Call us crazy (and many have), but even with the limited number of ski options in Tahoe, we’re bringing you reports from 2 ski areas. Ozzy reported in from opening day at Squaw Valley, while Mark returned to Boreal for opening day for the Accelerator lift. You’ll have to draw your own conclusions about which ski area will work for you through the holiday. The Boreal report follows the Squaw picture gallery.
Squaw Valley Opening Day
Well, today was fantastic! Much better than Boreal was yesterday. Below is my report with some pictures.
We got to Squaw a little late today, at around 10:30. There was no line at the bottom of the Funitel. Gold Coast had a small line, no longer than five minutes. We were paired up with two other people, making it a total of four people on the chair, despite Gold Coast being a six-person chair. The liftees could have made the line move even faster if they packed each chair. The line length varied throughout the day, sometimes about five minutes long, and other times less than one minute long.
The only open run at Squaw, Gold Coast (green run), was a little firm in the morning, but the top layer of snow softened up later. The conditions were similar to spring (or even summer) conditions, the temperature was 64° as we left the Squaw parking lot. Comparing today’s conditions at Squaw to the conditions at Boreal on Monday, I think that the Gold Coast run is better, longer, and more fun than Boreal’s South 40 run. The Gold Coast run is more than double the length of South 40 run at Boreal. The Gold Coast lift also doesn’t stop as much as the Castle Peak quad chair at Boreal. There is a very little amount of snow at Squaw, but they did a great job getting it open in time for Thanksgiving. But, I have to give Boreal some credit for opening very early! I also hear that they opened the Accelerator, which probably makes the conditions there much better.
Squaw has set up a small terrain park off of Gold Coast, with one flat box, one rail, and another curved box. The jumps onto these features were perfect regular jumps, enough for me to get 31 jumps. By 12:15, the lift line stayed short until we quit at around 1. On the way back down to the base, I realized how much snow Squaw (and Tahoe, in general) really needs. Hopefully this weekend storm brings a considerable amount of snow to Tahoe allowing for more terrain soon.
I also saw many Alpine Meadows logos around (not the “new” one, but the old one); liftees wearing hats with the old Alpine logo and the Squaw logo, Ski Patrol backpacks with the old Alpine logo and the Squaw logo. There were also a few people with Alpine stickers on their helmets, boards, and skis. I have a few Alpine stickers on my helmet and an “I ❤️ Alpine” pin attached to my goggles. #freealpine
I’m hoping tomorrow we’ll get out earlier to rip up the corduroy!
Ski (or frost) you later!
Very few people riding Gold Coast
Squaw has set up a small terrain park off of Gold Coast, with one flat box, one rail, and another curved box.
The bottom of Gold Coast is very narrow and slow
Despite snowmaking efforts, the base of Squaw looks almost completely bare
First Day Of Top To Bottom At Boreal
You would think that if my Alpine Meadows pass worked at Squaw Valley, I would want to be there rather than Boreal. But I have hedged my bets for the early season with a pass at Boreal many times over the years, especially since Alpine Meadows has become the “traditionally the last resort to open in Tahoe.” So with the news that the Accelerator lift was opening 2 days early today, providing top to bottom runs at Boreal, it was an easy decision. I eliminated the process of walking through a large parking lot, strolling through a village and riding a funitel from the process of skiing today, both before and after skiing. Although today is the “soft beginning” of the holiday weekend, I parked less than 50 steps from the snow, where I could easily ski right onto the Accelerator lift.
As Ozzy reported, the conditions were more like spring skiing, with temperatures at the base nearing 60° today. The difference is that manmade snow is not spring corn, so it is often sticky in warm conditions. Fortunately I worked this morning and skied in the late afternoon, and as the shadows got long, the snow got faster and faster. Boreal now offers three lifts, and that spreads the traffic nicely. In the 20 laps I did on Accelerator today, it didn’t stop one time, and there was never a line. In most cases I rode the chair by myself.
The pitch on the upper part of Accelerator on Prospector was a nice change of pace from the green circles I have endured so far this season. Although the snow was not super deep, there was no significant appearance of obstacles, even late in the day. There was barely any snow on the run last Sunday, so the fact that the Boreal crew got it open 2 days early with marginal snow making conditions continues to be #borealmagic.
Once you’re on the lower section of the mountain, you can make a hard right to the Mini-Shred park which is now up to about 8 features, including a nice 10 footer jump and a small wall ride. Or you can cut a hard left onto Racer’s Return and rally back to the lift quite quickly with essentially zero traffic. Having Accelerator open also peels a lot of traffic off of the short Castle Peak Quad, making quick park laps easy and fast.
It’s likely that I’ll be continuing to put in days at Boreal over the holiday…and likely until Alpine Meadows opens. For those of you without a Boreal pass, it would be a tough choice to make.
We encourage you to check out BA’s post for the weather update today. He seems to understand the situation. I am anticipating doing a significant weather update tomorrow, once Swain releases his update.
The Mini-Shred park includes a 10 foot jump
Looking up toward the Prospector WROD
Not crowded was the operative word this afternoon.
Sunsets at Boreal…wish we could get that all of the time at Alpine too!
Update: Northstar reported yesterday that they wold also be opening to the top today. That means that West Ridge and Luggis are now open. It’s not the most exciting run in Tahoe, but it is probably the longest run currently available in Tahoe. It still involves way too much of a parking and village slog for me, even with a free s’more at the end of the day. We think it’s hilarious that the Olympic Village Inn in Squaw Valley said on their Facebook page that Northstar offers the best conditions in Tahoe right now. Tickets at Northstar are now $98…ouch.