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In 2011 the two resorts began to operate as one which means you’ll need only one season pass to get the goods at both. Although they are technically merged, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have distinct personalities and cater to different types of skiers.
Squaw Valley is a former Olympic village and it ranks on the top of ski destination lists in the US. It has one of the largest skiing areas, good apres and a legacy that attracts extreme skiers looking to recreate ski jumps from Warren Miller movies. Its diverse terrain caters to all skill levels but its reputation attracts lots of pros and thrill seekers.
For those of you looking for more extreme terrain there’s Granite Peak and the Palisades. With only a moderate hike you can reach Granite Peak and ski wide bowls and steep chutes while you enjoy the lake view. If you are looking for something more laid back there’s some great sidecountry options that hardly require any hiking. The lifts give you access to three great zones: Tram Ridge, Nat Geo Bowl and Munchkins, where the terrain is good for backcountry newbs. Easy access shouldn’t lure you into riskier decisions – the backcountry is the backcountry and should be treated as such
The two resorts are connected with backcountry access gates but you can also take a shuttle.
If you get tired of Squaw Valley’s crowds you can find a more relaxed atmosphere at Alpine Meadows. It’s more focused on the ski experience and less on glitz and glamour. Alpine Meadows is also great for family vacations. This location sometimes gets overlooked because it’s a bit low-key compared to the other Tahoe resorts.
Backcountry access here is easy and convenient. The more notable places are Twin Peaks, Grouse Rock and Stanford Rock. The first two are not for beginners and reaching them is a tough climb. Stanford Rock is mellower but you still need to earn those turns.