Though Squaw Valley sports one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in the U.S., Mother Nature created a recent problem for the resort. A period of unusually heavy rains resulted in the contamination of Squaw Valley’s upper mountain water, according to resort and county officials. But close monitoring of the system and treatment show that water quality is improving. Three out of four wells that serve the upper mountain currently indicate near-normal levels of coliform and no signs of E.coli, a Placer County director said.
Routine testing at Squaw Valley uncovered strains of E. Coli and coliform in the drinking water on the upper mountain. Resort staff immediately contacted the Placer County Environmental Health Department on squawalpine.com and other local authorities. The situation continues to undergo monitoring since it first appeared in November.
At no point was the public in danger of drinking contaminated water and no health complaints have been detected or recorded by visitors or staff. Though restaurants on the upper mountain are closed indefinitely for safety reasons, the resort is supplying free bottled water to guests. Top-to-bottom skiing has not been affected by the situation, and guests have normal access to the area’s facilities.
In addition to the abnormal amount of rain over the summer, Squaw Valley underwent an extensive upgrade of its water system, which might have been affected by the weather.
Fortunately, since only one system was affected by bacteria, staff has been able to easily check water for any signs of contamination. In an agreement with local officials, Squaw Valley kept the upper mountain open so that skiers and others could enjoy all the activities at the resort. To ensure that neither E. Coli nor coliform would affect guests, resort officials struck a deal to temporarily serve prepackaged food and water, as well as posting notices that inform guests.
Customer safety is always a concern at the award-winning resort, according to a Squaw Valley spokeswoman. She emphasized the importance of resolving all safety issues throughout the 6,000-acre area. Additionally, she said guests will be updated until any water issues are resolved.
The resort’s rapid action to a resolving a potentially dangerous issue is another reason guests choose Squaw Valley as a vacation destination. Skiers and snowboarders, in fact, recently voted Squaw Valley one of North America’s top ski resorts by USA Today readers.by the weather. To fully assess the situation, Squaw Valley officials have worked with engineers, Placer County staff and a number of other water safety experts to monitor the situation.