1. One of the first places at Squaw to fill in each season, Tamara’s has everything from open powder fields (stay skier’s left for steeper lines) to nicely spaced trees and fun, optional cliff jumps. Follow the cat track left at the base of Olympic Lady and you’ll find more powder on the lower slopes near the Exhibition lift.
2. From the top of the Olympic Lady lift, fade skier’s right near the cliff area for a straightline-to-air chute with an incredibly smooth landing. Just shut down your speed quickly because the line gets steeper, with more trees. Enter the halfpipe-size gully after the trees and pop off the right wall for a great back-flip booter.
3. There’s a reason this line is named after the legend. McConkey’s is a proving ground for serious skiers. Its entrance is a puckering 68 degrees, and a fall could send you tumbling through the trees at the bottom. If you stick it and navigate the trees, you’re lined up perfectly to choose a less stressful line through the Baby Fingers, which has smaller cliffs and chutes.
4. Nose to Fingers is Holmes’s favorite line at Squaw. From the top of the KT-22 Express lift, follow the ridge that parallels the chair until it steepens. From there, go right to pick your way through Coleman’s area via lines like Coleman’s Alternate and Railroad, which have tight chutes and mandatory airs. Or spot the clump of trees, which marks the takeoff for Booger Rock; then carry your speed through the flats to the Fingers. It’s a series of steep chutes and spines with true Squallywood visibility (it’s right under the chair). It’s a popular zone, so pick your line and stick to it or risk being sloughed. You’ll know if you ski it well from the chairlift reaction.
5. Shortly after KT-22 Express opens, check out Headwall, where you’ll find Squaw’s trademark buttery wind-buff. “It gets constant refills,” Holmes says. His favorites are Headwall Face and Hogsback.
6. Mainline Pocket is rife with high-speed straightlines with long run-outs, technical descents with minor consequences, and endless fun. It’s a zone, Holmes says, that’s great no matter the conditions because of the terrain. To get there, traverse south from the Emigrant lift and follow the five-minute bootpack.
7. The big zone off the Broken Arrow lift has a mix of straightline possibilities, optional airs, and open spaces. It’s a lesser-known, unintimidating zone that’ll hand you 1,500 to 1,600 vertical feet of sunny fun. It still gets steep, sloughs, and has some cliff drops, but for the most part what you see is what you get. But ski it early before the sun has its way with it.
> Squaw has a ski-in, ski-out Starbucks, but most locals go to Wildflour Baking Company. The chocolate-chip cookies go perfectly with the slow-drip coffee.
> For a healthy lunch, swing in for soup and grilled cheese at the local fave Soupa. If burgers and beer are on your menu, try Rocker.