The runs that wrote history in the progression of extreme skiing.
Just say the word “Squaw” in any of America’s ski towns, and the iconic name is sure to spur a reaction. Squaw Valley is many things to many people–a proving ground for up-and-comers, a who’s who of pros and local shredders, a raucous après scene, a status-symbol vacation, or simply a dream mountain to ski. Regardless of your impressions, it’s impossible to overstate the influence of Squaw Valley on skiing in North America.
This mountain has staged the progression of the sport, from the resort’s 1949 claim of world’s largest ski lift, to the 1960 Winter Olympics, to the birth of extreme skiing in the 70s. Athletes training at Squaw have constantly raised the bar ever since. The expansive terrain, with nearly every snow-covered feature you can imagine, has set the scene for countless ski films, and stories from Squaw are endlessly boasted from lift chairs and bar stools all over the country.
Some of the mountain’s most challenging lines are crossed over by chairlifts, creating the infamous “Squallywood” zones where hard-charging showoffs can perform, or flop, before a gleefully heckling audience overhead. These expert lines have themselves borne witness to much advancement in skiing over the years, and now their names are known worldwide.
Here are Squaw’s most legendary lines, loved by the world’s best and wannabes alike. All are rated black diamond or harder, but all can be found by name on a trail map (as opposed to certain named variations that would not–ask a local about those). Whether your skills and stamina allow you to ski them all or not, at least check them out, and get a glimpse of skiing history at Squaw Valley.