Squaw Valley, California has been blessed with an abundance of snow this season and winter sports fans are flocking there in droves. Located about an hour from the Reno, Nevada airport, Squaw Valley played host to the 1960 Winter Olympics and continues to attract world class skiers and athletes. Novice skiers and families need not be intimidated, because ski schools here are top notch and there are plenty of runs for beginners. With 6,000 skiable acres between Squaw Valley and neighboring Alpine Meadows, the tough question will be: where to begin?
Families looking for luxury accommodations will love the nearby Resort at Squaw Creek, a AAA Four-Diamond resort with ski-in/ski-out access to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Once visitors step into the grand lodge at the resort, they are transported. The floor to ceiling windows provide a spectacular view of the snow covered Sierra Nevada mountains and surrounding valley. It’s the ultimate backdrop for any ski vacation. Families will quickly realize the Resort at Squaw Creek is Lake Tahoe’s winter wonderland.
I recently visited the Resort at Squaw Creek and was impressed by the staff, location, and amenities. This is my honest review of the property and the experiences I enjoyed.
There are several room choices at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Deluxe Rooms have a king or two queen beds and can be connected if needed. Fireplace Suites have expansive floor plans of 1 or 2 bedrooms and are perfect for families. They have large windows overlooking the valley, fireplaces, a dining area, and kitchenettes. The kitchenette comes with a cook top, mini-refrigerator, microwave, glassware, silverware, and dishes. This would be ideal for families looking to stay a little longer or wanting to cook some meals in the room. There are also Penthouses which would be great for couples staying together or large families. These can accommodate four to eight people and have kitchens, laundry machines, and bi-level floor plans.
The Resort at Squaw Creek has direct lift service to Squaw Valley. Intermediate skiers and above can simply put on their gear and hop on right outside their room. Beginners however, should take the complimentary shuttle to the Village at Squaw Valley (a quick 5 minute ride) where they can access the beginner terrain.
If you didn’t bring your gear, the onsite Nordic Center offers equipment and boot rental. It is also the place to go if you want to rent sleds, snow shoes, figure skates and ice skates (there’s an outdoor ice rink on property). A nice service offered by the resort is a complimentary equipment valet for guests to store either rental equipment or personal equipment. The valet will meet you at the Squaw Creek chairlift or at the shuttle drop off. This makes it simple for you to drop your equipment at the end of the day, and then pick it up again the next morning as you head to the mountain.
As I mentioned above, there are sleds available to rent as the resort has a sledding hill just beyond the chairlift. There is also an on-site ice rink perfect for skating and enjoying hot cocoa afterward.
The Resort at Squaw Creek can also arrange snowmobiling tours with a local company and dog sledding on their snow covered golf course. Either one would be an amazing family experience!
Families will also be thrilled to find a heated 25 meter outdoor pool and whirlpool hot tubs for aprés ski. There aren’t many places where you can enjoy a swim while surrounded by snow.
The Spa at Resort at Squaw Creek was named one of the Top 5 Resort Spas by Condé Nast, so once mom and dad have taken their spa treatments, be sure to find some time for kids to enjoy it as well. Kids Chillax (for ages 6 to 12) in the spa is the perfect chance for kids to experience a little bit of yoga, a bit of meditation, and a bit of mindfulness. Warning: you might create kids who want more spa time because it is so relaxing!
Of course an awesome resort has a kids’ program, and Resort at Squaw Creek is no exception. Their Mountain Buddies Kids Kamp (for ages 4 to 12) offers a variety of fun activities each day for children. Activities can include ice skating, sledding, snowman making, rock wall climbing, board games, and crafts. Families can choose from half-day, full day or evening sessions. This camp focuses on being outdoors and having fun!
Six Peaks Grille is the fine dining restaurant on property featuring dishes prepared from local ingredients. The resort has an on-site garden called Rooftop Roots and they incorporate herbs and produce from the garden in the restaurant’s dishes. The restaurant has gorgeous floor to ceiling windows with views overlooking the Squaw Creek meadow. Don’t miss the signature drinks served by Tam at the bar. She creates fab cocktails!
Sandy’s Pub has a more casual vibe and the pictures on the wall tell the story of the Poulsens, the founders of Squaw Valley. Their children went on to become Olympic skiers and many family members still reside in the area. This is a perfect spot to grab a burger or sandwich with kids. Don’t miss the pretzel bites or smoked brisket tots. With six flat screen tvs, it’s the perfect place to catch a game and hang out after a day on the slopes.
Mountain Pizzeria is a seasonal restaurant with pasta, pizza, and salads. It has a great deck for seating on a sunny day and a big fireplace to keep warm during your meal.
Sweet Potatoes Deli is the perfect place to grab a quick snack, soup, or afternoon coffee. It also serves as the on-site grocery store and has sundry items you might need while at the resort.
Cascades is my favorite place to start the day. This is the on-site breakfast restaurant and it doesn’t disappoint. The buffet is extensive and family friendly with everything from make your own omelettes to home made pastries of all shapes and sizes. Endless coffee, smoothies and fresh squeezed juice to drink or try the Bloody Mary bar. A fun way to start the day before you head out to ski!
Spa and Recreation
As mentioned above, The Spa at the resort is phenomenal, so be sure to build time in your itinerary to enjoy a treatment. I highly recommend Jessica for the Ultimate Probiotic Zen Journey massage, but I’m sure the other therapists are equally skilled. Couples looking for something special should inquire about the Tranquility Room, a private space where couples can customize their treatments and enjoy their spa time together.
There is a fitness center on site with a generous amount of cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines. There’s a sauna and steam room as well.
As if there isn’t enough to entertain you at the resort (believe me, there is), you always have the option of taking the complimentary shuttle to the Village at Squaw Valley. Here you will find shopping and other dining options as well as the Squaw Valley Aerial Tram to the top of the mountain. It’s definitely worth catching a ride for the view and Olympic Museum if you’re not going to hit the slopes.
The Resort at Squaw Creek is magical in winter. At night, the trees around the property are lit with tiny white lights that give a beautiful glow to the surrounding snow. Families can snuggle by fire pits after a long day on the slopes or bundle up in the comfort of their room. There is no bad choice here, you’re in Tahoe. And once you’ve been, you will be counting the days until you return.
*Although I was a guest of The Resort at Squaw Creek, these opinions are all my own.