Images courtesy of @Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Squaw Valley Advanced Itinerary
Complete Guide to Squaw's Advanced Terrain — Granite Chief, Siberia, Headwall, KT-22 and Red Dog
Trails: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert
Overview – From the Base – Funitel/Gold Coast – Granite Chief South – Granite Chief North – Siberia Bowl - Lunch@ The Arc – Headwall – Sun Bowl/Face- KT22 – G.S. Bowl – KT East – Heidi's/Tom's -– Red Dog Glades – Après @ KT Base Bar
1. 9-10:30AM – Exploring The Funnel and Granite Chief's Southern End
The Granite Chief area is perfect for warming up your legs on moderately steep pitches while enjoying some of Squaw's most scenic terrain. To beat the crowds, head up The Funitel at 9AM sharp. From the Gold Coast Lodge, take the Emigrant chair and unload to the left to follow the traverse under the lift line until you reach the to the top of Funnel. Take Funnel into the Shirley Bowl and continue down to the Granite Chief chair.
From the top of Granite Chief, head left and follow the signs for Main Backside or keep going to reach Granite Alley. Main Backside is typically groomed with a steep upper pitch. For a fun gulley that younger skiers tend to love, try Granite Alley. Once you're feeling warm, it’s time for more of a challenge on the South side of Granite Chief. You can either head hard left off of the chair and ski the lift line, or head just past Main Backside to Magoo's. Both are moderately steep and off piste, but great for early morning soft snow. After exploring Granite Chief's southern-most runs, it’s time to head back into the Hidden Bowl.
Granite Chief on a pow day
2.10:30AM – Feel Like You've Left the Resort in Hidden Bowl and Granite Glades
While Squaw is not well known for its glades, this is one of the resort's most iconic tree skiing areas. The Granite Glades are fairly massive so it is always a good idea to ski with a friend. From the top of Granite Chief, exit right to access Hidden Bowl. The upper portion is steep, but flattens out as you enter The Granite Glades.
For beautiful, gladed skiing and natural granite ledges, stay closer to the chair line on your right. The skiers left end of the Granite Glades will make you feeling as though you've left the resort and are somewhere deep in the backcountry, just beware for a fairly long traverse to get there. After a few laps here, it's time to head over to Siberia for some short and steep laps.
3. 11:30AM – Short and Steep Siberia
To return to Squaw's front side, make your way over to the Shirley Lake Express. To get to the Siberia Express chair, follow Ramp Run past the Gold Coast Lodge and the Gold Coast Express. Use the lift ride to preview the terrain you're about to ski.
From the top of Siberia, you have several options for terrain variety. If you prefer something groomed, unload the lift to the left for Siberia Bowl (also referred to as Siberia Face). Groomed every night, this trail is very steep and fast. For something a little more challenging, traverse past the top of Siberia Face to the off-piste area underneath the Palisades. The north facing aspect, shading from the cliffs, and prevalence for wind buff combine to make this short face a good place to find soft snow when it's sparse elsewhere.
For Siberia Ridge, exit the chair to the right. While Ridge Run is a groomed blue, the more advanced skiers usually take the ridge a short ways and then drop into the steep face to the right when they see a line they like. After a few laps in Siberia, you'll probably be ready for lunch.
4. 12:45PM – Lunch @ the Arc (for more options see our guide)
All of the Siberia trails feed into the Gold Coast Lodge, where the Arc is located. The best part about the Arc is its wide selection of cuisine. They also have two full service bars and a Starbucks upstairs. Enjoy your meal on the outdoor patio that boasts a pretty unbeatable view of the Palisades.
5. 1:15PM – Headwall - A Squaw Valley Classic
Now it's time for one of Squaw Valley's premier chairlifts – Headwall. From The Arc, follow Easy Slider to Mountain Run and follow it to the Headwall Express. A word of warning regarding Headwall, while the lift does service some truly epic advanced terrain, it also has a lot of expert terrain that would be rated double black diamond by most industry standards. Ski with caution and always stay aware of the terrain ahead of you.
As the name implies, the Sun Bowl gets lots of sun and is a safe bet for finding soft snow. From the top of Headwall, head left into the Sun Bowl. Check before you drop! The moguls her can become monstrous in size during certain times of the year. The Sun Bowl has a short traverse at the bottom and will eventually push you onto C2 Ridge. From here it is best to either take the Bullet (groomed) or Horse Trails to get back to the Headwall Lift.
A Squaw Valley favorite, Headwall Face, benefits from a pretty consistent wind buff and makes a great second lap. Unload the lift to the left and follow the ridge and signs towards Headwall Face. The Face has a curved shape is less steep if you enter from the left. Once you reach the bottom you can follow Mountain Run to return to Headwall. Feel free to spin a couple more laps through Headwall. Cornice Bowl and Hogsback are both great options! Just be sure to save some energy for our next stop, KT-22.
6. 2:45PM – KT22 - The Mothership
KT-22 is one of the most iconic and cherished lifts in North America. To reach it, follow Mountain Run back down to the base area. From the top of KT, head right and drop into G.S. bowl (to the right of the patrol shack). This will be one of your steepest runs of the day, but should be no problem for the advanced skier. From the bottom of the G.S. bowl, about half way down, look to take either Strawberry Fields or head left into Schimmelpfennig Bowl.
For a true KT classic, load KT-22 again, but this time exit to the left and head towards Olympic Lady. As you pass Olympic Lady, peer over the edge of the ridge to your left for Tamara's (East Face). If this looks intimidating, just proceed down the ridge further towards the East Face Gully. If you carry your speed you can even reach Tom's Tumble or Heidi's Glades. Tom's has a few areas of rocky exposure, so ski with caution if you choose to go this route.
G.S. Bowl - the steepest of the day
7. 3:45PM – The Secret Stash in the Red Dog Glades
Assuming you aren’t whooped, there’s still an option for an end of day sneaky pow lap. From the base area, jump on the Red Dog lift. At the top, proceed right and into Poulsen’s Gully or Red Dog Glades. These areas are often skipped on powder days, and can sometimes hold a few un-skied spots for those who are willing to search. Both of these areas conveniently finish at the parking lot at the bottom of the Far East chair.
Congrats on completing the advanced skier's Tour De Squaw Valley. You've probably got some tired legs and high spirits, time for some Après action! Head to KT Base Bar at the base of KT-22. This is a perfect place to gather with friends in the late afternoon sun and reminisce about your epic day.
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