We did it, skiers and riders! This Wednesday at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows we will have 100% of our lifts that access all terrain open. Expert skiers and riders will be pleased to hear that Silverado is opening!
We did get substantial snow over the past week or so, but as many of you know, it takes A LOT of snow to get this zone open. A few things to note about this area:
- The bottom terminal of Silverado is at a lower elevation, so the ramp is narrow. We will only be able to load this chair as a double (Silverado is a triple chair).
- Conditions are variable. You can expect, powder, wind slab, ice and avalanche debris, so PLEASE be aware!
- Because conditions will be variable, this zone will only be open to expert skiers and riders.
Oregon Trail is the Key to Unlocking Silverado
Oregon Trail is essential to opening Silverado terrain. Just like every lift at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, we need to construct a road to the lower terminal that permits snowcat access for emergencies. Our Mountain Manager, Jimmy King, and our Director of Lift Maintenance, Chris Woo, were able to build the Oregon Trail road this morning, but not without a few challenges. First off, we have to wait until there is sufficient snow depth and density, before the road can be built over this extremely rocky area. Second, the path beneath the Iron Curtain, and between the Creek and the lower terminal, are very steep, exposed, and rocky. After the road is built, and a ramp is constructed at the lower terminal in order to allow loading and lift use, Patrol can complete avalanche control, then begin setting up boundaries and marking hazards.
The bottom terminal is at similar elevation as the bottom of Headwall. During the last snow event we saw a lot of snow, but also saw a lot of rain at lower elevations. We estimate 3 feet of snow depth at the bottom (take a look at bottom of Headwall for comparison). For reference, Silverado chair is 15-18 feet off the ground in the summer. You see where we're going with this...we had to move A LOT of snow to get the ramp set up. Jimmy King and Chris Woo carried snow across rocks, boulders and even had to build a bridge to fill in the creek.
The opening of Silverado is thrilling. It's Squaw Valley's most coveted advanced terrain. And we're so happy we get to enjoy the opening of it with you on December 30.