Squaw will keep popular lift open | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Squaw will keep popular lift open

Matthew Renda

OLYMPIC VALLEY – Few entities in the Lake Tahoe Basin elicit the type of passion – both positive and negative – that Squaw Valley USA does.

Evidence of that was clear this week, as rumors went viral that the famed ski resort was closing the popular Silverado chairlift for the duration of the winter season.

Local season pass holders, who apparently saw the move as a direct slight of the local customer base, voiced fervent concerns on Squaw’s Facebook page.

“This business with Silverado seems ridiculous,” wrote someone using Chris Manchester’s Facebook account, on the Squaw page. “Squaw Valley is providing a service to a certain group of customers and they have an obligation to listen and meet the demands of these customers. In this case, that certain group includes not only the tourists that come on weekends, but also the locals that are the employees, regulars and lifeblood of the mountain.”

In light of extensive online feedback from locals, Squaw Valley – owned by KSL Capital – will keep the Silverado lift open “for the rest of the core of the winter season,” said Amelia Richmond, spokeswoman for Squaw Valley, in a Thursday interview.

Richmond said the intention was never to close the lift for the remainder of the season, but the operations plan did call for a mid-week closure of the lift for a couple weeks.

“We open and close various lifts during the season depending on conditions and other factors,” she said.

Silverado is popular because it serves a roughly 300-acre area of high-intermediate to advanced terrain that is accessible exclusively by the lift.

“There is a lot of variety,” Richmond said. “It has a great groomer, some cliffs, and it is one of the more scenic parts of the mountain.”

Squaw’s announcement created a reversal regarding the attitude of posters on the Facebook page.

“Aw, shucks, Squaw, I can’t stay mad at you,” a post from someone using Julie Morcaldi’s account read. “Thanks for listening.”

Another persistent rumor that emerged this week relating to Squaw Valley claimed the resort was in the process of buying Alpine Meadows from JMA Ventures – a San Francisco-based real estate company that owns the mountain along with Homewood Ski Resort on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore.

“Is the word around town true KSL is buying Alpine Meadows?” was a question asked by someone using Kara Steinmeyer’s account on Squaw’s Facebook page.

The answer is no, Richmond said Thursday, adding the rumor has been around for a long time, likely due to the proximity of the two resorts.

Rachael Woods, spokeswoman for Alpine Meadows, said she heard the rumor “about a million times in the past two days,” but said no sale of Alpine Meadows is imminent.

“I asked around and that is not the case,” Woods said Thursday.

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