16 September 2016
Ah, shoulder season. All the tell-tale signs are in evidence around Tahoe and Truckee right now. Once again our roads are (relatively) free of traffic, the leaves turn to orange, the trails turn to mud, and maybe, just maybe you can start to see a light dusting on the tops of some of the peaks. For many of us, and most of the staff here at Granite Chief, shoulder season also means the start of ski movie season.
A great way to kick things off this ski movie season is with Teton Gravity Research’s newest offering, Tight Loose, premiering on September 24th at Squaw Valley. As if the release of TGR’s latest ski porn wasn’t enough reason to get excited, this happens to be its 21st birthday as well. In the world of ski-bumming, the 21st is generally more to be celebrated than the 20th anniversary of anything. So you can bet this is going to be a good one.
Like many ski movies, Tight Loose will feature amazing riding from all over the world. However, because this one is special, Teton Gravity brought together a huge roster of athletes from its 21-year run for a massive reunion-style shred of the Palisades! That’s right, you can watch all your favorite skiers tearing up your favorite mountain, while you sit just below that same mountain! It doesn’t get more meta than that.
The Squaw Valley premiere is happening on Saturday, September 24th at the KT Base Bar. The doors open at 6pm and the movie starts right around sunset. Don’t wait until the day of to buy your tickets though. Come by Granite Chief and get $10 pre-sale tickets, rather than the $15 at the event. Talk about a win/win!
4 November 2015
Incorporate Olympic Valley (IOV) was created in 2013 as a non-profit corporation as a way for Olympic Valley to gain control of its own future. Olympic Valley, or Squaw Valley as it is widely known, is currently under the jurisdiction of Placer County.
“Incorporate Olympic Valley was formed in 2013 by Squaw Valley residents concerned about maintaining their mountain culture and gaining local authority and jurisdiction over land use decisions, locally generated tax revenues, and key services prioritized locally, such as snow removal, road maintenance, and parks & recreation.” -IOV
The bulk of the opposition to incorporation comes from a non-profit group called “Save Olympic Valley.” Save Olympic Valley has come under scrutiny for contributions it has received from Squaw Valley Ski Resort, which come to well over $120,000.
In 2014 the IOV paid $85,000 to have a fiscal analysis drawn up, in order to determine whether or not a new town would be financially solvent. The fiscal analysis initially showed that the town would not be able to support itself, though that stance came under fire shortly thereafter.
The IOV ended up having to pay $125,000 to have the state controller review the initial fiscal analysis. As reported by the IOV, the state controller’s office found 18 errors in the original analysis. In fact, according to the most recent review, an incorporated Olympic Valley would have positive net results and a general fund balance exceeding $15 million by the year 2025.
Below is a press release from the IOV:
For Immediate Release – November 3, 2015 – Olympic Valley, California
Last week, the California State Controller’s Office (SCO) released its review of the Draft Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis (Draft CFA) for the proposed town of Olympic Valley. The SCO’s report confirms that the draft CFA contained many flaws, leading to incorrect conclusions, and formally reversed its erroneous assumptions and conclusions.
The SCO reviewed 31 separate issues with the draft CFA, reversing conclusions on 18 of them. Application of the SCO’s responses in a quantitative analysis by Incorporate Olympic Valley (IOV) shows a dramatically changed financial picture for the town, with positive net results and growing general fund balances, exceeding $15 Million by 2025, even after yet-to-be-negotiated revenue neutrality payments to Placer County.
“IOV is excited and energized by the feedback and perspective from the State Controller’s Office, who validated the majority of concerns raised in our request to have the draft CFA reviewed”, said Fred Ilfeld, Chairman of the Incorporate OV Foundation. “The results clearly demonstrate that the proposed town of Olympic Valley is financially viable.”
The SCO’s review document can be viewed at: http://www.incorporateolympicvalley.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/State-Controller-Review-Report.pdf
IOV has documented the impact of the SCO decisions in a letter to LAFCO’s Executive Officer. The letter and analysis for LAFCO can be viewed at: http://www.incorporateolympicvalley.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Lafco-Letter_SCO-Report_11-3-15.pdf
IOV welcomes the SCO mandated changes that clearly demonstrate financial viability. IOV analysis was developed in consultation with financial experts at Municipal Resource Group, whose 28 team members include former city managers of three newly incorporated cities, municipal planning directors, former police chiefs and other seasoned veterans on town municipal finance and administration.
“With the SCO’s reversals on key issues in the draft CFA, revised data and analysis reveals positive net revenue and growing general fund equity balances. The bottom line demonstrating financial viability is unequivocal.” said Tom Sinclair, Principal Consultant, Municipal Resource Group.
IOV looks forward to work by LAFCO staff and CFA contractor RSG to apply the SCO’s review to a comprehensive revision of the CFA, setting the stage for revenue neutrality negotiations based on the corrected financial analysis. “Opponents of incorporation saw what they wanted to see in the SCO review, not what the decisions and numbers clearly show.” said Fred Ilfeld.
With financial viability confirmed, attention now shifts to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). “IOV has proven the new town’s financial viability. Now we need the whole community to step up with contributions to cover EIR and associated expenses which are expected to exceed $200,000. Having been forced to spend precious funds on the SCO review, it’s now essential that donors add their financial support to the cause.” said Ilfeld.
26 August 2015
One star Yelp reviews of our national parks changed my mind about KSL’s proposed Mountain Adventure Center.
by Treas Manning
My nephew Ryan, posted an article from The Onion. The article referred to one star Yelp reviews of our national parks. Ryan warned me, “this will either infuriate you or make you laugh out loud.” It did both.
In the end the one star reviews left me speechless. But then I started re-thinking KSL’s planned gargantuan Mountain Adventure Center. Maybe a ten story Walmart sized indoor water park and mountain-like play area is not a bad idea after all.
You see I kept thinking, I live at one of the most beautiful ski areas in the world, Squaw Valley. The entrance to Squaw Valley sits along the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe is just a short drive away and can actually be viewed from the top of the ski area. Shirley Canyon and Granite Chief Wilderness rim the ski area boundary. Squaw is surrounded by alpine lakes, waterfalls, bright green meadows filled with wildflowers and massive slabs of granite. Why do we need an indoor water park and mountain adventure playground?
The one star reviews of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon really opened my eyes. I remember long ago on a warm summer day, a group of friends and I were playing among on the massive boulders on Lake Tahoe. Clowning around, I stumbled and scrapped up my knee. Thank goodness I didn’t tumble into the aqua blue water and get all wet, that would have been a disaster. It dawned on me, my little accident wouldn’t have happened at the Mountain Adventure Center. I would have been protected by guardrails and ranger like employees advising me to slow down and watch my step. It wouldn’t be possible to accidentally fall into the water as I would have to wait my turn with hundreds of others to climb the stairs to the top of the slide and purposely enter the water.
Not only that, but no worries of sunburn, and mosquitos. If I grow bored of the chlorinated cement rivers I could venture over to the indoor climbing wall or try my hand at the game arcade. I wouldn’t have to pack a bag lunch, I could have a burger served to me as I sunbathed under the florescent lights on a perfectly manicured artificial lawn for only twenty bucks or so.
Frankly this water park/mountain center idea might be a great one. In fact, we might want to consider building a few more around the lake. Emerald Bay might be a sweet spot. We could actually build a water slide straight from the parking lot that empties right out into the lake, or a zip line to Fannette Island. Let’s gut Volkingsholm and build a climbing wall, restaurant/bar, and movie theater. Why not turn one of the wings into a daycare center, it’s nice to get away from the kids on a family vacation.
Yep, I know I am going to make a lot of locals mad, but I have changed my mind. I am a newborn water park enthusiast. To hell with nature, what’s it done for us, no snow then too much snow. Wildflowers that grow like weeds, tree pollen, and damn it I have a family of grouse living right in my yard. I am over this natural beauty thing. I owe a big thanks to KSL for opening my eyes to the possibilities of a non-natural, safer experience.
Oh, but I do have one request, I’m going to need a little cable car built from my house to the Mountain Adventure Center, I hate walking down that hill.
20 August 2015
Are you headed to the lake today? A freshman computer science major won a competition at UC Davis for the best app proposal with his idea for the new smartphone app, “Citizen Science Tahoe”. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center jumped on his proposal and launched the new app which may help scientists collect observational data from Lake Tahoe that can be shared in a database allowing scientists to have a better understanding of varying conditions in locations all around the lake.
If you would like to be a citizen scientist, you can download the app at www.citizensciencetahoe.org and start recording your observations. With the Citizen Science Application, the location of the observation, along with the date and time is recorded, and comments and photos can be added and send to the database providing more information on everything you may see at the beach. By submitting your observations more information can be collected to study the lake including information about the water quality, invasive species, algae, and the local wildlife.
Sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific Ocean have risen, hurricane activity in the Atlantic is down, record temperatures have been broken, and above average rainfall has spanned across Southern California. This weather behavior is leading scientists to believe that we may experience a moderate-to-strong El Niño this winter, perhaps being the stronger experienced, comparable to the one that hit us hard back in 1997-1998. The biggest indicators that El Niño may happen this year is the 2015 record breaking temperatures, making it one of the hottest years on record, and the rising sea surface temperatures which typically happens every 2-7 years.
27 August 2014
KSL’s proposed development raises a lot of questions about the future of Squaw Valley. For example, what if we end up in the nightmare scenario of too much development and not enough water?
Everywhere we turn this summer, we’re reminded of the value — and the scarcity — of water in the region. Throughout Tahoe, we are living with the challenges of drought and climate change. We see the rafts pulled from the Truckee River. Our creeks run dry. The Tahoe Queen, with 300 passengers on board for a summer cruise, ran aground in July.
Think Mother Nature is trying to tell us something?
Read the rest of the article written by Tom Mooers at Moonshine Ink.
Village at Squaw Valley redevelopment workshop Monday / Have you heard? Squaw Valley has enough water for Squaw Expansion
18 July 2014
Placer supes to hear Squaw Valley project during Monday workshop
by the Sierra Sun
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. – The Place County Board of Supervisors will hold public workshop on the Village at Squaw Valley redevelopment project at 3 p.m. Monday at Base Camp, located in the existing Squaw Village.
The workshop will include a presentation by county staff and the project applicant. Squaw Valley Public Service District staff will also present an overview of its recently completed draft Water Supply Assessment to the board.
No action will be taken by the board on the project or draft WSA. It’s meant to be an informational meeting only.
Public comment will be allowed at the discretion of the board.
Visit thevillageatsquaw.com to learn more about the revised Squaw Valley village expansion plan.
Mike Geary, general manager for Squaw Valley Public Service District.
Report: Olympic Valley has enough water for Squaw Expansion
Editors Note: This story has been clarified from an original version to update a quote from John Wilcox, which now correctly reads: “… (It was) a shortage of wells that was restricting us, not the shortage of supply.” Further, Dwight Smith, principal hydrogeologist for InterFlow, also was misquoted. His statement now reads: “I do feel like we have a credible, objective analysis before you that relies on sound professional judgment.” In addition, while Squaw Valley Real Estate is indeed financing the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan Water Supply Assessment, we’ve updated the story to indicate it had no influence or participation in the findings of the report.
OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. – A “sufficient supply” of water exists in Olympic Valley to support the proposed Squaw Village expansion project and other future demands, a recent report has concluded.
“There’s been so much misinformation in the press, on the Internet, all over the place,” John Wilcox, a Squaw Valley Public Service District director, said at a Tuesday board meeting. “I think most people in the community think that Squaw is running out of water… and today we hear that we a study that says there is enough water.”
In making that determination, the report weighs existing, project and non-project demand for the next 25 years, against supply during normal, dry and multiple dry water years.
According to the draft Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan Water Supply Assessment, estimated water demand by project buildout (2040) will be 1,205 acre-feet per year, up from the average 843 used today by SVPSD, Squaw Valley Mutual Water Company, Resort at Squaw Creek and Squaw Valley ski resort.
The SVPSD is the largest water purveyor in the community and has been identified as a potential water supplier to the Squaw expansion, which calls for 1,493 bedrooms, 750 lodging units and recreational amenities to create an all-season, world-class resort.
MORE WELLS NEEDED
While the valley’s existing wells – mostly located in the western portion of the aquifer due to higher productivity and water quality – are capable of producing more water than is used in the valley, additional wells will be needed to meet the projected demands by 2040, according to the report.
Four extra wells are estimated to meet village project demands, while at least two additional wells will be needed to meet SVPSD non-project demands by 2040.
“We were never able to get any more wells and spread them out because the (former owner) wouldn’t allow us to drill any new wells on their land,” Wilcox explained. “… (It was) a shortage of wells that was restricting us, not the storage of supply. When the ownership changed to the ski corporation, then the atmosphere changed about new wells.”
The analysis identifies that the average saturated thickness in every western municipal well – the six new SVPSD proposed wells and existing ones – should not fall below 65 percent for three consecutive months (or more than four times over 228 months).
“… We are going to keep water levels in about two-thirds of that aquifer saturated, and if we can do that and produce enough water, we’re going to say there is ample water to meet demand,” said Derrik Williams, president of Oakland-based HydroMetrics Water Resources Inc., who helped prepare the assessment.
The report concludes that can be done with “an adequate margin of safety even during single and multiple dry years.”
In order to ensure accuracy of the assessment, Truckee-based InterFlow Hydrology was hired to independently review the draft and supporting evidence.
“I do feel like we have a credible, objective analysis before you that relies on sound professional judgment,” Dwight Smith, principal hydrogeologist for InterFlow, told the board of directors.
Squaw Valley Real Estate – which is under the umbrella of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings – is financing the water assessment’s budget of $157,000, said Mike Geary, SVPSD general manager. In addition, it’s covering InterFlow Hydrology’s contract, which is roughly $13,500.
While Squaw Valley Real Estate financed the budget, it had no influence or participation in the findings of the report, an official said. SVPSD defined the scope for the study, and its consultants were selected and supervised by SVPSD.
Not everyone is on board with the report, however.
“For years officials have been telling us that the existing water supplies in Squaw Valley do not provide a secure and adequate source of water for existing customers, let alone new development,” Peter Van Zant, field director for Sierra Watch, said in a statement, referring to SVPSD’s search for an additional water supply. “We either have water or we don’t, but we can’t have it both ways.”
“That’s a little bit out of context,” Geary said when asked to respond. “We have enough water right now. We’ve never run out of water, but we as a water purveyor having redundancies in source is just the standards of the industry.”
Finding a redundant water supply has been on SVPSD’s radar for the past 25to 30 years – predating the proposed village expansion plan – in the event the aquifer is compromised and its water cannot be used for a period of time.
Sierra Watch is engaging Sacramento-based Tully & Young, a water planning firm, to study the draft assessment and better understand the science behind Olympic Valley water.
Since a timeframe for how long Sierra Watch will use the firm’s services is unclear, a cost estimate is unknown, but no “cap” will be put on it, said Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch.
SQUAW PLEASED WITH REPORT
The Analysis comes at time when California is in a state of drought emergency.
“The drought reminds us that water at the crest of the Sierra is a severely limited resource,” Mooers said in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure that any new development respects not only the unique sense of place in Squaw Valley and the Tahoe Region but, also, its limited natural resources.”
Comments received during Tuesday’s board meeting, along with other input, will be considered in producing a final assessment, which will be presented to the SVPSD board at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 29, at the SVPSD building at 305 Squaw Valley Road.
That document will serve as a technical appendix for Placer County’s draft Environmental Impact Report for the village project, said Alex Fisch, project manager for the Village at Squaw Valley Specific Plan.
That draft EIR is anticipated to be released between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
“We are pleased with and confident in the thoroughness of the PSD and their water resource expert’s analysis of the aquifer in the valley,” Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, said in a statement. “We look forward to the county issuing the EIR, as part of the required CEQA process, giving everyone the ability to ask thoughtful questions and provide meaningful comments.”
A determination on the final EIR will be made by the Placer County Board of supervisors.
By Margaret Moran of the Sierra Sun.
6 June 2014
“When Squaw Valley Ski Holdings CEO and President Andy Wirth returned to work in December after three months in the hospital following a skydiving accident, his phone was ringing off the hook. Wirth said people were calling to convey one of three messages: welcome back, thank you for listening and revising the village development, and to express concern over the effort to incorporate Olympic Valley.
“For the past year and a half, we have been silent on the issue because we wanted to respect the diversity of opinion and citizens’ rights,” Wirth said. “A lot of folks didn’t understand our silence.”
Squaw Valley Ski Holdings is silent no more. Starting in April, the ski resort went on the offensive against Incorporate Olympic Valley (IOV), the nonprofit that has been working for the past year to turn the valley into a town. Wirth wrote a five-page letter to the Placer County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) outlining why the ski area is opposed to incorporation, and brought together a loose coalition of incorporation opponents into a group called Save Olympic Valley, which has taken out several full-page ads in local papers questioning the IOV proposal.”
To read the rest of the article from Melissa Sigg from Moonshine Ink CLICK HERE
4 February 2014
Check out this interview, “Skiing to Sochi with Julia Mancuso”. In this video, Squaw Valley’s Julia Mancuso discusses her favorite aspects of the competition, how she is looking forward to racing this year, and how she is happy she can be part of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
19 January 2014
10 January 2014
by Treas Manning
My 6am morning coffee ritual; sitting in my oversized chair breezing through facebook posts, checking out Moonshine Ink’s latest reads and between sips of the strong stuff I raise my eyes and gaze at Eagle’s Nest and the Tram Face. This morning a couple of things caught my attention and impelled me to lay down my ipad, take a long look out the window and ask myself this question, what is it I want.
My husband and I have lived in Squaw Valley for 25 years and we had owned a Squaw business from 1976 to 2010. Embroiled in community fighting over development and the drive to incorporate our town, this morning’s articles stopped me in my tracks. I looked at my husband Herb and asked, what do we want to see and what are we willing to accept in the Squaw Valley plan?
Moonshine Ink’s morning article about a talk given by Wayne Poulsen Jr. to a small group of locals raised some interesting questions and threw out a challenge that I had yet to take. In the mist of joining the fight to stop development I have never been asked or asked myself, what do I want.
Wayne Poulsen asked, where was the community when the power substation was built in plain view at the entrance of Squaw Valley, where was the community when Tower One was perched at the crest of the iconic rock face, now known as the Tram Face?
Well, I was around when some of these things happened and not when others took place. But the important fact is that I never took an active stand on any of these issues, other than small talk with the neighbors. Just for the record, I hate the location of the power substation and I love the tram and Tower One at the Pinnacle of the rock face.
Wayne is right on, the changes facing our community are irreversible. Going beyond the rally to stop events from happening it is important to ask ourselves the hard questions. Are there changes I would like to see? What are my concerns and what am I strongly against when it come to changes in my community?
After reading Moonshine Ink and pouring my second cup of coffee, I logged on to facebook and read a post of a poll taken by the Sierra Sun. 4,693 people chimed into the question, “what’s your reaction to the new scaled-down proposal to develop Squaw Valley”. Read the rest of this entry »
28 December 2013
posted by Treas Manning
Aaron Martin found his passion at an early age. At 16 Aaron had already accomplished his first major ascent on 19,850 ft. Mount Logan. He lived and worked in the mountain communities of Lake Tahoe’s north shore. He played in the mountains of Alaska, Canada, the Sierra Nevada and more. Read the rest of this entry »