Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows

Heather Burke
SnowPak Local Insider
Heather Burke

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  • Largest ski resort in California
  • Legendary reputation for high snowfall and notorious steeps
  • High standard of grooming on steep trails
  • Crowds and long lines on powder days

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows Ski Packages

Lodging + Lift Tickets Discount Price
Americas Best Value Inn Lake Tahoe-Tahoe City
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
21% off $580
Basecamp Tahoe City
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
18% off $707
Best Western Plus Truckee-Tahoe Hotel
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
18% off $710

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Squaw Valley combined with Alpine Meadows becomes the largest Californian ski resort of legends, home of the world’s first double chair in 1949, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and training ground to pro skiers. Although both are technically separate ski areas, there are plans to connect the two via gondola. Nonetheless, both are covered by the same lift ticket which gives you massive 6,000 ac to explore!

Best month to go

Mid-February to Mid-March

Mid Feb to Mid March are the best months to visit. There is nothing worse than holiday crowds to add to the terrible lift queues at Squaw Valley during Christmas and New Years.


Reno-Tahoe International Airport


Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows (1 hour)

Base of Squaw Valley (Walk)

  • Expensive and often limited lodging
  • Ski-in/ski-out accommodation available
  • Most convenient location to the slopes

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Alpine Meadows (1-2 mi)

  • No ski-in/ski-out lodging
  • Limited range of chalets and vacation rentals including Airbnb's
  • Less dining options than Squaw Valley

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Truckee (10-15 mi)

  • Small town with affordable accommodation
  • 20-30 minutes drive away with ski traffic
  • Has more variety of dining, bars and shopping than Tahoe City

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Tahoe City (5-10 mi)

  • Closer to the ski resort than Truckee
  • 20-30 minutes drive away with ski traffic
  • Affordable accommodation and has amazing views of the lake

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For beginners

Squaw Valley is where beginners will want to go! Most of the green slopes here are in the upper mid-mountain so beginners can join the more experienced skiers higher up! Hop aboard the Big Blue Express lift to access some of the best long green runs here!

For intermediates

We'd pick Alpine Meadows over Squaw Valley for intermediates as the runs are generally less crowded and there are tons of blues to cruise. Our favorites here include the Rock Garden Run off the Summit Express lift or Outer Limits off the Lakeview Chair for stunning vistas of Lake Tahoe. In Squaw Valley Lakeview Run and Knob Hill are great long runs worth trying out but our to-die-for run here is The Attic.

For experts

Both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have expert terrain but if we had to pick one, it would be Squaw Valley. Notorious for its steeps, Squaw Valley's best chutes and cliffs can be accessed by the KT-22 Express lift! The Silverado lift is also perfect for those looking for some crowd-free shredding. Otherwise, in Alpine Meadows, the powder-filled Beaver Bowl and Estelle Bowls are incredible!

Find freshies

Freshies are easy to find even days after a storm. If you're up for a hike, the advanced rated Beaver Bowl and Estelle Bowl off the Summit Express lift in Alpine Meadows has plenty of hidden powder stashes!

Ditch the crowds

Crowds are inevitable on powder days and they're especially worse in Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley is also notorious for their terrible lift lines with the Gold Coast Funitel and Shirley Lake Express being two of the busiest lifts! Avoid them during peak times if you hate long waits!

Non skiers

Non-skiers will have a range of things to do here including dogsledding and Nordic skiing. There are also Casinos over in Stateline Nevada or if you're lucky enough to be visiting in April, the annual WinterWonderGrass California Music and Brew Festival at Squaw Valley is tons of fun for everyone!


Both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are quite family-friendly, though Squaw Valley has more facilities suitable for children as well as a larger ski school. Squaw Valley's base village also easy to walk around and has an abundance of restaurants for fuelling up.

Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley - Alpine MeadowsHeavenly Mountain Resort
beginner25 %20 %
intermediate42 %45 %
advanced33 %30 %
expert-5 %
total runs270 97
ski area6,000ac 4,800ac
summit elevation9,050ft 10,067ft
total lifts42 28
child lift ticket$98 $80
adult lift ticket$159 $146
back country
value for money
average total snowfall354″ 256″

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Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows Reviews

Fabulous 4.3 / 5
based on 57 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Jan 05, 2020
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsWilliam W.
advanced snowboarder
Squaw Valley is a stunning mountain with more than enough space to keep you from seeing it all through the whole weekend. Alpine Meadows is a fantastic park with great spots to enjoy. You won’t get bored on either of these resorts.... More
Superb!4.9 / 5Nov 19, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsRock H.
beginner snowboarder
Outstanding experience from beginning to end. Squaw has everything you could want and then some. From beginner to advanced, this mountain had you covered. Why go elsewhere and pay more when you can experience the best right here?... More
Superb!4.8 / 5Nov 19, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsScott H.
advanced skier
Amazing terrain set in a gorgeous valley with world class skiing. The area is vast and serves the pros to the beginner skiier. It’s truly a special place. After many seasons and unforgettable days skiing there it’s simply awesome... More
Superb!4.9 / 5Sep 30, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsJosh K.
expert skier
Squaw / Alpine has it all - best of both worlds... Alpine still holds onto that classic local feel resort while offering some of my favorite stashes of tree skiing and hidden gems, there’s always a fresh stash to be found! Squaw is the place to go to see some of the best skiers in the world, and there is a reason for that... amazing terrain!!! ... More
Superb!4.9 / 5Sep 26, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsSholom W.
intermediate skier
A smaller mountain compared to mammoth. But dont let that fool you. The slopes are great and the town is fun too. Lots of trees and alot of nature to see. Make the trip.... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Sep 04, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsDaynee C.
intermediate snowboarder
Best place ive ever been, sometimes crowded but that only only backs my statement, Employees are nice and very knowledgeable about ever question i had they knew the answers. Parking wasnt too bad you just have to show up early but they tell you where to park so its not confusing!... More
Superb!4.7 / 5Aug 08, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsEduardo F.
intermediate snowboarder
Squaw Valley is the best place I have been on north california. House of 1960 winter Olympics, this place have lots of trails for all snowboarders levels. I really like the upper mountain and all park.... More
Very Good!4 / 5Jul 01, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsJj P.
intermediate snowboarder
squaw corporate which has turned into alterra has basically destryoed the down home feel of squaw and is currently destroying alpine meadows down home/small mountain vibe, they'e stripped many traditions away and it's heart breaking.... More
Very Good!4.2 / 5May 03, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsMo C.
expert skier
Amazing variety of terrain on one of the best shaped mountains in the world. It is no wonder why the had the Winter Olympics there. You will find something for everyone now that both Squaw and Alpine Meadows are combined.... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Jan 14, 2019
Squaw Valley - Alpine Meadows ReviewsJohn C.
advanced snowboarder
Alpine Meadows is my favorite all around mountain in Tahoe. Bowls, groomers, cliffs, greens. It's got something for everyone and usually lacks any sort of lift line to go with it. The vibe doesn't seem to have suffered as much here since the buyout as up the road. Can't wait to see the upgraded lodge this year. Let everyone else wait in line up... More

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