This week’s mountain profile focuses on the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, located in California, US near the north-western shores of Lake Tahoe. Over the last couple of weeks we looked at Squaws partner in crime, Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley is the larger and elder sibling of the two and opened in 1949 (Alpine Meadows 1961). It was put on the map when it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Squaws Mountain Stats
Today the slopes of Squaw are home to a sizeable 3,600 acres of terrain and a vertical drop of 870metres (2,850 ft).
|Squaw Valley Mountain Stats|
|Resort Elevation: 2,760m (9,050ft)|
|Vertical Drop: 870m (2,850ft)|
|Ride-able area: 3,600 acres|
|Annual Snowfall: 450” (11.43m)|
|No. of Lifts: 29 (24 chairlifts, 3 surface lifts, 2 magic carpets)|
|No. of trails: 170+|
|42 (25%) Beginner (Green)|
|77 (40%) Intermediate (Blue)|
|51 (35%) Advanced (Black Diamond)/Expert (Dbl Black Diamond)|
|No. of parks: 5 parks|
|Night Riding: Yes (sometimes)|
Freeriding and Trails
Squaw features 16 bowls, heaps of steeps, chutes, tree runs and 6 different peaks to choose from. And don’t worry there is also plenty for the beginner with over 40 green runs.
There are heaps of trails to choose from and cater to all levels of ability. No surprise given the 3,600 acres on offer.
Check out Squaw’s trail maps at the link below. Don’t forget to check out the backside too. If you click on the green circles, blue squares and black diamonds it gives you the name and status of that run.
Freestylers definitely aren’t left out at Squaw either.
There are 5 terrain parks and a 550 foot pipe to enjoy!
Belmont Park is a smaller park featuring small jumps and obstacles.
The Gold Coast Park has medium level features for the freestyle rider ready to take it to the next level.
At the time of writing only these two terrain parks were open and information on the others is limited. The other parks they have listed at Squaw are:
- SnoVentures Start Park (assumedly and entry level park)
- High Camp Start Park (also assumedly an entry level park)
- Mainline Park
All of the parks are conveniently located close together and can be accessed via the Gold Coast Express, Big Blue Express and Siberia Express and Belmont. The exception is the SnoVenture Start Park which is near the base in the SnoVenture beginners area.
More details on the features and status of the currently operating parks can be found at the link below.
There is some night riding on Squaw though it’s typically Saturday’s only.
Squaw’s night operations run on Saturdays during January, February & March in addition to December 27th to 30th (weather permitted of course).
The night sessions run from 3pm to 7pm (but this has finished for the 2014/2015 season).
Despite the limited opportunities for night riding they do boast the largest night riding area in the Tahoe region so if you do get the opportunity it should make for an epic night-riding experience.
Where to Stay and How to Get There
Check out the link below for details on places to stay near Squaw Valley and how to get there.
Squaw Valley Lodging – Where to Stay and How to Get There
Usual opening date
Squaw usually opens around mid to late November. The 2014/15 season was the exception in the last 5 years with a later start. Unfortunately this was the case for a lot of the west coast mountains this season). Thanks to their snowmaking facilities the season’s low snowfall is somewhat negated.
Past 5 years opening dates:
2010/2011 Season: November 20, 2010
2011/2012 Season: November 23, 2011
2012/2013 Season: November 16, 2012
2013/2014 Season: November 27, 2013
2014/2015 Season: December 12, 2014
Usual closing date
Squaw typically closes between late April and late May, based on the last 5 years.
Past 5 years closing dates:
2010/2011 Season: May 31, 2011 (plus 4th of July weekend)
2011/2012 Season: May 13, 2012
2012/2013 Season: April 26, 2013
2013/2014 Season: April 27, 2014
2014/2015 Season: Yet to close
Lifts run daily from 9am to 4pm – weather permitted.
Buying a lift ticket for Squaw also gives you access to Alpine Meadows (just a 15 minute drive away). So whilst the tickets aren’t the cheapest you’ll ever see, they do give you access to around 6,000 acres of terrain and over 270 runs!
Do you Have Squaw Valley Experience?
If you’ve ever been to Squaw it would be awesome to hear your experience of the mountain. Just leave a comment in the comments section below. All other questions and comments very welcome also.
Photo by Squaw Valley Lodge [CC BY 2.0], via Flikr
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