Squaw Valley Ski Resort

Last week was our school’s Ski Week Holiday. Despite the fact that this winter had been unseasonably warm and dry and Lake Tahoe is suffering from a lack of fresh, powdery snow, we took the kids to our annual snowboarding trip anyway. And as always, we had a blast.

We went to Squaw Valley this year. This was our family’s first trip to Squaw. I have skied there during college, which felt like forever ago.

Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Five decades later, the base of the mountain still has a vibrant and fresh-looking village that features numerous restaurants, shops, bars, coffee shops, and upscale condos.

Even with the worst snow conditions in recent memory, as you sit on the lift chair and take in the surroundings, you can’t fail to notice that Squaw is a great mountain.

Squaw Valley Run with the Lake Tahoe in view

Squaw is huge. The base has many lift chairs, a gondola, and an aerial tram that will transport you to their many mountaintops and several peaks with impressive views.

View from one of the peaks

Each of the peaks offers a wide range of terrains that cascade down to the base, the anxiety-inducing narrow ridges,

The ridge run at one of the peaks

their famous deep bowls,

Early morning run at the base of a bowl

and wide downhill slopes.

Wide down hill

New to this mountain, we played cautiously on the first day, avoiding the peaks, and mapped out trails with harmless-sounding names, such as Easy Street, Sunnyside, Home Run, and Lake View.

We grew a little bolder each day, then on our last day, we became down right daring, and first thing in the morning, we headed for their Aerial Tram that took us to their High Camp at 8200 feet, then took another connecting lift straight to one of their major peaks. Big mistake!

We disembarked at the lift, and found ourselves alone at the peak. The summit greeted us with howling wind, and a bone chilling cold that pierced through my trusted triple fat goose ski jacket.

From this peak area, a narrow ridge leads to a steep down hill slope further down. The view is breathtaking; you can see the Lake Tahoe. But we needed to get down this hill quickly.

I was happy to see a knee high snow embankment off the side of the ridge not far from the lift, I liked to sit on the snow as I bind my boot to the board. I skated to the “snow bench” quickly and sat down on it. OUCH! This so-called snow was frozen solid. It was like sitting down hard on uneven concrete. I was sure that my poor behind had split into 88 pieces. Ouch, ouch.

We carefully eased our way from the ridge to the top of the steep slope. This slope was not icy as I feared, no, it was frozen solid! We could see clear sheets of ice from under a thin layer of hard snow.

“Kids, don’t worry about going down gracefully.” me.

I instructed my 11-year-old to just “falling leaf” down this hill slowly and carefully, and told the baby to play “Follow the Leader” with my 11-year old down. I decided to sit on the top of the hill, in case they needed my help. It is easier to slide down to them, because climbing up was impossible on this hill.

Hubby barely managed on his own. While he is a much better skier than me, I am the better snowboarder.


My 11-year-old got up on the board, and began the slow descend down, making that loud crunchy sound as the board glided down on hard ice. My 8-year-old baby dutifully copied the same movements down. It looked good for a while.

Follow the leader down

Then to my horror, my 11-year-old slipped and fall backwards, and began this uncontrollable downhill crash sitting on her butt. Then from the corner of my eye, my baby also sat down, and now both of them were going down fast on their butts.

The hill was so icy, there was no powder that could slowed or stopped their fall. I stood at the top of the hill and watched helplessly while holding my breath. Finally, at the bottom of the slope, they made their stop together.

I carefully made my way down to them (standing on my board).

Butt down ride

“I didn’t mean to do that! That was an accident.” 11-year-old.

We both looked at the baby.

The baby gave us a mischievous smile, then two gloved thumbs up, approving this butt down technique.

We learned our lesson, and stayed away from the peaks for the rest of the day.

Mid mountain trails

Related post: Big Butts Are Sexy!

A Family Winter Holiday

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