Olympic Valley


Squaw Valley ski resort officially opened its doors in 1949 boasting what was considered the world’s longest chair lift at the time, but skiing had been a central part of the region for a long time before. Prospectors settled in the area during the height of the Gold Rush, and while they found mining to be unsuccessful, the landscape made for excellent skiing. It’s believed that the area is home to the first organized ski competitions and cat-skiing operations were taking off during the years leading up to the official resort opening, according to sierranevadageotourism.org.

Squaw Valley earned global popularity when it was chosen to host the VIII Winter Olympics in 1960. This was the first time that the Olympic Games were televised, giving millions of viewers the opportunity to watch the events in real-time and showing the world that U.S ski resorts could offer world-class facilities, making it a desirable vacation destination.

Today, Squaw boasts 3,600 skiable acres accessed by 30 chairlifts. In 2010, Squaw joined with Alpine Meadows to offer 6,000 acres of skiing under one lift ticket. Additionally, the Village at Squaw Valley offers shopping, dining and year-round activities for the whole family.

Start the day gourmet
PlumpJack Cafe offers a buffet-style, gourmet breakfast featuring pancakes, potato dishes, egg dishes and fresh juice that is sure to fill an appetite. Or, for those seeking a breakfast on the run, Mountain Nectar offers a selection of bagels, breakfast sandwiches, burritos and smoothies, as well as espresso drinks and coffees.


Squaw Valley Adventure Center

From paintball to climbing walls
After breakfast, head over to the new Wanderlust yoga studio. Open daily, the studio offers classes for all abilities. Additionally, the studio strives to invite the entire community through weekly workshops and free events including community yoga classes.

Newly relocated to the base area is the 12,000-square-foot paintball course, which features artificial features including bunkers and a woodchip floor. For $32, participants receive all the equipment and paint needed for an hour-long round of paintball. Also new this year is a 45-foot outdoor climbing wall offering routes for beginner through advanced climbers. The 30’ Headwall climbing wall continues to operate in the Aerial Tram lobby giving climbers even more options.


Squaw Valley  |  Jason Kelley

An 18-hole miniature golf course winds through the Village while providing a fun and challenging activity for the whole family. For those seeking an adventure above the ground, the Ropes Course at Squaw Valley offers a mix of vertical climbing with bridges and zip lines in two circuit courses.

Escape the Village & explore
Hiking at Squaw takes one on an adventure through granite peaks, pine forests and lush green valleys. A popular hike is the Shirley Canyon Trail, which is intermediate to advanced terrain and takes about 4 hours round-trip. The trail winds up to High Camp providing the option for hikers to take a free tram ride back to the Village. An 18-hole disc golf course also meanders through Shirley Canyon. Most of the course is considered advanced, for both terrain and course difficulty, but there is the option to play only the beginner holes located near High Camp.


High Camp
Ten caches are hidden at High Camp waiting to be discovered by the next party of geocachers. GPS units can be rented for free or participants can bring their own. Keep track of the day’s findings on a geocache passport for a discount at the High Camp retail shop or The North Face Shop.

Bring a swim suit and spend the afternoon by the pool at High Camp. The Poolside Café offers fish tacos and a variety of sandwiches and burgers to fuel up after a hike, and the Umbrella Bar is sure to offer something to wash it all down. If the mountain air at an elevation of 8,200’ is a bit brisk for swimming, High Camp also offers an outdoor roller skating rink that features panoramic views of the valley and Lake Tahoe. Before heading back to The Village, discover some of Squaw Valley’s history at the Olympic Museum.

Shop the Village
Back in the Village, there are numerous free activities for an afternoon of fun. From corn hole and ladder toss to croquet and a slack line park, there is enough to keep the family entertained for a few hours. Additionally the Village is home to plenty of shopping including clothing at PlumpJack Sport, Kalifornia Jean Bar, The North Face and Squaw One Logo Company, sporting goods at Solomon and The Ledge Board shop, and even treats for four-legged friends at Squaw Dogs. Find home décor at Spruced or discover art at Gallery Keoki.

“We really like to provide the opportunity for everyone to individualize art,” said Anne Carney at Everything Hunky Dory in The Village. “We believe there is no better way to express yourself.” Everything Hunky Dory is a crafting shop offering the space and materials to create anything from candles, duct tape wallets, buttons and magnets to customizable clothing alterations. Additionally, Everything Hunky Dory offers workshops from 5:30 to 7 p.m. every Friday.

Round of golf and a bite
For the golfer in the family the Resort at Squaw Creek features a par 71 course that winds through the mountainside. The narrow fairway favors accurate golfers over those who can go the distance. After a round of golf, swing by for a drink or an appetizer at Sandy’s Pub at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

Enjoy Happy Hour
Happy Hour options are plentiful in the Olympic Valley. The Cornice Cantina is a local’s favorite for its $1 PBR shifter specials. Dream of winter over a cold beer and an order of hot wings at [email protected] Rocker also features a video bar where customers can download footage straight from Go-Pro cameras and watch it on a big screen. Wednesday’s are ladies night at Uncorked, featuring specials on a variety of wines to suit any palate.

Dinner for any taste
For dinner, swing by the Auld Dubliner for a taste of traditional Irish Cuisine including corned beef and cabbage, and Shepherd’s Pie. The bar stays open late making the Auld Dubliner a good choice for the evening. Known for a gourmet twist on an old favorite, Fireside Pizza Company features a variety of free ingredients and flavors including smoky chicken pizza, pear and gorgonzola, or the traditional pepperoni. Another favorite is Mamasake Sushi and Sake, featuring modern and traditional sushi with Japanese, Italian and Latin American influences.

Six Peaks Grille at Resort at Squaw Creek and PlumpJack Cafe offer some of the best dining in the area with fresh, seasonal ingredients the star on both menus. You can’t go wrong with either choice.

After dinner, head back to The Cornice Cantina, [email protected] or the Auld Dubliner for a long night of dancing.

In addition to Tahoe Area Regional Transit and the free Night Rider bus service (offered from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.), scenic bike paths connect Olympic Valley to Tahoe City and the West Shore taking riders along the Truckee River. Bike rentals are available at Parallel Mountain Sports located in The Village or at Factory Bike at the entrance to Olympic Valley. Visit tahoetruckeetransit.com for a complete transit schedule.

By Jenn Sheridan

Top and main page photo courtesy Squaw Valley

Upcoming events

Live music | Entertainment section in this issue

Every Thursday
Women & junior golf clinics | Resort at Squaw Creek
8:30 p.m. | Free outdoor movies | Village at Squaw Valley

Aug. 23
5-7 p.m. | Winemaker Event | Uncorked at Squaw

Aug. 24-25
Noon-6 p.m. | Peaks & Paws Festival | Village at Squaw Valley

Aug. 27
6-10 p.m. | Farm to Table dinner | Squaw Valley Institute

Aug. 29
Winemaker’s Dinner | PlumpJack Cafe

Aug. 30
5-7 p.m. | Winemaker Event | Uncorked at Squaw

Aug. 31
2-6 p.m. | Foam Fest | Village at Squaw Valley

Sept. 1
2-5 p.m. | Alpen Wine Fest | Village at Squaw Valley

Sept. 6
5-7 p.m. | Winemaker Event | Uncorked at Squaw
6-10 p.m. | Guitar Strings vs. Chicken Wings | Village at Squaw Valley

Sept. 13-15
Tahoe Fat Tire Festival | Village at Squaw Valley

Visitor information

gotahoenorth.com | squaw.com
Public transportation | tahoetruckeetransit.com