This month at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, there are several opportunities to learn to ski or board for a price that’s as sweet as powder snow.
On two weekends, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows offer beginner tickets, half-day lessons and full rental packages for $39 for first time skiers and riders. This year’s $39 Learn to Ski and Snowboard Days are January 12 and 26 at Squaw Valley and January 13 and 27 at Alpine Meadows.
The combined Squaw/Alpine resorts, along with hundreds of ski areas ski areas, resorts and Nordic centers offer special learning programs during January. In some states, learning programs for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also offered as part of a industry-wide learning initiative known as www.SkiandSnowboardMonth.
Once you’ve learned the basics of skiing or riding, there’s no better place than Squaw Valley to practice turns. Yes—Squaw Valley: that huge mountain where, in 1960, Olympians raced down the steep slopes in the Winter Games. Hidden from view at the base is an expansive mid-mountain bowl where beginner runs abound. It’s located just outside the doors of the splendid High Camp facility accessed by Squaw’s Aerial Tram, an ultra-scenic nine-minute ride from the lively base village over the rocky crags of Broken Arrow Ridge.
Squaw's wide and easy beginner runs are accessed by the triple and double chairlifts called Bailey's Beach, Mountain Meadow and Belmont at Squaw Valley, each manned with the friendliest and most attentive lift attendants you’ve ever met (a reassuring presence for tentative beginners.) The lifts deliver you to the top of a wide, gently sloping and wonderfully uncrowded bowl with exceptionally easy terrain. Once strapped to your snowboard or clicked into your skis, only short amount of practice time in this ski-and-ride incubator will make you want to head to the adjacent blue runs off the Gold Coast and Big Blue Express chairs.
It’s a perfect learning environment that will make you feel like a gold medal winner by the end of the day. In fact, you can take a picture on the medal winners' podium at the free Olympic Museum at High Camp to document your success!