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Help Needed: Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley Lodging? Food?

Discussion in 'Resorts, Conditions & Travel' started by Dtrick924, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. Dtrick924

    Dtrick924 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I'm planning a ski trip to Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley with my father and brother the first week of January 2018. Flying into Reno from the East coast and then renting a car. Any recommendations for lodging? Food?

    What are temperatures and snow conditions like in early January?

    This will be my first time skiing in California. I live in Vermont and have skied mostly in New England except for a couple of trips to Colorado (Granby Ranch, Arapahoe Basin). We'll be skiing 1/1/2018 to 1/5/2018 and I've arranged a couple of half day privates (1/1, 1/2, and 1/4).

    Any advice/experiences welcome.
     
  2. marzNC

    marzNC Angel Diva

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    Haven't been to Tahoe for a while. If you are not interested in ski in/out, there are plenty of VRBO/Homeaway condo options in Tahoe City. As long as you are willing to get up early to make the drive to the resort parking lot, it doesn't take long.

    Where are you doing the lessons?
     
  3. Dtrick924

    Dtrick924 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Lessons are at Alpine Meadows. We're doing morning lessons so meet-up is at 8:45 AM.

    How early do you need to be at the resort in order to find parking? I'd prefer not to have to drive too far; 10 or 15 minutes would be fine, but hopefully not more than half an hour away.

    So far I've only looked at the lodging link on the squawalpine.com website.
     
  4. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Lodging: Do you prefer on-mountain lodging or are you looking to rent a house/condo? Lots of VRBO options near Squaw/Alpine. Alpine doesn't have a "village" but Squaw does, so if you want ski-in/out, look for a place at Squaw. You could also stay in Tahoe City or Truckee, but if there's a storm it may be difficult to get to the resorts. Alpine Meadows has a nice residential area where you could probably find a house to rent. That might be best since you're going during a holiday period where traffic might be an issue. I've also stayed at the Resort at Squaw Creek, which I always thought looked out of place at Squaw, but you have a lift right out the back door.

    Temperatures: vary. Could be 40, could be 10 degrees. More likely to be mid 20s to 30s during the day. Could be windy. We could have little snow, or we could have JanuBuried :smile:.

    Food: Squaw has a few restaurants in the village. For lunch, I like Wildflour in the base lodge basement at Squaw. At Alpine there's a coffee shop at the base of the stairs to the lodge that has more reasonable lunch prices. If you go out to dinner in Tahoe City, Za's is good. It's on the main road through town, behind Pete and Peter's. Happy hour at River Grill is fun, and you could actually have dinner there, too. Garwoods is fun for happy hour too, with a great view of the lake. On the westshore (south of Tahoe City) West Shore Market is a good, casual spot.

    Anybody else have any ideas...?
     
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  5. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Just saw your lessons are at Alpine. If you want to rent a house and be close to Alpine, look at VRBO/Airbnb for Alpine Meadows. Lots of houses there. Don't pick houses by Sherwood lift (the backside) because it will take too long to get to the front for your lessons, and that lift might not even be running in early January.
     
  6. Dtrick924

    Dtrick924 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    luliski thanks for all your advice. Right now I'm looking more at prices and distance than anything else. Lodging definitely doesn't have to be slope side and I would consider a hotel or B&B as well as condos.
     
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  7. santacruz skier

    santacruz skier Angel Diva

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    Great suggestions from @luliski ...... I have stayed at 3 /4 properties at Squaw but not always cheap as were ski in ski out. If you don't care about that, then you have many options. In January, you might be able to find some deals, but if you want Alpine, then I would look for houses to rent in that 2 mile area up to Alpine. (as @luliski suggested). Also Tahoe City will definitely have properties as will Truckee. Truckee is a fun town and has a cool vibe as well with good restaurants/bars.
    @Pequenita might have some good suggestions...
     
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  8. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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  9. marzNC

    marzNC Angel Diva

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    I think arriving an hour before the lifts start running should be good enough at Alpine Meadows. Will be a bit different midweek versus weekends.
     
  10. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    This depends on whether or not it's a powder day :smile:. New Year's Day, I don't think you'll need to get there that early! Alpine is pretty simple, there's one main lodge, you walk out to the slopes and the lesson meet-up area is right there. Are you going to have your skis already?
     
  11. Jilly

    Jilly Moderator Staff Member

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  12. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I've only been shut out of parking at Alpine once, and that was when I got there close to noon, on a day after all of the resorts had been closed for the past 2 or 3 days due to storms. That was this past season, which was a bit of an aberration, but which might now be our new "normal." I live two hours from Alpine, so usually don't get there until past nine, and most of the times I don't have to park in remote parking.
     
  13. Pequenita

    Pequenita Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Traffic to Squaw and Alpine is based significantly on weather and day of the week. If it looks like it's going to storm, I'd call the ski school a couple days before your lessons to find out when they recommend you leave Tahoe City. The issue on storm days is that Alpine closes the access road to do slide control, and it's usually when you need to get there.

    This past January, which was an outstanding snow year, the rule of thumb for non-stormy weekends was to be though Tahoe City or the tunnel in Truckee by 7:15 to ensure arrival by 8:30. Not that it took you over an hour at that time -- it should take ~20minutes -- but if you miss that window, it will take over an hour.

    Snow conditions at that time (or, any time) of year is difficult to predict. This season it was all storms that week, leaving little terrain open; last season it was dry with a meh base.

    I think a challenge with housing (if VRBO) may be that because of where Christmas and NY fall this year, owners may want preserve the opportunity to rent for the entire week+, rather than rent out 12/31 to 1/5 to you this far in advance.
     
  14. Pequenita

    Pequenita Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    btw, 10-15 minute drive to the slopes is going to limit you to either the Alpine access road, or something off Squaw Valley Road/ in the Olympic Valley.
     
  15. Dtrick924

    Dtrick924 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    Lots of great replies. I found a couple of condos on VRBO that were on Chalet Rd off Alpine Meadow Road so that would be nice and close. I've never booked with them before. Is it easier to book online or call the 800 #?

    Our plan is to ski Mon 1/1/2018 to Friday 1/5/2018. New Year's Day 1/1/2018 is not a season pass blackout day according to the squawalpine website.

    @Pequenita thanks for the tips on travel and traffic.

    @luliski we'll be bringing our own skis, poles and boots.

    How dry is the air out there? I find that in Colorado my skin gets super dry, I get nose bleeds easily and I need to ski with a camelbak to stay hydrated.

    What about adapting to altitude? It always takes me a couple of days to feel normal skiing at A-Basin.

    What's the vibe of the mountains like? I get the impression that Squaw is pretty ritzy while Alpine Meadows is a little more family friendly.

    I appreciate all your replies.
     
  16. Pequenita

    Pequenita Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    I'd say the air is dry, but typical storms are wet. I don't know many people who ski with hydration packs, but I break a lot of finger nails over a season. Most healthy people coming from sea level adapt very quickly, with maybe one or two restless nights, if any, or maybe feel the effects of alcohol more (not sure if this is due to aridity or elevation - probably both). It's only 6200 at the base of Squaw.

    There is little at Alpine Meadows other than the lodge, whereas Squaw has a village with retail and dining.
     
  17. marzNC

    marzNC Angel Diva

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    When I'm researching on VRBO, I always start by asking a few questions via the VRBO message systems. Simple questions such as how close a unit is to the hot tub or how long a drive to restaurants. Some owners prefer to book using the VRBO system, while others rather get paid by a direct transaction. I like to know if an owner lives nearby or has someone else managing the property in the sense of fixing a problem or making sure the unit is clean before the next renter.
     
  18. luliski

    luliski Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    If Chalet Road is the road I think it is, and you rent there, you may be able to ski back to your place (or close to it) after skiing Alpine!

    I've never used VRBO myself, but my sister has. I think she does it all by internet.

    I live at sea level, and don't have any problem with the altitude other than trouble sleeping the first night or so.

    As far as vibe: I don't know if I'd call Squaw "ritzy," but it is more of a destination resort, so there's retail, restaurants, hotels, etc. It attracts people from all over, but there are also some amazing local skiers there who are far from ritzy. As @Pequenita said, Alpine has just the lodge with a ski shop, a demo shop and rental shop. Also food services. They have a fun deck that faces the mountain, and sometimes the grill is open out there. I do notice more kids and families at Alpine. When my daughter was really young, she took her lessons at Alpine, and we skied there more than Squaw because Alpine is smaller and that was more manageable for her. There's great terrain at both mountains, but Alpine seems easier.
     
  19. Dtrick924

    Dtrick924 Ski Diva Extraordinaire

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    @marzNC thanks for the VRBO advice. @luliski thanks for the Alpine vs Squaw comparison.
     
  20. marzNC

    marzNC Angel Diva

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    A few pics to get you in the mood for researching lodging. I took these at Alpine Meadows during the 2010 Diva Week in north Tahoe. Look for chair lifts and/or people in the last three photos to get a sense of scale. Alpine is easier to figure out than Squaw. Has more than enough terrain for several days of fun.

    Parking lot at 8:30am on a Sunday, no new snow. We got front row arriving around 8:00am.
    Alpine Meadows 28Feb 02Mar 2010 - 1.jpg

    Alpine Bowl (blue); Alpine Chair on left, Sherwood Express on right
    Alpine Meadows 28Feb 02Mar 2010 - 2.jpg

    The backside: looking at Ward Peak from Scott's Peak
    Alpine Meadows 28Feb 02Mar 2010 - 3.jpg

    Low visibility during a snowstorm that dropped about 10 inches. Lift in the distance is the Summit Express.
    Alpine Meadows 28Feb 02Mar 2010 - 4.jpg
     
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