And we rebut Holmes’ well-timed appeal to the public prior to Placer County Supes’ Tuesday decision whether to let a private equity firm go forward with a tantalizingly horrible development plan for Squaw.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Say it ain’t so JT.

Like basically everyone else on this ever-revolting, ever spinning green and blue marble, I am a fan of JT Holmes the athlete. His feats unparalleled, his demeanor, always generous, relaxed and accommodating. His smile, reassuring. Holmes, for those of you who who’ve never heard of him (and no he’s not a porn star), most famously bid Shane McConkey farewell before the icon flew just a bit too high toward the sun and became immortal in his mortality.

Holmes, who is employed by the current ownership of Squaw in a kind of skier ambassador emeritus role, cut-and-pasted an EPICALLY long Facebook post Saturday in anticipation of the Placer County Board of Supes meeting this week to decide whether to give a Colorado-based private equity firm the go-ahead to turn Squaw into something resembling the place where you spend the night just before ripping the tags off your Banana Republic Grant-fit non-iron shirt and give the fucking PowerPoint presentation of your life. Did you throw in the kitten hanging from the tree branch slide that says “Hang in there”? OK, good to go!

JT’s “open letter”, penned no doubt in the kind of pseudo-bro-speak that only a marketing department would think sounds like a real person trying to talk pseudo-bro-speak was, well, about as genuine as the time you told your girlfriend her mock turtleneck didn’t make her Adam’s apple look big.

Here are is the complete post which uses the word “there’ll” about a thousand times. My commentary below it in bold italic:

My name is JT Holmes.

Hi JT!

I prefer to spend my time skiing rather than standing in lift lines. I prefer fact to fiction. I don’t enjoy spending my time in a car unless it is on a racecourse. I enjoy an active and busy lifestyle. I am an optimist.

Fact to fiction? Guess we’ll be reading Into Thin Air instead of Twilight in our book club this winter.  Active and busy lifestyle? Wow, I know like the rest of us Holmes isn’t getting any younger, but sounds like we’re about to get woke on the benefits of popping a FLOMAX before hitting the slopes with a Camelbak full of Red Bull and Sugarfree Red Bull.

Squaw Valley will still have a soul and be awesome if we do backflips and belly flops into a swimming pool, even if the pool is at a recreation center at the base of our mountain after we train on facilities that are similar to that of the Utah Olympic Park.

Man JT, why not just encourage Bay Area peeps to stop in crawling traffic at Roseville Golfland Sunsplash instead. Also, I used to live next to the Utah Olympic Park and didn’t see any plans for KSL to build a world-class training facility for luge, bobsled, Nordic combined, ski jumping or skeleton. Am I missing something?

When Squaw’s lifts are closed, kids currently only have a meager play structure near Le Chamois and some grimy video games to choose from.

Um, you’re also forgetting all the devices. And what are you doing hanging out at these places anyway, JT?

It will be good for them to have a place to burn off some energy with some good clean fun.

Ever seen a gaper kid after a day of skiing? Trust me, energy effing burned to the point of tantrum.

And heck, even if the waterpark turns out atrocious, and you/we hate it, a positive can still be found in that others who do like it might be there on a powder day instead of in the lift lines. More runs for us dedicated snow sliders!

Me to a girl at a bar: And heck, if you sleep with me and don’t use protection and get an STD, you can someday pass it on to someone else for revenge!

…Heck is the best btw. Heck, I’m gonna start using that.

There’ll be good and bad that come with changes and development, but let’s not be pessimistic.

Thanks JT, now I’m humming the Facts of Life theme in my head. Jerk!

With more beds in the valley, visitors could forego a ski lease in Tahoe Donner or Tahoe City and stay in the valley.

With more clothes in my closet I can have more clothes hanging in my closet.

That means less people driving the congested roads. Additional employee housing will keep employees from commuting in and out of the valley everyday too. Squaw Valley and KSL are spearheading many other transit initiatives that could create efficiency in and out of the valley and up and down the mountain.

Actually, a higher concentration of beds and STD-like theme parks = more traffic. (Says so in the EIR.)

We are in imperfect hands with KSL, sure, but they could be worse.

Trump’s tiny hands come to mind as worse…that’s about all I got though.

They could be after the full 4000+ additional beds that the SV General Plan allows for instead of 1490. I look through the Village Redevelopment Plan and I see things that I like, and things that I do not like, but I see nothing that is alarming enough to behave dramatically about.

I’m no doctor, but I think as long as that rash stays above the waistline, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

There are not planned home sites in what I consider Shirley Canyon, but rather the immediate surroundings of the existing time share/ hotel [sic] building called the Olympic Village Inn, the storage zones, parking lots, some housing and the hillside with the ropes course.

There are no visible signs that you are lying on what I consider your face. But I can still tell you are.

The development will bring some buildings that are 30 feet higher than they are right now.

Holy shit. You mean KSL-owned buildings grow…like trees? Crazy.

Thinks of how high thirty feet is.

I thinks a lot about that. I thinks that’s pretty high.

A 30-foot cliff jump is enough to get some hoots and hollers from a chairlift if you land nicely, but by Squaw Valley standards, 30 feet is not huge.

Man, and here I was thinking eight inches was pretty OK.

I am comforted in the fact that Tuesday’s decision does not mean 25 years of construction.

You also seem to be comforted by facts that are not facts.

The whole thing happens in phases and each step of the way Placer County will have to grant approvals.

Phases = lots of years. You know that right?

I am unafraid of this being set in motion. It could be a substantial improvement. If it face plants, the county will put a stop to it after phase one.

The county will stop nothing. The economy may stop working in a skier’s favor. All the bluefin may stop flowing to Mamasake. And Mother Nature may stop snowing. The likely outcome would be an abandoned project built over riparian zones, or something that resembles an unfinished Death Star to complement Squaw Creek’s original.

Let’s also not get carried away about the whole disagreement spurred by this topic.

Yes, let’s instead get carried away by the Squaw-Alpine gondola that’s never going to get built.

There are things that we do agree on. For one, both sides can agree on the fact that KSL wants to profit off their investments in Squaw Valley in order to do right by Squaw employees and KSL shareholders. We should be refreshed by something people on both sides of this issue can agree on as fact. That is one point for Squaw Valley harmony!

I’ve read this paragraph like five fucking times and I still don’t understand who these sides are…unless this is JT’s inner-monologue. In that case, this is the best example of existential writing I’ve ever seen from a guy who makes his living being a human GoPro mount.

On that note, consider that the opposition has argued that there is not enough water to support the proposed redevelopment plan of the village. KSL and Squaw argue that there is. Facts and findings on that issue have been presented. I have zero first-hand knowledge of the capacity, but I see it this way:

So, wait. You’re about to make points based on something you claim to have zero knowledge of. Makes sense in light of living in #TrumpsAmerica I guess.

If KSL over estimates the water supply and they build a village incapable of providing showers and flushing toilets, how much money do you think they will make?

Jesus, this is getting long. Was the #SquawProofer off making turns at Mammoth this weekend?

Motivations can be irrelevant.

Put it on a T-shirt!

If you want to preserve nature in the valley or if you want to make a dollar off it, your interests are perfectly aligned in this case.

Jesus, I’m so fucking glad we just legalized weed in California.

Sustainable water supply for decades to come is the goal of both sides. There is a mutual goal, and another point of agreement. Good for us!

Yeah, and when it doesn’t snow, good for…um, nevermind.  

So, what if this whole thing does not go through?

…Life goes on. People continue to come to Squaw to enjoy nature. And likely a restoration plan for a protected meadow that got paved over in the middle of the 20th century takes hold.

Squaw Valley’s local businesses continue to struggle in the off seasons. Squaw and Alpine may never connect by gondola. Millions of dollars in traffic initiatives are not implemented. Fun, athletic board riders continue to exodus out of the valley at 4:30 instead of staying put and enjoying each other’s company. The ski team locker rooms continue to smell like mold. Squaw Creek remains a litter trap and irrigation ditch. Squaw Valley Ski Team’s training fails to evolve or even exist efficiently. Talent goes elsewhere and Squaw’s day as a powerhouse of talent production passes.

You had me at keeping the moldy locker rooms!

What a minute, now I am sounding like the pessimist. Forget that noise!

Oh you!

The fact of the matter is that we are a resilient bunch and this will work out just fine no matter what the decision is on Tuesday.

The early bird will always get the fresh tracks. We will wave at each other on Squaw Valley Road and smile at each other through fat snowflakes and the shoulders of dozens of friends and strangers in the KT22 line on a powder morning. The wind will keep coming from the west and there’ll be uniquely refilling wind buff. We’ll have bustling times and slow times in the village and we will enjoy the perks of both. We will drink Wildflour slow drip coffee in the morning and cheers in the sun in the afternoon. Hiking, biking and golfing in our awesome weather all remain the same, and there’ll be a big blue lake just down the road for the real water sports.

It all goes!

Then, um, why didn’t you just say that?

-JT Holmes (with Andrew J. Pridgen)

November 12, 2016

Image: JT Holmes’ Facebook. Shaka Brah, let’s build some bad shit.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky” and likes musty locker rooms.


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