This season things will look a little different at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows as we make the health & safety of our guests and employees a top priority. COVID-19 has changed many things about our daily lives and there will be impacts on the mountain this winter as well, but the skiing & riding that exhilarates us each year will stay the same. We will update this page with more information as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience as we work to determine where adjustments need to be made moving forward.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is scheduled to open on Wednesday, Nov. 25 (the day before Thanksgiving), conditions and weather permitting. We cannot wait to welcome you back to our mountains once again.
A Message from Our COO
October 21, 2020
Guests should expect COVID-19 related changes to impact a number of aspects of resort operations. The resort team, including the Mountain Operations team, will be facing numerous challenges created by COVID-19 policies and procedures. These may result in delayed lift and terrain openings, particularly on inclement weather days. The resort team will do its best to communicate these in advance, and guests are asked to tune in to the resort website, app or social media channels in advance of their visit, particularly when inclement weather is predicted. We are excited to deliver an exceptional guest experience, but everyone needs to understand that the operational challenges are huge, and so remaining flexible and understanding will be prerequisites to having a great time.
September 14, 2020
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows intends to serve its guests without a reservation system. Pass holders will continue to have the best and most flexible access to the resort. We plan to manage general visitation by temporarily eliminating the sale of “walk-up” tickets at the window, and dynamically controlling the sale of advance purchase tickets. At this time, we expect such tickets to primarily be available midweek, but we will remain flexible as we learn more throughout the season.
Our priorities right now are providing space for social distancing at our two mountains, and remaining flexible in the face of the inevitable changes to come throughout the season. While elements of the resort experience will be different this season, the experience of skiing and snowboarding itself remains the same. Skiing has always had at its center the incredible personal freedom one experiences while engaged in the sport, balanced against the personal responsibility of sharing the slopes with everyone else. This year more than ever, our guests will need to carry both sides of that equation with them, so that everyone can have the best possible experience within a Covid-modified environment. That feeling of freedom in the outdoors is something we are all craving now more than ever. We look forward to making that happen for our guests this coming season.
Every corner of our business is totally immersed in preparing for this special season. We will continue to communicate as we have more concrete information available.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
President and Chief Operating Officer
Frequently Asked Questions
- Tickets & Passes
- Lift Operations & Terrain
- Visitation Control
- Face Coverings
- Indoor Facilities & Food Service
- Rentals & Demos
- Village Operations (retail & restaurants)
- Ski School & Lessons
Tickets & Passes
Lift Operations & Terrain
When is Opening Day?
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will open on Wednesday, Nov. 25 (the day before Thanksgiving), conditions and weather permitting.
What will access look like early season, if there is not a lot of terrain open?
While we typically aim to open the week prior to Thanksgiving, we moved our opening to November 25 to give our snowmaking teams more time to open more terrain for the season opener. We do still need Mother Nature to cooperate, but that’s out of our control. What is in our control is ticket availability: there will not be advance purchase day tickets available for opening day or for early season weekends until we determine we have sufficient lifts and terrain to handle the guest demand.
How will you maintain social distancing in chairlift/Funitel/Tram lines?
Luckily, the length of skis and snowboards lend themselves to naturally creating distance between people in chairlift lines, and we know most people now have a pretty good sense of social distance. We will be continuously reminding guests to maintain six feet of distance, including in Tram and Funitel lines. You can expect to see changes to lift mazes to help achieve this, like wider lanes. Face coverings with two or more layers will also be mandatory in lift lines and while loading, riding and unloading all lifts.
Will chairlifts be loaded differently? Will I have to ride the chair lift with people I don’t know?
Guests will be asked to self-group with people who are within their party. The exception will be the Funitel and the Tram, where we will be loading at significantly reduced capacities. Guests can ask to ride alone. Lift attendants will not actively work to fill chairs, and will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people they do not know.
What about the Funitel and the Tram?
The Funitel, Tram and Tram elevator will operate on significantly reduced capacities, and the Tram stairs will be available to skip the elevator. Face coverings with two or more layers will be mandatory for all riders while waiting in line, loading, riding and unloading the Funitel and Tram. No eating or drinking will be permitted, so face coverings will stay on. Windows will remain open, even in inclement weather. You will also see our lift attendants using electrostatic sprayers to disinfect empty cabins.
How will Mountain Operations be impacted?
Like most other parts of life, Mountain Operations will face numerous challenges due to COVID-19 modifications. For example, ski patrollers can’t just pile into a troop carrier to its maximum capacity in order to be driven to their snow safety missions. Things like this will take longer, across the board. We will do our best to communicate these challenges and their impacts throughout the course of the season, and we’ll continuously learn and improve as we go along. What we can tell you for sure is that we need everyone to be mindful that there is an entirely new set of challenges layered on top of the already formidable challenges presented by these two big mountain ski areas. Please give our team the space and grace they will need to get the job done – no one wants to open the mountains for you more than we do.
How will you determine if the mountain is too crowded?
We will be controlling total visitation by temporarily eliminating the sale of “walk-up” tickets at the window, and by tightly controlling the sale of advance purchase tickets. Parking, weather, amount of open lifts and terrain, number of visitors, and availability of services and indoor space are also factors we are using to evaluate our daily operations. Our goal is to provide an exceptional skiing and riding experience while still maintaining sufficient space for COVID-modified operations. This will require active management, and flexibility and understanding on everyone’s part – guests and employees.
Will you turn people away if the mountain gets too crowded?
Rather than turn people away, we are working to actively dissuade people from coming to Squaw Alpine unless they have a pass or an advance purchase ticket for that day. If you don’t have a pass and can’t get a ticket online, please don’t come – you will not be able to pick up a ticket once you arrive. Book for another day and we’ll see you then.
How do you know how many pass holders are going to be present at any one day/time? Will we be turned away ever, as a pass holder?
Looking at data from years past, as well as factoring in weather conditions and local lodging occupancy, we can often estimate to a high degree of certainty how many visitors will visit on a given day. We will make every effort to accommodate our pass holders, including through the elimination of walk-up ticket sales and tight control of advance purchase tickets.
What percent of visitors are pass holders vs. day tickets on an average weekend?
Based on all of our data, we expect these restrictions on day tickets will result in a significant reduction in visitation. Detailed information is proprietary.
Will I be required to wear a face covering indoors at the resort?
All guests are required to wear a face covering with two or more layers in any indoor facility or enclosed space, including lodges, restaurants, retail stores, shuttles, elevators, and ALL lifts. Face coverings are not required while eating or drinking but should be left on while waiting for food to be served, and should be put back on when finished consuming food and beverages.
Will I be required to wear a face covering when outdoors at the resort?
All guests are required to wear a face covering with two or more layers outdoors where physical distancing cannot be guaranteed, including in lift lines, on ALL chair lifts, while walking through the Village and in other outdoor areas. Face coverings are not required while eating or drinking but should be left on while waiting for food to be served, and should be put back on when finished consuming food and beverages. Guests do not need to wear face coverings while skiing or riding, but we ask that guests always remain conscious of physical distance, no matter what they are doing. Drop your mask when you’re ready to drop in!
What if I sincerely don’t believe face coverings are helpful? What should I do?
We are requiring face coverings throughout the resort, as explained above. If you are not actively engaged in the downhill sliding part of skiing or riding, you will likely need to have your face covering on. If you don’t feel that you can deliver on this request, or if it’s just not right for you, or if you think we’re crazy for requiring face coverings – please don’t visit Squaw Alpine while COVID-modified operating rules are in place. We will be happy to welcome you back unmasked when pandemic-related government regulations are removed.
Indoor Facilities & Food Service
Will the lodges be open?
We plan to have lodges open, but guests should expect limited capacities per current state and local rules. Additional outdoor seating will be available at Alpine Meadows Base Lodge, Gold Coast Lodge, KT Base Bar and throughout the Village.
Will dining facilities be open?
We plan to operate our dining facilities, but guests should expect to see an organized traffic flow and limited capacities per current state and local rules, regulated by resort staff. Menus will be simplified, with fresh-made grab and go items and hot food ordered to go. Additional outdoor seating will be available at Alpine Meadows Base Lodge, Gold Coast Lodge, KT Base Bar and throughout the Village.
Will sit-down restaurants be open?
We plan to maintain seated restaurant service at Rocker in The Village at Squaw Valley. Seated dining will also be available at locations throughout The Village at Squaw Valley. Current state guidelines permit limited indoor dining, but could change at any time. Expect to see outdoor deck and patio areas used for dining with additional space heaters, umbrellas, etc.. Capacity and operations will comply with applicable current state and local regulations. Find information and restaurant contact info on our Dining & Apres page.
Will bars be open?
Bar operations will be limited and will not look like prior years. We plan to have a full bar menu available to seated diners at Rocker in The Village at Squaw Valley. Packaged beer, wine, and cocktails will be available at Alpine Meadows Lodge, The Chalet, Gold Coast, Olympic House and High Camp. Bar service may also be available at restaurants in The Village at Squaw Valley. Find these on our Dining & Apres page. Bar capacity and operations will comply with applicable current state and local regulations.
Will mobile food ordering be available?
There will be a number of locations offering mobile food ordering. Currently, mobile ordering is available at restaurants in The Village at Squaw Valley including Auld Dubliner Irish Pub and Restaurant, Fireside Pizza Company, Coffeebar and Tremigo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar. Rocker@Squaw, Wildflour Baking Company and MOGROG Café will also be launching online ordering. Updates will be made on our Dining & Après Page.
How will restrooms operate?
Face coverings will be required inside restrooms. We will ask guests to limit their time in the restroom to less than 15 minutes.
What about when the weather is bad? Where can I go indoors?
We plan to have indoor facilities open so guests can warm up. We will be asking guests to limit time spent inside. This season will be more about skiing and riding, less about being in the lodge. Building capacities will be limited per current government regulations. Guests’ personal vehicles will be a good option for breaks throughout the day.
What changes will be enforced in seasonal locker rooms?
Guests with seasonal lockers will be required to wear face coverings with two or more layers in the locker room, and limit their time to 15 minutes or less. This is to keep capacity down and allow for all guests to access their lockers while still allowing for proper distancing. We will also be maintaining adequate ventilation, and we will be routinely disinfecting locker areas with electrostatic sprayers.
Will overnight RV/camper parking be permitted this season?
We do not permit overnight parking in our lots, and that rule will stay in effect this season. This is done for a variety of reasons, including snow removal issues and adherence with Placer County regulations.
Will you still operate your POW Parking carpool lots?
Yes, we will continue to offer priority parking lot access to guests and employees who arrive at our resort with three or more people in their car. Guests should carpool only with household/family members or only those in their party.
Will you implement a parking reservation system this season?
No, parking at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows will continue to be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Will you still maintain the Park & Ride program?
No, we will not offer our Truckee-based Park & Ride transportation program this year, which we have utilized on weekends and peak days in past seasons.
How will you operate shuttles? How often will they be sanitized?
We plan to decrease our shuttle capacities by 50% but will continue to monitor government regulations regarding public transit, adjusting accordingly. Face coverings will be required on shuttles. Shuttle seats and touchpoints will be disinfected between each trip, and we will be regularly disinfecting our shuttles with electrostatic sprayers. Shuttle vents and windows will remain open with the heat on as needed.
Will Mountaineer operate this season?
The Mountaineer will operate this season starting Dec. 17, 2020 through April 11, 2021. Service will be available in Squaw Valley Thursday through Monday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., and in Alpine Meadows on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. During the 2020-21 winter season, Mountaineer passengers and drivers will be required to wear face coverings at all times within the shuttles, and vehicle occupancy will be reduced to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Mountaineer will follow strict health and safety protocols that adhere to federal, state and local guidelines including vehicle cleaning and disinfecting at the beginning of every shift, and high touch points such as seatbelts, door handles, and arm rests will be disinfected throughout each operating day. Health and safety protocols can be found at www.SquawAlpineTransit.org.
Rentals & Demos
How will rentals & demos work this year?
We will be streamlining the rental & demo process to better manage the capacity in our rental and demo shop. Guests will be asked to make a reservation at least 48 hours in advance of the day they want to rent, and they will fill out their rental paperwork online. Guests will select an appointment window at the time of booking, and they will need to arrive at their designated rental shop at their appointment time to redeem their rentals.
When guests enter the shop at their appointment time, they will bypass the rental registration process and proceed straight to the cashier. After collecting any lift tickets or vouchers, they will head straight to the boot counters. Boots will be pre-selected based on the information the guest provided online. The space and limited capacity will allow for guests to maintain social distance. After receiving their boots, they will continue on to pick up their skis or snowboards, which will have already been selected and adjusted specifically for them. After the technician makes sure the bindings are properly set, guests will exit with their equipment.
The demo shop at Squaw Valley will be relocated directly across from the Aerial Tram entrance into a larger space.
Do I have to book rentals in advance?
Guests are strongly encouraged to book their rentals and demos as far in advance as possible. We will not be able to guarantee equipment availability without an advance reservation. Guests who show up to the resort looking for same-day rentals or demos will utilize a virtual queuing system that will allow guests to digitally “get in line,” and be alerted when the staff is ready to assist them. There may be a substantial delay while guests with reservations are assisted.
If I don’t have a smartphone, how will I be able to pick up rentals?
Our advance reservation portal can be accessed via home computer or smartphone, and these are the preferred methods for booking. If you have difficulty making or completing a reservation online in advance, we will have computers available for guests to use on site, however, we will not be able to guarantee rental equipment availability without an advance reservation.
Do you offer rental delivery for guests staying at the Village at Squaw Valley lodging?
We do not currently offer rental delivery, but new this season guests can complete all of their rental paperwork online ahead of time—and even request what model of ski they want if they are demoing—and the rental and demo team will have gear waiting for them when they arrive at the shop. The online rental registration process will prompt guests to select an appointment time slot to fulfill their rentals, in order for us to help safely manage capacity and social distancing protocols in the rental shops.
How will you clean rental and demo equipment?
All rental and demo equipment will be disinfected, including hard and soft surfaces, using electrostatic sanitizing foggers. These foggers use an electromagnetic charge to increase the efficacy of the disinfectant spray by bonding it to the surface with static electricity. When rental and demo equipment is returned, it will be gathered and kept separate from the in-store inventory until it is disinfected.
Will the Gold Coast Demo Center be open this season?
Yes, the Gold Coast Demo Center will operate for on-mountain exchanges only. There are no reservations available for the Gold Coast Demo Center at this time. Guests can come to the Gold Coast Demo Center during the day to change out their skis or board, but if the shop is at capacity they may be asked to wait until staff is available to help.
Village Operations (retail & restaurants)
Will the Village shops and restaurants be open? What restrictions should we expect to see?
We anticipate that Village shops and restaurants will continue to operate, as they have throughout the summer and fall. Both the resort-owned businesses and independently owned businesses will continue to enforce face-covering mandates and maximum occupancy limits, including as dictated by applicable government regulations.
What will your ski shop and other resort-owned retail stores be doing to help keep customers safe?
In our resort-owned retail stores, we are either sanitizing, quarantining for 48 hours, or doing both, for all hard goods and soft goods that have been tried on before reintroducing the merchandise back to the sales floor. We are currently not permitting guests to try on headwear, like goggles and helmets. Fitting rooms are open for items that require try-ons. In the case that fitting rooms are not completely enclosed, every other fitting room will be closed to allow for adequate spacing. Fitting rooms and other touchpoints around the stores will be frequently disinfected. Guests must wear facial coverings and maintain social distance while in stores. Hand sanitization stations are also available. The Village stores comply with applicable government regulations on capacity and operating standards.
Will boot-fitting services still be available at Parallel Mountain Sports ski shop?
Yes, we are still offering boot fitting, but in order to manage capacity in the shop, we will be taking reservations for boot fitting appointments. You can call Parallel Mountain Sports at 530-452-4478 or The Ledge Board Shop at 530-452-4477 to schedule an appointment in advance. Guests without an appointment will be able to enter a virtual queue for boot fitting and other repair appointments, and shop staff will text when staff is available to assist. Please note boot fitting space is limited and will be restricted to only the guest being fit. We kindly ask friends and family to wait separately in a non-congested area.
Will the SnoVentures Activity Zone be open this season?
We plan to have snowtubing open this season. Mini snowmobiling will be closed. Tickets for snow tubing and other activities will need to be purchased in advance. We will be lowering our capacity for each snowtubing session, and will have limited capacity inside the SnoVentures Lodge.
Ski School & Lessons
Will Ski & Snowboard School lessons be available this season?
A variety of Ski & Snowboard lessons will be available this season. We are temporarily eliminating all full-day lessons for both adults and kids. We will only offer half-day lessons, but guests will be free to sign up for both a morning and afternoon session. Lunch will not be included in any Ski & Snowboard School lessons this season.
Ski & Snowboard Lessons must be reserved at least 36 hours in advance.
See complete product offerings, details and reservation info at our Ski & Snowboard School page.
What about Group Lessons?
Half-day group lessons will be available for ages eight and older, but group sizes will be small.
How will you enforce social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions for lessons?
Instructors and students will be required to wear face coverings at all times. Instructors will have students distance from one another, and will stay distanced where possible as well. Groups will ride the lifts together, but will be spaced apart per the resort’s lift riding policies.
What about people staying at lodging properties in Squaw Valley, are they guaranteed access?
We are working on a system to guarantee access to guests at The Village at Squaw Valley and the Resort at Squaw Creek.
If I’ve already reserved my lodging and due to reduced capacity I’m unable to ski/ride, will I get a refund for my lodging?
We are unable to extend priority access to other lodging properties in the area. There are simply too many. You should check with your lodging property to see what their policy is. Ikon Pass holders will receive priority access regardless of where they stay.
Will you be hosting any of the usual events you have?
Most of the events we typically hold will either be cancelled or heavily modified. We will work within applicable government regulations to determine which events, if any, can go forward. Many of our signature events may not happen this year. We will update our events calendar as we have events confirmed.
What policies do you have in place for avoiding the spread of COVID-19 in your workforce?
Our COVID-19 work-safe policies are based on the CDC’s recommendations for reducing exposure. Exposure occurs when a person is in the presence of a positive tested COVID-19 person for longer than 15 minutes and within six feet, with or without a mask:
All employees undergo required training on safe work practices, including our company specific COVID-19 policies that align with CDC, state and county guidelines. Additionally, department-specific protocols are in place and will continue to be developed as needed.
What if an employee was exposed, is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19?
Any SVAM team member who has symptoms, tested positive, and/or was exposed to a COVID-19 positive person must follow California Department of Public Health regulations, which require self-quarantine, testing, and/or monitoring. Employees are permitted to return to work based on guidelines from California Department of Public Health.
How will you assist employees who have to take off work due to COVID exposure?
In accordance with CA state law and our company policies, we will provide employees with up to two weeks of COVID-19 emergency sick pay that can be used to cover time away from work due to mandatory quarantine periods and/or COVID-19 related illness.
What about your employees working in offices and indoors in lodges?
Face coverings are required at all times when indoors except when eating or working alone in an enclosed area. Additionally, we have evaluated indoor workspaces in the resort to determine new reduced capacities, and have reconfigured layouts to allow employees to properly distance in accordance with, and often exceeding, state guidelines. Employees who do not need to be on-site will continue to work from home as much as possible. Partitions have been installed at ticket windows and other locations where our staff interacts with guests.
What special training are employees getting for COVID-19?
All employees undergo required training on best practices to mitigate spread and exposure. This includes what to do if an employee is exposed, requirements for physical distancing and sanitization and protocols specific to their job.
Resort Practices & Policies
We have modified many of our operations informed by the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State of California, and the Placer County Health Department. As new information becomes available we will continue to adapt so that you can enjoy time recharging in the mountains.
We are all in this together and guests have various levels of sensitivity to the health impacts of COVID 19. Please respect others' views and be a conscientious part of our community.
Sanitization & Other Limited Contact Measures
Shared Common Space
Food Service Modifications
Seating & Meeting Room Floor Plans
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and deaths, especially for senior citizens and individuals with underlying medical conditions. By visiting Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.