Squaw Scan

The Season is Bigger than You Might Think


Big winter and big deals. That pretty much sums up the 2016-17 season.

While the record-breaking snowfalls in the months of January and February have allowed SVAM to maintain the longest season in its history, the resort’s corporate side has also ventured into unchartered territory. In April, KSL Capital Partners, the parent company of SVAM, formed an alliance with Aspen Skiing Co. and then proceeded to make an offer to buy Intrawest Resort Holdings six areas which include Steamboat and Winter Park. The reported sale is for $1.5 billion. Two days later, the new alliance which is yet to be named, stunned the ski industry with an offer on Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. No price has been announced. If and when these mega-deals go through, the Aspen KSL partnership will create a ski resort giant second only to Vail Resorts. The acquisitions are set to close in the third quarter of this year.

What does this mean for the SVAM passholder?

Time will tell.


Squaw Valley Academy Revives Racing Roots


Squaw Valley Academy will unveil a new program next year that is tailored specifically for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team athletes who are racing at the U16 and FIS level and revitalizes the academic and athletic partnership between the resort and the school.

Focused on the development of the student-athlete, the program is currently accepting applications for both boarding and day students for 2017 summer school and the 2017-18 academic year.
 A Bay Area investment group recently bought the school
and plans for the alliance quickly fell into place.

With new ownership and an improved mission and direction in place, we are thrilled to reignite this relationship with Squaw Valley Academy,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “With this new direction and enhanced focus on academic quality and rigor, Squaw Valley Academy has a very bright future and we look forward to working with the staff and the students both on and off the slopes.”

Squaw Valley Academy, with a current enrollment of 72, has small class sizes with an average teacher-student ratio of 1 to 8, offering individualized attention from a teaching staff with over 150 years of combined academic experience. While traveling for competition, students will keep on top of their academic commitments with the help from designated travel tutors, personal MacBook Air’s with eBooks, digitized assignments and monitored two-hour study halls, five nights a week.

“We have developed a program where the mountain meets the classroom,” said William Grant, head of school at Squaw Valley Academy who has over 30 years of experience in private boarding schools in the United States “By combining Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows’ world-class terrain with our supportive academic environment, student-athletes can now have the best of both worlds.”

Current U.S. Ski Team members Travis Ganong and Bryce Bennett along with former U.S. Ski Team members Todd Kelly and brothers Hansi and Toni Standteiner all attended Squaw Valley Academy in addition to many other notable alumni. 

“As a graduate of Squaw Valley Academy, I am proud to be a part of this new program for aspiring ski racers,” said Todd Kelly, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski team program director. “Having the opportunity to train on the legendary slopes of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, while pursuing a challenging academic curriculum, is yet another way for the youth of our community to build and expand on what is an incredible ski racing legacy.”

With a 100% college acceptance rate among graduating seniors, Squaw Valley Academy is proud to offer a college preparatory curriculum that allows each student to achieve academic success. On average, Squaw Valley Academy students have been offered more than $850,000 in college scholarship monies each year for the past five years and continue to be placed at some of the nation’s top universities. 

New Season Underway, Resort Voted Best in U.S.

After receiving over two feet of new snow during the Thanksgiving weekend, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows rolls into December with expanded open terrain and a full holiday schedule. The resort was also recently voted the “Best Ski Resort” in the country by the readers of 10Best and USA Today for the second straight year. For more details go to www.squawalpine.com.

Alliance Forged with Chinese Olympic Resort


Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has embarked on a historic, first-ever Chinese-American ski resort partnership. The strategic alliance was announced in May as SV|AM aligned itself with Genting Secret Garden Resort which is located in the Dama Mountains northwest of Beijing in the county of Chongli. The Chinese resort is slated to host the freestyle and snowboarding events for the 2011 Beijng Winter Olympics.

The partnership with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will include privileges for season passholders, including five free days of skiing and exclusive discounts at the other resort. Cross-training of resort staff and management exchanges will assist each resort in preparing for a greater number of visitors from the other destination. The announcement came on the heels of a Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows delegation visit to major Chinese cities with the Visit California CEO Mission, laying the groundwork for increasing tourism exchange between China and California.

The alliance is timely with growth in the Chinese skier population and overall leisure travel to the state of California. According to the China Ski Association, the number of skiers in China has gone from around two hundred thousand in the year 2000 to about 12.5 million in 2015. California is currently the top U.S. destination for Chinese travelers, who spent $2.5 billion in California in 2015, according to research by Visit California. To provide a foundation for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the People’s Government of Beijing issued a statement of support for the country’s winter sports development in March of this year.

The Chinese skier market has seen significant growth over the last fifteen years, and as the 2022 Beijing winter games approach, the fever for winter sports in China is very real,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings. “The Olympic heritage at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has great appeal to Chinese visitors and our alliance with Genting Secret Garden Resort will connect two Olympic host sites to promote greater visitor exchange. Although Chinese visitation to Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is nothing new, we have an incredibly unique opportunity to appeal to this burgeoning market, and we already have a number of plans in place to better attract Chinese visitors.”

To welcome more prospective Chinese guests, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will be participating in the Visit California “China Ready” program. On site, the resort plans to create Chinese language signage and marketing materials, train staff on how best to cater to Chinese guests, and design specialized dining and amenities options geared toward the Chinese consumer. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will also be working with Chinese tour operators to create customized group packages. Online, the resort has plans to roll out a more robust Chinese language website, and is looking at the possibility of a dedicated WeChat channel, a popular Chinese social media platform. Furthermore, airline accessibility for Chinese travelers is currently increasing across the state: California will have 124 weekly nonstop flights to China by the end of 2016, and San Francisco International Airport currently serves nine Chinese cities, with new United Airlines nonstop service to Hangzhou launching July 2016. 

It is truly our pleasure building this strategic cooperation with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, which is one of the top ski resorts and mountain destinations in the world,” says Mr. Xiao Huanwei, CEO of Secret Garden. “Taking advantage of the development in various industries like sports, travel, leisure and entertainment, combined with international resources, is one of the most important strategies to strengthen the Secret Garden Mountain Alliance. Secret Garden will work closely with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows to enhance the promotion of winter sports in the China market, preparing to receive the Winter Olympics Games in 2022. Meanwhile, we’ll launch tailored travel services like one-stop ski overseas tour, providing more convenience to ski fans.” Mr. Xiao Huanwei also expected that more and more ski fans could have access to international-level ski services via the Secret Garden Mountain Alliance platform.  

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ambassador Jonny Moseley will also be involved with the Genting Secret Garden Resort alliance, with a planned visit to the Chinese resort next winter for their own “Ski with Jonny” program. Moseley will also serve as commentator for NBC coverage of the freestyle portion of the 2022 Winter Games, which will be hosted at Genting Secret Garden Resort.

Opened in 2012, Genting Secret Garden Resort is China’s largest tourism resort in terms of size and variety of attractions. The resort currently offers 35 runs accessed by four lifts, with restaurants, activities and ski in ski out lodging at the 265-bedroom Genting Grand Hotel. The five year plan for the resort will expand the terrain offering to 88 runs and 22 lifts, and add additional lodging and year round activities.