Squaw Valley Ski Resort and Ski Holidays

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Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe
View Video of Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe
  Resort Information
Season Nov-May
Nearest Airport Reno and San Francisco
Ski Area 300km or over 1000km for area
Ski Lifts 31
Ski Runs 124
Longest Run 7.3km
Resort Height 6250ft
Snowball Ratings
Beginners 3.5 / 5
Intermediates 4 / 5
Experts 4 / 5
Families 4 / 5
Nightlife 3.5 / 5
Affordability 4 / 5
Non Ski Activities 4 / 5

Squaw Valley is in the California part of Lake Tahoe, on the North Shore, so it lies opposite its sister resort, Heavenly, which is in Nevada on the South Shore, so there is a distinct abscence of casinos! Roughly the same size ski area as Heavenly, but different terrain and tends to be a lot quieter.Pretty much as reliable resort as you can get anywhere for snow falls, averaging around 40 feet a ski season,this area is suitable for all levels, with lots of wide open and well groomed pistes, accessed from the village base by either a large gondola or cable car.Squaw is also know for its steep skiing and attracts filming and skiers from around the globe.For the die hards there is more floodlit skiing around Central Park until 9pm,which maybe adds to that perfect snow and sun filled day!Awesome.

It’s not unusual to hear a first-time skier at Squaw ask where the trails or pistes are and it is true that Squaw is unique in the U.S. as it offers wide-open bowl skiing rather than traditional, named ski trails. The vast lift-served acreage is the fifth largest U.S. resort and you are actively encouraged to use the lifts as a reference. Lifts are rated beginner, intermediate and advanced, based on the type of terrain that they access. In that respect, the area offers 25 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate and 30 percent expert terrain, encompassing 16 open bowls and well over 100 runs. The highest elevation is 9,050 feet (2,758 m) while the lowest elevation is 6,200 feet (1,889 m)—that’s a vertical drop of 2,850 feet (868 m).

This ski area is famous for terrain ranging from the tamest to the toughest. The high peaks and bowls are treeless, but lower down much of the terrain is lightly wooded. Skiers and snowboarders will delight in the variety. The steep chutes and dynamic descents of KT-22 (22 kick turns to make it down safely) beckon the wild freeskiers while miles of groomed trails and wide open mountain bowls for cruising cradle the novice. And two beginner areas (one at peak level, one at base level) satisfy all other levels of skier. Mix in long intermediate cruisers, expanded terrain parks, halfpipes and panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley is surely a must-visit ski destination.

The more advanced expert only skiing is not for adventurous intermediates nor for the foolhardy, who could easily find themselves in serious difficulty (or worse!) with cliffs and potentially fatal falls waiting for the unwary. Just about everything is visible from the lifts, but newcomers wishing to venture into unfamiliar expert sections are well advised to join an Advanced Ski Clinic or find a guide. There is no need for beginners and intermediates to be put off by the reputation of Squaw for ski extreme, though: the ski area is well marked with a variety of safety markers including slow signs, ropes, bamboo poles and markers that explain a range of the terrain characteristics. In addition, members of the Ski Patrol regularly ski the mountain to ensure the safety of guests and offer assistance if needed.

Lack of snow is never a problem here, since Squaw has invested substantial sums over the last decade in its state-of-the-art snowmaking system which enhances natural snow conditions and ensures consistent snow coverage. The artificial snow system includes over 500 snowmaking guns—some fixed, others portable, allowing the snowmaking crew to make snow in areas beyond the normal coverage zones—and it covers some seven miles (11 km) or 10 percent of the terrain. The season here is exceptionally long (November to end of May) and sometimes the resort is open for 4th of July weekend (two days only) but only when conditions permit.

Night skiing is an additional big draw, available on the 3.2-mile (5-km) mountain run and in the Riviera halfpipe and terrain park. Night operations are generally open mid-December through mid-March. Lift access is via the aerial cable car and the Riviera chairlift.Additional activities,such as ice skating,tubing,sleigh rides,dog sledding and even ice fishing ensure even the non skiers are catered for.It is also a resort that will appeal to those wanting comfort and luxury with its superb accommodations and spas, with a visit to the Spa at Squaw Creek, a must.The Squaw Valley ski pass now covers Alpine Meadows next door, offering more intermediate and beginner skiing or boarding.30 mins away is Northstar, skiable on the Interchangeable pass, which covers the 7 main mountains....more skiing than the 3 valleys but not interconnected.(Car recommended)

Most bars in Squaw Valley cater to the 25–35 crowd, including the Irish pub, the newest après-ski spot in the Squaw scene.The Loft Bar is the old-timer local après-ski hangout and the Red Dog Bar and Grill is a favourite with Squaw Valley employees. There is now also a trendy and up market wine bar.Bar One has live music, dancing and pool tables, while the Plaza Bar is the hang out for sports fans, with sporting events on the big-screen TV. For a more intimate après ski experience and less raucous the bar at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn has a cosy fireplace and an excellent selection of wine.

Nearby in Tahoe City, guests enjoy Pete ‘n’ Peter’s, the Naughty Dawg and the Bridgetender. In quaint Truckee, Casa Baeza, O.B.’s Pub & Restaurant and the Tourist Club are popular.Though snow sure, you will not suffer any potential altitude problems and transfers are short from Reno (60 mins) or from San Francisco,(2.5 hours).Check out flying into San Francisco and have a night or two in one of our favourite cities.Take a trip over on the famous paddle steamer to Heavenly, have a ski and then dine and wine on your way back.You cannot do that anywhere else.Make sure Squaw Valley is on your next agenda for skiing!!
 TOP TIP: If not staying at one of our catered chalets then try and buy groceries on your way from the airport or Tahoe City.There is a local grocers store in Squaw Valley but we think its owned by Dick Turpin!!Be warned.Its very expensive to shop here! A 4x4 would be a great addition allowing you to get to other ski areas a lot easier as well as allowing you to shop.

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