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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.

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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…

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.

Here's a tip from Elyse:

Here’s a tip from Elyse: “Visit Susan at Wildflour (located in the original village) and grab a pizza bagel and a few of the best cookies you’ll have in your life. The true test to knowing if you have “made it” as a who’s who in Squaw is when you get your picture on the Wildflour wall. The legends and newbies are all there: Shane McConkey, Kent Kreitler, Ingrid Backstrom, J.T. Holmes, Cody Townsend, Julia Mancuso, Michelle Parker…”

Another tip? There are a few things not listed on the menu (here’s their secret menu) like a tortilla stuffed with eggs, bacon, avocado, and spinach.

Silverado, Squaw Valley
Photo courtesy of Squaw Valley

While everyone is charging lines on KT-22, the Headwall, and Granite Chief, head on over to the Silverado Chair, a slow triple on the backside of the tram. The lift is often closed, which means the powder stashes last longer. And last year, the Freeride World Tour venue took place here, which means there are plenty of features to huck off.

You've likely heard the rumors about the so-called Sierra Cement, the wet, heavy snow that falls by the footload in places like Tahoe. Sure, this…

You’ve likely heard the rumors about the so-called Sierra Cement, the wet, heavy snow that falls by the footload in places like Tahoe. Sure, this happens. Sometimes. The rest of the time—especially in March—the Sierra gets perfect corn snow and light (yes, light!) powder. Go in the springtime for the best chance at late-season dumps followed by sunshine.

Locals call this apres-ski bar

Locals call this apres-ski bar “The Chammy.” There’s a pizza place downstairs (grab a slice downstairs and head up to the bar), the Loft Bar upstairs, and an outdoor bar for the springtime.