Squaw Valley, CA Report: East Winds, Chalky Snow, 159% of Average Snowpack

Galen Carrico | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
A family affair. There were lots of families out on Thanksgiving Day 2020 at Squaw Valley, CA. Photo Credit: Galen Carrico

This report is from Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 26, 2020. 

Brought to you by 10 Barrel Brewing Co.

Thanksgiving Day at Squaw Valley was a blustery preview of the season while ski patrol was able to open more terrain and the grooming and snowmaking crew gave the mountain a great refresh from yesterday. The notorious East wind was out there to greet anyone ready to get their pre-dinner shred on and the temperature in the parking lot was 34 degrees F when we parked the car. My wife and I were able to get out for a few afternoon runs before sitting down to our first Thanksgiving with just us and our two dogs.

Lake Tahoe’s snowpack is currently sitting at 159% of average to date.

image: NOAA, 11/26/20
Thanksgiving turns at Squaw Valley, USA. Thanksgiving Day 2020. Photo Credit: Alyson McCormick

We started the day riding up Red Dog and skied a few long runs down to Squaw Creek to warm up our legs. There is a lot more terrain on this side than people realize and are some of the longest runs available until the upper mountain opens. We were able to get a view of just how much snow the upper mountain got as we cruised through the open terrain. The snow at the top was freshened up from the snow guns and the wind. The groomers were fast and carvable and there were some bumps and what you would kindly refer to as “variable” snow to keep things interesting.

Taking some turns down to the Squaw Creek chairlift. Photo Credit. Alyson McCormick.

There are also lots of bumps and a few off-piste areas in the trees no your left as you head down to Squaw Creek Resort. The hot tubs looked inviting but we had to get our turns in and head back to dinner with the pups. I had to share some photos of them below and they will most definitely be featured in future posts.

My wife enjoying some cold November turns. She used to snowboard… Photo Credit: Galen Carrico

Given terrain limitations, most of the runs inevitably end up in a bottleneck before you get to the lift but they have done a great job getting a lot of the mountain open. Exhibition was the third lift spinning on the Squaw Valley side but towards the end of the day, we noticed that Squaw One was open. We were able to scope KT and Headwall and although I was not up there measuring snow it looked really filled in for November. The Funi and Tram were turning all day and Ski Patrol had lots of snowmobiles cruising the upper mountain. It is only a matter of time before the rest of the mountain is open but it might take another storm or two.

Talk about a Rock Garden! A view of KT’s west-facing runs from the Squaw One chairlift. Photo Credit: Galen Carrico
A glimpse of the snowpack at Squaw Valley USA. Photo Credit: Galen Carrico

As the sun dipped down, we were able to hop on Squaw One to enjoy the last bit of sunlight in the valley. People were enjoying drinks outside the KT Bar and Rocker and families were being served Fireside Pizza. Getting into the valley and on the chairlift was honestly the first semblance of “normal life” I’ve experienced in a while. Everyone is doing their part to stay healthy and keep the mountain open and I cannot wait for more sunny days and a taste of more terrain as the season progresses. I hope you and your families have a Happy Thanksgiving and can get outside and enjoy the brisk temps and sunshine. It appears we have more sunshine in the forecast but until then, pray for snow.

The runs off of KT need a little more coverage… Photo Credit: Galen Carrico

I just found out that Alpine Meadows has three lifts spinning today (November 27, 2020): Treeline Cirque, Yellow and Roundhouse. Hopefully, I will see you and your family up there. Let me know what conditions are like out on the hill in the comments below.



Credit: noaa.gov



Our dog Cody on deeper days. We cannot wait to bring your more trip reports! Photo Credit: Galen Carrico
Cody at dinner.
Rubi at Dinner

Related Articles

2 thoughts on “Squaw Valley, CA Report: East Winds, Chalky Snow, 159% of Average Snowpack

  1. Alpine was cold and fast! Great day skiing with my son Jax! Marco from team ty die took us over some knobs of cold wind blowing man made which was rather fun!

Got an opinion? Let us know...