I had turned 50 earlier in the month. As I follow snow and ski resort updates, I noticed that Squaw Valley was still open and getting a decent amount of snow in late May. They had been walloped with TOO MUCH snow earlier in the season, actually. I did some quick research, and found a nonstop flight to Reno, slope side accommodation with cooking facilities, and a rental SUV that was slightly above my usual budget for solo trips but, hey, you only are 50 once AND it was Memorial Day weekend, so I didn’t need to take off much time from work (my boss was planning for the office to be closed on that Friday-Monday.)
After booking the trip, I researched alternative activities in case weather didn’t cooperate. I headed over to Squaw right after landing at RNO mid-day and as I’ve noted before, that airport is extremely user-friendly. It is such a scenic drive to any part of the Tahoe area from Reno. In fact, as I’d learn later, that whole slice of the Northern Cal/Nev border from Reno down toward the Yosemite area is just breathtaking.
It was too late in the day to get in any turns, but I was pleased with my choice of lodging, the Squaw Valley Lodge. The parking situation isn’t the greatest, but it seems like par for the course when it comes to resort condo parking: tight navigation into limited spaces. I feel like these garages were never meant for the large trucks/SUVs that they usually accommodate. After checking in and unpacking, I headed into town. or rather, I just went for a drive along the Northern part of the lake and assumed I’d come across shops, beaches, grocery stores, and, of course, casinos. I made my first stop in the very charming area of Tahoe City, CA. There was plenty of on street parking and I wandered along a beachfront path, and got great hiking suggestions from the shopkeeper of a t-shirt store. Sadly, the store was sold out of base boost wax. I should have brought some from home!
I continued along North Lake Boulevard to see what was what. King’s Beach was dotted with adorable vintage-looking cabins and motels that must have date back to the 1950s, at least. It seemed like a place I would have *loved* to visit as a kid.
I finally hit the Cal-Neva border and pulled into what I thought was a casino resort of the same name. CalNeva was, sadly, closed, but I’ve read that it’s being redeveloped. Instead I make brief stops at Crystal Bay casino and Tahoe Biltmore. Both are modest gaming facilities, but it was a nice diversion on a drizzly afternoon. I then headed to the local Safeway to grab some groceries. I brought only dry goods with me (pasta, coffee, sun dried tomatoes, etc) so I grabbed some locally brewed beers, salad items, bagels, etc. I met some nice people while in the produce department, teachers from California. We ended up chatting quite awhile! I also popped into a second grocery store on my way back to the lodge because I forgot…something.
Back at the lodge, I made a late supper of chicken Caesar salad, some tomato-basil soup, and a glass of wine. I was staying in a studio unit that was perfectly comfortable for me. The lodge was built in the 80s and the unit I stayed in seemed to have the original bathroom tile and fixtures. Everything was in perfect condition, so why not?
I did research online and the weather was not looking promising for Saturday skiing at Squaw – rain all day turning to snow at night. Sunday looked great. I decided to go to sleep and see when I woke up naturally before deciding what to do in the morning.