Squaw Valley Resort
Squaw Valley is one of Lake Tahoe's premiere ski resorts, Squaw Valley is a year-round mountain destination offering world-class adventures in every season. Over 2,800 vertical feet of pure mountain bliss. Come winter, Squaw is renowned for its legendary terrain that spans, accessed by 30 chair lifts, spread across six jaw dropping beautiful mountain peaks. We have terrain parks and half pipes, two beginner areas (one locat...ed at the top of the mountain), and Tahoe's longest winter season - November through May. On average we receive over 450" of snowfall annually and are known to have snowstorms of over 3 feet at night followed by perfect sunny skies in the morning.
There is a European style pedestrian village located in the base area with quaint shops and unique restaurants as well as world class dining and two mid-mountain lodges, Gold Coast and High Camp at elevation 8200'. The High Camp facility is host to mountain top ice skating, swimming at the pool & hot tub (open mid-March through September) and dining overlooking Lake Tahoe
I had overall a very bad experience at Squaw. I rented a cabin with some friend for the entire winter (and I obviously bought a season pass). I've been there about 10 weekends this winter, so I think I've a pretty good idea of what Squaw was about this year. Yes, the snow was great, can't lie about it. But this has nothing to do with Squaw... this one the best year ever in the entire region, with at least a snow storm a week. But look at the past 5 years, snow is usually mediocre at best (I've been 2 years ago for a day and it was terrible). The real problem, is the management. I don't know if the lift guys are lazy, but they just don't open anything. As crazy as it may sounds, there was a small snow storm yesterday and it was perfect weather today. They decided to open .... 20% of the lift. I never believed I would do something like that, but even with my season pass, I decided to go to another resort and pay $100 to be able to really enjoy the snow (I don't want to name it, but it starts with North and ends with Star, and everything was open). Even more frustrating is ... the snow patrol. Sometimes, and for no good reasons, the lift will be closed to public for few hours, but they would run the lift just so their snow patrol buddies can ski fresh snow. You would assume that this is because they have work to do, right ? After all, this is there job... but no, you'll see them, go on and on, screaming while skiing to show off. If you've been reading that far, you may think "this is absurd". And you would be right, it is absurd, and true. If I ever take a season pass again, it will be another resort, because even when they get good snow (once in a decade), they don't know how to deliver to the customer. Please stay away from this resort OR wait for competent people to buy this awesome (for the region) terrain. PS : Forget about being updated with the lift status. Multiple times, we woke up and saw there website claiming "schedule opening at 9am", show up, and they didn't open before 11am. We eventually gave up and went back home (and I assume they didn't open those days).
This resort offers pretty good skiing and the views are amazing, However: 1) Even though the weather was really good today (apart from a little wind) they decided to close a part of the mountain which meant a lot of lines to the chairlifts and busy slopes. Which caused quite a few accidents. 2) They also closed a couple of runs to prepare for a ski competition a week ahead. In a couple of places they left narrow steep passage, along with the ice this felt pretty dangerous. And indeed someone eventually broke their collar bone because they ran into another person. 3) Ski pass is ridiculously expensive. And also the food. $12 for a bowl of chili? $13 for a chicken sandwich? 4) none of the chairlifts had a bar to put your skis/snowboard on so they had to hang in the air. 5) The entrance to almost all the chairlifts is downhill, so with the ice today people ended up sliding into the person in front. 6) When you get out of the chairlift you need to walk uphill before you can slide down. Who designed this?
Squaw is a terrific experience for service and value. The kids ski school is just terrific--super supportive and patient. Everyone consistently makes us feel welcome and valued as customers, and the overall value is strong. The company is investing heavily and creatively in development partnerships to solve parking, transit and other area problems in sustainable ways, and the management team is really knocking it out of the park in operations and communications to customers this year, despite enormous challenges from record snowfall.
I have mixed feelings about this mountain. I found one particular run that I enjoyed the most and ended up coming back to. Some runs were closed for a race, some due to low visibility.. overall despite it being a huge mountain, it gets super crowded. It took us over 45 minutes just to pick up our lift tickets on a Friday. Beautiful views on top.. the kind that makes you want to wait before riding down. Like many ski resorts , great cozy downtown area
I liked how big squaw valley was and that it had 2 ski/snowboard parks (advanced and beginner). The runs of of Granite Chief and Shirley are quite fun as well. I have not explored the bottom runs of squaw yet and only use Mountain Run, Sunnyside, and Home Run to get down from the top. Some things to improve upon is a skiing or snowboarding connection between Alpine and Squaw so that you could ski or snowboard between the two since they are partners and more parking space that is not obstructed by the snow (like a closed parking building).