Squaw Valley - Reviews

Cliff Jumpers Heaven

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
24/05/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Telemarker
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
This winter playground is a great destination for a ski vacation.

The large Squaw Valley is renowned for its terrain for extreme skiers and boarders, although all other ability levels will also be well entertained because the terrain size is so big. The lift infrastructure is well developed, so you can clock up lots of vertical each day and the snowfall is abundant, although perhaps not the same quality as snow that can be found further inland.

All these great facets lure the hordes so unfortunately there’s fierce competition on a powder day for freshies.

For more detailed ratings of Squaw Valley and to see how it compares to other ski resorts around the world, see our powderhounds resort ratings.
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Arrogant Locals

Lisa
15/04/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
“Powder days are like a zoo??” If it was a “zoo” the animals would be somewhat tamed, but at Squaw Valley, many of the local experts are completely wild and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a powder day for their arrogant behaviour to shine through.

On one particular narrow traverse I had two skiers jump over the front of my skis and give me a little check on the way through as though it was roller derby, a Chinese Downhill or the like!

Home Run is a nightmare for timid intermediates at the end of the day, but during the day it’s a worry too for expert skiers if you don’t ski at Mach 2. Even if you’re going pretty fast, local idiots may come past and buzz you. It’s pretty pathetic really…

This ski resort has a lot going for it, but the culture and vibe of the place is a major detractor.
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Shred Squaw

Brendan
27/03/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
I only spent a day & a night at Squaw but it puked snow the whole time I was there which was lucky as they needed it.

All that snow brought quite a few punters and closed the highway in overnight forcing us and many others to sleep in our vehicles on the side of the road, it sucked not being able to get to our Hotel room.

Once at Squaw the lifts were busy but coped so no real gripes.

We spent a fair bit of time on the backside as the KT-22 express lift was on hold and there was still fresh lines to be had but as soon as that opened we joined the masses and weren't disappointed.

The night riding was fun and there's a few options for drinks/food after you pack it in.

Squaw is a super fun mountain, but it isn't cheap.

I'd still revisit and recommend to all my friends.
See our video here

Squaw is for Braves

Bryan
06/11/2011
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
Starting with beginner terrain-when the weather is nice the easy terrain is just fine, but why pay so much to use so little terrain? On stormy or windy days lack of trees on beginner slopes, even at the base area makes for poor visibility and windy conditions.

For basic intermediates that only ski groomers, there is a good choice of terrain, but many groomers are too short (Shirley, Gold Coast), too crowded (Mountain Run, Saddle), too long a lift ride (Squaw Creek), or just too steep for low intermediates.

Once you get to the point where you are comfortable with a little steeper terrain and a few moguls, then your choices really start to expand.

For the better skiers the possibilities are endless. Squaw has the largest extent and variety of in bounds expert terrain than just about anywhere. And every expert lift has a unique character. KT-22 is the overall favorite with chutes, bowls, cliffs, some trees, and hidden gems. Headwall has open, alpine style bowls. Silverado is the get away from it all (except on powder mornings) lift with a backcountry feel and some of the steepest lift served terrain anywhere. Granite Chief often keeps the best snow and has more rolling terrain where you're never sure what's over the next rise. Siberia has access to the Palisades. Emigrant gets you to the wind blown snow of the Funnel or the cliffs of Mainline Pocket. The underrated Red Dog and Squaw Creek lifts have the best tree skiing on the mountain. And Broken Arrow provides more steeps with solar exposure off the beaten path. Squaw also winch grooms some ridiculously steep runs.

Although the total skiable, lift served vertical is a modest 2,500', the lift system and terrain is such that you can ski a tremendous amount of vertical in a day, all on super quality terrain. You don't have to take 5 lifts and traverse forever to get to good terrain. You just hop on a lift from about anywhere on the mountain, get off and ski.

On powder days the place is a zoo. You really have to know the area and where people tend to go or not go the first few runs to have much of a chance. Storm winds will close the upper mountain, putting a real load of people on the lower mountain. Kind of takes some of the fun out of what should be a pleasant experience. You just got to be lucky and hit it on one of those days that people think is a lousy day but isn't. Once the powder gets skied out, all the lift lines disappear until the next powder day. When it gets icy and crusty on the off-piste, which can be often, the REAL experts come out, but there's not many of them.
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If I revisit - skied there for past 10 years and counting!

Karina Bezkrovnaia
03/11/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
I do not see why "Squaw" is "unfortunate name" :)We LOVE this place - gorgeous mountains with so much space, that even with "shaved" icy snow you will still have soft spots!

Crowd - same, so much upper mountain lifts, that you don't really have to go to the big crowded express ones and there is less people anyway because you have to drive to the north shore and farther - drive is gorgeous!

You can shop in the village, or go even to the Squaw creek for lunch , dinner and the view of the valley - which we like to see every time! I have elderly parents and they like the relaxing x-country run at the Squaw Creek resort while I'm hitting all slopes downhill! The staff are always helpful and friendly and yes - the history of Olympic Village and how it all started is amazing!

Almost forgot - High Camp heated pool in the middle of the mountain and ice skating ring :)

I'm not big on nightlife but it is always full of interesting events going one!

Bottom line - blue snow dreamland!
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Some Ski Love in Squaw Valley

Francesca
31/10/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
We have been skiing at Squaw since moving to California six years ago and it remains our favorite ski resort in Lake Tahoe. Staff are friendly and professional, the resort is well-run with excellent grooming and very good equipment, and the amenities are the best in the Lake Tahoe vicinity. This is a skier's paradise, with far fewer riders than at other resorts, and the ski patrol ensure everyone skis and rides safely. Views are beautiful, lift lines short, and runs plentiful for all levels. The only downer is the lift ticket price, one of the highest in Lake Tahoe.
See our video here