Squaw Valley (1960 Squaw Valley Rd., Olympic Valley, 530/583-6985, www.squaw.com , adults $55–73, youth $55, children under 12 $10) was the headquarters of alpine sports during the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Today it is perhaps the most popular ski resort in California. The resort has every amenity you could possibly want and plenty of other activities, but skiing and boarding maintain their number-one precedence here.
Squaw has a great ski school with plenty of fun on tap for new skiers and boarders of all ages, and a wide selection of fun intermediate slopes. Some of these, such as those serviced by the Squaw Creek, Red Dog, and Exhibition/Searchlight lifts are long—perfect for skiers who want to spend more time on the snow than on the lifts.
But the jewels of Squaw are the many black diamond and double-black diamond slopes and the three terrain parks. Whether you prefer trees, moguls, narrow ridges, or wide open vertical bowls, you’ll find your favorite at Squaw. The slopes off KT-22 are legendary with skiers around the world. If you want to try freestyle for the first time, head for Belmont Park. Hardcore freestylers go for The Ford Freestyle Park & Superpipe.
Squaw Valley offers night skiing free with a daytime lift ticket, or for a limited nighttime-only fee. During the day, especially on weekends and holidays, expect long lines at the lifts, crowds in the (nice, big) locker rooms, and still more crowds at the (numerous) restaurants and cafés.