Squaw Valley Invites Employees To Drink The Kool-Aid

We’ve seen a lot of moves of desperation by Squaw Valley Ski Holdings over the last few weeks. There’s a feeling out there that there’s going to be some significant public support for the Placer County Planning Commission to deny the Village At Squaw Valley Specific Plan at next Thursday’s meeting. And this follows on the heels of the Squaw Valley MAC recommendation to deny the project. KSL’s latest effort came in the form of an email to SquAlpine employees inviting them to “drink the Kool-Aid.” If you’re old enough to remember the meaning of that phrase, you understand where we are headed.  Squaw CEO Andy Wirth is hoping to indoctrinate enough employees to make it look like there is widespread public support for the project, which is just not the case. Don’t be a part of the cult or fall for the hype.

Employees have been invited to attend a free BBQ over the weekend, and get a shuttle ride to the Planning Commission meeting next Thursday. We can imagine it now. It will look just like a spirit bus heading to an out of town football game. Uncle Andy will be driving the bus, windows painted with slogans like “Squaw is #1!” and “Beat The Community.” Tee May will be leading the cheerleading squad, struggling to find things that rhyme with “Sierra Watch”.

What kind of messages do we expect will be delivered to employees at the indoctrination BBQ? Here’s our predictions:

  • Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows would not be able to compete in the industry unless we complete this enormous project. Both mountains would fade into oblivion if the project is not approved.
  • Filling bed spaces in the village mid-week will guarantee that all of us have more work at a better rate of pay.
  • More new jobs will be created by the Village project, and many of those jobs will be 4 season jobs.
  • It’s us again them. As a company we must stand together to take on those that would deny our rights to do what we want to do with our mountains.

Most employees really don’t need a reality check, because they already know the truth. But here’s our assessment:

  • Both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows were doing just fine before KSL Capital came along. Neither mountain was on the brink of financial disaster before acquisition by KSL Capital.  It was reported that SquawPine eclipsed 1 Million Skier Visits this season. If that isn’t enough to be profitable something is seriously broken.
  • Both mountains would be likely to survive just fine without a mega-sized faux Alpine Village. Neither mountain would really benefit from a gondola connection between the two resorts that would make them the 4th largest resort…until somebody else builds a new lift the following season.
  • Bed spaces in the current village remain unfilled mid-week and during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Building more bed spaces will not magically create more demand.  Good marketing strategies, interesting activities and affordable pricing would also fill bed spaces and slopes – without all of the negative impacts of building AndyLand.
  • The current problem with jobs in the Tahoe region is not that the jobs aren’t there. It’s that the affordable housing is not there. Even with recently salary improvements at SquAlpine, employees cannot afford to live in the area. We all know mountain employees that are living in less than ideal conditions. The paltry offering of new employee housing in the current Village plan will not even put a band-aid on a gaping wound.
  • We all have had, or will have, a delusional boss in our lifetime. You owe it to yourselves to think for yourself, and question what is going on. Many of you have been around SquAlpine for far longer than Uncle Andy and friends. You know far more about what it will take to keep Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and the entire North Tahoe region vibrant and alive for the future of everyone, and not for the future of KSL Capital investors.

The Placer County Planning Commission will be meeting to discuss and potentially approve or deny the Village At Squaw Valley Specifc Plan on Thursday, August 11th. The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 am at the North Tahoe Events Center. We hope that employees enjoy the free BBQ this weekend, and maybe even some non-employees can score a free BBQ as well. Just RSVP with T May at teemayduggan@gmail.com. Just skip the Kool-Aid.

Here’s the email that was sent out:



Placer County Planning Commission Meeting Thursday 8/11

All Team Members,

We have two upcoming events we would like to invite you to join so you may show your support for a sustainable future for Squaw Valley and the Village at Squaw Valley Redevelopment Plan.

BBQ with Fellow Supporters – Saturday August 6th, 2 – 4 pm on the Plaza Bar Deck in the Village Squaw Valley.  RSVP to teemayduggan@gmail.com

Placer County Planning Commission Hearing – The Placer County Planning Commission will review the Village at Squaw Valley Redevelopment Plan on Thursday, August 11th at 10:00 am at the North Tahoe Event Center:  8318 North Lake Boulevard, Kings Beach.  There will be an employee shuttle transporting employees from Squaw Valley to Kings Beach.  Please come to OVL between 8:30 am – 9:00 am for coffee and pastries prior to the shuttle departure at 9:00am.

We encourage all employees who support the plan to attend.  If you want to show your support and are interested in speaking please RSVP to Tee May Duggan at teemayduggan@gmail.com and let her know you are interested in speaking in support of the project.

The Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan proposes redeveloping and completing the unfinished base area Village at Squaw Valley to reestablish the resort as a premier mountain resort destination and ensure it has a sustainable future. The project proposes that 90 percent of the redevelopment would happen on existing asphalt parking lots already zoned for development. If approved, it will provide new on-site lodging and recreation opportunities, create more year-round local jobs, offer on-site affordable workforce housing, rehabilitate Squaw Creek, and provide over $22 million in annual tax revenue to help fund public services including schools, road improvements, transit services and public safety. In response to community feedback, the Village at Squaw Valley redevelopment plan has been reduced by 50 percent and is now only 38 percent of what is allowable per the Squaw Valley General Plan and Land Use Ordinance.

To learn more and get answers to common questions about the plan: read The Facts about the Village at Squaw Valley Redevelopment Plan.


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