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Home : Lake Tahoe Ski Resorts : Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley USA (squallywood)

The Vitals- Vertical 2,850' Acres 4,000 Average Snowfall 450 inches
Photo Gallery Trail Map Lodging
Video - 5-04-07 Chimney rock and North
Nissan Tram Face - Only North American stop of the Freeride World Tour

The legend that is Squaw Valley is as much about the legends that created it. The tenacity and perseverance of Alex Cushing. It was Scott Schmidt that rewrote skiing history here, making it the hotbed of a new movement in the 80's. Out of the hotbed came the likes of Shane McConkey, Kent Krietler, Jamie Burge, and more. Squaw has created this atmosphere with three things; snow, terrain, and a commitment to unadulterated fun in the mountains. It's not just for winter any more either. High Camp provides activities year round including the Olympic Ice Pavilion, Shopping, Dining, and the (definitely not Olympic) Pool Lagoon and spa. World class golf has a home in Olympic Valley at The Resort at Squaw Creek. There's more. At the bottom is the Challenge Ropes Course, which makes for an excellent corporate team building adventure.
But lets face it. it's really all about the skiing. KT-22. Headwall. Palisades Every resort has a Palisades. None like Squaw's. Granite Chief. Broken Arrow. Schmidiots. Mainline. Each of these runs has been in dozens of movies. The infamous "Chinese Downhill" of Hot Dog fame started from the top of Siberia Bowl.
There are six peaks to Squaw Valley

  • Snow King (7550') - Nice cruisers and some excellent powder stashes that still produce long after KT has bumped out. This area has good northern exposure to hold the powder but beware the low elevation. It can be all rain when Granite Chief is all snow.
  • KT-22 (8200') - Fantastic advanced terrain from top to bottom. It's 2000' of fall line vertical right back to the express chair. This area gets pounded first and hardest on powder days.
  • Squaw Peak (8900') - Home of the Palisades, some of the ost famous ski terrain on the planet. This peak is served by two express chairs (Siberia and Headwall), each on one side of the palisades.
  • Emigrant (8700') - Big blue cruisers from the top of the lifts down to Gold Coast or off towards Shirley Lake. The steep powderfields of Silverado could also be considered lower Emigrant.
  • Granite Chief (9050') - Forms a bowl with steep, north facing chutes on one side (best snow on the mountain), wide open south facing glades on the other, and a fall line bump run down the middle.
  • Broken Arrow (8020') - Has some great chutes with lots of interesting granite. Provides a more interesting way down for experts at the end of the day than Mountain Run.

Squaw has plenty of terrain for almost every rider. Some would say the intermediate runs, though plentiful, could be moreso to alleviate crowding. Here is a general guide to where you will find your type of terrain at Squaw.

  • Beginners - There are two main areas for beginners. High Camp has a large, gentle bowl with views of Lake Tahoe, and several beginners' lifts. It's nice to get beginners up into the Alpine environs so they get a true feeling for the sport. At other resorts, some folks never get past their first day and think skiing happens in a parking lot. When conditions at High Camp are less than favorable the lower mountain holds the Papoose Learning Area, also with several lifts and abundant gentle terrain.
  • Intermediates - Intermediates will find suitable terrain in the Snow King area as well as the Shirley Lake and Emigrant Peak areas. The main problem intermediates have at Squaw arises from the fact that much of the intermediate terrain is used for everyone to get around the mountain, making it overcrowded. Once you get to advanced intermediate, your options improve.
  • Experts - Your options are pretty much unlimited. All of Squaw's six peaks have expert terrain to some extent. KT-22, Granite Chief, and Broken Arrow only offer expert terrain.

Crowds and parking can be very difficult at Squaw on holidays and high season weekends. Slopeside lodging is the surefire way to combat this. With Intrawest in the fold, the lodging at the base of the mountain has grown exponentially. The luxurious Resort at Squaw Creek also provides slopeside lodging at the base of Squaw Creek chair.

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Last Updated March 1, 2009 March 1, 2009