Ski & Snowboard

 

SQUAW VALLEY

Ski & Snowboard Resort Review

The stylish and elite resort of Squaw Valley USA CA boasts superb skiing and snowboarding terrain spread across six mountain peaks with a state of the art lift system.

Squaw Valley Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

Expect to find wide open groomed trails, open powder bowls, steep chutes, mogul runs, cliff drops and treed terrain.

30% of terrain at Squaw Valley USA is left in its natural state for advanced skiing and snowboarding with 45% suited to intermediates and 25% suited to beginners. Unlike most resorts Squaw Valley USA does not have marked trails just chairlifts referenced to as ‘beginner, intermediate and advanced’ relating to the type of terrain access by each one. Don’t be put off by this it is not hard to find your way around.

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Merge

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have merged in time for the 2011/2012 winter season! The coming together of the two resorts gives snowriders access to over 6,000 acres of varied terrain and 40+ lifts. The new ultimate ‘Tahoe Super Pass’ will give skiers and snowboarders unlimited access to both mountain resorts. While the two resorts are not lift linked free shuttle buses will link the base areas together. To read a skiing and snowboarding review of Alpine Meadows click here

Advanced Skiing and Snowboarding at Squaw Valley USA

Squaw valley ski the powder

Squaw Valley powder / photo: Jason Shields

For powder runs hike the ridge above the Granite Chief Bowl and take your pick from a number of steep chute lines between tight granite walls leading to exciting open rolling terrain progressing into heavily treed terrain.

A short and easy hike from the Siberia Express Chairlift to the top of Squaw Peak will have you above a not so easy cornice/cliff band drop looking down into the Siberia Bowl. At this stage many skiers and snowboarders will freeze in fear and back out down the ridge away from the frightening descent. If you can stomach the drop you will be rewarded with rooster tail blistering powder turns and the adulation of those watching from below.

From the top of KT 22 Peak similar exciting descents present themselves opening into GS Bowl add to this the well known neighbouring run The Slot easily accessible from the Headwater Express Chairlift testing the best with its difficult entrance and boulder like moguls.

Intermediate Skiing and Snowboarding at Squaw Valley USA

Intermediates can access the entire resort on groomed trails of varying steepness. Almost every lift accesses a groomed trail; the Emigrant Chairlift leads to open steep terrain from where you can cruise the long way back down to the Village.

For a morning warm up run take the fast winding groomed trail from the top of the Siberia Express Chairlift leading down to the Gold Coast restaurant.

In busy periods head to the Shirley Lake Express Chairlift for long cruising runs. The lift was replaced with a high speed six passenger chairlift in 2007 dramatically increasing turnaround times.

Squaw Valley USA is a great resort to improve your skill level with plenty of off piste opportunities and tree skiing and snowboarding to be explored especially around the Red Dog Chairlift.

Beginner Skiing and Snowboarding at Squaw Valley USA

The majority of beginner trails lead upwards from High Camp at the top of the aerial Cable Car. The terrain is open, wide and very gently sloping with three beginner double chairlifts.

Further down the resort Exhibition Chairlift recently had a mid station added to it expanding the lower gentle terrain for beginners and ensuring early season skiing and snowboarding is available on the lower trails.

The Squaw Valley Ski and Snowboard School meets at High Camp. First time ski and snowboard packages are available which include a lift ticket, equipment rental and a 2 hour group lesson.

In 2008 Squaw Valley USA introduced a new hands free advanced electronic ticketing system. The new tickets ensure faster boarding of lifts as SmartCard technology enables passengers to leave tickets in their pockets while sensors automatically scan them.

Squaw Valley Ski Resort Cable Car

Squaw Valley Cable Car/ photo: Nathan Kendall

Skiing and Snowboarding Backcountry Tours at Squaw Valley USA

The 2008/2009 winter season saw the introduction of guided backcountry tours at Squaw Valley USA. The customized tours with experienced guides take snow riders to secret powder stashes in the National Geographic Bowl, Shirley Canyon, Smoothies and Happy Valley all accessed via lifts and a short hike.

Squaw Valley Terrain Park and Halfpipe

Squaw Valley has three terrain parks catering for all levels.

The advanced Mainline Park is stacked full of rails, boxes, huge jumps and is home to the Ford Freestyle Superpipe.

The Riviera Park for advanced intermediates is open until 9pm each night with rails, boxes and medium sized jumps and a 225 foot long illuminated halfpipe.

The Belmont Park is the beginner park with small jumps, rails and boxes. Additional snowmaking facilities were installed last winter season to ensure the park stays open until seasons end.

Other Activities at Squaw Valley USA

Other activities available at Squaw Valley USA include snow shoeing, snow tubing, rock climbing, tennis, ice skating, and swimming.

High Camp at Squaw Valley USA

High Camp located at 2,000 feet at the top of the aerial Cable Car has uninterrupted views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra region. It has an Olympic Museum, an ice skating pavilion and a huge heated outdoor lagoon and spa! The tubing park is just steps away.

High Camp has a sundeck with a poolside Café, a Terrace Bar and restaurants serving lunch and après ski drinks. Alexanders Café and Bar is open for dinner.

With the purchase of any full day ticket night skiing and snowboarding is available from High Camp down the 3.2 mile illuminated trial to the Village.

Shopping at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley USA has more than 10 ski and snowboard equipment and rental stores and fashion boutiques, souvenir stores, jewellery shops and a food market.

Tait’s Boardshop has the latest snowboarding equipment and accessories as well as wakeboards and skate boards. The Squaw Valley Sports Shop has skis and snowboards available for demos and an in-house repair shop.

Squaw Valley Restaurants

The Squaw Valley USA Village has many restaurants ranging from fine dining to family friendly eateries, cafes and ice creameries.

The excellent Mamasake Sushi Bar serves fresh sushi, sashimi and hand rolls while the gourmet pizza and pastas at the ever popular Fireside Pizza 6 restaurant are delicious.

The Auld Dubliner authentic Irish pub serves traditional Irish food and beers staying open until 2am every night.

The Blue Onion Café has hearty cooked breakfasts all day and tasty sandwiches.

For dinner with an unforgettable view take advantage of the Mountaintop Twilight Dinner Special at Alexander’s Café at High Camp. Ride the cable car up and enjoy a 3 course dinner.

Squaw Valley Nightlife

Bar One kicks off the après ski entertainment early on the huge outdoor sundeck with live music and cheap drinks. Wednesday nights are Karaoke night.

The Zenbu Tapas Lounge has late night dining and plenty of dancing with local and national DJ’s performing regularly.

The Plaza Bar is the place to go to watch sporting events like football, ice hockey and World Cup ski events on the large screen television.

More About Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley accommodation

Get directions to Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley resort review VIDEO

Your Squaw Valley Ski & Snowboard Resort Reviews

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Annalise Anderson, DC. I adore Squaw, to me it's the best mountain by far in the Lake Tahoe region for a family vacation. It's big, really challenging and always seems to have heaps of snow.

Tom Main, CA. I was really impressed by the actual acreage size of Squaw Valley. It's spread over 5 or 6 peaks with little or no traversing necessary to get to and from each one. I covered the entire mountain in a day but it took about another 7 days before I think I think I skied every trail, and really explored the Granite Chief bowls and the KT-22 area. My overall impression is of a well managed resort, there's not many places that have a lagoon at the top of the mountain and an olympic skating rink, as well as black diamond expert back country all accessed by fast efficient lifts! The night skiing was OK, very cold, I only did it once the trail is a little too intermediate but I could see how it would be fun if the powder was falling. The village may be small but the apres ski is not, for me it started at the Sundeck Tavern and usually ended at Bar One.

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Statistics

Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
9,050
2,758
Base
6,000
1,828
Average Snowfall
450 inches
Lifts
34
Trails - view map
170
4,000 acres
Terrain %
advanced
30
intermediate
45
beginner
25
Halfpipe
2 1 super pipe
Terrain Park
3
Resort Website