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Squaw Valley tops Outside Magazine’s ski resort list

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer
Nancy Ellrod and Larry Segal ski down the slopes of Squaw Valley resort on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, which was ranked Outside Magazine's top resort in North America.
Submitted photo by Hank de Vre |

How regional ski resorts fared

1. Squaw Valley

5. Mammoth

13. Heavenly

22. Northstar

25. Sugar Bowl

27. Kirkwood

34. Sierra-at-Tahoe

One of the most prominent nationwide outdoors publications, Outside Magazine, rated Squaw Valley the continent’s top ski resort.

Outside Magazine looked at resorts from California to Maine, British Columbia to Quebec, and generated a list of the top 40 with Squaw at the top of the list.

Squaw Valley is a mere 65-mile drive east from Grass Valley, nestled in the Tahoe National Forest’s northern border of Lake Tahoe.

Squaw Valley hosted the Olympic Games in 1969, and with 300 bluebird days and 450 inches of snowfall per year, it is still “the reigning champion of American ski resorts,” reads the article in the December edition of Outside Magazine.

Other attributes the magazine highlighted include a 17 percent powder-day percentage; 170 trails representing 3,600 acres of variable terrain that drop 2,850 feet; 30 lifts provide an hourly capacity of 49,000 people and include a 110-passenger tram, a 28-person funitel and the new Big Blue, a high-speed six-pack.

The resort also offers experts steeps, chutes and 16 bowls. Outside also noted that three terrain parks feature a kids’ pipe, though there are other ways to keep little ones entertained: a tube park, an ice-skating rink, sleigh rides and mini-snowmobiling.

The resort is slated to open by Nov. 21, said Amelia Richmond, Squaw’s public relations manager.

Season passes are starting at $429 and also give access to Alpine Meadows, which ranked 37th on the magazine’s list. The deadline to purchase that season pass has been extended to Dec. 7, Richmond said.

Outside also factored in attributes around the slopes, including the main lodge’s Olympic Plaza Bar, which has been completely renovated, and the pedestrian Village at Squaw Valley, which has fire pits that act as people magnets. There is also a plethora of gear shops, pubs and eateries.

Among the village’s six hotels are the AAA 4-Diamond Resort at Squaw Creek, PlumpJack and popular Red Wolf Lodge — all three are ski-in/ski-out, Outside noted.

On the magazine’s list, Squaw Valley beat out Colorado’s Vail, British Colombia’s Whistler Blackcomb, Utah’s Canyons Resort and Mammoth Mountain resorts, in that order.

Other area resorts also made the list of top 40. Northstar resort clocked in at No. 22 on the list with Sugar Bowl, the closest resort to Nevada County with part of its slopes in Nevada County, ranking 25th.

On the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort got the 27 and 34 spots on the list respectively.

For information, visit outsideonline.com or squaw.com.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.

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