Latest Best of LA

Getaway Guide: Squaw Valley Skiing With Kids

February 15, 2013 6:00 AM

View Comments
(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Squaw Valley, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is known for its challenging slopes and advanced skiing. In recent years, however, they’ve made a big push to improve the ski experience for beginners and intermediates, both on and off the slopes, making Squaw Valley a destination to consider for your next family ski vacation.

Getting There

From Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe it’s an eight-hour drive or a direct one-hour flight from LAX to Reno with an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive from the airport to Squaw Valley. If a car is not needed, the North Lake Tahoe Express is convenient and reasonably priced.

Things To Do

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Squaw Valley Skiing

With the merger of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, one lift ticket allows skiers access to both mountains with a shuttle running every 15 minutes between the resorts. Highlights at Squaw Valley for kids include a hot chocolate run to the world’s first and only ski-in, ski-out Starbucks, a ride on the aerial tram which ascends 2000 feet in 8 minutes to High Camp where there is an ice skating rink, Olympic museum and a pool and hot tub open mid-March. And last but not least, kids are awed by the half-pipe whether or not they get any air on it.

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Alpine Meadows Skiing

Alpine Meadows has a completely different feel from Squaw Valley which is why a day skiing here feels like a new experience. The mountain is less than half the size of Squaw Valley, 40 percent of the runs are intermediate and the backside has spectacular, horizon-filling views of Lake Tahoe. The highlight here for kids is the size. Because it’s smaller, they learn the layout of the mountain more quickly and become the confident expert and guide, taking parents on a tour of the mountain and its terrain parks. The Chalet is the best mid-mountain spot for a snack, hot chocolate or a bathroom break.

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Ski School

Both resorts offer half and full day ski school. This is possibly the best investment that parents can make on a ski trip. Kids love it and learn from qualified, patient instructors while parents get adult time. Go for the full day ski school as there tends to be fewer kids in the afternoon program and lunch is included.

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

The Village at Squaw Valley

The Village is the place for hanging out after a day of skiing or for a break at the base of the mountain. It has a variety of both casual and upscale, family-friendly dining options, shops, a spa, a paint-your-own-pottery shop and ski-in, ski-out lodging. Most restaurants have patios for warmer days and there are fire pits scattered throughout with views of the mountain. On weekends, additional activities for families can include rock walls and a trampoline skyjump.

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Tubing and Mini Snowmobiling

The SnoVentures activity area at the base of the mountain offers a mini snowmobile track for kids ages 6 to 12 and tubing for the entire family. The snowmobiles are available for 15-minute sessions and kids race around a circular track like the professionals without the jumps. The tubing area has three lanes where kids and parents can race against each other. A magic carpet whisks riders back up the hill.

Where To Stay

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Resort at Squaw Creek

400 Squaw Creek Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(800) 327-3353
www.squawcreek.com

Resort at Squaw Creek has ski-in, ski-out access and a chairlift that is a five-minute walk from hotel rooms. There is a full-service ski shop and on-property winter activities that include sledding, cross country skiing, sleigh rides and ice skating on the resort’s rink. For relaxing, the pool and jacuzzis are open year-round and the spa has a Lake Tahoe Hot Stone Massage that is heaven after a day of skiing. For parents that want downtime, the Mountain Buddies kids club is exceptional, with planned outdoor activities like ice skating and sledding included.

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

The Village at Squaw Valley

1750 Village East Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(866) 818-6963
www.squaw.com

Located at the base of mountain, The Village at Squaw Valley provides convenient ski-in, ski-out hotel accommodations in the heart of The Village. Guests can choose from standard hotel rooms and one, two and three-bedroom condos with kitchens. There are saunas and spas to relax in after a day of skiing.

Where To Eat

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Olympic House – various restaurants

The Village
www.squaw.com

Olympic House is tucked away in the back of The Village. It houses several casual, family-friendly dining options including Wildflour Baking Company, which has counter service at breakfast and lunch and famous Olympian-approved cookies. There is a playroom for kids, a game room, sofas for lounging and sun decks with views of the aerial tram.

Squaw Valley

1960 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(800) 403-4026
www.squaw.com

Alpine Meadows

2600 Alpine Meadows Road
Tahoe City, CA 96145
(800) 403-0206
www.skialpine.com

Kristi Marcelle is a travel writer and regular contributor at Ciao Bambino and CBS Los Angeles. She loves planning travel adventures with her family, a good glass of wine at the whining hour and the Green Bay Packers. Follow her on Twitter @kristimarcelle.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,437 other followers