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Best Squaw Valley and Heavenly trails?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm going to South Lake Tahoe at the end of January. Staying at Harvey's in SLT. I'm planning on skiing Heavenly 3 days and Squaw Valley 2 days. I might go to Sierra-at-Tahoe for a day. SKI magazine showed some super steep terrain there, probably too steep for me, but I'm intrigued.

I'm looking for some guidance on trails to take. I heard Gunbarrel at Heavenly is nice, but they have a Nevada side & California side I've heard there are flats and it takes a long time to go from one side to the other.

Is it easier to take a shuttle to the Stagecoach Lodge or Boulder Lodge than skiing from one side to the other? (I'm looking at the trail map)

I'm an older guy (late 50's), long-time-ago ski patroller. I still like fast cruising, corduroy slopes, glades and playing in a superpipe (but not doing any tricks). I like steep slopes, but prefer to not fall to my death if I make a slight mistake heading down the hill. The plan is to ski my ass off and not die in an avalanche. I'm not a huge fan of bumps, but short bumpy steeps with good cover are nice on occasion. 

I just came back from 2 days at Loon Mtn in NH - skied about 40,000 ft. vertical and my thighs are quite aware of it, as that's my first trip to a big hill this winter - my warm up hill is Blue Hills in Milton MA at 300 ft vertical.

Can you suggest your favorite trails, or a good sequence to take at Heavenly, like: Milky Way to Mott Canyon, take Dipper Express to Dipper Woods, ski down to Galaxie Woods?

For Squaw - take the Cable Car to top & find my way down to the KT 22 Express, just go wherever there are no trees?

Should I get a guide? I found a few with good rates.
Any help is appreciated. I've been wanting to make this trip for many years...

Thanks.
Edited by bosrocker51 - 1/7/10 at 10:47pm
post #2 of 21
If you like cruising -at SQUAW -  I would explore Red Dog, Exhibition, Siberia express, Shirley lake and Granite Chief - in that order.

If you don't like Powder, chowder, bumps - i would stay away from KT22 and Headwall.
post #3 of 21
Bos,

Welcome to Squaw.  Squaw's relative strengths are its beginner and advanced slopes; there are better mountains for cruisers.  I generally agree with Marty's suggestions but would add Squaw Creek somewhere at the beginning of the list.  And don't bother with the Cable Car as it takes you to the "wrong" part of the mountain.  I suggest warming up/cruising some on Red Dog and Squaw Creek and then jump over to KT (as you probably know its the signature lift).  Try Saddle first and when you are ready try any of the other KT faces or up to Headwall which is easy to get to from the Saddle.  Enjoy.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
 I might go to Sierra-at-Tahoe for a day.

I heard Gunbarrel at Heavenly is nice, but they have a Nevada side & California side I've heard there are flats and it takes a long time to go from one side to the other.

Is it easier to take a shuttle to the Stagecoach Lodge or Boulder Lodge than skiing from one side to the other? (I'm looking at the trail map)
Can you suggest your favorite trails, or a good sequence to take at Heavenly, like: Milky Way to Mott Canyon, take Dipper Express to Dipper Woods, ski down to Galaxie Woods?

I'd skip Sierra-at-Tahoe.  There is nothing there that isn't at Heavenly.

Gunbarrel itself is a 1600 vertical bump field.  The trees off each side are nice if there has been recent snow.

A skiier as you describe yourself will be able to ski between the California base lodge (gunbarrel) and stagecoach much faster than a shuttle.  It is 3 highspeed lift rides to the top then a fast groomer down to the nevada base (use "way home" east side of east peak lake.  Don't go through east peak lodge). 

It doesn't take a long time to get between Cali and Nevada (or visa-versa), but it's enough of a hassle that you probably don't want to do it repeatedly.

Avoid Galaxy chair at all costs.  Getting out of Boulder base area is two slow lifts also.

Mott and Killibrew are both good.  Pay attention to the sun and time of day since they are both 300 degree bowls.  Gates B, 1, 2 & 3 face north.  Gates C, D, 4 & 5 face south.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
great suggestions, guys. Thanks for the info - there in nothing like first hand intelligence when it comes to the inside scoop.

Gunbarrel sounds like fun, but work... I skied Chin Clip at Stowe last February - it's about the same , maybe 1,400 ft vertical of wall to wall bumps with no bailouts, and only moderately steep. I passed 6 or 7 people getting down the trail.

Can you suggest any glades at Heavenly that are fun? Best restaurant/food at Squaw or Heavenly/SLT?
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post

Can you suggest any glades at Heavenly that are fun? Best restaurant/food at Squaw or Heavenly/SLT?

Heavenly has skiable trees all over the place.  The most commonly skied are shown on the trail map and easy to see from the lifts.  The on mountain food on the other hand is notoriously bad.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post

great suggestions, guys. Thanks for the info - there in nothing like first hand intelligence when it comes to the inside scoop.

Gunbarrel sounds like fun, but work... I skied Chin Clip at Stowe last February - it's about the same , maybe 1,400 ft vertical of wall to wall bumps with no bailouts, and only moderately steep. I passed 6 or 7 people getting down the trail.

Can you suggest any glades at Heavenly that are fun? Best restaurant/food at Squaw or Heavenly/SLT?

Well, I'd assume Gunbarrel is a bit steeper. I think on average it's in the high 20s degrees-wise and the end of the Face, Gunbarrel's headwall, is like a steep 35-40 degrees for a pretty sustained pitch. Not to mention the 1600 ft of vertical. The steepness isn't really the problem on this run though, as it never really is at a really scary pitch. It's practically just stamina. Truly a mogul skier's must-do run.

The scary pitches can be found in Motts and Killebrews canyon. Killebrews a little bit tougher than Motts. In order of challenge in my opinion with gates in Motts, from least to most difficult, it's 4, 5, 3, 6, 2, 1. It's a pretty gradual increase too, so it's not like a big jump from 4 to 5, but from 4 to 1 is another question. Pitches range from 35 degrees on gate 4 to about 50 degrees in some place on Gate 1. Things get tracked out quickly in here too. Never been in Killebrews though since I was alone.

Ellie's on the Skyline Express Chair is a great black diamond cruiser. They sometimes allow the upper part to bump up, which just isn't as fun.

I liked  Big Dipper Bowl a lot too. It's like the pitch of Gate 4 in Motts except a lot shorter. Great short run.

The glades are awesome too. Pretty much any tree section is skiable because the trees are wide spaced apart. Dipper Woods doesn't get skied too much which is awesome when the snow falls. My favorite woods though was at the bottom of Stagecoach woods, keeeeep going. And don't ski along the fall line, keep going further into the woods. Eventually you should get untracked wonderful snow skiing down the fall line to Stage Coach chair. And this was the last runs of the day on a 6 inch pow day. Real good.
post #8 of 21
>

 > Best restaurant/food at Squaw or Heavenly/SLT?

 


On the the mountain is all CRAP !!!

off - Squaw - Chamois for pizza and beer, "is it still called " Balboa Cafe right in front of funitel.
Also the grill located at 2 o'clock with the funitel behind you.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow - this is so great. I really appreciate the info on where to ski. I've hear Heavenly has really expensive food on the mountain. You guys say it's lousy as well... I'll probably bring my pack & protein bars. Then again, my GF does not ski, so maybe I'll meet her in South Lake Tahoe for lunch...

I'm REALLY looking forward to skiing Heavenly & Squaw.

I'm praying for fresh snow.

again, thanks!
post #10 of 21
 Killebrew is like the harder parts of Motts.  It has a long traverse to get out (basically going around the ridge separating the two canyons) and the exit was not marked when I was there.  It would be easy to go right past and keep going till you reached the boundary rope. Fortunately I just happened to ask another skier, saving myself a hike back up.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

 Killebrew is like the harder parts of Motts.  It has a long traverse to get out (basically going around the ridge separating the two canyons) and the exit was not marked when I was there.  It would be easy to go right past and keep going till you reached the boundary rope. Fortunately I just happened to ask another skier, saving myself a hike back up.

FYI I heard some chutes have mandatory drops in Killebrew with 55 dg pitches... dunno how accurate that is. Venturing into Killebrew alone when it hasn't snowed for like 2 weeks would've been a bad idea...
post #12 of 21
Hey Bos..
Don't waste time going off mtn. for lunch w/ your other. There's plenty to do while you're skiing - shopping, casinos/gambling, sightseeing, maybe take a lesson (GO w/ a Pro?)
Also, I think I heard that Gunbarrel wasthe trail Sonny Bono skied off into oblivion. Maybe others who read this andknow otherwise will tell us otherwise.
Have fun!
 
post #13 of 21
At Squaw, Granite Chief has some fun trails.  The Funnel was also fun.

I would hit Alpine Meadows, its like down the road from Squaw.

I'd check out The Sunnyside Restaurant,  it's on the water. It has good food and views. From Squaw, do down the hill and make the right over Hinny bridge and its on your left.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post




FYI I heard some chutes have mandatory drops in Killebrew with 55 dg pitches... dunno how accurate that is. Venturing into Killebrew alone when it hasn't snowed for like 2 weeks would've been a bad idea...
Could be, we only took one run down the obvious path from the Killebrew gate we happened to be at.  I suspect if you traverse a bit before you drop in you could find some really hairy stuff.

 I've spent a lot more time in Motts than Killebrew.  For one thing, it is a lot easier to get into and out of.  (Unless you really work at staying high, you will have to climb a little to get to the Killebrew gates).

To go back to Motts for a minute -- a cool thing about it is how easy it is to dial in the amount of challenge you want.  Generally as you go skiers right the lines (which are defined by slots between trees, or in a few cases, rock ridges) get steeper.  So you can go across the top till you see something you like, and if it is too much you just back off one.  The degree of difficulty is also very snow-depth dependent.  There are some drops that fill in if there is enough snow.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by windy View Post
Also, I think I heard that Gunbarrel wasthe trail Sonny Bono skied off into oblivion. Maybe others who read this andknow otherwise will tell us otherwise.

Sonny Bono hit a tree on skiers right side of Orion about 100 feet past the entrance to Dipper Bowl (after the trail turns right).
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
Then again, my GF does not ski, so maybe I'll meet her in South Lake Tahoe for lunch...
 
Wolfgang Puck's express is at the base of the gondola would be a good place to meet her.
post #17 of 21

It sounds like I'll be out there the same time as you.  My wife and I are both in mid fifties and were married on the top of Heavenly.. Still not sure how I got away with that but she bought the idea........
At Heavenly I typically head up to the peak of Dipper Express the first thing in the morning.  The milky way trees are at their best then.  Once the crowds come I might spend an hour on the Mott Canyon chair.  You can make it from the top of the Comet over to California in 5 minutes easily.  Once the crowds arrive, I spend a lot of time on the Stagecoach chair and the Olympic downhill.
We'll be skiing 7 days so will do about 2 at Heavenly, 2-3 at Kirkwood (our favorite) 1 at Sierra, and then on our way out possibly Homewood, Alpine of Sugar Bowl.
If you like long groomed uncrowded runs, hit Sierra during the week.
Forgot to mention, if you're staying at Harvey's and don't have a car, just walk over to the Gondola (2 blocks) and you'll get up to the summit of either side in no time at all.
Have fun my friend, and let us know how your trip went.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
maine skier - feel free to email me at tnicboston at juno.com - maybe we can get together and ski or have a drink. 

Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by maine-skier View Post

It sounds like I'll be out there the same time as you.  My wife and I are both in mid fifties and were married on the top of Heavenly.. Still not sure how I got away with that but she bought the idea........
At Heavenly I typically head up to the peak of Dipper Express the first thing in the morning.  The milky way trees are at their best then.  Once the crowds come I might spend an hour on the Mott Canyon chair.  You can make it from the top of the Comet over to California in 5 minutes easily.  Once the crowds arrive, I spend a lot of time on the Stagecoach chair and the Olympic downhill.
We'll be skiing 7 days so will do about 2 at Heavenly, 2-3 at Kirkwood (our favorite) 1 at Sierra, and then on our way out possibly Homewood, Alpine of Sugar Bowl.
If you like long groomed uncrowded runs, hit Sierra during the week.
Forgot to mention, if you're staying at Harvey's and don't have a car, just walk over to the Gondola (2 blocks) and you'll get up to the summit of either side in no time at all.
Have fun my friend, and let us know how your trip went.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
bullhorn - thanks for a great suggestion! She's really been a sport, going with me to Lake Placid, Mt. Tremblant, Stowe, Smugglers Notch... I was thinking about buying her a day at a Spa.

again, thanks! 
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
maine-skier: hey, message me here & we can meet, maybe ski together, or get a drink after the lifts close? I'd love to meet fellow epicski people! We rented a car for the drive from Reno & so I can access Squaw or.. Alpine, or whatever.

Please get in touch!

We arrive in SLT Friday afternoon (weather permitting). 

Mark
post #21 of 21
Think about checking out Kirkwood. It took about a hour to drive there and there's shuttles that leave from the hotels that cost less than a lift ticket (trip and ticket).
As for SLT, my hubby and I stock up on vittles at Raley's. We have a little walk up Mexican food stand we like that's a block west of Stateline Dr, near Harvey's. We also tried Blue Dog Pizza last Sunday and liked it, although I do not recommend getting the "Hair of the Dog" pizza before having to board a plane (pizza has jalapenos and green chilis on it). "Fire and Ice" is a Mongolian BBQ and it looked cool but the wait time was 1 1/2 hours last Sunday and we didn't stay
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