The forecast called for snow—one to two feet. Perfect timing for Squaw Valley’s planned opening day and 60th Anniversary celebration. Almost 10 inches fell in a matter of just seven hours accompanied by Tahoe’s typical 100-plus mile per hour winds. Regardless of the intense storm the night before, Squaw’s lifts started spinning Saturday under clear blue skies.
The 2009/2010 season marks the 60th Anniversary of Squaw Valley and the 50th Anniversary of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Saturday afternoon, Jonny Moseley, Squaw Valley’s new “Chief Mountain Host,” held a champagne toast on the sundeck and led the count down to J.T. Holmes’s historic BASE-jump off the Cable Car. The first legal jump off the Cable Car was a fitting tribute to J.T.’s close friend and Squaw Valley legend, Shane McConkey.
With blowout prices on season passes for the 50/60 Anniversary season, Squaw sold three times as many season passes as last year. Pass holders were out in force and luckily Squaw was able to open not only Exhibition (from the midstation), but the Red Dog chair as well, helping to spread out the waves of crowds.
I showed up at opening day at 2 p.m., but the hiking turns I enjoyed all morning more than made up for my tardiness. On my first run I thought I was part of some elaborate cruel joke, but that was not the case. Everyone else had to ski through the rock-filled moguls, snowmaking ice, grass, and bushes too. It was no joke, Squaw was open and the conditions were, well, interesting. Depending whom you asked it was either the best day ever or the worst conditions they ever skied.