People, Powder, and Suspicious Wind Hold: Squaw and Andesite Ridge Conditions Update + Video

SnowBrains | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Old man winter continued to deliver for Tahoe today, bringing a few inches of new snow and long lines back to Squaw Valley. After a rare sleeper powder day at Squaw yesterday, the masses were back out and looking to get into the goods. Unfortunately supposed high winds left us with only Shirley Lake on the upper mountain, and KT down low. Up high the snow was great, wintery pow and down low things were a bit on the wet side but the skiing was still great.

The line at Shirley
The line at Shirley

The morning brought a brief window of sunshine before the storm clouds rolled back in around new and started wave two of the storm. We were having troubles with snow levels, fluctuating from rain to snow at the base of Squaw. The upper mountain received snow the entire time however, and the skiing was great. The Funitel didn’t open until 10, and when it did the lines at Shirley (especially the singles line) was about as long as we’ve seen ’em, taking 45 minutes to get through at times.

We’re still not entirely sure what happened to cause the closures on the upper mountain today.  It was certainly blowing hard across Headwall for most of the day, but the wind sock on Granite Chief was barely moving most of the day and they were able to run the tram all day.  The tram is usually the first to go due to wind… Saving things for the weekend crowd perhaps?

Granite Chief looking prime, and closed for some reason
Granite Chief looking prime, and closed for some reason

KT was the place to be from mid day on. Despite slight moisture in the air, the skiing was great, the lines were gone, and you had the mountain all to yourself. Dead Tree even opened for the first time of the season, and Red Dog Ridge had received ample amounts of snow and was harboring some sweet and smooth turns.

Slashing a turn off Andesite ridge
Slashing a turn off Andesite ridge

Andesite Ridge was also skiing quite well in the early AM. The lower turns were a bit on the heavy side, but up high the snow was deep, soft, and relatively stable. No shooting cracks were experienced, and only one instance of slight whumpig was heard. With a little moisture before the stormed moved in, the new snow/old snow interface was holding up well on West/South/East facing aspects on slopes around 30 degrees.

Overall, the storm has turned things back on in Tahoe, making for some fantastically fun conditions.  With scattered snow showers for the rest of the week, things sound like they should be staying good for a while!

Photo Tour

In the morning the sun poked out around 9:30
In the morning the sun poked out around 9:30
But then things socked back in for the afternoon, Squaw Tram Face
But then things socked back in for the afternoon
Another view of the lines at Shirley Lake today, the singles line was as long as we've seen
Another view of the lines at Shirley Lake today, the singles line was as long as we’ve seen
Rylan Getting after it on Andesite ridge
Rylan Getting after it on Andesite ridge
The snow was soft and the skinning good
The snow was soft and the skinning good

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35 thoughts on “People, Powder, and Suspicious Wind Hold: Squaw and Andesite Ridge Conditions Update + Video

  1. Waitin for Hdwall to open as it quickly warms for my favorite hot pow conditions. Nice one Squaw.

  2. peeps, this ain’t nothing new. this conversation goes on every year. do you not remember big years when the upper mtn. wouldn’t open for days straight and kt line stretched to the funi.. it was all bitchin and moaning then too. there are plenty of other resorts happy to take your money that advertise “no wind holds”. we ski/ride squaw because it’s squaw not because of who runs it.

    1. So didn’t any of you perpetual whiners go out today?? It was good, creamy underfoot, uncrowded, bit drizzly here and there, blind skiing at times, so what. From the time stamps on the posts tday, looks like ya didn’t. Even saw a 60’s ish couple on the WFace enjoying themselves as well. Good stuff.

      Squaw 1 even ran as things were sorted out on the funi, then that finally opened. Headwall was open, all of it was good.

      Fun as all, even with the drizz, and no whiners, no crowds. See ya there tomorrow.

      Kudos to the regular Squaw employees who make it happen every day too, Thanks for the stoke. Y’all rock it.

      1. Squaw One barely ran as it choked to life then could only load 3 people as it has for years due to lack of repair as I was first in line. Squaw management is totally incompetent and it has gotten worse every year since KSL has run the place. Squaw is the best mountain no doubt and it was great out there today, first chair on Siberia too coming down blind folded but the snow was great. Point is the management of the mountain sucks and depresses me because I know how great it is but that is what you get when a real estate company is putting all of focus on building condo’s and money paying lawyers.

        1. Squawpine_7 was the first chair up Squaw One today. When he got off, he damn near threw a temper tantrum because Big Blue and Headwall were closed. We huffed it up to Gold Coast and had a private resort in Granite Chief. Meanwhile, Squawpine_7 rode down the Mountain Run and probably continued this public display of whining about everything Squaw right here on this website. KOOK! Seriously Squapine_7, your energy almost ruined my morning as I got off the chair behind you and had to listen to you bitch and whine. Grow a fucking pair, learn to hike, and quit your fucking bitching!

          1. You not a fake your a joke, I bailed on S1 and hit KT. Go back to pushing papers for your KSL overlords poser! lol!

    2. i got one or 2 tastes of those oppressive mega crowds and that was enough. You know if you are a little baked and you walk up to something like that it’s a very bad trip. Sad because it’s an amazing place. What idiot would buy a million dollar condo given how badly the area is managed.

  3. Seems since KSL took over Squaw the biggest difference on mountain is the reduction of uphill capacity due to CII, Newport, Mainline, Belmont, E. Broadway lifts being removed.

    With limited lift operations on an almost regular basis, there is no way whatsoever that things are improved in any way on mountain. Remember when the resort used to open at 8:30 am on weekends?

    What about all the promises of new chairs at Granite and Red Dog? Money spent on slick marketing and wasteful, redundant lift to those aforementioned by Big Blue which is essentially a poor utilization of resources helped eliminate those improvements from the budget.

    With Headwall not able to run due to it’s last relocation being more less direct in to typical, prevailing winds, great congestion at the bottom terminal, bad ramp access and all the fallout from that, it would seem only logical that Cornice II chair could help at least alleviate the Headwall wind hold situation as it is protected from Kitchen Wall from wind. But no, with many requests to do so, instead chairs are removed from CII as it is slated for removal and sale.

    Cost cutting efforts from past management seems to have carried over to new, and perhaps it is time we see a new mountains ops manager and Exe VP of Operations to make Squaw really live up to all that it never has, but always could be. But ultimately, ownership investors have the final say on how much $$ is budgeted for operations.

    Instead we have new paint, carpet and big screen t.v.’s and endless marketing surveys which are essentially proof that the idiots running the asylum are still fishing for answers on how to operate their holdings.

    Bonehead on mountain operations are only symptomatic of lack of focus in a specific area and due to overly greedy ambitions of potential real estate development profits. Soul of skiing?? I think not!!

    1. I was talking to a Squaw Host and doing the survey for my hot chocolate. When I said that I would never tell anyone to come to Squaw because it was too crowded already, she was noticeably stunned and disappointed. Squaw wants more passholders, of the rich gaper sort. I think it makes their numbers look good when they are ready to sell.

      I definitely think it would be a good idea to radically increase misbehavior in lines. Is it illegal to abuse someone verbally? Is it an infraction to walk on their skis (this really freaks them out). They used to complain that local Squaw skiers were so crude in line. We need to give them much more of this as it does seem to ruffle their feathers and make them hate Squaw, which is a step in the right direction.

  4. From craigs Feb 19th, still up.

    Seems here’s the answer to $oul Hold, Money Hold, Wind Hold, Crap Hold, Dick Hold, etc.

    Too bad we are having such poor winter conditions with huge lines like today at the Funi, people won’t want to come back for that abuse by Squaw co. ever again.

    Dumbells, all of em at every upper mgmt level. Stupidity breeds stupidity @ Squaw and ultimately a failed business.

    Can’t wait for the new “Legends of the Fail” banners to appear up @ gold coast. Livak, Wirth, et al,,,

  5. Granite shuts down at 2:30 today, guess they wanted to go home early, wasn’t about the weather as it was the same on the last trip to the top as the first. Hey how about that line at the Funi this morning? I’ve never seen anything like it and people still over at the ticket window buying tickets with the whole top of the mountain closed. I guess the have a new standard as to what runs during the week as well up top, you get Siby, Gold Coast and Shirley. Sugar Bowl next year KSL suckas, I’m done with your amateur soul trip!

    1. The real Squaw skiers, me of course, need to do something effective, a consumer power statement, proof that we are not easily manipulated and cheated. Some action with financial consequence perhaps: don’t buy the pass early, take a year at a different resort, and so forth. any good ideas? better than these? we need some. they think we’re wimps and work us however they please. Maybe make sure that their new pets, the Bay Area Wealthy, have as miserable time as possible when actually on the hill. now that’s interesting. and I’ve spent my life being a courteous skier….what a waste of talent.

      1. Beat then Kook!! J.K.

        Yep, just remind the guests that there are other very well operated ski areas in the tahoe area that they and their families would probably prefer. Be sure to mention dangerous lifts due to lack of maintenance, old age, and the better terrain parks elsewhere too boot.

        Been doing that for years and mentioned that to Nan once and she had a witch hunt for the “author of that letter” Hehee, remember that one Livak?? Hahaaaaa

      2. Sharpy,
        Real Squaw Skiers don’t put 6 posts up on one thread bitching about the same ting. Several of your post hover around the 7:30-8:15 am timeline as well. While you’re sitting on your comp whining about lift lines., I was in them waiting to get the goods when and where I can. Shut the fuck up or go ski somewhere else you “Real Squaw Skier”

    2. Soul lives here because if you want to ski anything you have to hike to it now.

      This Monday schedule must be a mistake or a joke or something that is not funny. It rained at the bottom but no plans to open the lifts to access the snow? Watch how they get some people up to Granite to take photos. Explain how you can staff and run the mountain at minimal levels but still charge full price. How about they lay off the marketing department and rehire some lift operators.

      More than 10,000 skiers on Saturday but no way they have the resources to open Granite on Monday…No Way.

      1. Granite has some great snow and it is not open today? What’s the excuse now? Pathetic! Time to have a protest in the parking lot. What are we paying for when we are buying a seasons or day pass. KSL is a complete joke!

      2. You still made it though Andy…I saw you there! It was good. Hiking is fun too!

  6. Squaw mountain management it the joke of Tahoe. There FB page is a total embarrassment. The trees are starting to move outside with a slight breeze, guarantee the mountain will be shut down today! Good luck selling 1000’s of condo’s when the lifts don’t run!

    1. not running Squaw 1 yesterday (saturday) shows a complete disregard for their skiers. it was a clear insult, one among many.

      if they want to promote so many programs and events, at least run the mountain in a manner that supports the crowds. jeez.

      1. If I have this scheduled lifts post right, and tomorrow, Monday, the upper mountain will have the basic three late season lifts scheduled, I have been in error all along. I thought we were desperate to get a base down so we could open the main lifts, but nature has not been the danger to our access to the mountain. KSL is that.

        1. Look at the lies in the email they sent out this morning on which lifts will be open. Now even Siberia is off the schedule, wind at 13mph! KSL = JOKE!

          1. Website and app now updated to sync with email, upper mountain lifts running with Siberia on maintenance hold, was stuck on it yesterday. Hmmm do I take a chance and show up, will they really run???

      2. Squaw 1??? I think they forgot it existed. Screw Squaw one, with cars parked all the way to the post office no Far East? With Shirley line a mile long no Solitude…on the weekend!

        Ski area in name only.

        1. Squaw 1 actually ran today, well barely after they dusted the cobwebs off, loading only 3 at a time, how long has that been going on and it only ran since the Funi was down, along with Sibera, HW had issue and Big Blue, so to get to Granite it was a fun hike from Squaw 1 up to Gold Coast. What a circus!

  7. Squaw is just getting abused on FB for their utter incompetence for poor operations this week after not that much snow and not that much wind.

    Just visit SugarBowl, Kirkwood, or Northstar FB sites and see how absolutely no complaints but only kudos at these other tahoe resorts. It is just Squaw passholders the whiners of the ski world??

    Why doesn’t Squaw’s management get it? Social Media is the ultimate free advertising or can be the downfall and a major detriment towards any corporate marketing efforts whatsoever that millions get spent on. Dumb, just plain stupidity.

    MBA’s, dipsticks, Wirth, Livak, et all, what’s your deal??
    Are you people really so incompetent as your track record is proving???

    1. Notice that Squaw’s website does not have time/date stamps on the scheduled lifts section. I wrote to them and mentioned that there is no reliability of information without posting the time and date. no response, because: they don’t want to be held accountable. They want to be able to deny what they said at any time. This is probably all business school, MBA tactics for manipulating your customers.

  8. Wondering if Squaw/KSL even realizes the negative impact of the recent FB barrage of posts about their incompetence in actually running a ski area has on their bottom line. Yes, seems terms like “Bait and Switch”, “Liars”, “time for a new operations manager” clearly illustrate the fact that squaw has some serious operations issues and incompetence at the highest levels.

    Do the bay area customers who serve us locals well by supporting squaw’s food and bev, kids programs and snow sports schools even care that they are usually standing in hideous lines due to Squaw being greatly overcrowded due to being greatly oversold? Or is crowds and waiting a normal part of their lives they’ve become so accustomed to?

    Will Andy Wirth even care for that matter, or are his concerns greater due to his violation of his employment contract w/KSL for his skydiving stunt and related absence from work due to those injuries? Total Jacka$$.

    Bottom line, we all love skiing at Squaw. It’s not about a faux village, nightlife, restaurants, family activity centers, etc. Skiing the mountain IS the family activity. If the geniuses that supposedly know how to properly operate a ski resort as they claim can’t get their $hit together to create positive remarks on social media site, after flailing miserably, (legends of the fail), this past month with ridiculously small storms, then how can we have faith that this development project they are planning will be done right?

    Know what I mean??

    1. the more damage KSL sustains, the lower their price, the more likely a ski corp will buy them out and focus on the skiing experience. so, do your part. grab your monkey wrench and give ‘er.

      they brought this on themselves.

      1. I don’t think we will ever see a ski company running things again. They don’t really exist anymore. All of the large resort operators are real estate companies first, and with the real estate holdings now tied into Squaw, it will continue to be run a real estate company, whoever it may be. It’s no secret that KSL has no plan to be here long term, but it is hard to say if the the newcomers would be any better. As bad as KSL is, they have actually done a better job at Alpine than JMA did.

        1. Who cares about Alpine or comparisons to JMA? Clearly you think like a businessman.

          If you are resigned to Squaw being incompetently run, that’s just you. some skiers want to influence the development, and there may be ways to apply pressure.

          Opening lifts should be a given, not a prize, a perk, a gift, or a special occasion. It’s the one thing that matters.

  9. how about publishing Tahoe ski resort lift openings, which lifts and what percentage of possible lifts are actually open and loading. Friday would show Squaw to be opening a small percentage of possible lifts. Mammoth, for example, tends to run a very high percentage of ‘possibles’. we’re getting screwed by the ambivalence of the definition of what the ski area being open means, and what are the pass holders and ticket holders entitled to expect. I’m also interested in who made the call on Friday to not run Headwall and Granite. anyone? b@#$$stards hide behind anonymity and make sh&^%tty decisions. notice they aren’t in line pressing the flesh anymore. wouldn’t go over too well.

  10. people checking the remote sensor site said that after several 60mph gusts around 8:30 am there were no other strong gusts recorded. these perks and closures are getting out of hand.

    1. Today, the 3rd, they posted from about 7:30 on that Headwall, Sibo, Funi, etc were scheduled. At 9:01 they post on the website that Headwall is on standby, along with Sibo and others. They totally knew they wouldn’t open Headwall at 9 and just plain lied about it. obvious the reason.

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