Northern California weekends often mean a quick trip to Lake Tahoe for its restorative alpine climes. This time of year, the resort at Squaw Creek in North Lake Tahoe is a snow lover’s paradise—an upscale ski-in, ski-out property at the base of the valley’s famed six peaks—Snow King, Broken Arrow, KT-22, Emigrant, Squaw Peak and Granite Chief. The snow here is wetter and heavier than the powder of Colorado or Wyoming, but area insiders say Squaw Valley’s elevation—9,000 feet at the highest peak—brings sunnier, warmer daytime temperatures than the powder-filled slopes of Jackson Hole, Wyo., or Snowmass, at 12,000 feet, in Aspen, Colo.
Amenities at the family-friendly resort, with a four-diamond rating from California AAA, include a spa, a fitness center, a skating rink, an outdoor heated pool, clothing and jewelry shops, and fine dining establishments. (An 18-hole golf course keeps duffers busy April to October.) Renovated conference rooms are busy with corporate and academic meetings.
On a visit earlier this year, I left my car with the valet and marveled at the lobby’s cathedral-like ceiling and imposing windows with stunning views of Olympic Valley, named after the 1960 Olympic Games held here. Ski pioneers Wayne and Sandy Poulsen bought the land in the 1940s and camped in a tent while exploring the terrain. With developer Alex Cushing, the area was turned into a ski resort that has attracted visitors worldwide ever since.
The hotel’s 405 rooms are found in a separate tower building that sidles up to the lobby, dining and conference complex. My one-bedroom fireplace suite had sweeping mountain views, a kitchen and spacious bathroom. At the Six Peaks Grille, I dined contentedly on a hamachi started, a grilled romaine salad, filet mignon sourced from a local ranch and sipped a glass (or two) of California cabernet. Other on-site restaurants include Montagna, with Italian fare, Sandy’s Pub (after Sandy Poulsen), and Sweet Potatoes cafe for breakfast.
A stunning view from a penthouse suite with tall ceilings and a fireplace.
The Squaw Creek lift, which is directly outside the resort’s guest tower, services the resort’s very own ski hill and has runs serving everyone from the intermediate level to the more advanced. The Squaw Creek lift also connects skiers to lifts at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. Once skiers have reached Squaw Valley, they can dine at The Terrace, a restaurant sitting at 8,200 feet at Squaw Valley’s High Camp, or ski down the slopes for more dining options at The Village at Squaw Valley.