Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows

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Squaw valley alpine meadows
Heather Burke
SnowPak Local Insider
Heather Burke

Pros

  • Both have fantastic grooming of steeps
  • Squaw Valley has one of the best base villages in Tahoe
  • Squaw Valley is famous for their high snowfall and steeps
  • Alpine Meadows have better wind protection than Squaw Valley
  • Alpine Meadows has incredible hike-to terrain

Cons

  • Squaw Valley is most affected by the wind than any other Lake Tahoe ski resort
  • Squaw Valley has long lift lines and on powder days has crowded slopes
  • Alpine Meadows has an old lift system and base lodge
  • Most runs are top to bottom at Alpine Meadows
  • Alpine Meadows is vulnerable to warm weather which can see rain and ice thanks to its low elevation

Overall

4.4

Squaw Valley combined with Alpine Meadows to become the largest Californian 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.

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

Mid-February to Mid-March

Mid Feb to Mid March are the best months to visit. There is nothing worse than holiday crowds to add to the terrible lift queues at Squaw Valley during Christmas and New Years.
Airplane

FLY TO

Reno-Tahoe International Airport

Car

DRIVE/SHUTTLE/TAXI TO

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows (1 hour)

Base of Squaw Valley (Walk)

  • Expensive and often limited lodging
  • Ski-in/ski-out accommodation available
  • Most convenient location to the slopes

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Alpine Meadows (1-2 mi)

  • No ski-in/ski-out lodging
  • Limited range of chalets and vacation rentals including Airbnb's
  • Less dining options than Squaw Valley

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Truckee (10-15 mi)

  • Small town with affordable accommodation
  • 20-30 minutes drive away with ski traffic
  • Has more variety of dining, bars and shopping than Tahoe City

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Tahoe City (5-10 mi)

  • Closer to the ski resort than Truckee
  • 20-30 minutes drive away with ski traffic
  • Affordable accommodation and has amazing views of the lake

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For beginners

Squaw Valley is where beginners will want to go! Most of the green slopes here are in the upper mid-mountain so beginners can join the more experienced skiers higher up! Hop aboard the Big Blue Express lift to access some of the best long green runs here!

For intermediates

We'd pick Alpine Meadows over Squaw Valley for intermediates as the runs are generally less crowded and there are tons of blues to cruise. Our favorites here include the Rock Garden Run off the Summit Express lift or Outer Limits off the Lakeview Chair for stunning vistas of Lake Tahoe. In Squaw Valley Lakeview Run and Knob Hill are great long runs worth trying out but our to-die-for run here is The Attic.

For experts

Both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have expert terrain but if we had to pick one, it would be Squaw Valley. Notorious for its steeps, Squaw Valley's best chutes and cliffs can be accessed by the KT-22 Express lift! The Silverado lift is also perfect for those looking for some crowd-free shredding. Otherwise, in Alpine Meadows, the powder-filled Beaver Bowl and Estelle Bowls are incredible!

Find freshies

Freshies are easy to find even days after a storm. If you're up for a hike, the advanced rated Beaver Bowl and Estelle Bowl off the Summit Express lift in Alpine Meadows has plenty of hidden powder stashes!

Ditch the crowds

Crowds are inevitable on powder days and they're especially worse in Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley is also notorious for their terrible lift lines with the Gold Coast Funitel and Shirley Lake Express being two of the busiest lifts! Avoid them during peak times if you hate long waits!

Non skiers

Non-skiers will have a range of things to do here including dogsledding and Nordic skiing. There are also Casinos over in Stateline Nevada or if you're lucky enough to be visiting in April, the annual WinterWonderGrass California Music and Brew Festival at Squaw Valley is tons of fun for everyone!

Families

Both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are quite family-friendly, though Squaw Valley has more facilities suitable for children as well as a larger ski school. Squaw Valley's base village also easy to walk around and has an abundance of restaurants for fuelling up.

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows vs
Squaw Valley - Alpine MeadowsHeavenly Mountain Resort
beginner25 %20 %
intermediate42 %45 %
advanced33 %30 %
expert-5 %
total runs270 97
ski area6,000ac 4,800ac
summit elevation9,050ft 10,067ft
total lifts42 28
child lift ticket$98 $80
adult lift ticket$159 $146
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall325″ 247″

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows Reviews

Very Good

4.2 / 5

based on 40 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Have your say on Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows
Good!

3.6 / 5

Apr 30, 2018
Trini P. Trini P.
advanced skier
Really nice place to go with you friends an have such an awesome day! You have a lot of different levels runs and incredibles views. Then after skiing or in the mittle you can have a beer and something nice to eat. You should go and try it ! And then you will love it... More
Superb!

4.7 / 5

Dec 02, 2017
CSCraig S.
advanced snowboarder
It doesn't get better than Squaw Valley, and with the lift connection to Alpine Meadows, it will be even better. Snow conditions are consistent, lifts are fast and comfortable, and the terrain has everything you ever want to experience.... More
Fabulous!

4.2 / 5

Nov 24, 2017
DJDaniel J.
expert snowboarder
Squaw is rad! Also known as Squallywood, the locals can be hit or miss to the visitors. Great riding in all different types of terrain and the top area of the mountain can get slammed with snow and stay open for a long time. Little known larger resort company, KSL, bought it a while back and have made a lot of improvements. It's a good time but be... More
Average!

2.8 / 5

Nov 23, 2017
CMChris M.
expert skier
Insanely overpopulated and over skied. Stay away unless you like waiting in line with some really terrible people. Not worth the effort. Other resorts in the area offer the same terrain without the pain.... More
Good!

3.9 / 5

Nov 21, 2017
GKGavin K.
advanced skier
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.... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Nov 20, 2017
RLRodney L.
advanced skier
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!!... More
Superb!

4.8 / 5

Nov 09, 2017
JBJonathan B.
advanced snowboarder
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!!!!!... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Nov 08, 2017
BGBen G.
intermediate snowboarder
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 ... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Nov 08, 2017
JJorden
advanced snowboarder
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... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Nov 08, 2017
JJorden
advanced snowboarder
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... More
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