Saturday, April 18, 2009

skiing: Squaw stiffs intermediates

Squaw Valley Ski Corp are tight-fisted jerks who don't run many of their ski lifts, putting them on "money hold". Their excuse seems to be that if the terrain is reachable, why run a second lift. So lifts like Cornice II and Olympic Lady never run except on a packed holiday weekend, because you can reach the terrain from KT22 or Headwall.

But those are expert lifts to the top of steep peaks! Just because an advanced skier can ski over to the terrain doesn't help an intermediate. Here's a poor photo of Newport on a powder day.
the rollers under Newport - intermediate paradise, but unreachable
The terrain under the Newport chair should be intermediate paradise. Wide, lovely, undulating; a nice break from endlessly lapping the Gold Coast six-pack (from which I took this photo). But the only way to get to it is to ski the face of Siberia (the chairlift visible above it that crosses over it, a hard black diamond run.

It's really sad on a powder day with fresh snow such as when I took this photo. This is perfect terrain to get the experience of surfing the white gravity wave, and experts leave it alone as it isn't very steep. But intermediates can't get to it. So they ski around the overtracked Gold Coast intermediate terrain, and (unless they have a local like Alberto Spagetti to take them into the trees and hidden powder stashes), they wonder what the fuss over "virgin pow!" is all about.

Squaw One Express is another lift from which advanced intermediates can access a nice chunk of terrain. It's also great on powder days, a convex dome above the Mountain Run. It too rarely runs. Bastards.

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