Squaw Valley Ski Resort

The host resort of the 1960 Winter Olympics has grown to become California’s most famous resort, with its steeps attracting the world’s best skiers year on year to this beautiful corner of Lake Tahoe.

Squaw Valley is home to 3600 acres of epic terrain, which includes some of the most iconic lines in freeskiing, pioneered by the likes of Shane McConkey and Scot Schmidt. Indeed many of the visitors come back to ski these lines, aided by the usually huge snowfall totals that drop on the resort each winter.

But there is more to the mountain than just the steeps, with terrain to suit all abilities, especially when its neighbour Alpine Meadows is included. Its 2400 acres are included in the lift pass, are connected by a free bus service and are shortly due to be linked by gondola, creating a 6000 acre behemoth to compete with the USA’s biggest ski areas.

Our Squaw Valley Resort Ratings

  • Beginner ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
  • Intermediate ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Advanced ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Snow Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Fast Lifts ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Resort Activities ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
  • Après ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Value ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Pros

Legendary steep runs and an enviable snow record

Excellent variety and chance to also ski Alpine Meadows

Lively base resort and après can kick off after a powder day

Cons

Can get busy at weekends and on big powder days

Relatively limited range of local accommodation

Wind can be a real problem for the uppermost lifts

Squaw Valley Skiing and Snowboarding

Although the mountain is famous as an advanced skier or riders’ paradise, there is some good terrain for all abilities. Snowsure beginner slopes are available at the summit of the Gold Coast Funitel (which can then be used for downloading) and long cruisey blue trails run back down to base from the summit. Alpine Meadows is also well worth exploring.

But it is the advanced terrain that really sets Squaw apart – there’s a good reason why so many skiing legends have called this place home. The iconic KT-22 chairlift serves some of the best lines, including the Fingers, but be sure to get in the queue early on a powder day – the locals will all be there well before the lift opens. On a powder day also be sure to hit the Siberia and Headwall Bowls before they get tracked out, then make your way across to Granite Chief and Silverado for yet more steep, gnarly off piste terrain.

  • Total Pistes: 3600 acres
  • Beginner: 25%
  • Intermediate: 45%
  • Advanced: 30%
  • Lifts: 24
  • Altitude: 1890m – 2760m

Squaw Valley Piste Map

The local area map can be downloaded here.

Squaw Valley Resort

Recent investment has significantly improved the base village at Squaw, with tasteful hotels and condos making for a great base at the foot of the Tram and Funitel, but the volume of accommodation is still limited – although there are some private rentals a little further down the valley. Après ski can get very lively, particularly in the springtime and after a powder day – when planting yourself on the terrace at the base of the lifts and discussing your skiing lines over jugs of beer is very much the way to go.

Alternative bases include Tahoe City or Kings Beach on the shores of Lake Tahoe, where lots of good value, self-catered accommodation is available – especially as in these places the winter is very much low season. Truckee to the north is a larger town and makes for a cheap base, plus its only half an hour away. Having a car then makes a massive difference as although there is a bus service, it is infrequent and being flexible gives you the chance to explore the nearby resorts of Northstar or Heavenly.

How to get to Squaw Valley

Regional flights to Truckee can be found, but Reno is the closest large airport – sitting around an hour and a half to the east. San Francisco is three and a half hours from Squaw.

  • Truckee airport: 0.5 hours
  • Reno airport: 1.5 hours
  • San Francisco airport: 3.5 hours

Squaw Valley Contact Details

Good For

Ability
  • Advanced
  • Beginner
In Resort
  • Ski To Door
  • Village Charm
On Slope
  • Fast Lifts
  • No Queues
  • Snow Reliability

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