Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Extensive list of activities and amenities, and access to the village is a draw for guests of all types
The Village at Squaw Valley features 200 condominiums in a European-style village with direct access to the resort's cutting-edge ski lifts. It's a massive property amid the Sierra Nevada granite in Squaw Valley, allowing guests to stroll the walkways and shop in view of the towering mountains. There's lots of high-end retail merchants peddling pricey fashions and gear within the Village, making it much like a boutique shopping mall.
Other than the world-class skiing (including Papoose Camp, a neighboring learning center), other fun pursuits include hiking, mountain biking, climbing, a bungee-cord-powered sky jump, roller skating, cable car rides, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and more. Guests will have a hard time seeing it all during their stay, which is why repeat guests are not uncommon.
In 2011 Squaw Valley USA merged with Alpine Meadows, a neighboring ski resort in an equally beautiful valley. Visitors can now use either resort with their lift ticket, although the only access between the two resorts is by vehicle (about a 15-minute drive). Experts say the combined valleys makes Squaw Creek-Alpine Meadows the largest ski resort in North America.
The Village is undergoing a $50 million upgrade to some of their facilities through 2016, including new lifts and restaurants. Some guests have complained of a lack of air conditioning in the rooms and noise from the construction and bars floating into the open windows. The suites could use an update, but each condo is privately owned, so updates are up to the individual owners.
In Squaw Valley, nine miles from Tahoe City
The Village at Squaw Valley is located nine miles west of Tahoe City, and Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is one of the premier four-season destinations in the country, offering a beautiful combination of clear skies, heavy winter snows, and the blue lake waters backed by the picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains. Tahoe is an outdoor-lover's paradise offering activities such as camping, fishing, kayaking, white-water rafting, rock-climbing, golfing, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding.
With winter snow often measuring 300 to 500 inches annually, the ski resorts at Tahoe are among the most reliable and exciting in the country. Known for steep vertical drops, open bowls, and some challenging terrain (along with family-friendly runs), Tahoe's collection of ski resorts draws thousands each winter. Despite the snowy conditions, the area usually gets more than 300 sunny days a year. But because of the snow, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended here in winter.
Lake Tahoe is divided across California and Nevada, with 70 percent in California. Because of this, Tahoe is generally spoken of as two distinct areas, North and South Lake Tahoe. South Tahoe is known for its gambling (which is legal in Nevada) and nightlife, while North Tahoe is generally quieter with more of a " mountain personality."
When traveling to the area there are some things to keep in mind: The elevation of the lake is more than 6,000 feet, and the ski resorts surrounding the lake have runs that begin at 10,000 feet. Be careful when engaging in physical activity before acclimating, which usually takes a couple days, as the thin air means the body will need to work harder.
Also, black bears have become a persistent problem around Lake Tahoe. They often break into parked cars and empty buildings looking for food, and are even sophisticated enough to recognize coolers and other signs of food by peering into windows. It's best to remove all food, toiletries, and anything else that may stimulate a bear's keen sense of smell from your vehicle while staying overnight at Tahoe. No locked door or window will stand up to a hungry bear looking for free Cheetos or a sandwich.
Comfy, spacious rooms with a standard lodge-like feel
The Village at Squaw Valley offers more than 200 condominiums spread across six multi-story buildings. The condos are spacious and feature fireplaces, balconies, heated floors, and kitchens. However none of the rooms or condos have air conditioning, an apparent oversight in a land that can get hot in the summer. This necessitates opening windows, which can cause noise problems for lower rooms especially.
Dated furniture inhabit some units. Because each condo is individually owned, improvements are up to the owners rather than the hotel.
A mix of on-site amenities and access to plenty of dining and shopping in the village
The upper-mid-range Village at Squaw Valley resembles a charming European-style village, and is the retail hub of the world-famous ski resort. Shops and restaurants line the walkways between the 200-room hotel's six buildings. Suites feature kitchens, radiant floor heat, and lots of space, but guests have complained of the lack of air conditioning, as well as poor maintenance in some units. The immediate access to the slopes and all the valley has to offer make this an excellent choice for guests who want to stay active.