|This is how I would like to ski KT-22 - in powder! Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
|Liesl Hepburn (right) with hubby, Charlie - credit Natalie Stever, Squaw Alpine|
|Liesl Hepburn - credit Court Leve|
After working at Heavenly for a couple of seasons, Liesl is now in her second winter at Squaw Alpine. “We’re known for our terrain, for our big mountain territory – areas like the Pallisades, KT-22, and Headwall,” she told us. However, over 65 percent of the acreage encompasses beginner and intermediate slopes with 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones for skiers and riders of all ability levels. “At Squaw Valley, beginners who want to progress from the bunny hill can find green runs right at the top in the High Camp area, with the advantage of expansive high altitude views, not so many little kids, and a nice high alpine lunch,” said Liesl. “They get to drink in the real experience of Squaw Alpine.”
|Julia Mancuso, from Reno, spent her childhood skiing at Squaw Valley - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
|Alpine Meadows groomer - courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
|Secret Garden run at Squaw Alpine during the naming event - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
Voted 2016 ‘Best Ski Resort’ in North America by USA Today, Squaw Alpine’s most devoted fans are from the Bay Area which is an easy three-and-a-half-hour drive. Others come up from all over California and various US hub airports, with Canadians, Mexicans, Brits, Aussies and Germans bolstering numbers. But there is also a growing market from China more recently. “We established a partnership with Genting Resort Secret Garden two years ago with cross-training of staff,” Liesl explained. They also sent Jonny Moseley, their charismatic ambassador to Genting to consolidate links. “He visited the freestyle venue for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. In honour of the visit, they renamed the moguls course ‘Squaw Valley’ as a tribute to the 1960 Games,” Liesl said. “Instead of the typical ribbon cutting ceremony, Jonny skied the course and jumped over the ribbon.” In recognition of Genting’s visit to Squaw Alpine last May, there is now a Secret Garden run – the moguls under the Red Dog Chair. “There are even pass privileges between the two although as yet very few people have taken them up, but we have had some,” Liesl added, pointing out that skier numbers in China have gone from 200,000 in 2000 to 12.5 million in 2015 so it is going to be a key market.
With the influx of newbies to wintersports a bit “flat” at the moment, Squaw Alpine is making skiing and riding more affordable with a $99 instruction/rentals/lift ticket package, available seven days a week at Alpine Meadows.
|The North Face Mountain Guide program - courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
|Free skiing with Jonny Moseley - Courtesy of|
|Freestyle Olympian Jonny Moseley, Squaw Alpine's Ambassador - courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
The resort made the most of the 2018 Games, launching it with a parade led by Travis Ganong on crutches – “He was power crutching through the village, with all the kids going insane,” said Liesl. Two local KCRA TV anchors reported on all the Olympic action from the village and there was a huge outdoor screen set up by the central firepits with deckchairs for daily viewing. Squaw Alpine also hosted a World Cup weekend in March last year – their first since 1969 - with 90 athletes from 19 countries competing on the Red Dog Race Course.
|Fun and Firepits at Squaw Village - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
The village literally wasn’t there 27 years ago – just the two triangular Olympic buildings dating back to the 1960 Winter Games held there. Everything else has been built since. We stayed in a lovely large apartment at The Village at Squaw Valley®, with underground parking, a great outdoor hot tub and easy access to the lifts and all the fun après – there are nearly 60 bars, restaurants and boutiques. One of the best bars is 22 Bistro right near the lift stations, with a live music happy hour including a very dry Gruet Blanc de Noirs.
|Long overdue reunion with Steve at the Auld Dubliner Pub Squaw Valley - and meeting his wife Kit for the first time on|
|Alpine Meadows by Estelle Rachel Woods - Courtesy of|
|Steve showing Simon the sights at Alpine Meadows|
|The Chalet at Alpine Meadows - credit: Squaw Alpine|
|Hot pools at High Camp Squaw Valley - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
One of Squaw Alpine’s differentiating quirks – apart from having a ski in/out Starbucks at the Gold Coast mid-mountain lodge - is its ability to go with the flow of the snow. So, in a really snowy season, they can keep open longer. Last year’s record-breaking snowfalls meant they were still up and running for the 4th of July weekend with skiing going on until 7pm at night! A 200-day season all in all – so huge value for money for seasonpass holders. With an annual average of 450 inches and 300 sunny days, spring/summer skiing at Squaw Alpine means lots of outdoor fun with sunbathing by the High Camp hot tub, al fresco dining and drinks, and of course skiing and riding in shorts and t-shirts or even swimwear. “It’s actually a really underrated time of the year,” said Liesl. “The spring snow is really good, and it’s great to be able to wear shorts and t-shirts in a very laid back and fun atmosphere.”
|High Camp spring fun - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
Squaw Alpine’s big news this season is its commitment to be powered entirely by clean energy next winter via its collaboration with Liberty Utilities. The resort has already supported many sustainable practices including a solar project - with 20 % more efficient dual-faced panels - that will offset 100 % of the footprint of the Alpine World Cup 2017. It also spearheaded a Ride On Bike to Work initiative which saved 8372 annual vehicle miles last year. Plastic straws are only issued on request around the mountain, there’s a ban on single-use water bottles, and a Green Bucks donate-a-dollar program has raised $40,000 for watershed protection. The resort teamed up with Protect ourWinters to give carpoolers premium parking, giving away 1021 free rides via the Chariot app, removing 7200 cars from roads and reducing carbon dioxide by 344 metric tons so far.
|Women of Winter Clinic - courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
This season Squaw Alpine became part of Alterra Mountain Company, giving season pass holders the advantages next winter of being part of the IKON pass portfolio. Opening up 26 destinations and a total of 63,000 skiable acres in the USA and Canada to pass holders, IKON includes Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort, Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, and CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures as well as pass partners Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Big Sky Resort, Killington Resort, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon Mountain Resort, Sugarbush, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3 in Alberta, Revelstoke Mountain Resort in British Columbia.
|Kids Ski and Snowboard School - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
Wanderlust Yoga Studio, located in the Village at Squaw Valley, offers meditative yoga classes that are perfect pre-or-post a day on the slopes. The Pre-Ski Flow class helps you hit the slopes at your very best with less chance of injury. The class is designed to enhance lower body performance, with special emphasis on legs and hips. The Après-Ski Restorative classes helps restore tired muscles through stretches aiding flexibility and suppleness.
Moonlit Snowshoe Tour & Dinner: After the mountain closes and the winter moon rises, experience a snowshoe tour to the mid-mountain Chalet at Alpine Meadows. This intimate seated dinner with new friends features an Alps-inspired menu with dishes like potato cheese soup, chicken cordon bleu and apple strudel. This unique experience is only available for 50 guests during select dates over the winter season.
Social Media Links:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/squawalpine/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/squawalpine
|View of KT-22 - Courtesy of Squaw Alpine|
72,200 people per hour uphill capacity
Vertical: 2,850 Squaw Valley/1,802 Alpine Meadows
Classification: 25% beginner, 42.5% intermediate, 32.5% advanced
6 terrain parks
20 lifts with snowmaking
Over 300 snow guns