A new gondola on the largest ski area in California

Starting Saturday, a new gondola will begin carrying passengers for a 2.4-mile ride over what is now — at 6,000 acres — California’s largest ski area.

The gondola connects two popular ski resorts in North Lake Tahoe, Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley, in a 16-minute ride with views of the lake and Sierra, according to Palisades Tahoe, the company that owns the resorts.

The company is set to unveil the new ride, which connects the resorts’ bases, with day-long festivities on Saturday that include free tours of the resorts ski area and live music.

According to the company, the new gondola has 96 cabins that can carry eight passengers each.

The $65 million project has been in the works for years, but has faced opposition from environmentalists who feared the project would cross and negatively affect the federally protected Granite Chief Wilderness area. The company entered into an agreement with the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League that called for placing the gondola at least 1,100 feet from the wilderness at all times.

Palisades Tahoe also agreed to provide funding for the league to purchase land in the area and conservation easements.

The opening comes as the area has been showered with plenty of snow for visitors and skiers.

According to the UC Berkeley Central Sierra Snow Lab, the region saw more than 4 feet of snow fall on the slopes in 48 hours during a weekend storm.

The National Weather Service predicts the ski area will see sunny skies through the weekend, with highs hovering in the low 30s.

Los Angeles Times

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