Photo Essay: Good Morning Squaw Valley Part 1

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And Greg Trinker

5:23 am

After 15 seasons pulling the graveyard shift, grooming manager Tom Boxler is still amazed by a Lake Tahoe sunrise.

It's easy to forget what goes on behind the scenes at a major ski resort. A glimpse through the lens of Keoki Flagg's camera reveals that it's the 900 high-season workers of a mega-resort-in this case Squaw Valley/USA, Calif.-who keep the area humming. It's clear that patrollers, groomers and lift mechanics choose their professional paths not for financial reasons, but to satisfy a passion for winter and to lay claim to their own corner of paradise.

6:31 am

More than 2,500 feet above the valley floor, operator Ralph Moriuchi rides the roof of the tram, looking and listening for trouble spots. Moriuchi, 39, drove the tram and worked as an assistant mechanic (a.k.a. gopher) for two years before being entrusted with the hefty responsibilities of mechanical detail.

Photo Essay: Good Morning Squaw Valley Part 2

Photo Essay: Good Morning Squaw Valley Part 3