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Documentary About Squaw Valleys Fight Against Development Making Park City Premiere On Thursday

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KPCW
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A free documentary screening is scheduled this Thursday at a Main Street nightclub. The film-maker say they’re casting a light on the biggest development fight going on in the Sierra Nevada region. What’s at stake, they say, is Squaw valley the site of the 1960 winter Olympics.

A California group called Sierra Watch is presenting “The Movie to Keep Squaw True”. It’s scheduled to be shown on Thursday, the 28th, 8:00 pm at the downstairs, 625 Main Street.

Tom Mooers, Executive Director of the group, says it’s the story of how Squaw Valley locals are resisting a proposal to turn a famed Tahoe mountain into a Vegas-style amusement park. And the developer, Alterra, is also a resort owner in Park City.

Mooers told KPCW it’s a battle they’ve been fighting for about 8 years.

“What’s at stake really is the future of Squaw Valley and the future of Northlake Tahoe,” Mooers explained. “KSL Capital Partners and Alterra Mountain Company proposed to remake Squaw Valley and North Tahoe with development that’s on the size, scale and scope that the Sierra has never seen. High-rises, a roller-coaster and an indoor waterpark that would be as wide as a Wal-Mart and more than twice as tall. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to lake Tahoe but the idea that Tahoe needs an indoor waterpark is a real threat to basic mountain values. Most of us would consider lake Tahoe the world’s greatest waterpark this is what happens when you have the private equity mindset in our ski towns. They actually stood up at a public meeting and said, ‘here in Tahoe there is nothing to do in the summer.’ So that’s how they came up with an indoor waterpark but if you’ve been to Tahoe in the summer, there’s a lot to do.”

The opponents add that the project will take 25 years to build and will add thousands of cars to the already-crowded roads in Tahoe.

Mooers said the film should resonate with many Western ski towns. He said they’ve been taking the film on tour.

“We’ve been playing to sold-out audiences from Jackson Hole to June Lake,” Mooers continued. “I think it’s a movie that Park City needs to see because we know that like other ski towns Park City is also dealing with big private equity conglomerates buying up ski resorts and in particular even Alterra Mountain Company which of course owns Deer Valley and also owns Squaw Valley.”

He said they have a couple of reasons to bring the film to Park City.

“We’re coming to Park City to share our story because we think there’s a lot that these ski town people have in common but also to learn because we know that Park City is dealing with it’s own issues and it’s own private equity goliaths coming to town.”

He said the documentary was made by a couple of phenomenal Tahoe-area film-makers, Rob and Scott Gaffney.

Sierra Watch has been around for a couple of decades.

“We’ve been working to protect great places in the Sierra for almost 20 years including Donner Summit, Tahoe’s Martis Valley,” Mooers said. “We’ve been engaged in this effort to keep Squaw true for nearly nine years now. We feel like we’re just getting started because our commitment to these mountains is permanent. We’re going to protect them.”

The free showing of “The Movie to Keep Squaw True” is Thursday 8:00 pm at the Downstairs nightclub.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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