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Squaw Valley

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Some friends and I are going to Squaw Valley the first week of March. Any reccomendations for places to eat (we're college students so something reasonable), nightlife, and such? We will have a rental car. Additionally, where is the best place to get groceries.
As far as skiing, we are intermediates from North Carolina who are used to short runs with a good bit of ice and are just wanting to get a taste of something different, and hopefully better than what we're used to here. Where would be good parts of the area to ski? Also, we will have a day to ski besides at Squaw, so where would it be worth our while to visit, considering our abilities? And from where would it be wise to rent equipment, at Squaw or are there any places convenient and reasonable outside the area?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
post #2 of 6
Skiing for true intermediates? Try to avoid the Shirley Lake & Mountain Run crowds. Go to Red Dog & Squaw Creek. The runs there are longer. Leave most of KT to the rippers.

Actually, I take my wife, whose an intermediate, to Alpine Meadows & she has a better time (there are some great stashes there too). The vibe at Alpine is pretty cool too - less in your face. The lifts are slower, for better or worse ...

Apres ski: From Squaw to Tahoe City (depending on your level of tolerance for the SF crowd): Plaza Bar, Red Dog, River Ranch, Bridgetender, Naughty Dawg. River Ranch has all sorts of pupus & the 'Tender has burgers & stuff.

Decent food: Lakeview Pizza, Jakes, Fiamma (more subdued).

Breakfast (depending on your location & go early, if you go at all - wouldn't recommend it on a pow day): Firesign, Rosie's.

Nightlife? Sorry, I usually hang out w/the crew at the house. I haven't been out late in Tahoe since Humpty's & Pierce Street Annex were big. Pete & Peter's has pool & Naughty Dawg keeps going into the evening.

Rentals? - million places ... call around to see if they have what you want to demo ...

Have a great time!
post #3 of 6
You will definitely get a taste of something different at Lake Tahoe than what your used to in North Carolina. I too ski allot in NC and the East. I was at Sugar and Hawksnest last weekend and they had great conditions and a bigger base than Squaw. If you can handle Tom Terrific, Whoopdedoo and Top Gun in NC you should be fine with most lift served terrain at Squaw. You can find some trouble off of Granite Chief, Silverado, KT-22, Broken Arrow, and Headwall Express lifts if you don’t know where you are going. If you can, stick to the groomers in these areas at first until you get a feel for the area. This is a big place. Just ask a local if your not sure of the terrain your heading to. Contrary to popular opinion, they can be helpful. The Tree Runs off of Shirley Lake are great cruisers but it can get crowded by lunch. Work you way back at mid-day and head over to Red Dog and Squaw Creek lifts in the afternoon where you’ll have the place to yourself. At the end of the day, click out of your skis at the bottom of Red Dog lift and head to the parking lot and the Red Dog Bar and Grill. Good place to get some nachos and Pale Ale. The locals hang out here and there is a bit of that “Squaw tude” but it’s still pretty cool. Afterwards you can head up on the cable car for some night skiing down the Mountain Run. Pretty lame but worth doing a few times especially after a few Pale Ales.

I love Squaw Valley. It is my favorite and I think best in Tahoe and one of the best ski areas in the world. There are two others in the North Shore area that I’d check out as well. Alpine Meadows which is Squaw’s neighbor is very cool and requires allot of traverses and hikes to get yourself into serious trouble. Sherwood Bowl on the backside has some great cruising terrain and I don’t think the black terrain there is too difficult. Unfortunately, the lifts back there are slow and the lines can be huge. Hit it up early. Many say it's the Alta of Tahoe.

Sugar Bowl is the other area located nearby that you should definitely check out. It is the best secret in Tahoe. Great cruisers and confidence building terrain all over the mountain. The expert terrain off of Mt. Disney is not too steep and is short enough to get out of easily if you get into trouble. Go on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday when tickets are only $35 and lift lines are nonexistent. High speed lifts cover the entire place. Also, I think the drive up Donner Pass Road overlooking Donner Lake is better than Route 50 to South Lake Tahoe.

Since your looking for a different experience than what we have here in the South, I’d stay away from North Star since it reminds me of an Eastern resort with its cut trails. Same with Heavenly, Sierra at Tahoe in the South Shore area. Kirkwood is the exception but is a good drive from the North areas.

I always stay in Reno. Great deals on hotel rooms and of course they have cheap “butt-fets” in the casinos. The night life on the weekends can’t be beat either especially with everyone heading there from the Bay area. It’s about a 45 minute drive to all of the North Shore mountains. Budget usually has a $19 a day 4x4 Ford Ranger deal that you can cram 4 guys into. Go with the all wheel drive just in case. Rentals are everywhere in the Truckee area. I have got demos from a place in the shopping center behind the Burger King with good results. It’s on the way to Squaw and Alpine. I can’t remember the name.
post #4 of 6
My two cents:

Homewood ski resort on the west shore is an easy drive from Squaw and has the best views of the lake, hands down. If you are willing to make the haul, Kirkwood is great and the drive (assuming the road is open) down the west shore of the lake and around emerald bay is a definite Kodak moment.

Enjoy your trip!
post #5 of 6
You really can't go wrong at Squaw. It's the best. My favorite in Tahoe by far. But if you want to venture out, I'd go with Alpine Meadows which is only about 10 minutes from Squaw. Do you already have lodging reservations? I would hang in Tahoe City -- fun and cheap and close to Squaw and Alpine. The above recommendations are good. Squaw Creek and Red Dog and Solitude are probably where you'd be the happiest if you're intermediate skiers. I don't know if you'd want to try Headwall and KT-22. Those are pretty advanced. But Granite Chief is a bit easier. It's fun too! The whole mountain is great. There is so much for everyone. And if you're coming in March and it's a sunny day, check out the pool at the top of High Camp.'

The best and cheapest place to rent is Dave's. There is one in Tahoe City and in Truckee and also one at the entrance to Squaw next to the 7-11.

Have fun!!
post #6 of 6
Squaw is great for advanced and beginner skiers, but it is limited for intermediates (few good blue runs, and those are the most crowded runs there). I'd rate Northstar tops for intermediate terrain, then Alpine (be sure to explore both sides of Alpine, the back has some big blue cruisers).

As for nightlife and cheap eats -- "Jakes on the Lake" before 6:30 and you get awesome happy hour prices (half off) on great food, fish taco's for $1 at Sunnyside on Wed. (happy hour), or just hit the Naughty Dog or Bridgetender. All of these are in Tahoe City. Nightlife in Tahoe City: Pete 'N Peters or Pier street. Ask anyone for directions.

Best place to rent is probably "Dave's" (biggest selectiona and convenient b/c of multiple locations so you can drop off anywhere). They have stores in Tahoe City, the Squaw Valley access road (next to Alpine Meadows acess road) and in Truckee. You can even reserve your skis online before you get there: http://www.tahoedaves.com/

Have fun!
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