Hi I’m Travis Ganong, World Cup Champion, Palisades Tahoe local, and US Ski Team member. I have been skiing these mountains since I was one and a half years old, and one of my favorite zones hands down is The Chief Zone at Squaw Valley.
“The lighest, deepest and highest quality snow at the resort”
Granite Chief is the highest elevation and most wind protected zone at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, which means that this area has the lightest, deepest, and highest quality snow at the resort. The Granite Chief zone holds perfect winter snow longer than anywhere else on the mountain after a storm cycle (even deep into the spring), and during a storm the snow piles up light and deep in the protected north facing trees, gullies and rock-bands.
“Adrenaline and excitement”
And, even for a World Champion skier like myself, Granite Chief still provides some adrenaline and excitement with fun granite rock outcroppings on most runs providing pillow lines, tight chutes, and fun cliffs to jump of off. Every run and hidden corner of this zone is peppered with fun natural terrain features, and traversing left or right from the top of the lift provides a true adventure skiing experience akin to backcountry skiing, (and at the far reaches of the zone you will not see another skier is sight and can be treated to fresh tracks long after the rest of the mountain has been skied out).
“Steepest and most sustained pitches of any groomed runs in the Tahoe Basin”
Back on the groomed sections of this zone, the runs here are some of the steepest and most sustained pitches of any groomed runs in the Tahoe Basin. Think wide open bowls that funnel down into the trees, groomed wall to wall to perfection. These groomed runs are also north-east facing which means that the snow is always dry and chalky making for a perfect snow surface for fast fun “on-piste” skiing. When I am home and its not a powder day, I love to load the Funi right at 9 with my race skis and head strait to the Granite Chief Zone to rip top to bottom fast groomers all by myself. If you go here first thing in the morning you can be treated to an almost “private ski area” experience all while having amazing views of Lake Tahoe, the base area far away, and the amazing Sierra Nevada mountains.