When Squaw Valley merged with its neighbor, Alpine Meadows, in 2011, it became one of the largest ski resorts in the country at over 6,000 acres. Today you can access that terrain via a single lift ticket and an interconnecting shuttle. Together the resorts cover eight peaks, all 7,500 feet or higher, and the runs below them have become a playground for the worlds best skiers. Squaw in particular, with its KT-22 lift — one of the most recognizable lifts in the world — has earned a reputation for attracting big-name extreme skiers that now call the resort home, among them Jonny Moseley, Tamara McKinney, JT Holmes, and the late Shane McConkey. After McConkey passed away in a BASE jumping accident in 2009, hundreds of people came to his memorial at Squaw Valley, and the resort even renamed a peak after him.
Where to Stay: For the quickest access to the slopes, not to mention relaxed luxury, there’s no better crash pad than the Resort at Squaw Creek, with views of Squaw, including cascading waterfalls, through its floor-to-ceiling windows.
Inside Tip: The North Face Mountain Guides program allows you to skip the lift lines and get priority personal mountain tours by experienced guides. On top of that, you will get a free North Face Thermo Ball jacket.