Skiing in summer? Only at this California resort

squaw valley, alpine, ski, resort, skiing, snow, summer

Don’t look now, but there’s a guy next to me at the bottom of the chairlift. He’s snowboarding in a swimsuit. And nothing else.

That’s right. Snowboarding. In June.

Where? Only in California. Specifically, Squaw Valley, the legendary ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. Blanketed by an almost unimaginable 60 feet of snow this season, the resort recently announced it would remain open until at least July 4, and possibly longer. Lifts operate weekends only.

Now, to be sure, there are other mountains in America that stay open during the summer. Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin and nearby Mammoth Mountain, also in the Sierras, have famously long seasons.

But standing next to the dude in a bathing suit, and looking up the too-steep-to-ski slopes serviced by the Siberia Express sixpack, you know this is something else. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make some turns on some amazing snow during the summer.

This is special.

A ski resort in June can be a strange experience. There’s snow — lots of it — but the heavy ski jackets are replaced with shorts, T-shirts, and sometimes much less. There’s also a less constrained attitude that extends to safety (helmets are rare) and risk (we saw several serious accidents and one skier who had to be evacuated by helicopter).

But strange can also be a good thing.

At Squaw Valley, most of the runs at the top of the mountain remained open, all easily accessed via the Gold Coast Funitel, a gondola. They include some easy trails off the Big Blue chairlift, intermediate runs off Shirley Lake Express, and the terrifying black-diamond-rated moguls off Siberia Ridge, accessible from the Siberia chair.

Many of the lower runs still had snow, but patches of grass here and there. Skiers and snowboarders had to take off their gear and walk across the patches of snowless ground.

For kids, the sensation of being on a slope during the summer is even more surreal. All three of my children, who grew up skiing, are accustomed to being bundled up to protect their extremities from the cold. They’ve skied in all kinds of winter weather, including a memorable midwinter trip to Alberta, Canada, where the lifts had to close because it was too cold.

What’s skiing on summer snow like? It’s unreal. Think spring conditions — maybe a bit slushier — but oddly, still there. Summer snow should not exist, except maybe on glaciers. Yet there it is.

“Can I take my jacket off?” my 10-year-old daughter begs. It’s only 10 a.m., but it feels like it’s already 70 degrees.

Here’s why that’s a bad idea. If you take a spill, you’ll fall into summer snow, which can be crunchy. It’s a little bit like running exposed skin against a cheese grater. Ouch!

“But they’re not wearing anything,” my middle son, Iden, exclaims. He points to the dude.

Ah, the dude.

Upon closer inspection, I notice he’s carrying a bottle of bourbon.

Not a role model, kids. Not a role model.

The jackets stay and the dude gets pulled over by ski patrol at the top of the lift. Turns out drinking and skiing are no-nos. Who knew?

The snow on Big Blue starts to get slow after a few runs. That can happen as the summer sunshine starts to melt the snow, rendering it even heavier. Unless your skis are just waxed, you can grind to a halt on the straightaways.

So it’s off to Shirley Lake, a chairlift higher up the mountain, for some faster slopes. The top of that lift affords a magnificent view of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding resorts. Down there it’s summertime, with boats and kayaks dotting the flat, azure surface. But up here, it’s still winter.

A ski patroller explained that Squaw Valley is unique among North American ski resorts. When snow covers everything, there’s no place you can’t ski.

If you can see it, you can ski it. That includes the treacherous cliffs and chutes. See? Ski!

But just not today. With a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old in tow — all solid intermediate skiers — we stick to the groomers. There are plenty of opportunities to show off, though, including a bump run and a tree run. The snow up here is pretty forgiving, allowing you to make turns while keeping your speed in check.

That’s right about when we hear the helicopter overhead and the red smoke on the other side of the mountain. It’s from a lift called Granite Chief, a slower chairlift that services only expert terrain. The smoke is a marker to help the chopper land. I was thinking of taking the boys up there, but another skier tells us that some hotdogger had jumped off a cliff, landed on another cliff instead of the snow, and now had a one-way ride to the hospital.

I’m actually grateful that my kids got to see this. It’s a reminder that skiing is risky and the importance of safety. (This also guaranteed that they keep their helmets and jackets on for the rest of the trip, they skied on marked trails.)

It’s a life lesson, too. The rewards of an incredible summer skiing experience are counterbalanced by the risks. These risks can be managed, but if you don’t, you can end up at the bottom of a ravine.

At the end of the day, we’re enthralled — no, mesmerized — by summer skiing. An opportunity like this comes along only once, maybe twice, in a generation. We feel lucky to have had a chance to ski when everyone else is swimming.

If you go …

Where to stay
The most convenient place to stay is in the Village at Squaw Valley, which offers hotel rooms and suites with full kitchens. You’re just a few steps away from your ski rentals and the lifts.

What to eat
Fireside Pizza in the Village has a signature pizza, called the Fireside Pizza, with Italian sausage, pepperoni, fire-roasted onions, peppers, and portabello mushrooms, that can’t be beat. For authentic barbecue, head over to Moe’s Original BBQ in Tahoe City, which offers incredible slow-cooked turkey alongside stunning views of the lake.

What to do
Visit the Tahoe Maritime Museum for a look at some of the elegant wooden boats that once graced Lake Tahoe. The priceless artifacts have been lovingly restored (you can look, but don’t touch!). For a break from skiing, drive up the shoreline to Tahoe Adventure Company and take a guided tour of the lake. Visibility in Lake Tahoe during the summer months is impressive — you can see all the way to the bottom.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at,,, and

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by

Since its inception over three decades ago, G1G has continued to revolutionize the travel insurance industry by being the only aggregator to operate a customer portal, placing all of the user's primary needs in one place. We have continued to innovate and disrupt the market by reimagining the way travel insurance can be delivered to the end user in ways no competition can. Simply put, no one knows the market as well as its founders and no one else shares G1G values and mission.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Send this to a friend