Squaw’s topography—a dramatic, expansive, and frequently sun-kissed affair of “skiing amidst layered rock and granite”—has always inspired awe and attracted big personalities. Now in the second full year of a $50 million revitalization under new owners, this “true skier’s mountain” continues to improve across the board, with more lifts, on-mountain eateries, terrain parks, village ambience, and customer communication (via useful Pow Alert texts, for example, and daily updates to parents with kids in ski programs). Sure, it’s renowned for Olympians, rarefied chutes, “super-talented freeriders sending it all day,” and whipping winds. But readers also rave about the surviving “old-school” base area (“Love those A-frames”) and the lively and convivial après-ski scene (sunburned and beer-laden at Le Chamois, spectator-friendly at the revamped KT Base Bar, Bay Area–chic at Plumpjack, and wine-country savvy at Uncorked). In other words, on-slope or off, “Be on your game!” — Susan Reifer Ryan
FAMILY TRAIL >> Marillac’s (also known as Tree Run #5) begins with Lake Tahoe views, then broadly rolls into sweetly protected Shirley Lake basin.
FAMILY EXPERIENCE >> Take in Lake Tahoe by the light of the moon from Squaw’s dramatic upper peaks on the monthly guided Full Moon Snowshoe Tours.
WHAT’S NEW >> Three new lifts—Big Blue Express six-seater, Mountain Meadow triple, and Park Pulley Telecord— improve upper-mountain novice skiing while speeding access to the back side and Belmont Park.