Big news for Squaw and Alpine skiers today, as the much-talked-about connection between the two resorts became realized today with the opening of a backcountry gate near the top of the KT-22 lift that will allow skiers and snowboarders to traverse to Alpine Meadows via a brief ski and a 30-minute walk or skin. This is the first backcountry gate in Squaw Valley's history.
This idea for this connection has a long, long history that first developed once Alpine Meadows opened a ridge over from Squaw Valley in 1961. While the plans moved one step closer in the the fall of 2011 when the two resorts merged under KSL, the linchpin has always been the White Wolf property, which encompassed 460 acres between the two resorts and is owned by a single man, Troy Caldwell. While Caldwell has hopes to eventually develop his own ski resort on the property - lift towers have already been installed - and has not given in to offers for upwards of $45 million, he did more recently give permission for backcountry access between Squaw and Alpine through his property.
Today, Unofficial Networks founder Tim Konrad was the 15th person to access the gate, and was able to snag a photo op with a very excited Caldwell, who was having skiers and riders sign a sheet to commemorate the occasion. He snapped got some great photos explaining the route, which you can see in the gallery at the top of the post.
Users of the connection should be aware that between the boundaries of the two resorts, there are no services, rescue, or avalanche control work, and are advised to bring proper avalanche equipment. But for those with the right experience and equipment, skinning or hiking between the resorts would be a great activity to do this upcoming weekend to commemorate a big moment for Lake Tahoe skiing.
· Opening Day For The KT-22 Backcountry Gate! [Unofficial Report] [Unofficial Networks]