Squaw Valley outlines $50 million improvement spree

It's been only eight months since KSL Capital Partners acquired Squaw Valley, but the area is already on schedule for a five-year, $50 million improvement plan. The first two years will include two new chairlifts, new bars and restaurants, and even new names for many of the runs.

Eight months after acquiring Squaw Valley USA and pledging $50 million for improvements at the ski resort, KSL Capital Partners is releasing details on where some of the money is headed.

A five-year plan, annouced July 26, 2011, details new chairlifts, new restaurants, and even new names and assigned degrees of difficulty for many of the unnamed runs on the mountain. 

KSL will invest $15 million in its first year of improvements — upgrades that will be in place by this winter. They include, “significant resources allotted for terrain park improvements,” according to a statement, new lighting and flooring for the once barren, concrete exit station at the top of the Funitel lift, new on-mountain information boards, signage, a new sundeck at the Olympic House, as well as a new village-based bar and restaurant.

Also, the area will be formally naming several never-before-named runs, and working with artist Gary Milliken to generate new trail map artwork for a new map for the mountain. Choosing from hundreds of unofficial trail names used by ski patrol, grooming teams and long-time Squaw skiers and riders, the area plans to use the most popular names of many of the ski runs. 

In the second year of the plan, $20 million will be invested into Squaw, including the installation of two new high-speed detachable chairlifts. One lift will replace the Granite Chief chair, and the other will replace the High Camp chairlift. The existing High Camp chairlift will be refurbished and reinstalled in a new location. Slated to open for the 2012-13 winter season, the lifts will have a combined uphill capacity of 7,200 skiers per hour.

KSL will announce how it will spend the other $15 million in the proposed $50 million capital improvement plan in coming seasons.

Peter Kray

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