Squaw Alpine Transit Company (SATCo), the nonprofit created to provide free on-demand shuttle service within Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows, announced it will expand the hours of its free Mountaineer service within the two resort communities for the 2021-22 winter season. New this year, SATCo will partner with Placer County to offer free on-demand service through TART Connect between Olympic Valley and Tahoe City on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Based on feedback we have received from those who have used Mountaineer, service hours have been extended by 30 minutes to 10:30 p.m. in Olympic Valley and will begin an hour earlier at 7:00 a.m. in Alpine Meadows,” said Joy Doyle, SATCo executive director. “We are also pleased that Placer County in partnership with SATCo is expanding TART Connect to offer service between Olympic Valley and Tahoe City on weekend evenings. This will give Olympic Valley guests and residents a convenient way to get to and enjoy all that North Lake Tahoe has to offer.”
The formation of SATCo is the result of a collaborative effort spearheaded by Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows homeowner’s associations, in-valley lodging properties and Palisades Tahoe, formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort. SATCo’s mission is to provide transit within Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows to assessed businesses’ guests, employees, owners, and visitors to improve resort traffic congestion, guests’ experiences, and safety. SATCo is funded by a micro mass transit district through the combination of a one percent assessment on lift tickets sold on-site by Palisades Tahoe, and a one percent assessment on transient lodging and vacation rentals within Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows.
The Mountaineer service has been highly successful since its inception in winter 2018-19, providing 150,000+ passengers with free on-demand shuttle service. Mountaineer’s success has demonstrated that on-demand shuttle service is a viable solution to help alleviate traffic congestion in North Lake Tahoe and led to the pilot program of Placer County’s TART Connect service throughout North Lake Tahoe during the past summer, this fall, and for the upcoming winter.
This winter, Mountaineer’s free, on-demand shuttle service will operate from December 10, 2021 through April 10, 2022 daily between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. in Olympic Valley, and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays* from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Alpine Meadows. Passengers can request a ride through the Mountaineer app, which is a free App Store download. Inter-valley transportation services between Palisades Tahoe base areas will continue to be offered via the Palisades Tahoe Shuttle operated by Palisades Tahoe ski resort.
“Mountaineer has made it incredibly easy to get around Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows without a personal vehicle, and has demonstrated how micro transit can benefit the guest experience, our community, and the environment,” said Dee Byrne, president and COO of Palisades Tahoe, formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “As on-demand service expands to connect Olympic Valley and Tahoe City as a pilot program this winter, we’re optimistic it can help further reduce individual car trips on local roadways while providing visitors easy access to entertainment, dining, and activities in Tahoe City and North Lake Tahoe.”
New this year, in collaboration with Placer County, on-demand shuttle service will be offered through TART Connect to provide free weekend evening service between Olympic Valley and Tahoe City. This pilot program is scheduled to operate between December 10, 2021 and April 10, 2022 on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mountaineer users will be required to download the free TART Connect app to request rides between Olympic Valley and Tahoe City. Mountaineer app users, after the one-time easy TART Connect app download, will request rides to/from Tahoe City through the Mountaineer app.
“Shuttle users should know that Mountaineer and TART Connect will follow health and safety protocols that adhere to federal, state and local guidelines, and will require passengers to as well. New this year, we have also added the ability for guests to tip Mountaineer drivers through the app, as passengers have previously requested,” continued Doyle.
Mountaineer is funded through the combination of a 1% assessment on daily lift tickets sold by Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows), and a 1% assessment on transient lodging and vacation rentals within Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows. Additionally, Palisades Tahoe continues its volunteer contribution of a 1% assessment on its daily lift ticket frequency products to assist in funding Mountaineer services. TART Connect is funded through Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) funds collected on overnight lodging in eastern Placer County.
On the subject of names, the SATCo Board of Directors is considering a name change in light of the Palisades Tahoe name change announcement and is scheduled to make its decision after the 2021-22 winter season.
Learn more about SATCo and Mountaineer online at SquawAlpineTransit.org.
*Holiday dates of operation in Alpine Meadows: Dec. 27-31, 2021, Jan. 17, 2022, Feb. 21, 2022.