Gorgeous, varied terrain, long runs, nightlife, swimming lagoon, it's just huge
commercialized, crowded, impersonal service
Squaw Valley is arguably the best that North Tahoe (some would say all of Tahoe) has to offer. The first time you ride the cable car over that first ridge, you catch your breath in awe as you realize just how huge the place is. The terrain is gorgeous, with interesting rock formations, crazy looking gnarly trees and wide open bowls. From the top of Siberian Bowl, the ride to the bottom is nice and long, although a bit flat after about halfway. (The last time I was there, a couple got married at High Camp. After the wedding, the bride skied down in her full-length gown, with her groom in his tux by her side. How cute is that? Yeah...not exactly a challenging run...). But with so much terrain available, there is something for riders of all levels; from casual groomers to suicide mission chutes and cliff drops.
My brother and friends complained of all the linking chairs they had to take to get around the mountain, along with a lot of traversing. I'm not really one to complain, but admittedly, the traversing sapped more of my energy on a hot spring day than actual riding. I imagine those who know the mountain well are able to head to their favorite area and avoid most of that drama. Once we found a few steep runs on a backside, serviced by a couple small chairs, we were happy, and we stayed there the rest of the day.
The activities and nightlife at Squaw are better than any other north shore resort. My friends and I frequent the Auld Dubliner for live music and a casual atmosphere after work. There's a lot of shopping and dining. I swear I see more people there in street clothes than riding gear (which, to me, is just silly: how could you look at that mountain and not be all over it?!?!). But anyway...to each there own. Some people probably wonder how I can not even glance twice at that sale rack on my way to the chair. =)