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24 hours in Tahoe?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Actually less than that but I've got a window and want to use it. Can drive out of San Fran this friday a.m. at 10:30 - hoping to hit a Tahoe resort midafternoon and ski until closing so night skiing would be great. Thought Squaw would be the best place. Will bring boots and rent skis. Then have to get a redeye home Friday night from Reno airport.

Tips? Traps to avoid? Any (nearly) legal ways to speed the drive from San Fran?

Is it best to rent 4WD or will I be OK in cheapo rental car?
post #2 of 17
Sugar Bowl might be the best shot, that saves you a half hour. For night skiing, hit Boreal. Just up 80 from where you turn off for the 'Bowl.

Still, even if you get off the plane at 10:30 and leave right then, it would take you a minimum of 3.5 hours to get from SFO to Sugar Bowl or Boreal. I-80 is pretty high speed, but not that fast.

Good luck.
post #3 of 17
Best bet for a quick start with night skiing is Boreal on I-80. Its one of the first areas you come to and one of very few that offer lit skiing. No one skis at night here! I think their night skiing starts after 3:00 and goes to 9:00. Anyway, you can take your time getting luggage, a car and have a nice lunch on the way. You will arrive in plenty of time. You need another day to really ski. I don't think night skiing is what defines this area. What's the rush?
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Have a 9:30 a.m apptmt in San Fran, will be packed and ready to roll when that wraps up. Rush is I gotta get back home for family commitments Saturday and Sunday. Not bad commitments (kids' hockey and soccer games Saturday, maybe a quick daytrip to ski Berkshires on Sunday with one of the kids) -- but not negotiable either. Just can't bear to fly out of San Fran on Friday when I could make this happen instead; have been skiing lousy east coast conditions all season and this is my first shot at the West after a few false promises fell through.

Just checked stats - Boreal's only 500 ft vert? Would rather push for Squaw I think to get a taste of the bigger stuff. Only a taste I know but better than nothing ... And Sugar Bowl looks big, but no night skiing.
post #5 of 17
Can't argue with you logic. Squaw will give you free night skiing with an afternoon pass. So rush on up after the meeting. You will miss all rush hour traffic. Weather conditions are uncertain, but nothing major comming in for that time period, but light snow is expected on Friday.
post #6 of 17
Night skiing at Squaw is very limited.
You will be looking longingly up at the peaks from a very long green run that winds down the mountain starting from mid-level.
post #7 of 17
el cheapo vs. SUV: i'll be in the area at same time and was considering same car rental question. noticed in caltran hwy report that chains/4wd still required in some high passes in Northern CA, so went with SUV.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Also went 4WD rental. Enough to worry about.

Any other night ski options better than Squaw? Turns out I have a 12:35 a.m. flight out of Sacramento, not Reno.
post #9 of 17
Your only two night skiing options, I believe, are Boreal and Squaw.
post #10 of 17

go to Squaw

It's 3.5 hours from downtown SF to Squaw if you leave late morning, i.e. leave 10, arrive 1:30, ski all the runs until chairs stop at 4:30, then night ski. You can ski at night with your half-day ticket, and the run is called "Mountain Run". It's not fantastic, but you can practice your GS turns with nobody around.

You only have to stop once, and the amenities/bars/food are better than Sugar Bowl so you can eat a decent meal, have a drink & check out the cougars. For instance, go to Mamasake, have some sushi & a beer, & watch ski flicks, or go to Balboa Cafe, etc....
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dino. This one's a go ... any must-ski runs for my afternoon? I'm an advanced but not "expert" skier, happy on all east coast blacks but not looking to huck cliffs, etc. Where should I aim for the last lift? I assume there'll be a lot of light late in the day.
post #12 of 17
[quote=ts01] have been skiing lousy east coast conditions all season and this is my first shot at the West after a few false promises fell through. QUOTE]

WOW...TS where have you been sking???? Conditions here in the east have been excellent. At least since the end of January anyway
post #13 of 17

here is my typical 4 hour day at squaw. up Funitel, up gold coast express, ski down to bottom of granite peak (via top of shirley lake express). do a few runs off of granite peak. don't spend too much time here as GC is a slow lift. Then head to Siberia express via shirley lake express. couple of runs off of siberia express. ski down to bottom of Headwall. ski a few runs off of headwall. Then head down to KT22. few runs off of GS Bowl on KT22. Head to parking lot via Balboa Cafe.

There are of course other interesting areas in Squaw - such as Silverado, sun bowl, trees near far east etc. but the above is my itinerary when I am in a hurry.

Now, although I do not consider myself as an expert skier - I do ski pretty much ( I am may not look pretty doing it) all the "For expert skiers only" marked runs at Squaw. But I think all the lifts I have mentioned have interesting runs for "advanced" skiers.

If you are really running short on time - i would completely avoid the Granite chief area. although it is very interesting - you will be losing valuable time getting to/from and also its a slow, popular lift.
post #14 of 17

Get right to it...

You may not be able to do the following in 3 hours, but this is an efficient way to survey the mountain & ski, instead of spending time traveling around. Look at the map online before you try to do this...

If you have skis, then park in the lot between the old Red Dog Grill & Far East lift; there's a ticket kiosk right there & you can park within steps of lift. Take Far East chair up.

[If you don't have skis & rent demos from Squaw Ski Shop, then start at KT-22.]

Go down Red Dog/Dog Leg to KT-22. Take runs off KT-22, including Oly Lady side. It will be PM, so if you want to challenge yourself by going down W. Face, then the snow should be fine. You can see a zillion lines; some expert, some advanced, some psycho.

From KT-22, ski down Rock Garden & hit Headwall Chair. Ski the Nose. Next time up, take trail around to top of old Cornice II & hit chutes below ridge there (really, they're not that hard). If you're up for it, you can turn & take a left & hit the Slot before you get down to the top of Cornice II.

After a few laps, go straight off the back of Headwall into Siberia Bowl. Take Siberia lift up. The foregoing will take you a couple of hours. If you're running late, keep skiing KT-22 and Headwall. If not, consider the following.

Ski down to Gold Coast Bar, which is lower level of the building. Have a beer at Gold Coast as the bar is steps from where you can ski up. Walk up about 50' to upper level of building (where Funitel exits), put on skis & skate/pole over to Emigrant Chair.

From Emigrant, drop down the Funnel & ski down to Granite Chief Chair. Take a run on Granite Chief & take Shirley Lake chair up.

From Shirley Lake chair, ski past front of High Camp, and take a sharp left at the end of the buildings. Enter top of bowl (which is backside of Broken Arrow) & head down to Silverado. Take Silverado up.

Ski down Mountain Run to Headwall Chair. Go to wherever you liked earlier.

apre: Balboa/Le Chamois/Plaza Bar
also: Mamasake sushi.

Usually, the following applies:
Repeat as necessary.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quick reply and THANKS -- pulled it off, waiting in Sac airport to board plane home.

in order:


Originally Posted by spork
WOW...TS where have you been sking???? Conditions here in the east have been excellent. At least since the end of January anyway
You're right re Feb - had some awesome days at Plattekill and nice at Butternut too. But December and January blew. I remember a day at Okemo - 55 below with windchill at summit. Ice. And two weeks before that - mud and mashed potatoes in at Butternut. Lousy memories linger.

Dino / Marty / others: THANKS. Got in a great afternoon at Squaw - worked all the way up to Granite Chief and back - focus on Headwall and Siberia Bowl. Not enough time - or talent - for more than one run on KT-22 . Would have liked more time to play around at Granite Chief area too. For some reason today they shut down night skiing at Squaw (torchlight parade)? BAH. So I went over to Boreal and had a great time doing laps on their "race course" slope until 8:30 and then had to hit the road. Decent home-made lasagna at Boreal for dinner, a nice surprise. Did a few runs with a "masters" racer. Skied onto lifts all day long, both at Squaw and Boreal. Great time. Used your tips above to really focus and move it along -- made the most of the time and I appreciate your help.

post #16 of 17

Was the trip worth it?

TS01 - Good trip report. Was the cost/time/effort worth it for you?

I hear that it only costs $1 to ski Friday nights at Squaw Valley if you also buy a Saturday lift ticket.

www.firsttracksonline.com (Ski News section)

Ski & Ride Friday Nights for a Buck at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley, CA (Sunday, February 20, 2005) - This season, Squaw Valley USA and Budweiser have created a special coupon to offer night skiing and riding at Squaw on Friday nights for only $1.

To take advantage of the deal, skiers and snowboarders simply visit a participating local Bay Area or Sacramento area retailer, grocery, convenience store, bar or restaurant, look for the Bud or Bud Light display, and pick up a $1 Friday Nights at Squaw coupon or coaster. Then head up to Squaw Valley on Friday afternoon. Present the coupon at Squaw Valley's Cable Car ticket booth after 4 p.m. and purchase a Saturday adult all day lift ticket, and get that same Friday night for only a dollar more. The total purchase required is $63.

Squaw Valley USA offers Lake Tahoe's most extensive night terrain, including the 3.2 mile Mountain Run, and the Riviera Halfpipe. The specially-made floodlight system utilizes 1000-watt, color-corrected high-pressure sodium bulbs for superior contrast and easier vision on the snow.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Absolutely worth the time. Wish I could've stayed over Saturday but no could do - commitments on the home (family) front. But by all means, it was great, no second thoughts.

You're right about the Squaw deal - $1 friday nights if you ski Saturdays -- it's on their website too last I checked. But I couldn't stay Saturday and they were closed to boot.

Minor regret - $$ -- If I'd known that I'd be skiing the two resorts instead of just Squaw for afternoon and evening (as originally planned) I would've packed my own skis - turns out logistics would've been easy as I rented a car in Oakland and returned it to Sac (THANKS JET BLUE) and had to check bags anyway for the flights. The lift tix weren't too expensive but the $$ for demo skis at two separate resorts hurt a bit.

On the other hand it was very interesting to compare / contrast the demos with each other and with my own skis. Long and short, Atomic Metron M:9's at Squaw in 171 were hard to appreciate, but I absolutely LOVED Salomon Equipe 10SC in 170 at Boreal. Not really in the market but interesting to feel the range in performance between two ostensibly comparable skis. First Salomon I ever liked. Two skis I'm on most at home are a 160 race slalom and a 176 all-mountain (Fischer 7.6) -- the Equipe 10SC was like a hybrid of the two.
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