SQUAW VALLEY, Calif. -- The results of years of planning finally are being seen here as one of Lake Tahoe's premier ski resorts gets ready to open the first part of a pedestrian village at the base of the ski slopes. The first phase of the project, consisting of condominiums, restaurants and shops, is slated to open during this winter season.

Bookings are being taken now for the condominiums, which are expected to be available starting in February, and stays will be commissionable to agents. "Travel agents in one phone call can book lodging, rental cars, lift tickets and receive a 10% commission," said a spokeswoman for Squaw Valley.

The first part of a new pedestrian village is about to open at Squaw Valley, Calif. Above, a snowboarder hits the slopes. The pedestrian village -- built by Intrawest, the developer of Whistler and other popular ski resort villages -- is part of Squaw Valley's plan to become a four-season recreation destination and provide visitors with little reason to venture beyond the resort for dining and entertainment.

"Since 1988, I have been promising a true four-season alpine village at the base of the mountain, and I always try to keep my promises," said Alex Cushing, founder and chairman of Squaw Valley Ski Corp., in a company statement. The 13-acre village is being built in four phases at a cost of $250 million. It has been in the planning stages for 13 years and under construction for the last 18 months.

The phase soon to be completed includes three buildings that encompass 139 condominiums, 19 shops and restaurants and 250 underground parking spaces. The condominiums have been sold to individual owners, who then choose whether to add them to the pool of units offered as lodging through Squaw Valley central reservations, according to the spokeswoman.

The second phase of the project is under construction and expected to be completed in time for the 2002-2003 winter season. It will include another 155 condominiums and more shops, restaurants and parking. When fully built, in five to seven years, the project will feature a total of 640 lodging units and 80 shops and restaurants.

The spokeswoman said the concept is similar to Whistler and other recently developed resort villages that attempt to create a European-style mountain atmosphere, but "it will be smaller and more intimate [than Whistler]." Another project, to be finished by the end of December, constitutes upgrades to Squaw Valley's current facilities to match the look of the new base village. To contact Squaw Valley reservations, which represents 50 properties in the area, call (800) 545-4350.

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