Nov 06, 2008
number of runs
Every time I ski Squaw, I bump into the same people on the KT Express chair. I never have to wait long to find diehard ski buddies who begin, spend and end each winter day lapping this one lift and its expert terrain. But a good day at Squaw for CEO emeritus Nancy Wendt Cushing—who just passed the reins of this brawny and historic mountain to someone outside the Cushing clan—involves covering a lot more ground on skis. It’s an easy thing to do: While this California classic may be best known for its signature steeps, Squaw’s six summits offer abundant options for literally all levels of skiers.
“Follow the sun,” Cushing advises with a knowing smile. She likes to start by zooming up the Funitel (a key component in a lift network capable of moving more bodies uphill per hour than any other ski area in the U.S.), then warming up on the easy, open meadow at the summit. From there she heads to the broad, rolling boulevards of forested Shirley Lake—a sunny day favorite with intermediates and families.
Back at the top, breeze down the sinuous folds of Silverado, a favorite hidden stash for Squaw skiers in the know. Each run gets more challenging. Next, angle down Headwall’s steeps then swing through the bumps of Sun Bowl. Nancy does it all wearing a ball cap, sunglasses and a happy look. With Squaw’s new efforts to improve the on- and off-hill customer experience, you and your family will have the same happy grin—even if you don’t meet your buddies at the KT chair. —S.R.
What’s New: Finally: Olympic House gets a renovation; new family features include a kids’ fun zone and trail map, and upgrades at the Children’s Center; new lighting will keep the terrain park open at night.
Mandatory Run: Did we mention KT Express? Easy way down: The Saddle.
Don’t Miss: High Camp, and its grab bag of non-ski diversions with lake views.
GO: Where to stay
Located at the mountain’s base, the kid’s zip-line is about 200-feet long.
With two locations: On the north shore of Lake Tahoe or at the base of Squaw Valley.
Every epic ski day deserves a storybook ending. And since epic ski days abound in Tahoe, you may want to book a night at The Cottage Inn, just to be safe.
Apres: Your guide to eats & drinks
Wild Cherries, located on Donner Pass Road, is where Truckee locals go for morning coffee en route to the mountains.
Innovative seasonal menus with farm-to-table recipes that fuse California and Mediterranean cuisines.
The fact that you can ski straight to the patio of the Balboa Café Squaw Valley is a major contributor to the restaurant's immense popularity.