Snow piled up at Squaw Valley during a snowstorm on January 28, 2021

Since Monday, we have received over 6 feet of snow on the upper mountains! This large amount of snowfall is a welcome gift from Mother Nature, but it also brings some challenges to getting to and opening the mountains. Here’s what you need to know before visiting Squaw Alpine during or after the storm:

TRAVEL & ROAD CONDITIONS

Our partners at CalTrans are advising against travel through Friday morning. Major travel delays are anticipated with potential temporary highway closures. Winter driving conditions in the Sierra can change rapidly, leading to whiteouts, snow and ice on roads, and major traffic delays. Have these resources dialed in before attempting to travel.

LIMITED & DELAYED OPERATIONS

Expect delayed and potentially limited openings as our teams work to open the mountain after this significant snowfall.

Ski Patrol at Alpine Meadows during a blizzard on January 28, 2021
Ski Patrollers at Alpine Meadows on January 28, 2021

We have new Covid protocols in place this season to help keep our employees safe, which include reduced capacity in many key buildings and modes of transportation. We have reduced troop carrier capacity by 75% to provide for physical distancing. Carriers that transport Ski Patrol and other staff from the base area to key locations on the mountain frequently make round trips of 20 minutes or more. This year, we have to split up teams in ways that require more troop carrier missions, and avalanche control could take up to three times as long as it typically does. Fewer people are allowed in equipment assembly rooms. Fewer people can occupy lift terminals to carry out de-icing. All of these impacts will increase the amount of time necessary to carry out the required work to open the mountains as safely as possible.

Be sure to check the Squaw Alpine mobile app, website, or @squawalpineops Twitter for real-time status updates before you visit.

If you plan to visit us this weekend, please bring your patience and kindness with you–remember, we are all in this together.

LIMITED INDOOR CAPACITY

Please remember, indoor capacity remains limited due to Covid protocols, so please be prepared to spend extended periods of time outdoors in the cold if you plan to visit the mountains during this storm. We recommend that you kit your car out with a thermos of hot water, lots of extra layers, and a good playlist, in addition to all of the standard equipment you should carry for snow.

DEEP SNOW SAFETY TIPS

Skiing and riding in deep powder can be very fun and exhilarating, but there is also substantial risk involved. Danger of Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) exists today and throughout the rest of the week. Make sure you ski or ride with a partner and keep them in sight at all times. Avoid the bases of trees and carry your backcountry gear: transceiver, shovel, probe, whistle. The more snow, the higher the risk.

You can find info about deep snow, powder and avalanche safety on our safety page.

FACE COVERINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

Physical distancing and mask-wearing will be strictly enforced: A two-layer face covering is required at all times except when skiing and riding down the mountain. If you’re out there working hard in the powder, masks and gaiters can get soggy, so consider packing extras. You can keep them dry in a bag in your pocket, or leave extras in your car. Our lift line hosts carry extra disposable masks as well, so don’t be afraid to ask!

If you’re still looking for the perfect two-layer neck gaiter, we recommend Phunkshun Wear! These face coverings are available to purchase at Parallel Mountain Sports in the Village at Squaw Valley and Estelle Sports located in the Alpine Meadows Lodge.

Phunkshun Wear neck gaiters are an excellent choice of face covering for storm days

WEEKEND PARKING

Parking on busy weekends can often fill, so try to get to the mountain early. Some parking is available to pre-purchase for Alpine Meadows, but otherwise, all of our parking is free. Please remember to carpool and tailgate only with your household.