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What Is Squaw's Tower 16?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

In reading about places to ski within Squaw Valley, I've come across a number of references to "Tower 16".  It sounds like something I'd like to try, but I'm puzzled by how little information I can find about it.  For instance, where is it?  Is there a tower there?  How is it accessed?  How did it get it's name?  Why doesn't it appear on the current mountain guide?  I got a look at the ski patrol map and it's not there either.


If you go to, you can see that it appeared on the maps in 1985 and 1986, downhill from the Gold Coast Lodge.  In 1990, it's apparently renamed "Sundance".  After that, it's gone.  Perhaps they want to discourage people.  It looks like I'd take Broken Arrow to get there, but I'm not sure what routes people follow.


I'm eager to hear from anyone who can tell me more about Tower 16.  Thanks.

post #2 of 9

Yes, it's a south-southeast facing run off of Broken Arrow that is one of the first to soften in the spring.  Just take a right at the top of BA.

post #3 of 9

Before the Funitel was built there was a gondola in its place.  There were multiple towers from top to bottom; far more than the number of towers now used for the Funi.  Tower #16 for the then gondola was at the top of what is now called Sundance.  There is a Funitel tower there in its place, but its got some other number.  But people still call it "Tower 16" (or some just call it Tower), just like no one refers to West Face as Johny Mosely's.


The easiest way to get there is if Broken Arrow is running (but it often is not).  Unload from Broken Arrow and head down the road to the left.  As soon as the pitch flattens out you hang a sharp left/U turn and after a few skate strokes you will be standing under the Funitel tower and at the top of the run.  If Broken Arrow is not running it can be accessed from the High Camp area/top of Shirley/top of Silverado.  There are three beginer lifts, the bottom of which all come together near High Camp.  From the top of Silverado for example if you ski right through the area where the three come together you will see a road and sign pointing to Siberia and the mountain run.  Right there is an opening in the fence next to that road and a groomed path will take you to wher you might have made the U turn from Broken Arrow.

post #4 of 9

good thread, now where is corkscrew and smoothie ?

post #5 of 9

I'm such a sucker for this stuff.  You will likely never see any official reference to Smoothie (on a map that is) but both smoothie and corkscrew are accessed from Granite Chief.  Corkscrew is in the rockpile separating Granite from Shirley and its hard (for me at least) to describe how to get there (but its not hard to find).  Smoothie, OTH, is special; when its open its only open for 90 minutes or so a morning and most often in the spring (or spring like conditions).  This is done to  preserve it and I would say its open less than 20 days a season.  It is out of bounds intermediate terrain that is generally south facing and of a rolling variety and it corns up like nothing you've been on (a "smoothie" perhaps?).  When you get off the Granite chair there will be a sign in front and to your right a bit saying its open (or closed).  There will be a stream of people traversing right; follow them and don't stop in the traverse tracks or it will piss people off.  The traverse goes out of bounds through a gate and then the terrain starts to fall away down Shirley Canyon.  You end up at the bottom of Silverado which makes for a two chair ride circuit to get back to the top.  If you are there early and haul ass you can get three laps.   

post #6 of 9

Ha, Ha, Thanks, smoothie sounds very intriguing, hopefully I can get to try it, and there are more - where is Mainline Pocket, Needle Chute ? maybe you should take us tour around Squaw, next season would be my second season at squaw and I have no idea all these places.




post #7 of 9


i guess i'll chime in, as i checked in here to see if toys for sale any interest and noticed this question...


smoothie is called smoothie, beause it's supposed to stay smooth if patrol calls it right. its not open in new snow, just spring, only when it's soft, but not too soft to make deep tracks, so smooth.


corkcrew is a fun little wander, where you don't want to make a wrong turn. head toward the attic (skier waay R off granite chief on the traverse toward shirley), skiers L of the attic is cork screw, starts flat, a couple little squeezes into more fun options. cliffs abound, and wrong ways can be trouble.


mainline is the rock band you look up when you get off gold coast, nice spectating on a jumping day, pretty moderate lines mostly.


needle is skiers far right in the cornice 2 cliff area. L to R looking down, classic, punchbowl, hourglass, no way out, needle. There's lots more names and lines, but there's a general map. needle is narrow, but moderate .


you should buy squawlywood. fun book, and even if you don't ski lots of the lines, it's nice to know what your looking at and who's goin' off on a pow morning...




post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the great information.  I knew this site was full of knowledgeable folks.


One further question:  Where does a Tower 16 run "go"?  I mean, does one veer right to get back to the bottom of Broken Arrow, or does one go toward Headwall/Cornice II?  If I want to do laps of Tower 16, what's the best circuit?


Looking at the maps, it appears that there's a Funitel tower uphill from "Tower 16".  Do people climb up there and ski the terrain on the other side of the ridge?  I guess this would be like following the route of the Funitel down, at least for a bit.  On the map, it almost looks like this would be Silverado 8.


As you can tell, I'm very curious.  Thanks.

post #9 of 9

Sadly skiing laps on Tower 16 involves two chairs (if you want to get all of it) as you ski Tower down to Sunnyside/mountain run and you "exit" below Headwall.  So if you want to do laps on Tower you ski to Squaw One then to Broken Arrow to get back to the top.  There are variations where you can ski the far skier's right of Tower in the Sun Chutes area and cut it off early to try to get to Headwall but IMO that's kind of not worth it.  As for your other question you are describing terrain accessed from Broken Arrow as well.  At the top of Broken Arrow if you proceed straight ahead (which would be north and in the same direction as the path of the chair) you access all that terrain that is separated from Tower by a large ridge of granite.  That also involves skiing down to something like Squaw One.

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