Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows

Closed
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 becomes 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. Although both are technically separate ski areas, there are plans to connect the two via gondola. Nonetheless, both are covered by the same lift ticket which gives you massive 6,000 ac to explore!

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.

FLY TO

Reno-Tahoe International Airport

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
Poor!2 / 5Sep 24, 2011
EEric
Snow is not as great, but the terrain is awesome
Poor!2 / 5Aug 20, 2011
PPete
Bottom 1/2 can be sluggish while the top is excellent.
Superb!5 / 5Jun 27, 2011
KKen
When the snow is plentyful and deep... There is no better place on earth.
Superb!5 / 5May 19, 2011
CChristopher
Squaw has it all! Great mountain with tons of ammeneties to go with it.
Superb!5 / 5Apr 29, 2011
DDarren
Fantastic snow - unfortunately I moved east and have not gotten west to ride for the last 13 years.
Superb!5 / 5Dec 16, 2010
ZZelleka
I improved my sking skills a great deal after attending ski school at Squaw Valley
Superb!5 / 5Dec 14, 2010
AAllan
Ability to ski in and out and all amenities are right there. "Destination" Resort!!
Superb!5 / 5Jul 01, 2010
BBrian
enormous and wide open terrain for all skill levels. 2 base areas, and the accommodations at the resort are excellent.
Superb!5 / 5Mar 12, 2010
LLisa
Squaw has loads of steeps. If you get an adrenaline rush and a feeling of satisfaction from skiing or riding steep terrain, Squaw Valley is one of the ski resorts you must visit.
Superb!5 / 5Aug 21, 2009
MMatthew
I've gone to many resorts over the years and seem to get the best value with the largest terrain at Squaw Valley. The scenery's terrific and the ski value is much better than place's like Vail, even though Vail has nicer accomodations and facilities

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