Travel Guide: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

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Excited to finally share with you my Squaw Valley travel guide! Earlier this year I flew out West for a week of skiing with the Squaw Valley team. North of Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley was home to the 1960 Winter Olympics and is seriously a place you need to add to your travel list whether you’re a snow sports lover or someone who just enjoys watching from the cafe with a hot cocoa.
Tahoe is one of my favorite spots to ski, I’ve actually skied the mountains in California more than I have in Colorado. From Houston, I jumped on an easy Southwest flight directly to the Reno-Tahoe Airport. Once you grab your bags, you can either rent a car or book a driver to take you on the hour long journey across the Nevada-California state line and up to Squaw Valley.
I’m one of those people that gets easily carsick and was definitely a little worried about this drive (based on previous mountain driving experiences…), but I’m so happy to tell you, this was one of smoothest mountain drives ever. Hop off the Interstate and make your way up to Squaw Valley, where quite frankly there’s no need to leave! Everything you need is in one spot.
My week in Squaw was one for the memory books! The learn-2-ski program was so much fun and something I highly recommend. Even for myself, who had previous skiing experience (and figure skating, which helps in my opinion!), I was grateful to get back to the basics. Heading up on the mountain with our ski instructors definitely gave me peace of mind (crazy how the fear of breaking/hurting something becomes more prevalent with each year we get older!), and frankly it was so cool to have their knowledge and expertise on the mountain.
Rick and I are already looking into booking a spring ski trip back to Squaw Valley, and I hope you might think of it for your next ski trip, too! Trust me, Squaw Valley is beautiful all year around, so if you’re more of a mountain vacation in the summer type of person, there’s that option as well. Let’s hop right into my Squaw Valley travel guide; hope you enjoy it!
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Places to Stay
The Village at Squaw Valley // The quintessential ski village nestled at the base of Squaw Valley mountain. I instantly fell in love with the entire spot the minute I stepped on the grounds. Situated around the village are ski-in/ski-out condominiums featuring standard rooms, studios and multi-bedroom suites for however big your travel party may be. I stayed in a one-bedroom suite complete with a full kitchen, porch and fireplace. I must admit, once you’ve tried ski-in/ski-out accommodations, I don’t think you can ever go back! With lockers on the ground floor of my building, it made it so easy to keep all my equipment in one spot and NOT have to lug it up to the room! I also loved that I could walk right out of the building doors and be right in the village. My building was directly next door to Starbucks and just across the way from one of the fire pits complete with adirondack chairs. One of my favorite features was the in-room fireplace. I used it to not only warm myself up after a day of skiing, but also dry off my snow boots, ski gloves, etc. It was so nice to be able to nestle up in front of the fire with the TV on after a full day on the mountain!
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Where to Eat
Coffeebar // I loved this little spot. Nestled towards the front of the village, the hot cocoa and lavender lattes were out of this world! We had breakfast here two mornings and I came back each afternoon for apres ski. If you’re looking for something quick and easy pre-ski, this is your spot. Just order at the counter and eat at your pace.
Granite Bistro Cafe // Perfect spot for lunch in-between runs or just to take in the gorgeous views, this spot is at the top of the gondola at High Camp. We had a delicious mid-ski day lunch, the hot cocoa was beyond tasty and the food was much more gourmet than I anticipated for a on-the-mountain restaurant. Highly recommend, and make a reservation to guarantee a table!
Mountain Nectar // Grab a tasty juice or a quick coffee and bagel before hitting the mountain, at this little spot in the Village.
Ski-thru Starbucks // At the top of the Funitel on Squaw Valley mountain, the first ski-thru Starbucks of its kind is situated right in the thick of it all for skiers, boarders and just those who want a cup of jo with some pretty awesome views.
Soupa // The perfect spot in the village for mid-day lunch. All their soups are homemade and their grilled cheese is downright tasty! Grab food to go and eat outside in the village.
Suko Yama Sushi // Traditional sushi with a sushi bar. I personally didn’t get to try this spot, but others in our group said it was delicious.
Twenty-Two Bistro and Bar // Perfect spot in the Village for lunch or dinner. We did dinner and the new American cuisine was super tasty. Try a hand-crafted cocktail to start – the Moscow Mule was so good!
Tip: You really can’t go wrong with anywhere in the Village. I was super impressed with how many options there were, for pretty much everyone’s palette. There’s no way you’d get bored of the food options, plus most rooms feature a kitchen where you can cook, too!
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Aerial tram rides // A 10-minute ride from the base to the top of the mountain. Whether you ski, board or just want to take photos, this ride is a must. The tram traverses vertically up some 2,000 feet where you’ll take in 360 degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra.
Alpine Meadows Resort // Probably one of my favorite parts of Squaw Valley! Just a quick 10-minute drive away is a completely different mountain affiliated with Squaw Valley, called Alpine Meadows. The mountain features some 100 trails, including everything from beginner terrain to wide-open bowls. The terrain classification breaks down to this: 25% beginner; 45% intermediate; 35% advanced.
Apres ski // There are so many spots in and around the Village at Squaw Valley where you can decompress from a fun day on the mountain. Try any of these spots for a tasty drink or warm beverage: Bar One; Le Chamois & Loft Bar; Uncorked Wine Bar and more!
Explore the village // Pretty self-explanatory, but check out plenty of shops, bars and restaurants all around the Village at Squaw Valley!
High Camp pool & hot tub // One of the coolest spots in all of Squaw, the High Camp pool and hot tub is some 8,200 ft above sea level with seriously breathtaking views of the surrounding area and Lake Tahoe. Take the Aerial Tram up to the area and enjoy.
Ski & Ride // Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, Squaw Valley has some pretty top-notch mountains featuring awesome runs and terrain parks. The conditions at Squaw were awesome, even though the snow was lacking. The mountain does make artificial snow, so you don’t have to worry about snow conditions being optimal – because the machines do the work when necessary! Take on either mountains: Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows for a half day or full day of adventure.
Learn to Ski & Snowboard program // I personally participated in this program while visiting Squaw Valley. The instructors were top notch and the program from beginning to end was so helpful and worthwhile. Our instructor Tim was without a doubt one of the best ski instructors I’ve ever had in my life. He helped us feel confident in our skis and by the end of the trip was working with us on our skills and advanced skiing. Can’t wait to return to take more lessons from him and the team!
Other notable activities: Visit the Olympic Museum, go snowshoeing and/or snow tubing
Helpful Tips
Advanced lift tickets // Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows offers a variety of offerings on their website. You can grab packages that include lift tickets or lessons and lodging. Simply click here. If you buy your lift tickets at least 24-hours in advanced of using, you’ll get a discount as opposed to purchasing day-of at the lift ticket window.
Car Service // On the off chance you’re visiting during the winter months and it’s snowing. I recommend, ditching the rental car (unless you have serious experience driving in snow and putting chains on your tires) and booking a car service for your ride to and from the resort. Enjoy the scenic views on the ride up to Squaw Valley and let the experienced drivers traverse the elements.
Rent skis or boards early // Just as I mentioned discounted lift tickets, renting skis and boards in advanced will also score you a discount. Opt to rent at either mountain, Squaw or Alpine Meadows. The fitting team is awesome and you won’t be disappointed! Highly recommend renting early, so you can get your gear as quickly as possible to get more time on the mountain.
Feel free to drop a comment below or email me if you have any additional questions!

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