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July 4th “Freedom Fest” at Squaw
2 posts from 2 users
Updated 7 months ago
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

Bottom line - I skied on the 4th - sort of - would you settle for July 3.  The 3rd was a great day.  Got there at lift opening, parked  close, got 6 runs until 9:30.  The first 3 were near perfect, then it quickly transformed into wet heavy slop.  By the 6th it was about 70 degrees and beginning to get that clutch and grab sensation threatening an over the handlebars faceplant and I quit for the day.  Soon afterward in a men’s room stall the lights went out.  “Hey, leave the lights on” was met with silence; nobody there.  Cell phone flashlight to the rescue.  The power went out for the whole valley.  I missed hanging from a stopped chair for 2 hours, during which I soaked up sun, made some new friends and drank beer on the patio.  

Now Squaw is a hard core place.  Nobody other than the most dedicated (obsessive?) skiers go there at this time of year.  On my way up in the gondola people were comparing their seasons,  65 days, 103, 47, etc.  I was the wimp at 26, but didn’t start until mid February after a knee replacement in late November.  Someone said that Cheryl got her 200th in May.  She is a local legend, in her 70s like me, who rides first chair on the KT-22 lift every day that it’s open and skis nothing else.  Locals will step aside for her if she’s a few minutes late, which is rare.

The lifts were scheduled to run July 3-7, then season over.  Like everyone else I wanted bragging rights for the 4th, but went on the 3rd thinking the crowd would be much smaller and then I could forego the 4th if it got ridiculous.  It got far beyond ridiculous.  I arrived at 6:30 for scheduled lift opening at 8.  The line was already 1/4 mile long.  I went to Starbucks thinking I’d wait out the initial surge.  That was a mistake.  Soon there were huge numbers of people passing by, carrying skis like salmon headed upstream.  Soon the line length doubled, tripled, and wound around buildings, herded by hundreds of temp employees wearing ‘crowd control’ vests.  Apparently the crowds expected to go to the National Mall all went to Squaw Valley instead.  By 9 I realized that I couldn’t get to the snow before it turned to glue in the sun and that there would be 10s of thousands of skiers on very limited terrain so I went home.  In the parking lot someone was on the phone with a friend who said that the wait would now be more than 2 hours.  The management has hyped this up for weeks and I think they oversold it.

Getting July turns had become more important to me than the 4th.  I am going to try for a 12 month year.  Mammoth for August, and probably Hood for September which is the hardest month.  Maybe Tioga Pass, or Lassen or Shasta as well if my body is up for the climbs.


marzNC - DCSki Supporter
7 months ago

Thanks for the early July TR!

I knew Snowbird was open on July 4th but hadn’t paid attention to Squaw.  Read somewhere that July skiing at Squaw has happened 5-6 times before.  These days, A-Basin and Mammoth being open in early July doesn’t seem that unusual.

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