[Olympic Valley, Calif.] October 21, 2014 – Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows today announced plans to enhance skiable terrain through a month-long, ecological forest thinning project at Squaw Valley beginning this week. More than 5,000 dead or diseased trees will be removed from Red Dog region of the lower mountain in an effort to improve the natural habitat, reduce the risk of wildfire, and provide unprecedented access to tree skiing and riding in the targeted area.
As a result of the project, skiers and riders can expect nearly 100 acres of enhanced skiable terrain this season in the Red Dog region. The terrain, rated upper-intermediate to expert, will include three newly designated glade areas - Red Dog Glades, Paris Glades and Heidi’s Glades- as well as a new connector trail on Champs Elysees that will eliminate the current lengthy traverse.
“This effort will result in the creation of new, gladed tree skiing for our guests, and will ultimately feel like a terrain expansion due to the new access,” said Mike Livak, executive vice president of Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.
This part of the Red Dog terrain has previously been inaccessible, or extremely limited, due to a dense population of standing and fallen trees on the forest floor, eliminating the ability for skiers and riders to negotiate the terrain safely.
About the forest thinning project
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is conducting the forest thinning project to improve forest health and preserve the area's incredible natural resources for the local community and visitors to enjoy. Lower-level vegetation that could potentially serve as fire fuel will be removed from the East end of the ski resort from Red Dog Face to Poulsen’s Gully.
“The current drought and the King Fire bring into sharp focus the issue of forest health and how it affects our community right here in Squaw. Thinning provides valuable benefit by effectively utilizing the available water for the most viable trees, and the removal of dead or diseased trees dramatically reduces the risk of fire. While this work is expensive for private landowners, our community will benefit from Squaw| Alpine’s investment in fuels reduction and forest health and I commend the company for doing the right thing,” said Peter Bansen, Squaw Valley fire chief.
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows will conduct the project by lifting the dead and diseased trees from the targeted area via helicopter; this will eliminate the need to skid or drag the fallen trees along the ground in sensitive areas, thus minimizing adverse environmental impacts. Most of the trees will be processed for timber, and the remaining materials will be chipped for future use, allowing Squaw | Alpine to ensure that all forest materials harvested will not be wasted.
“Our goal is to return the forested areas in the Red Dog region back to a more natural and healthy state by removing the potentially dangerous overgrowth and deadfall," said Livak. "Although this project is costly, it's worth the investment to improve the environment while also improving skiing and riding at the resort."
The newly enhanced terrain is expected to be open for the 2014-15 winter season. Squaw Valley is scheduled to open for skiing and riding Wednesday, Nov. 26. Alpine Meadows is slated to open Friday, Dec. 12.
About Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is an internationally renowned ski resort in North Lake Tahoe that spans over 6,000 skiable acres. The resort features 42 lifts and 270 trails, as well as the European-inspired Village at Squaw Valley featuring nearly 60 bars, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. Snowfall averages 450 inches, providing one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in Lake Tahoe, and establishing Squaw | Alpine as a top destination for spring skiing and boarding. Squaw | Alpine also boasts one of the region’s only mountain-top beginner areas and several intermediate skier havens including Shirley Lake and the newly renamed Pacific Crest Bowls.