Squaw Valley Gets Reinvented as Palisades Tahoe — Why This Is the Where You Should Be Skiing This Season

skier skiiing down slopes

As fresh as the powder on KT-22, the Tahoe resort formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has a new, more socially sensitive moniker: Palisades Tahoe. In 2020, after acknowledging overwhelming evidence that the word “squaw” was derogatory and offensive, management decided that the resort’s name should be changed. 

The new name and logo, which features an eagle and the resort’s two mountains, was selected based on input from the local community, including the Washoe Tribe, along extensive historical research of the area, and pays homage to the majestic cliffs — the Palisades — that loom above the resort’s Siberia Chair. Extreme skiers have long hiked to the top of the Palisades to jump the cliffs and check turn down runs like Main Chute and Kitchen Wall. “With the name Palisades Tahoe, we’re honoring our past and the terrain that inspired countless skiers and riders to push the limits, while also looking toward a new chapter,” says Public Relations Manager Alex Spychalsky.

ski lift

In addition to the name change, the resort has entered into a partnership with the local Washoe Tribe to educate visitors about the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Lake Tahoe Basin. This relationship will give the Washoe Tribe a platform to educate guests, as well as the local community, about their history and culture. What’s more, tribe members will enjoy free lift tickets, rentals, snow tubing and other resort activities. Washoe Cultural Tours are now offered at High Camp, and soon the Squaw One chair will be renamed with Washoe tribal input. A youth recreation program is also underway.

“We’re glad to be forming this partnership between the Washoe Tribe and the ski resort,” says Darrel Cruz, the director of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Cultural Resources Office of the Washoe Tribe. “We look forward to this opportunity to educate people about the culture and history of the land they are recreating on.”

skiers drinking beers

Along with these developments, Palisades Tahoe is welcoming visitors back to the resort this season with new attractions and a packed schedule of annual favorites and new events. For one thing, those who are new to riding or skiing or want to get the kids on the slopes for the first time are in for a treat, with the opening of the High Camp Carpet lift. Beginners can now take the Aerial Tram to High Camp and enjoy some of the best high-elevation snow on the mountain. 

On the calendar kicking off the snow season, which opened on October 29 thanks to early snowfall, Welcome to Winter Weekend, November 25–27, promises fun events for the whole family. Later events include Kid-O-Rama, February 19–26, offering kid-focused activities both on and off the snow; the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Championships, March 23–27, when some the country’s best moguls athletes will compete for national titles; and Winter Wondergrass Tahoe, April 1–3, featuring live bluegrass performances and local beer tasting.

skier skiing down hill

As far as Covid-19 precautions go, Palisades Tahoe is following current Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Placer County guidelines. At press time, facial coverings are strongly recommended for everyone in public places, regardless of vaccination status; masks are required indoors for unvaccinated guests only; and are not required outdoors or in the Funitel or Tram. 

With a new name that captures the spirit of the resort, world-class skiing and snowboarding, and a wide range of attractions, dining and lodging options, Palisades Tahoe is ready to enter a new era. “It’s inspiring that after seven decades in operation, a company as storied and established as this resort can still reflect and adjust when it’s the necessary and right thing to do,” says Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrnewe. “We have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding, and we’ve now proven that those values go beyond the snow for us.”

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richard wright

Richard Wright is a writer from Marin whose work has appeared in San Francisco Magazine, SOMA, 944, The Olympian and numerous online publications. He has an MFA from St. Mary’s College of California in creative writing and lives in Sausalito with his wife, Stephanie.

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