Skiing Squaw Valley in Style

Squaw Valley

I just got back from my annual ski trip to Lake Tahoe – this year we went to Squaw Valley, and we did it in style. You may know Squaw Valley as the home of the 1960 Winter Olympics – it still retains the glamor and grandiose style of the Olympics, yet has kind of a rustic feel of the good old days too, which makes it a relaxing place to get some great skiing and get away from all of the hustle and bustle of city life.

I flew into San Francisco then drove out to my friend’s ski lodge in Truckee which was approximately 20 minutes from the Squaw Valley ski resort. We had a really nice 4 bedroom house with heated bathroom tiles – it sure beats a hotel, but there are a lot of those too if you’re not lucky enough to find a vacation rental available. If you have a big group or are on one of your annual family holidays, a house rental is definitely my recommendation. However you do it, try to stay somewhere near the mountain so that you can get there nice and early and get first tracks on the groomed slopes!

Squaw Valley has 33 chairlifts and a ton of terrain to cover, no matter what your skill level is. I’ll let you figure out which runs you like the best, but be sure to try them all! Lift tickets run $88 which is a little steep, but that’s pretty much the going rate at any ski resort in Tahoe. For ski & snowboard rentals, Tahoe Dave’s is pretty decent and they are right at the entrance to the resort, so they’re super convenient. I paid another $33/day for my snowboard rental at the “performance” level (the level below demo), and it was pretty good although my bindings didn’t quite fit right…be sure to test the fitment of your equipment before you leave the store, as you won’t want to hassle with having to go back and having them change things for you once you’re already on the mountain. Next time I’ll probably spring the extra $10/day for the demo quality rentals…

Afterward you finish skiing for the day, be sure to hit up Le Chamois – it’s the red house that serves warm pizza and cold beer at the bottom of the gondola. Its a charming little place, and the food tastes amazing after a long day of skiing. As an added bonus, you can sit outside on the patio and enjoy the nice weather along with your pizza. After lunch, there is a bakery inside the lodge that has amazing cookies – grab a bakers dozen as you’ll probably want more later.

Le Chamois in Squaw Valley

Le Chamois in Squaw Valley

For a quick breakfast, I recommend checking out Wild Cherries in Truckee, CA – they have really great coffee, and the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve had in a long time. I got the pesto bagel breakfast sandwich and it was so good I had to go back and get it again the next day. Lastly, my fine dining recommendation would be “The Lodge” which is also in Truckee – it’s an upscale pub/lodge with a great menu of upscale bar food & contemporary american favorites, with a little something for everyone. It’s the perfect apres-ski destination to relax and unwind in a little luxury.

There you have it – my recommendations for doing Squaw Valley in style!

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