Squaw Valley Boarding
KT22's famous steeps are the place to head after a good storm. Choose your path carefully, as there are some nasty cliffs and chutes, such as the Fingers. The Red Dog Chair accesses a diverse range of riding: the terrain is full of trees, gullies, and some odd rock formations, which face north and hold the powder longer. Granite Chief has some nice trees and rocky outcrops that flatten out at the bottom near the lifts. Generally you can freeride all over this large resort, especially after a good snowfall. Otherwise brush up on your bump technique.
Two of the best reasons for riding Squaw are the perfect pipes in Central Park, serviced by the Riviera Chair and accompanied by a blaring sound system. The dedicated grooming crew cuts these halfpipes with their Pipe Dragon every afternoon at about 3:00pm, re-opening for night sessions at 4:00pm. Watch out for the deceptive light just around dusk before the lights provide better definition; at that time check the killer sunsets. The pipes are patronized by a constant stream of good riders, which can be a rather daunting forum for inexperienced riders. On the positive side, this is a good place to learn some moves and push your pipe riding to a new level. Night lights are turned on evenings between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
The Terrain Park at Squaw is short on length but big on hits, comprising of a well laid-out, compact series of table tops. The hits on skier's right give beginners a go, the ones on the left are for intermediates, and the two big muthas in the center provide the main focus for the fly boys and girls. These two jumps sum up the entire Squaw philosophy that bigger and better is best. The grooming standard is excellent; two passes a day keep bumps, ruts, and bomb-holed landings to a minimum.
Carvers can choose which levels of corduroy they want to wear thin: there's loose fit, hip-hugging, or straight-leg material. Consistent carve-able trails are located from Shirley Lake to Solitude Chair, and from the Siberia Express towards Mainline. The leg-burning run from Gold Coast to the base has a varied pitch, with the option of doing the three-mile run under the lights when the crowds have bailed.
The Nitty Gritty
Summit: 9,050 ft.
Vertical drop: 2,850 ft.
Base: 6,200 ft.
Annual average: 450 inches
Snowmaking: 5 percent
Total Area: 4,000 acres
Advanced: 30 percent
Intermediate: 45 percent
Beginner: 25 percent
Length of season: November—July
Number of lifts: 1 cable car, 1 gondola, 4 high-speed quads, 20 chairlifts, 1 surface lift
Hazards and Rules: Leashes are obligatory and are always enforced at the base station lifts. If you transgress boundaries, flip inverted aerials, or ride out of control, you will lose your pass.
Snowboard School: Contact Squaw Snowboard School at 916-581-7263 for rates and programs.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication