Mountain Safety & Courtesy Policies

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows is concerned about the safety of our skiers and snowboarders. Please read and practice the following information. Skiing and snowboarding are adventurous and exhilarating outdoor recreational activities. Natural and man-made obstacles are a part of this alpine experience. Collisions with these objects, especially when skiing fast or out of control, can result in serious or fatal injury. Ski and ride with caution and in control.

Know the Code

Skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed in many ways. At ski areas you may see people using alpine, snowboard, telemark, cross country and other specialized ski equipment, such as that used by disabled or other skiers. Regardless of how you decide to enjoy the slopes, always show courtesy to others and be aware that there are elements of risk in skiing that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Observe the code listed below and share with other skiers the responsibility for a great skiing experience.

  1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent run away equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload safely.
  8. If you are involved in a collision or are a witness, do not leave the scene until the Ski Patrol has talked to you. California Penal Code § 653i.
  9. Be safety conscious and KNOW THE CODE. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

This is a partial list. Officially endorsed by: NATIONAL SKI AREAS ASSOCIATION

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Courtesy Code

Our Courtesy Code is designed to create a warm and welcome environment for family and friends to enjoy our resort.

  • Alcoholic beverages must be consumed in licensed premises only
  • Tobacco permitted in designated smoking areas only
  • Consumption of marijuana in not permitted
  • Offensive language including profanity not allowed
  • For your safety, observe the skiers responsibility code at all times
  • Intimidating, pushing, or physically threatening other guests is not permitted, including throwing snowballs
  • Properly care for your dogs including keeping them on a leash and cleaning up after them

Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows reserves the right to revoke guest resort privileges for violations our Courtesy Code. Thank you for your cooperation.

Chairlift Riding Practices

Skiing and snowboarding are sports that guests of all ages can enjoy. In order to participate skiers and riders, including children, commonly ride chairlifts to access the slopes.  Under Your Responsibility Code, “Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.”

Skiers and snowboarders, including children, often ride chairlifts with others such as children, adults, instructors, or coaches. Sometimes children ride lifts without a companion. We encourage children pairing with an appropriate companion who can manage the restraining bar.    However, while there are restraining bars on chairlifts, using the bar does not guarantee the safety of the passengers.

The following are some suggested practices developed by Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows in an attempt to reduce some of the risks associated with riding chairlifts. We wish to educate our guests about the following practices.

Best Chairlift Practices
  • We recommend using the chairlift restraining bar when guests can do so safely. 
  • We request that appropriate companions ride with beginners and younger children, especially those in Kinderlift vests.  Generally, place yourself between two children so you can manage the bar and they can hold onto the sides of the chair.
  • When riding with children, model good chairlift practices. 
  • When riding with children, remind children to SIT BACK, HOLD ON, LOOK FORWARD, and DON’T FOOL AROUND. We encourage parents to re-enforce this message with their children. 
  • We recommend all guests review the Children’s Chairlift Code of Conduct as a reminder of more chairlift practices.
  • For parents in supervised Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows programs: Please be advised that your child may be riding lifts alone, with other children, or with adults while enrolled in group lessons, private lessons, or Teams. Please advise a Supervisor or Head Coach if you do not wish for your child to ride a chair lift.  
Children's Chairlift Code of Conduct

“Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.” - Your Responsibility Code 

We have developed the Children’s Chairlift Code of Conduct to help all of us educate young skiers and riders about the importance of following good practices when using chairlifts. Please take an active role in educating children to load, ride and unload chairlifts safely, including:

  1. Behave, be aware, and be respectful of others when you are in line, loading the chair, riding the chair, and unloading the chair. 
  2. When you are loading the chair, move promptly from the WAIT HERE board to the LOAD HERE board when the chair in front of you passes. Keep your skis or board straight. 
  3. At the LOAD HERE board: 
    1. Hold your poles in your inside hand if you carry poles
    2. Look back and to the outside for the on-coming chair
    3. Grab on to the chair (side, back or top of seat) as it approaches
    4. Use the restraining bar if you can do so safely; politely announce that the bar is being lowered
  4. While you are riding the chair, SIT BACK, HOLD ON, LOOK FORWARD, AND DON’T FOOL AROUND.  DO NOT play with skis or boards and DO NOT play with the restraining bar.
  5. If the lift stops, DO NOT turn around, bounce, or otherwise play on the chair. 
  6. When you are preparing to unload the chair, politely announce that the bar is being raised.
  7. Keep your tips up and straight ahead. 
  8. After you unload the chair:
    1. Move away from the unloading ramp
    2. Stay out of the way of others
    3. Wait for your coach or instructor
  9. If you fail to unload:
    1. Sit back and hold on
    2. Wait for the operator

Children participating in a supervised Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows program that violate this Code of Conduct will be appropriately reprimanded up to and including termination from our program.

No Babies in Backpack Policy

Transporting a child in a backpack or front pack on any chairlift at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is prohibited

Obey All Posted Signs
  • Obey All Posted Signs and Warnings: All poles and/or flags, fencing, signage and padding on equipment or objects or other forms of marking devices are used by the ski area to inform you of the presence or location of a potential obstacle or hazard.  These markers are no guarantee of your safety and will not protect you from injury.  It is part of your responsibility under your Responsibility Code to avoid all obstacles or hazards, including those that are so marked.  Please be aware that snowcats, snowmobiles and snowmaking may be encountered at anytime.
  • Terrain Symbols and The Easiest Way Down: A green circle, blue square or black diamond at Squaw Valley is not necessarily the same as similarly rated terrain at other areas.  The ratings are a relative system that applies only to this area.  Work your way up, beginning with the easiest terrain no matter what your ability level may be, until you are familiar with the terrain at Squaw Valley.  Looking for the easiest way down?  Follow the yellow trail signs off most lifts.
  • Slow Zones: Certain areas are designated as SLOW ZONES.  Please observe the posted slow zone areas by maintaining a speed no faster than the general flow of traffic.  Fast and aggressive skiing and riding will not be tolerated. 
Drone/Unmanned Aerial System Policy

Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Resort prohibit the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including recreational users and hobbyists – without the prior written authorization from the Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Resort. This prohibition also includes no drones used for filming or videotaping which includes, except in the certain circumstances described below, no commercial or editorial drone use by media or journalists operating from, on or above resort property. The only exception to the resort’s general prohibition of drones is as follows, in accordance with Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations:

  • Non-hobbyist use of a drone weighing less than 55 pounds
  • Drone operator must hold valid FAA certification as Remote Pilot Airman with a Small Unmanned Aircraft System rating
  • All operations must comply with Part 107 of FAA regulations and California and Placer County equivalents, if any
  • Operation is planned to occur in a location and on a date and time that does not include over-flight of any person (other than the drone operator) and/or operating resort lifts
    • If persons will be present for over-flight, a complete copy of FAA’s bona fide Waiver of Part 107 must be delivered to the resort at least 30 days in advance  
  • Written access agreement between drone operator and resort must be in place at least 30 days in advance; this agreement must include full indemnification of resort for all claims arising in connection with any drone use
  • Squaw Valley Resort, LLC and/or Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, LLC must be named Additional Insured on the drone operator's Aviation insurance policy with limits of not less than $2M per occurrence/$5M aggregate.  Certificate of insurance to be delivered to resort at least 30 days in advance
  • The drone operation must meets legitimate need(s) and be supported and approved by SV|AM Marketing Dept. and SV|AM Risk Management Dept. at least 30 days in advance
Powder Safety Tips

Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of our sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails (ski/ride the off-piste) you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow accident.

Off-piste skiing/riding is extremely difficult and for experts only. Unmarked obstacles and hazards exist and should be expected. If you choose to ski/ride the ungroomed area, including glades and trees, please remember and follow these safety precautions:

  1. Ski and Ride with a Partner
  2. It is critical to ski or ride with a partner who remains in visual contact at all times. In many cases, some of the deaths which have occurred due to tree well or deep snow immersion incidents may have been avoided had the person been with a partner the partner saw the person fall and the partner was close enough to assist digging the victim out in a timely manner. It does NO GOOD for your safety if you are under the snow and your partner is waiting for you at the bottom of the lift. If you have any question about what a “timely manner” is to assist someone in a tree well or deep snow, hold your breath now as you are reading this and the amount of time until you need air is approximately how much time your partner has to help get you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the nature of how you fall into the well may extend this critical timeframe. VISUAL CONTACT means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. IF YOU LOSE VISUAL SIGHT OF YOUR PARTNER, YOU COULD LOSE YOUR FRIEND.
  3. Carry, and know how to use, backcountry gear and wear a helmet.
  4. Know how to use, and carry, the same personal rescue gear as backcountry skiers or snowboarders: Transceiver, Shovel, Probe, Whistle
  5. If you use poles, remove your pole straps.
  6. Remove your pole straps before heading down a powder slope. Trapped skiers have difficulty removing the pole straps, which can hamper efforts to escape or clear an air space to breathe.
  7. What if I go down?
    1. If you are sliding toward a tree well or a deep snow bank, do everything you can to avoid going down: grab branches, hug the tree, or anything to stay above the surface. 
    2. If you go down, resist the urge to struggle violently. The more you struggle, the more snow will fall into the well from the branches and area around the well and compact around you. 
    3. Instead of panicking, try first to make a breathing space around your face. Then move your body carefully in a rocking manner to hollow out the snow and give you space and air.
  8. Hopefully, your partner will have seen what happened and will come to your rescue within minutes. If not, experts advise staying calm while waiting for assistance. Survival chances are improved if you maintain your air space. Over time, heat generated by your body, combined with your rocking motions, will compact the snow, and you may be able to work your way out.
Warning: Risk of Avalanche

While snow safety and avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at ski areas, both inside and outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and its application on steep, mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness. Visit or contact the Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows ski patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

For avalanche safety awareness, watch this video provided by RECCO.