Classics: Squaw Valley, California - Ski Mag

Classics: Squaw Valley, California

It’s more than G.N.A.R.
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Classics: Squaw Valley tout

As owners and locals fight over the future of Squaw’s base area and three years of drought test the economy, the fact remains that skiing Squaw is fun. The soul of skiing does live here, but in the form of a great community more than marketing lingo. A cathedral of American skiing, it’s the setting of Hot Dog...the Movie and the last truly dirtbag (in a good way) Olympics. The terrain is great no matter the conditions, the people are downright awesome, and the sun always shines in California.

—MIKE ROGGE

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Squaw Palisades Map thumb

Anatomy: Squaw Valley's Palisades

Locals have a mantra for the Palisades: “When in doubt, air it out.” This granite block has cameoed so many times in ski-porn that its 60-footers and vise-grip couloirs are as familiar as Glen Plake’s mohawk.

Squaw Valley 2011

Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley Ski Resort is located in Olympic Valley, California and is the second largest ski resort at Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.

Ride the Granite Chief chairlift on a powder day if you feel like showing off—small and large cliff bands are located right under the chair for prime spectator heckling."Make sure that every line you’re going to ski is in plain view for everyone to see," jokes pro skier and Squaw local Elyse Saugstad. "Right before you drop into your line, claim aloud how cool you are." Eben Mond at Squaw Valley.

Squaw Valley: 5 Insider Tips

There have been whole books (like Squallywood, by Robb Gaffney) written about how to ski the gnarliest lines at Squaw Valley, California. So there aren't a lot of secrets left. But we uncovered a few insider tips (with help from local pro skier Elyse Saugstad) that might help anyone planning a visit to Squaw.

Tucker enjoys pats on the head, chasing balls, and avalanche rescue operations.The ladies love Tucker. So do the grown men, children of all ages, and anyone with a camera phone or a spare hand. I’m riding up the Gold Coast Funitel at Squaw Valley with the golden retriever and his handler, ski patroller Pete York, and I’m learning that it’s hard to conduct an interview when you’re seated next to a good-looking dog. But Tucker is more than just York’s best friend and the darling of Squaw visitors. He is also trained in avalanche rescue, which is why he and York have been invited to assist the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) with security operations at the Vancouver Olympics. Four other canines of the Squaw Valley Avalanche Rescue Dog Team and four more handlers will travel with them.

Squaw Dogs Head to Vancouver Olympics

Tucker is your typical golden retriever who likes to roll in the snow and chase balls. He and his owner, Pete York of the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol, also work together on avalanche rescue operations and will travel to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics to assist with security. By Olivia Dwyer