Skiing at Squaw Valley
Updated: May 17, 2019
As an advanced skier, I find Squaw Valley California (located next to Lake Tahoe) to be a great place to ski. I usually ski at Squaw in May when resorts in many other places are closed or they no longer have good ski conditions.
Squaw has great and varied terrain with lots of steeps and chutes and incredible views up of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe.
Squaw Valley is also known as Olympic Valley in California, as it was the host of the 1960 winter Olympic Games. Read more here about the 1960’s Olympic and how such an unexpected location was chosen as host.
Squaw is a fantastic ski resort that has something to offer to skiers of all levels, but is particularly renowned for its impressive terrain for experts. Expert runs such as West Face, Chute 75, KT-22, Head Wall and Granite Chief are a must do when visiting Squaw.
Squaw Valley can be a little challenging for intermediate skiers. The trail map and signage doesn’t differentiate between black runs and runs so abrupt that they become frightening, so be careful where you go, especially on a foggy day.
Squaw Ski Resort terrain is spread over multiple mountain peaks with 2,800 feet of vertical. The Squaw Valley Ski Resort features glades, groomed highways, steep chutes, and terrain parks, as well as tree-less bowls at the top of the peaks. Squaw has a funitel (a gondola type lift attached to two cables) which is quite unique in North America. There is only one other resort with a funitel in US (also located around Lake Tahoe). There is also a cable car, four 6-pack fast chairs and various high-speed quads - so even on a busy powder day you can find a lift with low or no wait time.
To get an idea about the ski resort and what it offers please you can take a look here.
Now to let's go to the practical side of things:
1. How do you get to Squaw? You can fly into Reno (NV) or Sacramento (CA). From Reno it will take you about 45 minutes driving to get to Squaw, while from Sacramento it will take you about 2 hours driving to get to Squaw.
2. Where to stay when you Ski at Squaw? The Village at Squaw Valley at the base of the ski area has a few luxury priced condos and hotels. The ski-in ski-out Squaw Valley lodging at the Resort at Squaw Creek is also very popular. More economical lodging options are available in Tahoe City in Truckee. If you are on a budget, like the Ski Octopus usually is, my recommendation is to stay in Reno. Yes, you have to drive 45 minutes each way every day... but the price difference is significant.
You can look for accommodation in Reno here. You can find a good place to stay at a Reno casino resort for as low as $35 plus taxes and fees ($65 including resort fees and taxes). Usually Sands Regency and Nugget are some of the cheapest.
The casino resorts also offer good deals for food and entertainment.