Image: 70 Days at Squaw-Alpine | Rochelle Swanson

The IkonPass was my first multi-resort pass and I used it primarily at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in Northern California. While the resorts are now owned by the same parent company and are working on plans to connect the two by gondola, my experience was different at the two resorts which complemented rather than copied each other to create a more robust skiing experience.

At Squaw Valley you can expect big reactions from people on the chairs. It’s Squallywood, baby! Hit major air in the Gold Coast terrain park or hike to the Palisades and everyone can see to cheer you on. Whether you are just a beginner or an avid skier, you can’t help but feel the excitement.


Image: Squaw Valley April 18, 2018 | SwansonFineArts

But at Alpine Meadows, things are more relaxed and the best lines are hidden gems that no one sees but you. The tree skiing is unparalleled, and you can’t beat the accessibility of Achieve Tahoe for people seeking ADA accommodations.

Image: Achieve Tahoe. Painting 4/20/2019 by Rochelle Swanson

My journey to SquawAlpine started in Olympic Village at the heart of Squaw Valley last spring. Initially, it was daunting because I couldn’t see any terrain that I was capable of skiing, but locals all assured me that beginner and intermediate terrain was available above the ridge and accessible by either Tram or Funitel.

We made our way to the top of the Funitel and were relieved to find a wide range of green and blue terrain. After warming up on Gold Coast and Big Blue we made our way to Shirley Lake and enjoyed groomed runs, moguls, and a little bit of spring tree skiing.

Photo: Shirley Lake at Squaw Valley | SwansonFineArts

In the fall, we returned to ski the Kangaroo chair at Alpine Meadows on opening day. It was before the first natural snowfall so snowmaking and grooming teams were working around the clock to open as much terrain as possible. The first day there was only one run available but we all had great fun sharing tips and tricks while doing our best snow dances.

Our year of skiing was truly life-changing. We had opportunities to meet new people, improve ourselves physically and emotionally, learn new ski techniques, travel, practice photography, and become more connected with the outdoor sports community. Thank you to all who have supported us and joined us in our journey. It was a truly unique experience.


Music: “Green” by Storyteller Music.
Photos and Video Editing: SwansonFineArts