This report is from Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Although November 21, 2020 turned out to be Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows’ (SVAM) first “official” day of operation for the 2020-21 season, today was the first day I was able to “work remotely” so that I could provide our readers with a condition report. How was the snow? Better than expected! Especially since most of the open terrain is north-facing and received enough snow in the multiple November storms the Sierra has experienced thus far. Although there was some shallow powder leftover off-piste, I think it is probably better to wait until the next big storm before sending off into the trees. I’m sure if you got there early yesterday, you had the best turns of anyone. I’m hoping to get back up to the mountain once more before I feast.
For me, this was one of the better opening days in memory, especially when compared with the average Tahoe opening day in November. Locals and tourists were either riding or in après mode by the time I arrived but I was able to get a few turns down to Squaw Creek while finishing the afternoon on Red Dog Face. Most of the runs were heavily skied by the time I got there. Lots of terrain this season is already open to spread out and make some turns. I did notice the Funitel running but it did not appear to be open when I first got to the mountain. On the Alpine Meadows side, Roundhouse is open 9am-4pm and I did hear that at one point Treeline Cirque was running to the halfway point.
The list of concern(s) this season (beyond how much snow the Sierra gets) is clearly extensive in what is surely one of the strangest starts to ski season in memory. However, today the crowds were minimal and the lift lines were nothing to tell home about. There was mostly dust on crust but on the edge of the runs, you could find some leftover “chunder”. Mostly just the lower mountain was open when I was there and it looks to be more of the same on the Squaw Valley side on Thanksgiving Day.
Squaw Valley was clearly prepared to handle the holiday crowds and the changing atmosphere we are all facing this season. There is plenty of vertical to work our quads to get ready for the Thanksgiving meal and the ski season ahead. The groomers had already started to freshen the mountain up for the rest of you for more days ahead. I also only saw one person who neglected to wear a mask.
I should also mention that the mask/goggle combo was not too oppressive. I actually thought it was more comfortable and far less annoying than the buff/goggle combo I usually wear when my face needs protection from the elements. My goggles stayed fog-free for the entire day. Signage mandating masks is abundant and the resort policies mandate (at SVAM and most resorts globally/nationally) that everyone wears a mask/face covering at all times.
So take it or leave it but I think there is plenty of snow, terrain, and turns to be had on what should be a sunny holiday weekend. But do not take my word for it. Go out and get some and let me know how your holiday weekend was on the hill in the comments.
So far, Squaw Valley is reporting 40 inches of total snow, with a base of 18-24 inches. In the last seven days, the resorts have received approximately 7 inches of new snow and 0 inches in the past 48 hours.
I look forward to bringing everyone more coverage from Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows this season and I’m hoping to have some live forecasts to post from the mountain starring all of you. SnowBrains wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving but we also really hope you can get back into the mountains this weekend.