Huffpost Travel

Squaw Valley USA: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

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A gondola makes its way past the beautiful Squaw Peak at Squaw Valley USA.
A gondola makes its way past the beautiful Squaw Peak at Squaw Valley USA.

Squaw Valley USA in California is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Squaw Valley USA, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

There are many ski resorts around Lake Tahoe high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but none more legendary than Squaw Valley USA, which is only 42 miles from Reno in Olympic Valley. Rich in history, Squaw Valley was thrust into the international spotlight when it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. With then-Vice President Richard Nixon officially opening the Games, the Olympics debuted the men's biathlon and women's speed skating; introduced "instant replay"; and honored the first skier to win a medal on metal skis instead of the traditional wooden ones. Since then, Squaw Valley has continued to build upon its legacy, with expansions and modern upgrades that make it a terrific vacation spot for skiers at all levels of experience.

The Mountain

Squaw Valley is a large resort containing six mountain peaks ranging in elevation from 7,550 to 9,050 feet. The base elevation is 6,200 feet, with a vertical rise of 2,850 feet on 3,600 acres of skiable terrain. There is snowmaking capability on 600 acres, but since the resort receives 500 inches of snow annually, skiing on artificial snow is likely not a concern. Slope-side accommodations in studios or one- to three-bedroom condos are available in The Village at Squaw Valley, a development at the base of the mountain. Squaw Valley's ski season generally runs from November through mid-May.

Trails And Lifts

A good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced trails are available at Squaw Valley. To help skiers navigate six mountain peaks, 170 trails and 16 bowl areas, the resort is equipped with what Ski Resorts Guide calls "one of the most extensive lift networks in the world." This network includes 30 chair lifts and an aerial tram capable of transporting 49,000 people up the slopes per hour.

In The News

For the 2011-12 season, Squaw Valley is partnering with Alpine Meadows next door to offer combo passes and tickets good for both resorts. Now skiers and boarders will have access to 6,000 acres of terrain on eight different mountain peaks. The Tahoe Super Pass is a season pass available in three different price categories ranging from $579 to $899 for adults; the Tahoe Super Six deal offers six unrestricted lift passes for $399. A free shuttle transports skiers between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, and individual lift tickets are interchangable between the resorts.

Cost

Regular walk-up lift ticket rates are $92 for adults; $76 for young adults ages 13 to 22 and seniors between the ages of 65 and 75; and $39 for children ages 5 to 12 and seniors 76 and older. A small discount of $5 to $6 applies for tickets purchased at least five days in advance. Night skiing lift tickets cost $39, regardless of age. Multi-day lift tickets good for two to nine days range in price from $76 to $525 across all age groups, and season passes cost between $149 and $899.

Apres-Ski

Along with accommodations, the Village at Squaw Valley also has dining and nightlife mere steps away from the condos. A number of apres-ski-worthy establishments are located in the village, from family-friendly eateries to pubs and a wine bar for adults. The Olympic House adjacent to the village at the foot of the slopes contains Le Chamois, a Frommer's pick in their 5 Great Apres-Ski Bars list. Frommer's describes the bar as "the place to see and be seen at so-called 'Squallywood.'"

WATCH: Squaw Valley USA

Check out the variety of scenic skiable terrain available at Squaw Valley USA.