Squaw Valley And Alpine Meadows Join To Create USA's Biggest Ski Area (VIDEO)

09/27/2011 02:04 pm ET | Updated Nov 27, 2011

On Tuesday, Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth announced via video that the legendary ski resort would be combining with neighboring Alpine Meadows to create the largest ski area in the United States.

The aggregated property will span an unbelievable eight Sierra Nevada mountain peaks and 6,000 acres of skiable terrain, making it nearly a thousand acres larger than Vail Ski Resort in Colorado. To put that in perspective, it's six Golden Gate Parks.

There will not yet be a lift to seamlessly combine the two areas (though we've heard rumors for the future), but ticket-holders will be able to access both resorts with one pass. This means visitors can grab a PBR and a brat at the mid-mountain Ice Bar at Alpine for lunch and then an après-ski wine flight at PlumpJack before dinner.

According to the Associated Press, the announcement comes just as Reno/Tahoe is eyeing a bid for the next available Olympic Winter Games in 2022. Wirth said that, while he hopes the move will help the effort, it's too soon to tell for sure. According to ESPN, the deal was allegedly initiated in a conversation between Wirth and Alpine owner Todd Chapman on the chairlift last winter. (Adorable.)

Though the news is exciting for Lake Tahoe, some Alpine faithfuls worry that the resort will lose its rustic charm in the process. While Squaw boasts a slick scene and a heritage of training Olympic stars like Johnny Moseley, Alpine is known for its laid-back local appeal. A simple trip to the company websites can accurately sum up the two atmospheres. (Alpine's site is set against a plaid fabric backdrop with pictures of shredding snowboarders, while Squaw's features purple mountains majesty captured by slick aerial photography.)

But Wirth insists that maintaining the individual identities of the resorts is top priority. In an email sent out to the local community, Wirth wrote:

As we move forward with consolidating our operations, we want you to know that what's going to remain the same is as important as what's going to change: We think the key to the success of the consolidation is our fervent commitment to maintain each resort's distinctive character. People, terrain, activities, all come together to give a resort its individual character, and that's what we're committed to retaining

Check out the video announcement from Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth below. And then, just for fun, check out the video from the 1960 Olympic Winter Games at Squaw Valley courtesy of Floskate below that. A 2022 prophecy? Just maybe.

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