Two Californian Ski Areas Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have announced plans to connect their ski area by gondola, christened The California Express,  in time for the winter after next.

The proposed base-to-base gondola connecting The Village at Squaw Valley and the base area at Alpine Meadows has been a long-standing ambition according to the operator of the two resorts, which is now an as yet unnamed conglomerate of a dozen or so US and Canadian resorts, part owned by the owners of Aspen.

The lift would mean it was possible to ski the two resorts, with around 6000 acres combined making the area one of the five biggest in North America that you can ski without taking your boots off.

“With the connection of two of California’s most iconic mountains via a gondola offering spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra Nevada, we wanted a name that was fitting and had a clear association with California,” said Andy Wirth, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. “Naming the gondola the ‘California Express’ was a natural choice. Especially since California, more widely known for its beaches than mountains, also offers some of North America’s most abundant snowfall, stunning scenery, and world-class ski and snowboard terrain.”

The connection between the two resorts was delayed for many years by the fact that the owner of the land between the two ski areas had different plans for it, but these now appear to have been overcome and the application to build the link in time for the 2019-20 is now going through the legal approval process.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is stressing they will ensure the gondola is sensitive to the environment and say that its creation will improve the environment long-term as it will remove the need for cars and busses to travel between the two resort bases.

“Pending approval by public agencies, the resort believes it can make the California Express a reality in time for the 2019-20 winter season. Residents and resort guests can voice their active support for the California Express to make this long-held dream reality,” a resort statement reads.