Squawlerific!!! | AspenTimes.com


In Aspen we like to think we’re all that. And compared to Vail and all the Front Range resorts, we are all that. But we’re only some of that compared to Squaw Valley.

Squaw Valley USA! If you haven’t been there, then you haven’t experienced one of the truly great ski mountains.

Just about every possible inch of terrain is open to skiing and snowboarding – every single inch. If the coverage is there, you’re allowed to lay your fatties (or skinnies) down. It’s all about the skiing and snowboarding – plain and simple.

And there’s plenty of terrain. Squaw Valley is spread over five peaks – Snow King, KT-22, Squaw Peak, Emigrant and Granite Chief – in the Sierra Nevada mountain range overlooking Lake Tahoe. There are 26 chairlifts and two cable cars to move people up the hill. In some areas, there are four lifts running side by side – almost parallel – with each accessing different terrain. It’s a trip.

The highest point is Granite Chief, at 9,050 feet. To get to the top, you have to hike about half the distance to the top of Highland Bowl. The first three turns require significantly more skill and attention than Highland Bowl, because you’re in a narrow, steep chute that will claim your skis, and possibly more, if you don’t punch it.

The steep pitch off Granite Chief turns the soft spring snow – Big Daddy Bruce’s Sweet, Sweet Corn – into butter. It’s the bomb. Imagine the experience on a big powder day.

The steeps off KT-22, the grand old lady of Squaw Valley, are phenomenal – long, steep and filled with big ol’ round bumps like the kind you’ll find on the steepest sections of the Ridge of Bell.

It feels like steeps are everywhere at Squaw Valley, kind of the way they’re everywhere on Aspen Mountain. But our California cousin is much more accommodating to the Blue Square- and Green Circle-types, with 70 percent of its terrain classified as one of the two. It just feels like Ajax because there’s so much there there.

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