Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has partnered with Protect Our Winters to offer free premium parking to guests who carpool to the resort with four or more passengers in the vehicle. The program, called POW Parking, aligns with the resort’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint, raise awareness about how transportation contributes to climate change, and promote carpooling and efficient transportation within the region. Evaluating the top 10 geographic areas with the highest concentration of passholders, if just 20 percent of this group carpooled to the resort with a total of four people in the vehicle (as opposed to the current average of just over two), seasonal emissions would be reduced by 758 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This emissions savings is the equivalent of driving 1.8 million miles, electrifying 104 homes for one year, or burning 85,293 gallons of gasoline. In one year, a 20-percent passholder participation rate would remove 657 vehicles from the road.
“Transportation to and from the resort is our single largest indirect contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Michael Gross, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows director of environmental initiatives. “We are focused on reducing that number, and we need the help of our guests to get that done. POW Parking will help take cars off the road and encourage people to think about how their actions impact climate change, while providing an added level of convenience to our carpooling guests. POW has led the charge to mobilize the snow-sports community in the fight against climate change, and we are thrilled to continue working with them in this capacity.”
“Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is a second home to POW, and we’re honored to partner with them on the POW Parking program,” said Chris Steinkamp, executive director of Protect Our Winters. “As we all know, transportation is an ever-present issue for the Tahoe community, but also for the planet. Carpooling is one simple and effective way to reduce our impacts and now, carpoolers will be rewarded for changing their habits."
Founded by professional snowboarder and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows athlete Jeremy Jones, POW engages the issue of climate change with educational initiatives, advocacy and community-based activism. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has partnered with POW to host fundraising and climate change awareness events, as well as to create the “POW Climate Cabin,” a lift cabin on the Gold Coast Funitel dedicated to building awareness of climate change and its affects.
POW Parking will operate at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, with 125 designated spaces at Squaw Valley located in the front rows on the southwest side of the parking lot, adjacent to the Village at Squaw Valley. It will be staffed on weekends and self-regulated on weekdays. On weekends, Alpine Meadows will offer 100 spaces located adjacent to the base lodge, available until full. There will be no net change in the number of parking spaces at either mountain and general parking areas will remain free. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will gather data from participating carpool vehicles to track total emissions saved and learn more about how best to promote the use of carpools.
POW Parking is one of many transportation programs that Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has embarked on including regional transit sponsorship, with annual contributions of $65,000 to $170,000 to the Free Skier Shuttle and $60,000 to Tahoe Area Regional Transit. The resort installed six electric car charging stations at the base of Squaw Valley and operates the Squaw/Alpine shuttle between the two mountains with an estimated saving of 38,400 one-way trips. For the 2015-16 season, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows initiated an employee shuttle to and from Reno, which had an average ridership of eight people for the 88-mile roundtrip, reducing employee transportation emissions by 7.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide this season. Finally, every Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has access to free bus passes to ensure an environmentally friendly way to get to work.
With the 2015-16 season extended through May 30, conditions permitting, spring skiers and riders have over six weeks to take advantage of POW Parking, and 2016-17 Tahoe Super Passholders ski free for the remainder of the season, with current prices as low as $429 good through April 19.