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72 Hours at Squaw

Whether your kids are carving their first wedge turn or racing down black diamonds, Squaw has the terrain to accommodate the entire family—often off the same ski lift. With neighboring Alpine Meadows, and the continued efforts of the Renaissance $70 million investment in upgrades, renovations, and additions, Squaw Valley’s place as a family destination is as absolute as the mountain’s appeal to the die-hards. Like we said, we've got something for everyone. Here’s a family skiing guide to the two extraordinary resorts.  

Travel Day

Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport is the closest airport to Squaw Valley. Either rent a car or get door-to-door service in about an hour and a half with the North Lake Tahoe Express ($40 per person with a multi-person discount; 866-216-5222). family ski
What better way to work out the airplane seat cramps than spinning laps? Stash your luggage at The Village at Squaw Valley concierge. Then flash your boarding pass and ID at any ticket office for a free half-day ticket (also good for night skiing at Squaw).
Check into the The Village at Squaw Valley. Modeled after traditional European villages, this enormous complex features one, two, or three-bedroom suites, each with a fireplace, kitchen, and balcony. All units recently received a facelift and have new linens, pillows, and toiletries. Winter rates start at $199 per night for a one-bedroom.
Located in the heart of Squaw Village, Fireside Pizza peddles gourmet pies that range from classic Italian with Portobello mushrooms to Thai red curry chicken. Voted “Best Family Dining” in Tahoe, this casual joint doesn’t care if the kiddos litter the floor with crumbs, crayons, or worse. Actually, they probably do, but they won’t give the stink eye when kids act like, well, kids.

 

Day One

Funitel isn’t only fun to say; it’s a novelty to ride. Squaw’s Gold Coast Funitel, the only one in North America, is a 28-person gondola that climbs about 1,600 vertical feet in 10 minutes. lunch at Kt Base Bar

lunch at Kt Base Bar

Unload in Gold Coast, Squaw’s expanded day lodge that’s home to a full-service equipment demo center, and Funi’s, the mountaintop café and market. If you just want to slam an espresso and ski, hit North America’s only ski-in/ski-out Starbucks. Served by the high-speed, six-person Gold Coast Express, the Gold Coast zone is Squaw’s intermediate and beginner hub. The lift spills skiers and riders out to wide-open runs, all of which funnel back to the lodge. While cruising, check out the Palisades above, the resort’s infamous expert terrain peppered with legendary chutes.
Soak up the sun with lunch on the deck at the KT Base Bar and the K|Tchen. The relaxed, upscale restaurant looks out onto Squaw’s most famous peak, KT-22, and the sundeck draws afternoon crowds with its outdoor fire pits and K-banas (private seating areas). Burgers and fries are de rigeur here, but so are gourmet flatbread pizzas with toppings like Moroccan sausage or Canturi chicken.
On-snow go-karting? Check. Luge-like tubing run? Check. Magic carpet? But of course. SnoVentures, Squaw’s new family activity center, features miniature snowmobiles with a designated course for the six- to 12-year-old crowd. The tubing and Pocket Park create carnival-like excitement. And what’s a pocket park? Imagine a tiny and low-consequence terrain park and halfpipe scene built for beginners. When all the driving, sliding, and jibbing exhausts the crew, grab a hot chocolate in the new lodge before heading back to The Village.
Ten new establishments opened their doors in The Village this year; the newest of which are Parallel Mountain Sports and The Ledge Boardshop. Wine lovers should check out Uncorked, a wine bar and store with a diverse collection. Lather and Fizz is the spot for loofah sponges, bath salts, silky pajamas, and other indulgences. Like most things at Squaw, the shops at The Village are relatively laid-back—less fur, more fleece. Still, shoppers with Gucci tastes will find elegant galleries and boutiques to satisfy their luxury longings.
Sports bar meets ski legends at Rocker@Squaw, a cavernous new bar and restaurant whose name pays homage to the late Shane McConkey, who helped pioneer rockered ski technology. With 38 beers on the menu, including the signature ale Rocker Blonde, and dishes like XXX Hot Wings, the Red Eye Burger (featuring a fried egg, hot sauce, and cheddar cheese), and the outrageous five-pound G.N.A.R Burger, Rocker@Squaw is a guy’s dream diner. Yet, unlike many restaurants of its kind, it also serves lighter and healthier options, like the ZLT (zucchini, lettuce, and tomato) sandwich, and the signature Tahoe Salad. Rocker@Squaw has 10 flat-screen TVs where guests can upload their helmet cam footage directly to YouTube.

 

Day Two

An extra $29 tacked on to your regular ticket buys a Dawn Patrol spot on the 7:40 tram on weekend mornings throughout the season. Riders and skiers disperse almost as soon as they unload, and the mountain feels like it’s your private domain. Dawn Patrollers have access to both Shirley Lake and Granite Chief areas, and when the mountain opens to the public at 9 A.M. they get a head start on first chair throughout the entire resort. skiing and snowboarding at Alpine
 
Take the free Squaw/Alpine Express to Alpine Meadows, and stop in the breezeway of the base lodge to visit Treats Cafe. For nearly 25 years, owner Melanie Jackson has supplied Alpine skiers with breakfast sandwiches, espresso, and oven-baked goodies. Select a fresh muffin or a croissant laden with bacon and eggs for your morning meal, and stash a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie for later.
Long considered the yin to Squaw’s yang, Alpine Meadows is a laid-back resort with endless intermediate runs for families. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows merged operations, creating a seamless transition between areas, including the shuttle, same-price lessons, and shared mountain passes. Refuel at day’s end at the Ice Bar, an on-snow kiosk/refreshment stand for grown-ups that serves grilled brats, microbrews and draft beers in a can.
Even with the elegant sushi bar and the studious chefs carving raw fish and vegetables with razor-sharp knives, Mamasake is still one of Squaw’s most popular family restaurants. In addition to the standard á la carte sushi and sashimi rolls, Mamasake’s trademark dishes include the Stop, Drop & Roll: spicy tuna, minced habañero and fresno peppers, habañero oil, cucumber, and cilantro.
 

Day 3

The full breakfast buffet at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn includes eggs, waffles, applewood-smoked bacon, fresh pastries made nightly in their bakery, and fresh fruit with house-made granola. lunch at Kt Base Bar
 
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to appreciate Squaw’s natural beauty. Create your own shutterbug tour to fully explore the mountain while capturing memories on camera.
Eat up the views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding Sierra as well as gourmet dishes like homemade roasted pumpkin gnocchi, Portobello fries, and pheasant soup at The Terrace Café, a sit-down restaurant located at High Camp, 8,200 feet.
Forget your goggle tan. At Squaw’s High Camp Pool and Hot Tub complex (open mid-March through closing day), you can work on full-body bronzing. When the heated pool is closed, the outdoor ice-skating rink is open. While the kids glide or splash, enjoy a well-deserved, poolside libation from the Umbrella Bar.
 
At 22 Bistro, tapas bar meets comfort food with a menu ranging from snow crab nachos to grilled apple brandy sausage with papardelle noodles. But the restaurant’s true appeal (to the kids, at least) is the Bendaroos, flexible building sticks adored by toddlers and preteens alike. Crayons and coloring book menus may never measure up again.
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