Squaw Valley Ski Resort

Squaw Valley California
Squaw Valley receives 450" of snowfall on average per season
The Squaw Valley Ski Resort is large
Squaw Valley Ski Resort has some good groomed terrain
Resort at Squaw Creek - ski in ski out lodging
The Resort at Squaw Creek has upscale hotel and condo accommodations
HIgh Camp at Squaw Valley California
Squaw Valley has some great expert terrain
The village has a decent range of restaurants and shops
Amazing views over lunch!
Squaw Valley CA has a good kids program
Squaw Valley Ski Resort California
Squaw Valley Ski Resort
Views across to Lake Tahoe
The Village at Squaw Valley CA
Squaw Valley Snowboarding
Squaw Valley Resort has lots of alpine terrain
Squaw Valley Ski Resort
Squaw Valley Ski Resort
Squaw Valley Lake Tahoe

Squaw Valley Ski Resort

Readers Ratings

Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley3.5/512
Squaw Valley3.5 out of 5 based on 12 reviews
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Squaw Valley Ski Resort

Squaw Valley CA has an unfortunate name, but this valley also known as Olympic Valley is an impressive ski resort near Lake Tahoe in California. The Olympic heritage of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort developed from hosting the 1960 winter games, a major turning point in the development of the resort and skiing in the area.

Warren Miller probably also bestowed the Squaw Valley Ski Resort with more notoriety when he filmed the exploits of daredevils jumping off cliffs in the early 1980s. The impressive pedigree of extreme skiers continues, and when you ride some of the chairlifts at Squaw Valley Lake Tahoe you can feel like you’re watching a live viewing of a Warren Miller movie.

Pros and Cons of Squaw Tahoe Lake Tahoe

  • Squaw is a fantastic ski resort that caters generously to all levels.
  • Squaw Valley is particularly renowned for its impressive terrain for experts and huckers.
  • The village is big enough to be interesting without being overwhelming. The “scene” is rather diverse with upscale shopping and some immaculately dressed visitors, along with true ski bums who are just there for the terrain.
  • There is a good range of bars and restaurants that cater well to the diversity of visitors. Après ski festivities can be vibrant, particularly on the weekends when the Bay Area folks arrive.
  • The Squaw Valley lodging options are top class.
  • As one of the Lake Tahoe ski resorts, Squaw can be used as a base to access the many other ski resorts in the area. Having the fabulous Alpine Meadows just next door and on the same lift ticket is a major bonus.
  • The Lake Tahoe area has plenty of activities on offer.
  • On powder days the place is a zoo and the lift line culture can be brutal. Everyone within a 200 mile radius knows that Squaw has amazing terrain, so there is some fierce powder day competition from a couple of thousand of the best skiers congregated together.
  • Squaw Valley CA can be a little challenging for low end advanced riders. Firstly the pedigree of the riders at Squaw (and their attitude) can be intimidating, and the trail map or signage doesn’t differentiate between single black runs and lines that are truly frightening. And with minimal tree skiing, this can become rather challenging on low vis days to figure out where the cliffs are!
  • Like the other high profile Tahoe destination resorts, Squaw can be pretty expensive. Lift tickets cost a pretty penny (unless you use your Ikon Pass), and most of the lodging is for an upper end budget. 

Squaw Valley Skiing Terrain

The 3,600 acres of the Squaw Ski Resort terrain is spread over multiple peaks with 2,850 feet (870 metres) of vertical. The bowls near the top of the peaks are tree-less, offering European style wide open spaces, rather than the traditional US named trails. The Squaw Valley Ski Resort also features some glades, groomed highways, steep chutes, and terrain parks.

Even though this is a mecca for extreme skiers, you don’t have to be a stunt skier to enjoy the Squaw Valley skiing terrain. Those that like to keep the sticks or board in contact with the snow can also take pleasure in Squaw Valley. There is terrain for everyone from gnarly to nice, from tough to tame, and from scary to sedate. Officially, intermediates and beginners get 45% and 25% of the terrain respectively, but there seems to be many more black and double black trails than 30% due to the classification blurring of piste and off-piste terrain.

If you don’t know what the hell a funitel is you can check out one at the Squaw Valley Resort (a wind-friendly gondola type lift attached to two cables). There is also a cable car, four 6-pack fast chairs and various high-speed quads, making this one of the most advanced lift systems in the USA.

In regards to the weather, the gods are generally kind to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The resort boasts over 11 metres of snowfall annually (albeit somewhat heavy at times and supplemented by snow-making) and the classic Californian sun that shines 300 days a year – perfect for the fair-weather powder hound (if they even exist?).

Where is Squaw Valley CA?

Squaw Valley Ski Resort is located about 8 miles inland of the town of Tahoe City (don’t be fooled by the name!) which sits on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe in California. The town of Truckee is about 12 miles to the north of Squaw Valley.

The closest airport is in Reno Nevada which is 49 miles to the northeast; about a one hour drive. Squaw Valley Resort is 208 miles northeast of the San Francisco International Airport via Interstate-80.

Squaw Valley CA is located adjacent to Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, and whilst the two ski areas are not inter-connected (yet!), they operate on the same lift ticket and there are frequent shuttle buses between the two resorts.

Squaw Valley Lodging

The Village at Squaw Valley at the base of the ski area is medium sized, and there are several luxury and deluxe 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 abound in nearby Tahoe City and Truckee.

Squaw Valley Accommodations Listings
Tours In/Near Squaw Valley

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Powder Hunt Trips
6 Nights | 5 Ski Days | 1-3 Resorts
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
So if you are looking to only ski or ride powder in North America this season, this tour could be your ticket to powder happiness! Lock in a date for your tour & Ski Ride Tours will choose the best destination just before your arrival based on the best possible snow conditions.
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USD 2,800
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Squaw Valley here

Cat Skiing Tours

Pacific Crest Day Cat Skiing
8 - 12 Runs | Over 12,000 vert feet
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Escape the crowds in Lake Tahoe & come and play in the 3,000 acre private powder playground with Pacific Crest Snowcats. Book a seat for yourself, a few of you or a whole cat for a private day with your ski buddies! Seats book out early so be sure to book soon.
Price p/p From price based on per person in a mixed group.
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USD 399
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Squaw Valley here