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Where to Squaw or North Star?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Ok planning a trip out west in mid march for the week of st paddys.  Since Squaw and North Star are both offering free lift tix for military members those are really the only two choices.  I am going with my father and brother.  My brother is a Level 8 skier and has been west to breck, sbird, park city and proably a bunch of others I dont know about.  My father has been to breck a few times when he was younger.  He was a level 8 skier but also hasnt skied in about 9 years.  I am a level 7 skier, but have never skied outside NE.

 

Which resort would be best for us?  My bro wants to do Squaw.  I know nothing about either mountain.  Reccomendations?


Edited by TheProdigalSkier - Sat, 31 Jan 09 17:58:40 GMT
post #2 of 23

I would think you would want Squaw. Northstar is called Flatstar by many but you should head over there for your first day just to get back into skiing. Squaw has some absolutely sick in bounds terrain, such as The Palisades or The Fingers that you could seriously hurt yourself on, as well as less challenging but still expert terrain like Headwall or Hogsback, and as well as easier warm up runs such as the Tree Runs off the Shirley Express lift. It skis big, it skis hard, and it skis like no other mountain.

 

My suggestion, 1 day at Northstar and the rest at Squaw. You can't get bored of Squaw: Period.

post #3 of 23

 Coverage is not the best at Squaw right now and Northstar is far too overpriced for what (little) they have to offer and has even worse coverage right now. Under current conditions, I recommend Kirkwood as being your best choice if you're able to swing it. ;)

 

If it wasn't for the marginal conditions, Squaw would be the no-brainer choice. The only good thing about Northstar that I can think of is that they offer free lessons during weekdays.

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post

I would think you would want Squaw. Northstar is called Flatstar by many but you should head over there for your first day just to get back into skiing. Squaw has some absolutely sick in bounds terrain, such as The Palisades or The Fingers that you could seriously hurt yourself on, as well as less challenging but still expert terrain like Headwall or Hogsback, and as well as easier warm up runs such as the Tree Runs off the Shirley Express lift. It skis big, it skis hard, and it skis like no other mountain.

 

My suggestion, 1 day at Northstar and the rest at Squaw. You can't get bored of Squaw: Period.

 

Agree, Northstar on the first day to Warm Up and then do Squaw.  Shirley Lake can get crowded at Squaw, do Silverado and sometime Red Dog can be good and not crowded.  Of course KT22 is good and rarely gets crowded excepting powder days in early AM.  There is an intermediate way off KT and then choices galore of how many cajones you have.  Have fun.  Can't comment on snow as live in paradise now.  Try to avoid holidays and Sats if you can.


 

post #5 of 23

Squaw x100!!!

post #6 of 23

Squaw hands down, bigger, better, more terrain, more lifts, more mid mountian places to eat, more snow, more bowls, more grooming, more parking.  LESS lines, less crowds. 

 

However, if its a weekday, you might do a day at Northstar just to see what its like.  Enjoy your trip!

post #7 of 23

Another vote for Squaw if the conditions are decent. 

post #8 of 23

Hit Northstar till you get bored... Then go to Squaw.

 

N* is great for intermediates (level 4 - 8) but way too busy for beginners and gets boring quick for advanced/experts.

They have amazing trees, grooming, park and village. Never are there wind hold's on lifts, making it a great choice for a storm day or when the snow is really bad. 

 

Squaw is ridiculous. If you think you are a great skiier, you are just "okay"

If the snow is bad or it's stormy, Squaw is dangerous. If the snow is good, talk about a playground...

post #9 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProdigalSkier View Post

 

Ok planning a trip out west in mid march for the week of st paddys.  Since Squaw and North Star are both offering free lift tix for military members those are really the only two choices.  I am going with my father and brother.  My brother is a Level 8 skier and has been west to breck, sbird, park city and proably a bunch of others I dont know about.  My father has been to breck a few times when he was younger.  He was a level 8 skier but also hasnt skied in about 9 years.  I am a level 7 skier, but have never skied outside NE.

 

Which resort would be best for us?  My bro wants to do Squaw.  I know nothing about either mountain.  Reccomendations?


Edited by TheProdigalSkier - Sat, 31 Jan 09 17:58:40 GMT

Man, this question is so easy it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Go to Squaw, then when you want something different go to Alpine Meadows, forget Northstar. I have lived/skied in Tahoe for a long time and have gone to Northstar five times, it is a pain to deal with.  After you park at Northstar and catch the bus, then walk though the village, then get a ticket, then take the lift to the mountain, you are talking a good hour at least. By that time you could have done 3 runs at Squaw or Alpine and got a read on where the best snow is.
 

 

BTW, Tahoe has a lot of snow.

post #10 of 23

If I was an expert skier I would probably head to squaw.  But based on the description of your family etc. I think you all may enjoy northstar more.  Your brother could ski the lookout mountain if he is looking for more challenge otherwise I think there are enough steeps to give you and dad practice.  And wide - relatively uncrowded  groomers on the outer east and west sides of northstar to let loose.   But I think you should also atleast spend a day at Squaw to experience it.

post #11 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProdigalSkier View Post

 

Ok planning a trip out west in mid march for the week of st paddys. Since Squaw and North Star are both offering free lift tix for military members those are really the only two choices. I am going with my father and brother. My brother is a Level 8 skier and has been west to breck, sbird, park city and proably a bunch of others I dont know about. My father has been to breck a few times when he was younger. He was a level 8 skier but also hasnt skied in about 9 years. I am a level 7 skier, but have never skied outside NE.

 

Which resort would be best for us? My bro wants to do Squaw. I know nothing about either mountain. Reccomendations?

 

You're there for a week?  The two resorts are only about a half hour drive apart, so hit both, and then decide which you like better.  There is no opinion that's more useful than your own.

 

Squaw is huge, has some of the most advanced terrain in North America.  That said, there's plenty of intermediate terrain.  N* is doesn't have the same gnarly stuff, but by your descriptions it sounds like it will have enough challenge to keep you interested.

 

If it's windy, go to N*.  Squaw is a big open bowl that has no shelter from the wind.  N* is protected by trees.

post #12 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ske-Bum View Post

 


 

Man, this question is so easy it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Go to Squaw, then when you want something different go to Alpine Meadows, forget Northstar. I have lived/skied in Tahoe for a long time and have gone to Northstar five times, it is a pain to deal with.  After you park at Northstar and catch the bus, then walk though the village, then get a ticket, then take the lift to the mountain, you are talking a good hour at least. By that time you could have done 3 runs at Squaw or Alpine and got a read on where the best snow is.
 

 

BTW, Tahoe has a lot of snow.

 

What he said! I was at Northstar the first time for a race a week ago and i couldn't believe how ****ed up it was.  Then they wanted $30 to park a few hundred yards form the lift.  go figure

post #13 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post

  

What he said! I was at Northstar the first time for a race a week ago and i couldn't believe how ****ed up it was.  Then they wanted $30 to park a few hundred yards form the lift.  go figure

 

Agree that N* is a pain to deal with.  Park in the free lot, wait for the shuttle which drops you off in the village, then walk a half a mile to the gondola, then take the gondola to the lifts. ugh.

 

The thing is, Squaw is just as bad.  Walk a mile to the ticket office, wait in line for 20 minutes to buy a ticket, then take the funitel to the lifts.ugh ugh.

 

 

post #14 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

...The thing is, Squaw is just as bad.  Walk a mile to the ticket office, wait in line for 20 minutes to buy a ticket, then take the funitel to the lifts.ugh ugh.

 

 

 

yeah, if you want to use squaw like a complete fool.  you can also park within 100 feet of Far East (there's a ticket booth right next to it) and be skiing within 4 minutes of buckling your boots.

 

i didn't know all the lifts were at the top of the funitel.... last time i checked KT and red dog are right next to it at the base.

 

post #15 of 23

An alternative to waiting in the line at the Funitel- take KT and Headwall up, you will get a nice warm-up run and will get to the top of Headwall faster than most of the crowds.  SquawOne and Siberia also do that just as fast.   

post #16 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahroy View Post

 

 

 

yeah, if you want to use squaw like a complete fool. you can also park within 100 feet of Far East (there's a ticket booth right next to it) and be skiing within 4 minutes of buckling your boots.

 

i didn't know all the lifts were at the top of the funitel.... last time i checked KT and red dog are right next to it at the base.

 

 

Thanks. I was wondering about that base area and whether you could buy tickets there - it's the XC concession, so I wasn't sure if it served downhill skiers.  Now I know and next time, that's what I'll do.

 

About the lifts at the base: we actually got on the Red Dog lift right away (making a beeline in the opposite direction of the hordes that were crowding around the funitel).  The KT lift was closed pending avi control. Everybody was getting on the funitel, and presumably using squaw like complete fools.  (c:

 

I guess my main gripe was that there were thousands of people there at 9am trying to buy tickets and they only had two ticket windows open. It took just as long to begin skiing at Squaw as it did at Northstar.


Good day of skiing, though.

post #17 of 23

were you here this year?  squaw was seemingly running in ultra low budget mode all january... bitching and moaning about the economy while flailing on all kinds of simple services.  that's my guess on two ticket booths.... fortunately i haven't dealt with a ticket window at squaw in a long time.  i always bring guests to the booth by far east, tho. 

 

as far as the funitel..... there are lots of different ways to enjoy squaw, but i haven't ridden the funitel for my first run in many years (other than a couple opening days when it was the only base lift).  like alexzn said KT -> Headwall is faster to get up top and you get incredible runs off both.  that being said i rarely leave KT/Headwall.

post #18 of 23

 

Speaking of the Headwall - anyone know the pitch on that? I mean after the drop on skiers left of the lift. I just did that a couple of times on Monday. It was a rush :)

 

Dave

 

post #19 of 23

My estimate: 35-38 degrees.

 

I'll measure it later.

post #20 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahroy View Post

 

were you here this year?

 

Last Thursday.  The first day they were fully open after a ~6' dump.  Powerhounds were out in force and they couldn't get it together to find more than two cashiers to take the money. I suppose that they knew that nobody was going to leave without buying...as Lou Reed wrote "First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait..."

 

As for steepness, this site has some nice maps that depict pitch via color coding:  http://3dskimaps.com/squawvalley/ 

Seems to be in the 40 degree range.

post #21 of 23

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

As for steepness, this site has some nice maps that depict pitch via color coding:  http://3dskimaps.com/squawvalley/ 

Seems to be in the 40 degree range.

 

So very short 40-42 degrees I read, before being a continuous +/- 35 degrees.

 

Wow. I underestimated it. But that's nothing out of the normal: I was thinking the Mausefalle on the Hahnenkamm downhill run in Kitzbuhel barely, if at all, hit 30 degrees. But then I thought Bill's Run in Mott Canyon at Heavenly was in the mid 50 degrees when I skied it (actually about 45 degrees, a bit steeper by a degrees or two even).

 

But I do know #s pretty well usually. USUALLY......

post #22 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

 

 

Last Thursday.  The first day they were fully open after a ~6' dump.

 

very nice.  way to catch what must have been a legendary day... today was my first real day at squaw in almost a month due to a back injury.  boy did i miss that place.... couldn't rip it that hard, but it was absolutely incredible to be back.

 

you'd think they would've been ready for every person on the planet to buy a ticket on that day.  squaw has the terrain, lifts, and patrol.... they just don't always have the little things dialed.  kt opening that late only happens a couple-few times a year.

post #23 of 23

For Military:

 

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.  Both are free the rest of the year.  Alpine doesn't advertise it, but it is free.  It is really easy to get the free ticket as squaw.  Go to Special Tickets, show your military ID, sign a roster, and walk 200 feet to KT-22.

 

I have yet to make it to Alpine because of my KT addiction, but I hear its great!

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