Overview of 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.
Mountain set up is great. Lot's of high speed lifts. Trails funnel into lifts, without flat trails or hikes. No long slow cross mountain lifts like at Heavenly.
Village provides great ski in & out to a wide open mountain and a night life too, without the hectic pace of Heavenly area and Colorado glitz resorts. For pure skiing though Alta and Snowbird in Salt Lake especially this past year were the tops!!