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Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley

The Olympic resort where you can enjoy apres-ski on a paddle steamer

Many extreme skiing movies are made at the Lake Tahoe resort of Squaw Valley, full of stunt skiers leaping off cliffs and braving impossibly steep couloirs and mogul fields - but don't let that put you off for a moment! This delightful Californian resort is also full of the most unscary terrain you could imagine, especially on the beautiful wooded slopes of the Snow King area.

Squaw is the principal resort at the north end of Lake Tahoe and shares ownership and a lift-pass with nearby Alpine Meadows, a short journey by free skibus - so there is even more skiing to enjoy as a day's excursion.

Squaw, which is now among the largest of American resorts in terms of trail mileage, hosted the 1960 Winter Olympic Games after rather unexpectedly winning the honour - the fact that there was only one lodge, one chairlift, two surface lifts and a dirt road at the time of their bid in 1955 raised a few eyebrows! But the terrain and ambition of the resort obviously impressed Olympic chiefs and Squaw has been impressing visitors ever since - and facilities have improved hugely since then!

The average annual snowfall is an impressive 450-ins and there's a well-thought-out system of 29 lifts. Experts will particularly enjoy the challenges of Squaw Peak, Granite Chief and KT-22...so-named because Squaw Valley pioneer Wayne Poulsen's girlfriend (soon to be his wife) Sandy Kunau found it so steep the first time she skied it in the '40s that she took 22 kick turns to get down!

On some nights the main cable-car operates late for floodlit night-time skiing, when a five-kilometre run to the base area is open.

The compact village is traffic-free and the luxury Resort at Squaw Creek is located at the base area, right by the slopes.

This is a village where the focus is on the skiing rather than apres-ski high jinks, but the Olympic House has several bars and Uncorked at Squaw Valley is a quality wine bar. You can experience après-ski afloat with a trip across Lake Tahoe on the paddle-wheel Tahoe Queen, with live music.


Plumpjack Cafe & Bar

Plumpjack Cafe & Bar

Widely regarded as Lake Tahoe’s premier dining destination, the Plumpjack Cafe and Bar marries gourmet dining with a fine selection of wines for an evening of regal pleasures.

With season menu changes reflecting the bounty of fresh produce sourced locally, you’ll sample the best Lake Tahoe cuisine whenever you choose to visit. Stop by for two succulent courses of intricately designed to create a memorable and lasting gastronomic experience. The menu may be on the smaller side, but still incorporates fish, meat and vegetarian dishes all with unique combinations of sauces and accompaniments.

Wine is evidently regarded as an important part of any meal here, with the Plumpjack’s extensive, award-winning wine list a clear indicator of how important wine is regard to be as a contributing factor to both taste and enjoyment.


Le Chamois

Le Chamois

After a long day of conquering KT-22, head to Le Chamois, the place to be seen in Squaw Valley and the premier outdoor drinking hole in the area. Nurse a refreshing beer on the lawn as you see out the day with new found friends in a busy atmosphere.

A 45-year-old Squaw Valley tradition, Le Chamois is also home to the famous Loft Bar which is the perfect place for après ski fun with your friends. Check out bundles of ski memorabilia and historic photos and head up to the roof on a sunny day for unbeatable views of the valley. With plenty of superb deals on pints and pitchers, this is the place to get a round of drinks in with your mates, both new and old. Break the ice without breaking the bank.