Everything You Need to Know About Squaw Valley - MountainWatch Travel

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Everything You Need to Know About Squaw Valley

Voted ‘Best Ski Resort’ in North America for the third year in a row by USA Today and 10Best Readers’ Choice, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is an internationally renowned mountain resort in North Lake Tahoe, California. Spanning over 6,000 skiable acres across two mountains, skiers and riders of all ability levels are welcomed by over 65 percent beginner and intermediate terrain, legendary steeps, 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones and a custom app to make the most of every visit. The resort features slopeside lodging at The Village at Squaw Valley, which bustles year round with nonstop events and over 50 bars, restaurants and boutiques. With an annual average of 450 inches of snowfall and 300 sunny California days, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is known as the Spring Skiing Capital as it provides one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in Lake Tahoe.

Insider Ski and Snowboard Tips

You can spend many happy days, even seasons, skiing the terrain that stares you in the face. For huckers and their airborne ilk, that means a steady diet of KT-22 and Headwall at Squaw; for families, a regimen of runs served by the Hot Wheels & Sherwood lifts at Alpine Meadows seems like heaven enough.

Squaw Valley is renowned for its steep challenging terrain and names like the Palisades, Silverado, Mainline Chutes and The Slot have earned a kind of infamy with skiers worldwide, however, you don’t need to be a cliff-jumping expert to have fun at Squaw. There is plenty of cruisy intermediate family-friendly terrain, both on and off piste, terrain parks catering to different standards and a big beginners area.

The proximity to San Francisco and Sacramento mean Squaw Alpine get very busy on weekends and on the peak holidays of Christmas New Year and Presidents weekend.  However, mid-week is pretty quiet, and we’ve had a lot of days in February where we skied straight onto the lifts. Powder days are also pretty hectic, especially in the first half of the season, when the locals are hungry for fresh turns and are out in force. Things mellow out later in the season and given that some of the most consistent snowfalls are late February to the end of March you can get your fair share of powder turns.

Squaw Valley, CA


Squaw valley is a 3.5-hour drive from San Francisco or a one-hour drive from Reno airport. If you fly into LA, there are regular connection to Reno International airport and there are regular shuttles to South Tahoe. Alternatively, you can fly into San Francisco and or you can rent a car and make the easy 3.5-hour drive.


There is a lot of choice to suit all budgets, including hotels, self-contained apartments and resorts in the resort and in near-by Olympic Valley. Tahoe City (10 minutes’ drive) and Truckee (20 minutes north) may be cheaper and have variety to suit all budgets.

Resort at Squaw Creek

Restaurants and Après

The Chamois, a Squaw institution and locals’ hub with a good selection of beers and great pizza. Mountain Nectar for fresh juices and pretty good coffee. Plumpjack Café and Bar in Squaw, great atmosphere and well-priced menu.  Soupa in the village is great for lunch with a selection of soups, sandwiches and Quinoa bowls. Blue Agave in Tahoe City, excellent Mexican food, lively atmosphere, kid friendly and great view of Lake Tahoe.

Non Skiing Activities

One of the great things about a trip to Squaw Alpine is the Lake Tahoe area is one of the most picturesque regions in North America. It is worth taking a drive around the lake, to South Tahoe along the west shore taking you by the small resort of Homewood and the spectacular views of Emerald bay. The nearby towns of Truckee (20-minute drive north) and Tahoe City (on the shore of lake Tahoe and 10-minutes’ drive) are both vibrant regional centres with restaurants, bars, retails, galleries etc. For families, it is worth taking some time off snow and visiting, Woodward Tahoe an indoor action facility with trampolines, foam pits and an indoor skate park. It is on the I-80 freeway at Boreal ski resort and about a 30-minute drive from Squaw.


If you like the sound of Palisades Tahoe and want to visit it yourself then click here to make an enquiry for a quote and one of team will create your ultimate ski holiday. 

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