November 21, 2018

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Squaw Valley, California (Olympic Valley)

Plan Your Squaw Valley Vacation

Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley USA, located in Olympic Valley, California is one of the largest ski resorts in the U.S. and was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. A world-renowned vacation destination, Squaw Valley is also the second largest ski area at Lake Tahoe and attracts about 600,000 skiers every year. It is located only six miles from the north shore of Lake Tahoe and eight miles from the mountain town of Truckee.


Wayne Poulsen, a former star skier from the University of Nevada, began acquiring acreage in present day Olympic Valley from the Southern Pacific Railroad. By 1942, he has acquired 2,000 acres and in 1946 connected with Alex Cushing, a Harvard University-trained lawyer, who had the political ties and access to capital to help get the resort up and running. The resort opened in 1949. However, prior to the opening, the partners disagreed about the future of the resort. As a result, Cushing ended up controlling the Squaw Valley Ski Corporation which brought the Olympics to the valley. He also helped transform the Lake Tahoe area with his vision and technical innovations. Modeling the valley after European resorts, he built pools and lodging on the mountain rather than at the base of the mountain, and brought cutting edge lift technology to the U.S. The Village still conveys the flavor of a European village complete with restaurants, shops, and a variety of services. Today, Squaw Valley is a world-class year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Located in the Sierra Nevada, Squaw Valley boasts a base of 6,200 feet, 4,000 acres and 2,850 vertical feet of unique terrain that includes expansive views, wide open bowls and sparsely treed trails. Spread across six peaks, the resort features 33 chairlifts, about 150 trails, and the only Funitel in the U.S. This lift differs from others by combining faster speeds with a high capacity of 20-30 people per cabin. An arial tramway carries guests to the High Camp Bath and Tennis Club at 8,200 feet.  Squaw Valley also boasts three terrain parks and two halfpipes. The Superpipe is located in the Mainline Terrain Park while a slightly shorter pipe can be found in Riviera/Central Park. Belmont Park offers beginners small jumps and easy rollers, perfect for practicing your moves.

Despite its reputation for tough terrain, the resort welcomes all skill levels. In fact, beginners can enjoy the stunning views and turns at High Camp, located at 8,200 feet. Intermediates will find a wide range of terrain to explore via 13 lifts. All three lifts on Snow King provide access to intermediate terrain, while popular lifts like the Shirley Lake Express and the Gold Coast Express serve hundreds of acres of intermediate skiing. Advanced skiers and riders can explore an array of terrain serviced by seven lifts. Meanwhile, experts will enjoy the challenge of the famous KT-22 peak which features 2,000 vertical feet of bumps, gullies, powder shots, and double-diamond fall lines. The resort’s signature run, Moseley’s Run, offers bumps from top to bottom. Please note that Squaw Valley strictly enforces its boundary policy, which does not allow out-of-bounds skiing or riding.

Off the slope there’s just as much to explore. Activities include: ice skating at the Olympic Ice Pavillion, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, dog sledding and more. Take a swim at Squaw Valley’s Swimming Pool & Hot Tub located at High Camp while surrounded by the beauty of the Sierra’s including views of Lake Tahoe.

During the summer Squaw Valley is home to several annual events such as the July Wanderlust Festival, which attracts accomplished yoga instructors and well-known musical performers, the Soaring Kites and Music Festival, Wild Wild West Weekend at High Camp, the Wanderlust Festival and the annual Village Oktoberfest.

Take your pick of numerous outdoor activities such as biking, roller skating, sky jumping, zip lining, disc golfing, hiking, tennis, swimming, ropes courses, and more. Ride the scenic Cable Car to High Camp, explore the Headwall Climbing Wall or enjoy a round of golf at the 18-hole, par 72 golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

Be sure to check out the Olympic History Museum where you can learn about the 1960 Olympics. Admission is free with your Cable Car ride. Take a short drive to Truckee and explore the small town or head over Lake Tahoe and enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Lake, fine dining and shopping.

You’ll find a wide variety of on-mountain dining such as the Ground Floor BBQ, the Oasis-level food court,  the Crossroads Cafe at Gold Coast, and numerous choices at High Camp. Base village, the Village Green, Olympic Village, and Squaw Mall areas also offer a variety of dining options. Selections range from Irish cuisine at the Auld Dubliner, Mexican and Japanese to specialties such as pizza, soups and local California cuisine. Check out the smaller, “social plates” of food as well as substantial entrees at Twenty-Two Bistro & Bar or enjoy a glass of wine, cheese plate and live music at Uncorked at Squaw Valley.

Shopping in Squaw Valley is plentiful and ranges from sports gear, fashion, and home accents to jewelry, photography and souvenirs.