service and a streamlined reservation and registration process for guests of the School.
Additionally, a major portion of the interior of the 17,000 square foot Squaw Kids facility is being remodeled and refurbished to the learning experience. Future plans include improvements to the High Camp beginner complex at el. 8200’, additional magic carpet lifts and on-mountain children’s attractions.
New Snowboard & Demo Rental Center
Squaw Valley’s main snowboard rental shop and demo center will be re-opening in a new slopeside location next to the resort’s main ski rental shop, allowing skiers and riders to effortlessly rent or exchange gear. The new combined snowboard and demo rental center will offer the latest in ski and snowboard technology including a new Salomon rental fleet. The new shops will also offer electronic registration and custom-designed technician pits enabling skiers and riders to get through the shop and on the mountain faster. Squaw Valley offers a truly unique demo program with both a base and a mountaintop demo location, allowing skiers to seamlessly try out the latest skis until they find the perfect fit.
New Salomon Rental Fleet
This season, all skiers and riders will be tackling the mountain with state-of-the art of equipment developed by Salomon. Squaw Valley’s brand new Salomon rental fleet utilizes the latest ski and snowboard technology to deliver exceptional performance on the mountain. The new Salomon rental fleet includes all new rental skis (Salomon Enduro 750LXR) and performance snowboards (Salomon Drift Rocker) which will be available at Squaw Valley’s main ski and snowboard rental shops. Squaw Valley’s main ski rental shop will also offer new men’s and women’s high-performance ski boots with adjustable air bladders to create a comfortable and custom fit (Tecnica Phoenix Max SR Air Shell).
In addition to the resort’s main ski and snowboard rental shops, Squaw Kids Children’s Center will also be renting all new Salomon rental equipment. Kids ages 3 through 12 will enjoy the latest equipment as they develop a true love for winter sports in Squaw Valley’s renowned children’s program.
New Day Lodge & Family Rec Center
The base level of Squaw Valley’s Olympic House base lodge will be transformed into a new day lodge and family recreation center. The area will provide a comfortable and cozy place for families and friends to change into their equipment or relax before or after spending time on the mountain. The area will be expanded to include new windows, opening up the area and creating a spacious venue to gear up or unwind.
New Central Reservations Platform
Booking winter vacations will be easier than ever this winter through Squaw Valley Central Reservations. Customers will now be able to book vacation packages online or over the phone. Through Central Reservations, guests can access the best deals on lift tickets and build a full custom package including lodging and a variety of other amenities. Squaw Valley’s new Central Reservations platform will also offer Live Chat, so users can talk to a sales specialist as they book their winter vacation.
New Sales and Services Center
Located adjacent to Olympic House, Squaw Valley’s new sales and services center will enable skiers and riders to purchase lift tickets, season passes, activity products and sign up for snowsports lessons effortlessly in one place. The new sales center will be designed and outfitted to ensure that guests can get on the mountain as quickly and easily as possible—be it to enjoy the mountaintop pool or take an advanced ski lesson.
The removal of the resort’s ticket portals will eliminate the barrier between the Village and the base area, creating a mountain “beachfront” in the Village providing enhanced views of Squaw Valley’s peaks. This new beachfront plaza will serve as a new venue for guests to relax around social fire pits, listen to live music and enjoy delicious make-your-own s’mores.
YEAR TWO: Winter 2012- 13 / $20 Million
Squaw Valley USA will be investing approximately $20 million in capital improvements for the 2012-13 winter season, including significant lift upgrades for the upper mountain.
As part of the five year capital improvement plan, Squaw Valley will be installing two new high-speed detachable lifts—one lift replacing Granite Chief servicing intermediate and advanced terrain, and the other lift replacing the High Camp chairlift. The existing High Camp chairlift will be refurbished and reinstalled in a new location with improved alignment. These new lifts, slated to open for the 2012-13 winter season, will have an uphill capacity of 7,200 skiers per hour, allowing skiers and riders to spend less time on the lifts and more time on the mountain.
The lift upgrades and expanded intermediate groomed runs are designed to maximize the resort’s terrain by ability level. The newly aligned Links and High Camp express chairlifts have been engineered to accommodate the natural fall lines of the High Camp area slopes, allowing beginner and intermediate skiers to easily enjoy all of the terrain that the area has to offer. The improvements will make the area ideal for teaching beginner lessons, allowing new skiers and riders to easily make their first turns of many overlooking beautiful views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada.
The resort’s new express Granite Chief chairlift will similarly enable intermediate-advanced and advanced skiers and riders to spend less time on the lift and more time floating through the trees, steeps and natural terrain features that make this area some of the most beloved on the mountain.
Squaw Valley’s five year and $50 million capital improvement plan will continue to evolve to include further lift innovations, new experiential concept stores and new mountain adventures for kids and families. Consistent with the theme of current improvement projects, all capital investments will focus on creating the ultimate guest experience at Squaw Valley’s legendary mountain resort.
Please note that all of the above plans are subject to change and are permits pending.