The community came together today to protect the future of Squaw Valley, and as a result thousands of new visitors went back to the cabin and Googled “#keepsquawtrue.” As skiers and riders entered Squaw Valley today, they were greeted by picketers along side Squaw Valley Road, protesting Squaw Valley Ski Holding and KSL Capital’s plans for the overdevelopment of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
It was a smart move on the part of organizers, who seemed to come from several different groups. While Tahoe locals are well aware of the drama surrounding the proposed Village at Squaw Valley development and Base To Base Gondola – day trippers and first time visitors are keenly unaware of the potential impacts of the proposals. It’s those thousands of visitors that are the “silent majority” referred to by SVSH and their supporters, which consist mainly of real estate developers and others that stand to benefit greatly from the project.
We’ve talked to many of those visitors on chairlifts, in lift lines and in the lodge about their support for the new village or gondola. Often, they are completely unaware of the scale of the proposal, or the impacts to traffic, or that the gondola will traverse land that is designated as wilderness. The only side of the story those visitors see is that polished piece of propaganda called Squaw magazine. If that’s your only source of information, it sounds as if people are cheering in the streets in support of SVSH’s proposals. It just takes a little education to help people see things from the perspective of those that spend more than one week a year at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
We want to extend a huge high five to the person that had the sign that said “John Muir – what would he REALLY think?” We’re pretty sure he was referencing the latest Squaw magazine, where Squaw CEO Andy Wirth pretty much compares himself to John Muir. Nice callout! Speaking of Wirth, he showed up at today’s event, delivering hot chocolates from Starbucks for the protestors. What is up with that? We love the Keep Squaw True response, “What we really want is a better future for Squaw Valley.”
We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks being complimentary of mountain operations at Alpine Meadows, and we still truly believe that employees have been doing the best they can with the resources they have to make the mountain the best it can be this year. That does not mean that we will blindly support the overdevelopment proposed by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and KSL Capital. You can still order your “Keep Tahoe KSL Free” stickers here, but they are going fast.
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth sent out an email yesterday morning on the subject of “the protest”. The email, to all Squaw and Alpine email users, thanked the team for their hard work but also chastised Sierra Watch for causing a traffic jam, trespassing on private property and spreading misinformation. To date, Sierra Watch, nor any other group has singularly taken responsibility for yesterdays public information event. It truly seemed to be a community of people working together. Here’s an excerpt from Wirth’s email:
I have had a great number of staff members and friends in the community contact me this morning to advise (if not complain) about the protesters along SV Road and yes, I am aware. It’s an unfortunate circumstance across the board. This is a comunity for which we all so deeply care, yet despite holding nearly 400 public meetings, implementing far reaching changes in our redevelopment plans (on 82 acres of asphalt!) directly tied to community input, the mistruths as conveyed by Sierra Watch continue to be forwarded by a small group of folks and they chose a relatively dangerous place to voice their opinion this morning. While it’s unfortunate that they helped slow down traffic this morning and did not have permission from the owner of the land on which they stood, it’s cool though, as that’s their right and I fiercely respect their rights to voice their opinion.
– Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth in an email to SquAlpine email users
We have news for you Andy. There were no “protestors” out today, and did you see the traffic situation? We passed Squaw Valley Road at 8:15 AM and traffic was backed up on Squaw Valley Road all of the way out to Highway 89. Traffic coming from Tahoe City waiting to turn left into Squaw was backed up all of the way to the stoplight at Alpine Meadows Road and beyond past River Ranch.
I would have taken a photo but I was keeping my eyes on the road due to the light snow and heavy traffic. Several noted Squaw locals posted videos of today’s traffic on Facebook. Who’s spreading the misinformation?