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squaw valley

Intrawest deal in Squaw Valley Intrawest, parent company of Blackcomb, announced this week it has reached an agreement with Squaw Valley Ski Corporation to create a resort village at the base of Squaw Peak. Intrawest will acquire and develop land currently used as surface day-skier parking into a self-contained pedestrian village. The development, which will be done in four phases, is estimated to cost $250 million. It will include about 700 residential units and 110,000 square feet of commercial space. "Not since the 1960 Winter Olympics has there been such excitement at Squaw Valley," Alex Cushing, chairman of the board for Squaw Valley, said in a release. "Our partnership with Intrawest signals a shining new era for Squaw Valley." The deal is the latest in Intrawest’s stated desire to acquire and develop mountain resorts. The Vancouver-based company has a similar deal with Ralcorp to develop a village at Keystone in Colorado. Intrawest President Joe Houssian told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Vancouver last month that they are awaiting a U.S. court ruling on Vail Resorts’ merger with Ralcorp Holdings before deciding whether it will pursue a Colorado resort. The U.S. Justice Department still hasn’t ruled on the Vail-Ralcorp merger. Squaw Valley was rated 12th in Snow Country magazine’s annual resort ranking this fall and seventh in SKI magazine’s ratings. The mountain is well regarded among expert skiers but most people go to the towns of Truckee or Tahoe City, each about 10 minutes away, for nightlife. The Intrawest development at Squaw is intended to "create a place that will be the heart of the 21st century Squaw Valley resort and become the hub of excitement for the North Lake Tahoe area," project head Tom Jacobson said in the release. Squaw Valley was a small ski area with one chairlift until it won the right to host the 1960 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Games ever televised. Cushing, now 83, used the Olympics to turn Squaw into a major ski area and the television exposure was credited with much of the ski boom of the ’60s and early ’70s. Squaw’s success with the Olympics was also the impetus for a group of Vancouver businessmen and skiers to develop Whistler Mountain in a bid for the 1968 Winter Olympics. In the early 1980s Cushing decided a major facelift was required. The result, after nearly 15 years, is High Camp, a facility worthy of a "Resort for the 21st Century." High Camp is a year-round recreational complex, 2,000 feet above the valley floor and accessible only by the giant Squaw Valley tram. High Camp includes an Olympic-sized ice rink, a massive swimming "lagoon", three restaurants, four bars, a bungee jumping tower, tennis courts, a spa and acres of patio space.