Squaw Valley, California
Squaw is a sprawling mountain village, evolved as a direct consequence of hosting the 1960 Olympics. It has gone from four double-chairlifts and a rope tow to a modern 27-piece, state-of-the-art lift system. Lodgings and services have kept up with this growth, making it possible to stay in close proximity to the lifts and choose from 22 assorted cafes, restaurants, specialty food shops, and bars. Alternatively you may choose to stay either at Tahoe City or Truckee, which are both a short drive away on Highway 89.
Squaw is a big, brazen mountain. It consists of a string of six peaks and ridges, with some of the most fearsome, in-bounds terrain anywhere in the U.S. From KT22's vert to Snow King's trees and gullies, and on over to Granite Chief's funky rollers and drops, Squaw's reputation is well earned. You must also consider the acres of trails between Squaw Peak, Emigrant, and Broken Arrow, then throw into the pot one of California's best-kept funparks and a razor-sharp pipe, and you've got a veritable boarding bonanza. The large lift system pumps out an impressive 49,000 bodies per hour. Although you'll rarely wait in line to get up the hill, it is a scramble to track out the freshies. Squaw likes to bask in its former, '60s Olympic glory but they certainly have a forward-thinking approach in wholeheartedly embracing snowboarding and holding halfpipe and extreme competitions.
With an annual snowfall average of 38 feet on top of 300 days of sunshine per season, good conditions are the rule rather than the exception. It's usually possible to escape the wind and find the powder, but if there's no new snow then man-eating moguls are the menu of the day.
Squaw Valley Essentials
Web Site: www.squaw.com
Mountain information: 916-583-6985
Snow Report: 916-583-6955
By plane: Reno, San Francisco, Sacramento, and LA are all the major gateways to the Lake Tahoe area. An extensive shuttle bus operates from Reno around the lake to Squaw Valley.
By car: Squaw is on the northwest side of Lake Tahoe, conveniently located midway between Truckee and Tahoe City on Highway 89. The resort is 45 miles from Reno and 200 miles from San Francisco on Interstate 80.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication