Squaw Valley World Cup: Parking, transit figure to be a challenge
Special to the Tribune
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — As Squaw Valley is preparing to host the Audi FIS World Cup this weekend, one of the main concerns among locals — which has been an increasing issue this winter overall — is where guests can park.
The Tahoe region has been hit with a series of major storms in 2017 that has left the resort with a season-long snow accumulation of 383 inches at an elevation of 6,200 feet, and a cumulative snow total of 623 inches as of Tuesday at 8,000 feet.
Considering all of that snow, only 75 percent of the resort’s parking capacity is available, as the other 25 percent is only used for snow storage, said Liesl Kenney, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Public Relations Director.
However, a few Squaw locals say that they are so used to busy weekends ski weekends this year — due to all the snow, as well as pent-up skier demand — that the World Cup isn’t going to faze them.
“I feel like it’s just gonna be like a normal weekend at Squaw when there’s a ton of snow and the whole Bay Area is trying to park here to ski,” says Olympic Valley resident Jason Magellan Hager. “It’s a trade-off that we just have to deal with to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world but still have the infrastructure of a city.”
FREE SHUTTLES, OTHER OPTIONS
Still, Squaw Valley is encouraging attendees to carpool and consider other modes of transportation. Below are five transportation methods that Squaw Alpine recommends:
Take a free bus from Truckee or Tahoe City: Leave your car at Tahoe City Transit Center/64 Acres or at the Truckee Tahoe Airport and hop aboard 48-passenger Amador Stage Lines buses that will have space to stash your ski gear below. Four buses depart from the Truckee Tahoe Airport every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., and every half an hour from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on March 10-11. From Tahoe City, two buses will depart every 30 minutes between 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., and then every hour from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 10-11.
Take three or more of your friends and get free up-close parking with the “POW Carpool.” Protect Our Winters (POW) and Squaw Alpine have teamed up to reward vehicles with at least four passengers with free parking within resort grounds available on a first-come, first-serve basis from March 9-12.
For those staying at the Resort at Squaw Creek, a shuttle will run every 15 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Since the Squaw Creek chairlift will be closed to the public to accommodate the event, additional round-trip transportation will be available to caravan people from the Squaw Creek chairlift load to the Far East Express area from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from March 8-11.
Don’t forget about the regular Squaw Alpine Express: As usual, shuttles will go between the two resorts every half an hour or so from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Skiers are urged to arrive 30 minutes prior to final departure.
Check out the secret parking spots at Hidden Valley and Deer Park. Around Alpine Meadows, the parking lot across from River Ranch where the Truckee River Raft Company parks its vehicles will be available to World Cup guests, according to Squaw Valley. Spaces are also available at Deer Park, located at the base of Alpine Meadows Road. Shuttle services from Deer Park will be running 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 10-11. The Squaw Valley Fire Department lot also has some spots for cars.
THE EARLIER, THE BETTER
“I recommend everybody to take the (free Amador) bus. There will be traffic and it will be congested and so you’ll want to plan ahead,” Kenney said. “The bottom line for all of this to work out is that you have to take the bus. They’re nice coach buses to throw your gear underneath, relax with your friends, and not have anything to worry about.”
She added that there will be traffic controllers at the Squaw Valley entrance and electronic signboards at The Mousehole on Highway 89 near Truckee, as well as in Tahoe City displaying updated parking information.
“If you’re here by 7 a.m., then you’re totally fine to park, and many of the Village’s restaurants will be open by then, but there have been some days when I’ve gone to work at 7:30 a.m. and have run into a bit of traffic,” says Kenney.
For a renowned event like the World Cup, she suggests that the earlier you get there the better.
For Olympic Valley residents and their guests, getting around the area may also be an issue, but luckily there’s Chariot, a free, app-based shuttle service that will be available March 9-11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Much like Uber, Squaw Valley locals can download the Chariot app, schedule their pickup time and monitor routes of the company’s 14-passenger shuttle buses.
Squaw Valley used the service for the first time over the Christmas holidays. According to the resort, Chariot “provided more than 500 rides between local neighborhoods and the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows base areas, with significant ridership among families with young children in particular.”
Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer. Email her at email@example.com.