First Timer's Guide

First Time on the Slopes? 

We've got you covered! Use this page to find all the necessary information to help you enjoy your first day. 

Pro Tips 

First-Timer Lessons

At Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, we have fun & accessible beginner terrain, perfect for our first-time guests. Want to navigate this terrain with a little help? Look no further than some of our First-Time Lessons options. 

  • Take a Private Lesson from one of our experienced Instructors. Your lesson will be tailored to fit your specific needs while helping you learn valuable insights & skills. 
  • Take a group Beginner Lesson and learn with others on the same level as you. Make friends & enjoy the scenic views while gaining expertise & improving your abilities. 
  • Take an unlimited number of lessons as you progress throughout the season over at Alpine Meadows with our Alpine Unlimited program
Demo boots on display
Rentals 

Our staff at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are trained to find you equipment that fits perfectly and matches your skill level. For more information on renting skis and snowboard equipment, please visit this page.  

Ski school, students with instructors
Lift Tickets

Please note: some lessons & programs already include lift access. Verify this before purchasing ticket products. 

Lodging

Stay directly next to the slopes in the heart of the Village at Squaw Valley, just steps from dining, shopping, events and activities. 

Instructor and students skiing
Beginner Areas & Maps

We have several areas on our mountain dedicated specifically to First Timers & Beginners. A Green Circle always indicates the easiest way down, so if you're out on the mountain, make sure you follow Green Circle trail markers. These are our beginner zones: 

snowy village
Groceries & Pharmaceuticals  

Need groceries or over-the-counter pharmaceutical items? Visit Alice's Mountain Market

If you're looking for to-go alcohol, you can also check out Alice's neighbor, Spirits of the Valley or peruse wines at Uncorked

 

Getting Here & Getting Around 

Daily direct flights. Free local shuttles. Carpool parking. 

 

Non-Skiing Activities

If you're not on the mountain, there's still plenty to do here! 

Still have questions afterwards? Call (800)-403-0206 with further questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Transportation

How do I get to Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows? 

Squaw Valley is located at 1960 Squaw Valley Rd, Olympic Valley, CA 96146. 

Alpine Meadows is located at 2600 Alpine Meadows Rd, Alpine Meadows, CA 96146. 

For further tips on getting here, check out one of these pages: 

Where do I park at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows? 

For all information regarding parking, shuttles, and getting around the resorts, please visit our Getting Around & Parking page

 

Lift Tickets

Can I buy lift tickets online? 

We now offer advanced rate lift tickets that give you the opportunity to buy at some of our lowest rates. The more you plan ahead and purchase in advance, the cheaper your lift ticket will be. Buy them here.

Once you have purchased your online tickets, you may come to any ticket window at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows to pick up your physical ticket. You will need your purchase confirmation and a valid ID. 

I saw that lift tickets are RFID. Can you tell me more about that? 

RFID is a small circuit integrated into your ticket. When you enter the gates, this circuit will register and the gate will open automatically. RFID cards must be kept in a pocket away from cell phones and credit cards. We recommend keeping your ticket in a pocket on the left hand side of your body. Holes cannot be punched in your ticket, as that will damage the RFID circuit. 

I lost my ticket. What do I do? 

Please visit one of our ticket office locations with your purchase confirmation and a valid ID. 

What are the hours of the ticket office? 

Please visit this page to see the current operating hours for our Squaw Valley ticket office. 

 

Rentals 

How early should I arrive to pick up rentals? 

On a non-holiday weekday, please allow at least 30 minutes to get through the rental shops. Plan for longer if you are traveling with a group. 

On holidays and weekends, please allow at least 45 minutes to get through the rental shops. The earlier you arrive, the better. 

To find information on pricing and to book rentals in advance, please use this page

Can my child rent equipment if I am not there? 

A child must have an adult present to rent equipment and must have a parent/guardian available to sign a release of liability waiver. 

 

Preparation

What do I bring/wear? 

We recommend wearing warm layers to the mountain along with waterproof snow pants, a waterproof jacket and waterproof gloves or mittens. We also recommend wearing a helmet with goggles. Skiers will need skis, ski boots and ski poles. Snowboarders will need snowboard boots and a snowboard. We also recommend bringing snacks, a water bottle and money to buy lunch at the resorts.

I don't have goggles. Can I buy some at the resort? 

Yes, you can buy goggles, gloves, helmets, jackets, snowpants and other ski & snowboard gear at these retails stores: Estelle Sports at Alpine Meadows and Parallel Mountain Sports, Oakley, The North Face, The Ledge Board Shop and Patagonia at Squaw Valley.

 

Activities, Events & Village  

Do you have staff available to answer my questions / help me find my way around? 

When at the resort, look for our Mountain Hosts in yellow jackets. They can answer your questions and direct you to wherever you need to go. 

Do you have a place I can buy groceries or over-the-counter pharmaceutical items? 

You can visit Alice's Mountain Market for groceries or over-the-counter pharmaceutical items. 

My child/spouse/family member/friend does not want to ski or snowboard. What can they do while I am on the mountain? 

There are always fun events and activities going on at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, including live music, festivals, tubing, dining, and shopping. Here are some useful links: 

 

On The Mountain 

I'm scared about riding the lifts! Are they safe? 

All of our lifts are equipped with restraining bars. Lift attendants are available at every lift to help you get on and off. Here's a useful video about riding chairlifts

Since I am a beginner, what signs should I look for? 

The easiest runs are always marked with a green circle. An intermediate run is a blue square and an expert/advanced run is a black diamond. Be sure to stay on green circle runs until you feel confident moving up! 

Where can I find out about the current weather & conditions? 

For snow & weather information, visit this page. For live webcams, visit this page. To see the current open lifts and to see which runs are groomed, visit this page

Where can I find trail maps? 

To view our trail maps, visit this page. To explore our mountain zones and plan where you are going to ride, please visit our Mountain Zones page. Trail maps will also be available in our ticket offices, rental shops, and with our Mountain Hosts. 

Can I ride the chairlifts without ski/snowboard equipment? 

Our lifts are only available to guests with equipment. However, non-ski/snowboard guests may purchase an Aerial Tram ticket that grants them access to the Aerial Tram & High Camp area and to the Funitel gondola. Find out more here

 

Lessons

I want to take a beginner lesson. What are my options? 

For ages 13 and up, you can take a private beginner lesson or a group beginner lesson. Children may also take private beginner lessons or join one of our group lessons. Additionally, families may take a family private lesson

Do I need to make a reservation for lessons? 

While lessons do not always fill up, we recommend booking ahead of time to ensure you get a spot. Be especially mindful of weekends and holidays, as lessons on those days fill up faster than others. To book your lesson, please visit this page or call 1-(800)-403-0206. 

Do you have any deals on lessons? 

Please visit this page to see our most current offerings for lesson deals

What age do your lessons start at? Do you offer childcare for children too young to participate in lessons? 

 Lessons begin at age 3 for both skiing and snowboarding. We do not offer childcare at this time.

Please note: each lesson page has its own specific set of FAQs. Please visit the FAQ page for the lesson you plan on booking for more detailed information. 

 

I still have questions! 

Give us a call at 1-(800)-403-0206 and we will help you.