I am going to make the argument that Squaw Valley Resort in North Lake Tahoe is one of the best ski/snowboard resorts in the world. It’s a heavy statement, and I know there a lot of factors to take into account. For example, if someone has a family they might base their decision of a great ski resort on whether it’s family friendly. I am not one of those people. I’m basing my argument here on difficulty and vertical drop, diverse terrain, snow depth, and I’m throwing beauty in there as a fourth. Quick fact, in December of 2012, Forbes Magazine rated Squaw sixth best ski resort in the United States.
Before jumping into evidence for my argument, I’d like to share one of the many great experiences I’ve had a Squaw. A few years back, they held the U.S. Freestyle Championships; 2010 to be specific. This same event will be hosted by Heavenly this year and the next. Either way, the event was held on Red Dog Face at Squaw at the end of March and included fireworks and live music. Unlike singles, the Championships are actually a dual event so you have two freestylers head to head next to each other. Nothing is more exciting, especially when you’re standing next to the course watching them power through the bumps and fly high! Just another gorgeous day in Tahoe that was tons of fun!
Well, moving on to my argument. First up is difficulty and vertical. While living on the south shore and spending a majority of my time skiing at Heavenly, it’s a totally different experience going up to ski at Squaw. Not to undermine Heavenly in any way as I consider it my home mountain, but I do need to give credit where credit is due. Squaw is difficult. Fifty percent of the runs at Squaw are most difficult. Second to Heavenly, Squaw has the highest vertical drop in Tahoe at 2,850 feet.
Squaw provides terrain for any type of skier or rider. You can find cliffs, chutes, trees, bumps and easy cruisers. They also have several parks if you want to catch some air or rails. For some great cliffs and chutes you can jump on the K22 – Express, Cornice II or Headwall Express lifts. Some hiking might be necessary. If you are looking for some powder or trees, head into the Granite Chief area. You can find some great tree skiing if you traverse your way towards the boundary. Bumps are everywhere! Just take a look at the picture below. And finally, cruise around on the corduroys from Siberia Express or Red Dog lifts. It’s a fun mountain!
Squaw, with steep vertical and diverse terrain also gets a ton of snow. The mountain averages 450 inches of snow each year. The 2009-2010 season was above the average and then the 2010-2011 season blew it away with over 800 inches! The past few years have been a bit skeptical, but we look to see more at end of this year and the next!
Finally, you can’t beat the views from Squaw. There’s no need for me to write anything. Look at the pictures below!
There are so many mountains in Lake Tahoe, but Squaw might be one of my favorites and don’t get me wrong the others are very close. To read a bit on Heavenly, see one of my previous blog posts. Also, if you’re interested in learning about the other resorts Tahoe has to offer, feel free to visit “Pick Your Peak”. If you’ve been to Squaw or any of the other great Tahoe Resorts, feel free to leave a comment below! And if you haven’t been to Squaw, get there soon! Squaw also now owns Alpine Meadows which has always been its sister mountain, only 10 minutes away, so make sure to get there as well! Feel free to make a comment and follow me on twitter @sberei.