or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › First trip to Squaw, looking for advice
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

First trip to Squaw, looking for advice

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm bringing a group with various abilities (intermediate to advanced) to Squaw/Alpine and it will be our first trip to the area.  I had a few specific questions about our trip, and am happy to hear any other advice from those familiar with these resorts.  I've been wanted to plan a trip out there for years and have been waiting out the drought, I'm very happy to see the conditions have been looking up this season!

 

- We'll be skiing 4 days and I'm trying to plan out our approach.  The simplest thought is to spend 2 days at Squaw, 2 days at Alpine.  Is Alpine large enough for 2 days or should I plan on spending one day commuting to another nearby resort, or doing a third day at Squaw?

- We're skiing on a Sun - Wed and want to minimize crowds as much as possible.  I'm assuming Squaw is more crowded than Alpine in general, and that of our days on the slopes Sun will be the most crowded.  My initial thought would be to spend Sun at Alpine, Mon & Tues at Squaw, and Wed at whichever we liked better.  Of course, powder or high winds resulting in lift holds would cause us to adjust on the fly.  I'm almost positive we'll want to spend at least 2 full days at Squaw somehow.

- If we decide to spend 1 day away from Squaw/Alpine, which nearby resort do you suggest (under 1 hour drive)

- Do you have ski rental shop recommendations?  It looks like Tahoe Dave's has the best prices.  I do rent demos, so I typically prefer a shop at the base so I can easily swap skis if needed.  Also, a shop that is located at the base of both Alpine and Squaw would be ideal for daily ski check and easy drop off at the end of our last day, regardless of which mountain we are at.

- Any suggested dining and/or Apres watering holes?

- Is 4WD needed for the drive from Reno?  We'll likely be renting cars, trying to determine if I can get away with a large 2WD passenger van instead of 2 large 4WD SUVs.

- Are there any discounted lift tickets for sale in the area other than buying in advance direct from Squaw/Alpine?  They offer a 4 pack that is pretty reasonably priced.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

post #2 of 17

- We'll be skiing 4 days and I'm trying to plan out our approach.  The simplest thought is to spend 2 days at Squaw, 2 days at Alpine.  Is Alpine large enough for 2 days or should I plan on spending one day commuting to another nearby resort, or doing a third day at Squaw?

 

Yes, it is large enough, especially if you are willing to explore the side bowls. 

 

- We're skiing on a Sun - Wed and want to minimize crowds as much as possible.  I'm assuming Squaw is more crowded than Alpine in general, and that of our days on the slopes Sun will be the most crowded.  My initial thought would be to spend Sun at Alpine, Mon & Tues at Squaw, and Wed at whichever we liked better.  Of course, powder or high winds resulting in lift holds would cause us to adjust on the fly.  I'm almost positive we'll want to spend at least 2 full days at Squaw somehow.

 

Reasonable plan. 

 

- If we decide to spend 1 day away from Squaw/Alpine, which nearby resort do you suggest (under 1 hour drive)

 

You can try Northstar for easy groomers, or Homewood or Diamond Peak for uncrowded skiing and beautiful lake Tahoe views. 

 

- Do you have ski rental shop recommendations?  It looks like Tahoe Dave's has the best prices.  I do rent demos, so I typically prefer a shop at the base so I can easily swap skis if needed.  Also, a shop that is located at the base of both Alpine and Squaw would be ideal for daily ski check and easy drop off at the end of our last day, regardless of which mountain we are at.

 

Tahoe Daves is on Hwy89 at the Squaw turnout, so if you are renting cars you will pass by it.  

 

- Any suggested dining and/or Apres watering holes?

 

Check Truckee, much livelier than the Squaw village, but there are places at Squaw itself as well.  Nothing at Apline as far as I know.  

 

- Is 4WD needed for the drive from Reno?  We'll likely be renting cars, trying to determine if I can get away with a large 2WD passenger van instead of 2 large 4WD SUVs.

 

Check the forecast, if there is any chance of snow, you may want a 4WD, a 2WD with chains is just fine but its a hassle.  

 

- Are there any discounted lift tickets for sale in the area other than buying in advance direct from Squaw/Alpine?  They offer a 4 pack that is pretty reasonably priced.

 

The 4-pack is the best deal I am aware of.  

 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.  I'm kind of surprised there aren't more watering holes and restaurants around the area, especially at Squaw.  I doubt we'll drive out to Truckee that often.  Oh well, we're there for the skiing and are more than capable of enjoying our time in the hot tub at our rental vs. going to the bars.

 

I thought of an additional question.  Where's the best place to buy groceries?  I'm guessing Truckee will have the larger stores, but are there any options closer to the mountains?

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

Thanks for the info.  I'm kind of surprised there aren't more watering holes and restaurants around the area, especially at Squaw.  I doubt we'll drive out to Truckee that often.  Oh well, we're there for the skiing and are more than capable of enjoying our time in the hot tub at our rental vs. going to the bars.

 

I thought of an additional question.  Where's the best place to buy groceries?  I'm guessing Truckee will have the larger stores, but are there any options closer to the mountains?

Just because no one mentions places to eat near Squaw in an online forum doesn't mean they don't exist.  It's a matter of the type of folks who are active poster and where they tend to stay and/or eat.  When I set up a trip to North Tahoe, got a condo in Tahoe City, and ate half the dinners in the condo.  Found several good places to eat in Tahoe City when we didn't feel like cooking.  Had no reason to stay at the Squaw resort.

post #5 of 17


The paucity of restaurants/bars/etc at the base has always been one of my big complaints about Tahoe ski areas vs a lot of other Western options (Sun Valley, Park City, Whistler, most Colorado destinations).  The base "villages" at Squaw or Northstar just don't compare to those towns.  Heavenly with South Lake Tahoe comes closest, but then you have the whole casino vibe.  And Tahoe City is also quite nice, but then you are a good 15-30 minutes from any of the mountains depending on where you stay.

 

Groceries are the same as restaurants, you are best off hitting the Safeway in Truckee if you want a "real" grocery store.

 

Bob

post #6 of 17

You're there Sun - Wed, so not so much bar or apres action.

 

How big of a group?  As you may know, some are of the opinion that skiing with a large group is awful.  ;) See:  http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hitler+wants+to+ski+pow&view=detail&mid=62A7CB1BE890692B227162A7CB1BE890692B2271&FORM=VIRE2

 

Apres?  Le Chamois (go up to the bar upstairs), The Slot, or Plumpjack, depending on your crew/mood.  You could also stop at River Ranch on the way back from Alpine Meadows, which is what we used to do back in the '80's (or tailgate).

 

Dinner/groceries - lots of places in Truckee or Tahoe City.  10-15 minutes away. 

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
 

You're there Sun - Wed, so not so much bar or apres action.

 

How big of a group?  As you may know, some are of the opinion that skiing with a large group is awful.  ;) See:  http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hitler+wants+to+ski+pow&view=detail&mid=62A7CB1BE890692B227162A7CB1BE890692B2271&FORM=VIRE2

 

Apres?  Le Chamois (go up to the bar upstairs), The Slot, or Plumpjack, depending on your crew/mood.  You could also stop at River Ranch on the way back from Alpine Meadows, which is what we used to do back in the '80's (or tailgate).

 

Dinner/groceries - lots of places in Truckee or Tahoe City.  10-15 minutes away. 

We aren't looking for a party, just a casual place to grab a beer or 2 after a day of skiing, so I'm not too worried about missing the weekend crowd.  We tend to linger in the village for a bit each day, waiting for the group to meet back up and sharing some war stories over a beer before heading back to our rooms.  In my experience some resorts have a signature watering hole, like the Mangy Moose at Jackson Hole.  But I haven't found much info for this in the Squaw area which is why I was asking.  We usually also eat at the room most nights, but typically once or twice will venture out for a nice dinner, or a popular locals restaurant.

 

If the shops, food and groceries are only 15 min away that's not a problem.  I'm just trying to devise a plan for when we arrive.  The grocery store is typically one of our first stops.

post #8 of 17
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

We aren't looking for a party, just a casual place to grab a beer or 2 after a day of skiing, so I'm not too worried about missing the weekend crowd.  We tend to linger in the village for a bit each day, waiting for the group to meet back up and sharing some war stories over a beer before heading back to our rooms.  In my experience some resorts have a signature watering hole, like the Mangy Moose at Jackson Hole.  But I haven't found much info for this in the Squaw area which is why I was asking.  We usually also eat at the room most nights, but typically once or twice will venture out for a nice dinner, or a popular locals restaurant.

 

If the shops, food and groceries are only 15 min away that's not a problem.  I'm just trying to devise a plan for when we arrive.  The grocery store is typically one of our first stops.

Chammy is the place then.  Its a lot smaller than Mangy Moose but has its charms.  If the weather is good, there will be a crowd outside, join in.    There is a list of local restaurants linked from the Squaw page here.  

post #10 of 17

Alpine is large enough for two days, especially if there's fresh or recent snow, when the ridgeline traverses north and south of the Summit chair offere open bowl advanced and expert skiing where powder will still e available long after Squaw is bumped out. Intermediates will find more and longer blue cruisers at Alpine than at Squaw. Beginners  will like Squaw--the main beginner area is near the top of the mountain--with views--rather than next to the parking lot like at Alpine and most other areas. Experts will like both places, but especially Squaw. In a blizzard Squaw is usually the best bet because there's good skiing at the lower elevations (KT22 is the undisputed best storm lift in America) when upper lifts at Alpine and Squaw are closed. Storm skiing at AM is often limited, unless Scott is running.

 

There is a tiny store in the Squaw Village --I don't know if it's possible to put a meal together there. Otherwise the Tahoe City or Truckee Safeways or the Truckee Savemart are your best bets.

 

For almost on the mountain rentals there's Mountain Mikes--just before the Squaw parking lot. I don't know their prices but I'm guessing cheaper than the resorts' rental shops.

 

As far as 4WD --often needed when there's snow, or chains--if the rental allows them. If there are chain controls on I80 they sometimes don't start until after the SR 89 turnoff to Squaw and Alpine. However chains might still be required on 89, and very likely on AM road, which is steep and winding (but there is a shuttle between Squaw and Alpine).. If you're staying on the mountain or very close there's the option of shuttling from and to Reno and taking Uber or a cab to grocery shop--other than grocery shopping you can get by without a car if you're walking distance from the Squaw Village.and 4WD's are expensive. 

 

Where are you staying? 

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Alpine is large enough for two days, especially if there's fresh or recent snow, when the ridgeline traverses north and south of the Summit chair offere open bowl advanced and expert skiing where powder will still e available long after Squaw is bumped out. Intermediates will find more and longer blue cruisers at Alpine than at Squaw. Beginners  will like Squaw--the main beginner area is near the top of the mountain--with views--rather than next to the parking lot like at Alpine and most other areas. Experts will like both places, but especially Squaw. In a blizzard Squaw is usually the best bet because there's good skiing at the lower elevations (KT22 is the undisputed best storm lift in America) when upper lifts at Alpine and Squaw are closed. Storm skiing at AM is often limited, unless Scott is running.

 

True, but only if you are an expert skier.   KT22 would be quite terrifying to an intermediate skier in a storm. 

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by PJS32000 View Post
 

I'm bringing a group with various abilities (intermediate to advanced) to Squaw/Alpine and it will be our first trip to the area.  I had a few specific questions about our trip, and am happy to hear any other advice from those familiar with these resorts.  I've been wanted to plan a trip out there for years and have been waiting out the drought, I'm very happy to see the conditions have been looking up this season!

 

- We'll be skiing 4 days and I'm trying to plan out our approach.  The simplest thought is to spend 2 days at Squaw, 2 days at Alpine.  Is Alpine large enough for 2 days or should I plan on spending one day commuting to another nearby resort, or doing a third day at Squaw?

- We're skiing on a Sun - Wed and want to minimize crowds as much as possible.  I'm assuming Squaw is more crowded than Alpine in general, and that of our days on the slopes Sun will be the most crowded.  My initial thought would be to spend Sun at Alpine, Mon & Tues at Squaw, and Wed at whichever we liked better.  Of course, powder or high winds resulting in lift holds would cause us to adjust on the fly.  I'm almost positive we'll want to spend at least 2 full days at Squaw somehow.

- If we decide to spend 1 day away from Squaw/Alpine, which nearby resort do you suggest (under 1 hour drive)

- Do you have ski rental shop recommendations?  It looks like Tahoe Dave's has the best prices.  I do rent demos, so I typically prefer a shop at the base so I can easily swap skis if needed.  Also, a shop that is located at the base of both Alpine and Squaw would be ideal for daily ski check and easy drop off at the end of our last day, regardless of which mountain we are at.

- Any suggested dining and/or Apres watering holes?

- Is 4WD needed for the drive from Reno?  We'll likely be renting cars, trying to determine if I can get away with a large 2WD passenger van instead of 2 large 4WD SUVs.

- Are there any discounted lift tickets for sale in the area other than buying in advance direct from Squaw/Alpine?  They offer a 4 pack that is pretty reasonably priced.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

My first day ever at Alpine was on a non-holiday Sunday several years ago.  We stayed in Tahoe City and got to the parking lot early, perhaps the 10th car.  I don't remember lift lines being much of an issue.  That trip was a gathering most of the week (not EpicSki).  Both the advanced and intermediates liked Alpine a lot.  I could easily have fun there for 2-3 days given that it has 2000+ acres.

 

We were lucky and had lots of fresh powder at Squaw later that week, 20+ inches starting the day before.  Was snowing hard all morning.  The intermediates with no powder experience tried to stay on green runs but those didn't have enough pitch so they didn't have much fun in the afternoon in 8+ inches of ungroomed snow on top of the groomed.  The upper mountain closed by lunch time.

post #13 of 17

(KT22 is the undisputed best storm lift in America)

 

I had a really good day with Kip and Ingrid once, but I'll take my gondi.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

(KT22 is the undisputed best storm lift in America)

 

I had a really good day with Kip and Ingrid once, but I'll take my gondi.

KT-22 powder day: http://www.powder.com/stories/squaw-classic-line/#FyVGwwapoOmrbRvB.97

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post
 

KT-22 powder day: http://www.powder.com/stories/squaw-classic-line/#FyVGwwapoOmrbRvB.97

 

Yeah, I've been there and it is an awesome experience.  

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Where are you staying? 

We're staying off Alpine Meadows Rd, between 89 and the base.  It's a private home rental.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Alpine is large enough for two days, especially if there's fresh or recent snow, when the ridgeline traverses north and south of the Summit chair offere open bowl advanced and expert skiing where powder will still e available long after Squaw is bumped out.
some stuff off High Traverse looked like this last Sunday:
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › First trip to Squaw, looking for advice