>

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows, California

Written by Greg and Heather Burke

Squaw Valley is a California ski resort of legends, home of the world’s first double chair in 1949, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and training ground to pro skiers like Scot Schmidt, Jonny Moseley, Julia Mancuso, and the sadly deceased skiers Shane McConkey and CR Johnson.

This 4,000-acre winter playground has an especially long season since Lake Tahoe ski resorts receive over 400 inches of snow annually, and the bonus of 300 days of sunshine. Squaw is the largest Tahoe ski area with a funitel and tram from the Squaw Village to 8,200-foot High Camp where skiers find an Olympic ice skating rink, heated pool, hot tub and huge lodge overlooking the slopes and Lake Tahoe.

Squaw has undergone big changes to the tune of $50 million installing new high-speed chairlifts replacing the Granite Chief and Shirley Lake lifts. Squaw has also finally named their over 200 trails, which have always just been simply tagged green, blue or black diamond, and installed a state of the art information system with ski lift status signs, the likes of Vail indicating lifts and trails open and lift line wait times.

Expert skiers love Squaw for the steep chutes and cliffs on the Headwall, Granite Chief, and the famous KT-22 – named for the twenty-two kick turns it takes to ski the face. Squaw’s expert terrain has appeared in top extreme ski films and videos by Matchstick, PoorBoyz and Meathead Films. Today’s best freeskiers like Squaw’s terrain parks – like Simon Dumont’s cubed pipe filmed at Squaw.

Squaw also offers skiers beginner and intermediate terrain, and Squaw's base village offers skiers with boutiques, pubs, and restaurants from Irish to sushi.

Just steps from the Cable Car, you can lodge at the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. The art deco PlumpJack, owned by the former mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom, is a great place for fireside après ski at the Plumpjack bar.

Or stay at the four diamond Resort at Squaw Creek, listed as one of the top 50 ski places to stay by Conde Nast, in one of 405 luxury ski in/ski out rooms in the Squaw ski hotel. During your Squaw ski vacation, be sure to ski nearby Alpine Meadows - who shares management and reciprocal lift ticket privileges with Squaw. You can also include Northstar, and Heavenly and Kirkwood on South Lake Tahoe in your California ski trip.

Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe California offers beautiful above tree bowl skiing. This is where the Tahoe locals go, its park service land, so there is no slopeside lodging at Alpine, so stay on the Lake in a ski rental or at nearby Village at Squaw Valley. The Lake Tahoe region is beautiful with 18 ski resorts nearby.

The two resorts Alpine Meadows and Squaw now share reciprocal lift tickets, with a convenient shuttle between the two mountains. Alpine Meadows skiing has everything from wide open bowls to steep chutes, even Lake Tahoe views on the sunny back side. Take a break from Alpine’s 1,802 vertical and 2,400 acres at Alpine’s mid mountain Chalet, soak up the California ray on the outdoor sun deck.

Alpine Meadows is a great value and the California ski area has a great vibe, with typically plenty of natural snow.

Elevation

Base
6200 feet
Base
Summit
9050 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
2850 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

Gondola & Trams
2
Gondola & Trams
High Speed Sixes
5
High Speed Sixes
High Speed Quads
5
High Speed Quads
Quad Chair
1
Quad Chair
Triple Chairs
12
Triple Chairs
Double Chairs
10
Double Chairs
Surface Lifts
7
Surface Lifts

Terrain

Beginner Runs
25 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
42 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
33 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
0 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
270
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
5
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
3 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
6000 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
1000 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 11/26/2017 (estimated) 06/03/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 11/23/2016 07/15/2017
2015/2016 11/12/2015 05/30/2016
2014/2015 12/13/2014 04/26/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 19 - 64 $158
Child 5 - 12 $98
Child 13 - 18 $134
Senior 65 & over $134
Season Pass
(Tahoe Super Pass Gold)
$979

Overall Rating

4.2 / 5 based on 36 reviews
Gavin Kilcoyne

Squaw valley wasn't just coined "squalywood" for any reason. It is a place where the wealth folk commute from the city of the bay to get their hot laps on. The general appeals to squaw include a good selection advanced skiing, lots of weather, and the endless accommodations available.

Posted on Nov 21, 2017
Jonathan Boeck

Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows is my favorite resort I have been to hands down. The scenery is epic, the people are awesome, and the mountains and snow are off the hook!!!!!

Posted on Nov 09, 2017
Jorden

Please I need this pass my stepdad has cancer and with his treatment expensises it’s going to be near impossible to scrounge up money to go snowboarding this season it’s my passion

Posted on Nov 08, 2017
Diana Moraru

I love skiing at Squaw. There is a wide variety of runs for all skill levels. I love the apres ski options in the village and the atmosphere at the Olympic House. It is unfortunate that accommodation is a bit pricey.

Posted on Nov 07, 2017
Mike wilson from Vermont

Squaw used to be the best ski area in North America. The terrain hasn’t changed, but the experience is now terrible. The new ownership has raised prices for rising as well as food, lodging, coaching, and any other business they run.

Posted on Oct 08, 2017
Rodney livingston

This has to be one of the best ski resorts world wide!
Such a diverse choice of trails from Beginer to expert & from Trailbto Back country! Well organized & no lines!!

Posted on Nov 20, 2017
Ben Greaves

Cannot rate squad highly enough. Nothing I've ridden compares and has amazing options for all levels. Can't wait to return. Uncrowded, no long lift lines when I was there and a great village atmosphere. A good village is always high on my list of priorities and Squaw definitely delivers

Posted on Nov 08, 2017
Jorden

Please I need this season pass snowboarding is my passion my stepdad has cancer and with all of the bills his treatment it’s going to be impossible to get money to go this year

Posted on Nov 08, 2017
Hung Ting Wen from California

Slopes are great and lodges are excellent. Lots of choices for all levels of skiers. One drawback is distances between slope entries and exits. Unlike North Star, in Squaw Valley, it takes some distances from exits to next entries.

Posted on Oct 16, 2017
John from Colorado

Sick hike-to terrain, uncrowded slopes, steeps to scare you and storms that dume feet.

Posted on Nov 15, 2013