When people think of Squaw Valley, they think of snow, not water. Squaw Valley is one of the best places to ski in the United States. Some professional skiers say Squaw Valley is one of the top ski destinations in the world. And they have good reason to think that way. Squaw Valley has been providing skiers with some of the most daring and exciting slopes in the industry for more than 60 years. Alex Cushing, the founder of Squaw Valley, saw the potential that existed in that area in 1947. He opened the Squaw Valley ski lodge in 1949, and people have come every year since then. In 1960, Squaw Valley hosted the Winter Olympic Games. After the Olympics, the resort became an icon in the ski industry. The slopes and trails were named after the athletes that participated in the Olympics. The resort became the in-place to ski for celebrities, politicians, and professionals as well as novices.
The old Squaw Valley resort is now the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, thanks to a merger that took place a couple of years ago. The resort is a sprawling 6,000-acre ski mecca in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The Cushing family turned the day-to-day operations of the resort over to Andy Wirth in 2010. That was the year the resort got a major facelift. Wirth is now the CEO of the resort. Wirth is a ski industry leader and a dedicated community leader. Andy was the Marketing Director for the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort before he took the position at Squaw Valley. Wirth has made a huge impact on the resort. He is the catalyst behind the $1 billion expansion project that will begin once all the approvals are finalized. The expansion project includes a new indoor recreation center, 1,500 more hotel rooms and condos, and several restaurants, boutiques and retail shops.
The resort updated the upper mountain water system over the summer of 2016 to prepare for the expansion project. In order to adhere to the very latest design standards, the old wellhead equipment was moved from underground vaults to aboveground well-houses. The old water supply pipelines were updated in order to reduce the risk of a surface water intrusion. But after the new system was certified and tested, the upper mountain area received more than 9.5 inches of rain. It rained for three days, and four wells were flooded. When the rain stopped, the wells were inspected and tested. The tests showed an E. coli and coliform contamination.
Liesl Kenney, the Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley, issued a statement to the Sierra Sun. The statement said health experts were treating the wells. Kenney said the Placer Country Environmental Health Department and the Squaw Valley Utility District were participating in the removal of the bacteria. The resort guests were not exposed to the bacteria, and all restaurants in the Gold Coast and High Camp areas were closed. Kenney also said three of the four wells are E. coli free now, but lower levels of coliform still exist in three wells. Squaw Valley will keep the wells and two water systems closed until all the harmful bacteria is gone.