Squaw Valley is located in Olympic Valley and was the site of the 1960 Winter Games. This means that the ski resort is another big one that stakes its claim near Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley draws extreme skiers from around the world, who come to brave the cliffs, open bowls, and chutes. Officially, Squaw Valley has 3600 acres of skiing, but that only counts what is inbounds. Off-piste skiing allows access to much more area. There are over 170 named trails across the ski resort with a difficulty mix that is 25 percent novice, 45 percent intermediate, and 30 percent expert. 42 lifts service Squaw Valley with a total capacity of 58,000 skiers per hour. Additionally, Squaw Valley has one of the only funitels in operation in the United States. The vertical at Squaw Valley is what you would expect from a resort of this caliber. With Granite Peak at 9050 feet and the base at 6200, the measured vert drop is 2850 feet.

The Mountain

Squaw Valley is broken up into six primary zones. Snoventures is 100 percent novice terrain and is centered on the base. There are two carpet lifts and one triple lift to take skiers working on pizza turns back up the mountain. Novice skiers will find plenty to ski at Squaw Valley. The best novice runs are clustered at mid mountain around High Camp. This location is nestled in a sheltered valley whose two sides keep away speedsters and advanced skiers. Take a gentle cruise down Ramp Run or Mules Ear, or just explore the various novice rated runs in the area. Intermediate skiers will find smooth groomers near the Squaw Creek lift. Take the Shirley Lake Express to access intermediate rated trails across the upper mountain. For advanced skiers, hit Granite Peak. This is the tallest peak in the resort and offers awesome drop ins. For sublime bowl skiing, Hidden Bowl has wide-open ground ripe for exploration. One run that any advanced skier has to take is Moseley’s Run, named after Jonny Moseley, the Olympic mogul champion.

Bottom Line

Now that a lift ticket to Squaw Mountain includes access to Alpine Meadows, the cost benefit ratio of skiing here is unparalleled. Alpine Meadows opens up another 2400 acres with long groomed cruisers and open bowls. With this much terrain available, there is always something for anyone to do, no matter what their ability level. One of the key drawbacks to Squaw Valley is that everyone knows what a great deal it is so it gets crowded. On good powder days, the resort quickly fills. Additionally, the local flavor can seem a little intimidating, especially when you see great skiers shredding terrain as if it was just cabbage. Still, Squaw Valley offers premium resort amenities with Olympic class skiing. If you go, you won’t regret it at all.

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