I grew up in the Midwest spending snowy winters skiing, ice skating, sledding and building snowmen. After moving to warmer climates and taking a twenty year hiatus from winter activities it’s nostalgic and exciting to see my family dive into all that winter has to offer. Resort at Squaw Creek is a convenient lodging choice for families and complements a Squaw Valley family ski trip well because it offers so many on-property winter activities.
It’s a five minute walk from the hotel, past the ski valet to the chairlift that whisks skiers up to Squaw Valley. For families with beginner skiers that aren’t ready for the chairlift, there is a shuttle from the hotel to Squaw Valley that runs every 15 minutes.
The most popular rooms for families are the Deluxe with two queen beds and the Fireplace Suite with a separate king bedroom and a pullout sofa in the living room. I’ve stayed in both and like the extra space in the suite especially for morning breakfast as it has a good sized dining table. There’s no full kitchen but it does have a microwave. Regardless of the room, the beds are so comfortable that no one wanted to get up in the morning.
The convenience of having so many winter activities on-property allows families to try new things without having to lug gear and kids all over the place.
The Pool’s Open! It’s common to see guests making their way from the hotel to the pool and Jacuzzi in their hotel bathrobes. While the pool looks inviting kids are quick to jump back into the bubbling Jacuzzi.
Ice Skating. The resort has its own ice skating rink that is open until 10 p.m. at night. The rink tends to be busier late afternoon after families return from a day of skiing and all day on weekends. There are a couple of “skate buddies” available for kids that are learning although this doesn’t stop the falls!
Tip: Unless your kids are used to hockey-style skates, request figure skates at the rental office as these are much easier for kids that are new to skating.
Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Sledding. The winter yurt located just beyond the pools is the headquarters for all winter rentals and activities other than downhill skiing which has a rental shop in the hotel. The cross-country and snowshoe trails circle around the meadow in front of the hotel with mountain views on all sides. There is a track alongside the trail that works especially well for kids new to cross country skiing as it keeps their skis going straight.
We took the advice of the staff who recommended cross country skiing over snowshoeing with kids and went out for an hour – just the right amount with first-timers. We had three thumbs up and one grumpy thumbs down from my son who waited too long to ski in the track and didn’t enjoy the scenery sitting on his bottom.
Sleigh Rides and Dog Sledding. Depending on the snow conditions, sleigh rides and dog sledding are offered at the resort. We didn’t try either but I saw an extended family go out on three different sleds. It’s quite a sight, and smell, to see all the dogs resting after their runs.
With four restaurants in the hotel there is something for every family. Six Peaks Grille is the more upscale restaurant while Sweet Potatoes Deli, Sandy’s Pub and Mountain Pizzeria are more casual. We like starting the day at the gourmet deli where portions are large and service is quick. Mountain Pizzeria impressed with good ingredients – it’s tough to resist a prosciutto and black truffle pizza. And Sandy’s Pub is our kids’ favorite for hot chocolate and newly discovered homemade soft pretzels. It’s worth noting the kids’ menu here too as it has a nice selection of healthy and tasty options.
I sometimes wonder after a good kids’ club experience if it is the staff person that made the experience so good or the resort. After two experiences with two different staff I can definitely say it’s the resort along with well-trained staff. Weather permitting and depending on the age of the kids, the group will head outdoors for activities. On our date night, my kids ice skated for two hours and then roasted marshmallows by the outside fire pit; they left tired and happy.
Is there anything better than a massage after a full day of skiing? I tried the Lake Tahoe Hot Stone massage while my husband had a Swedish massage – we compared notes and both of us had excellent experiences; our only regret was not making time for the sauna and steam room.
Editor’s Note: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and The Resort at Squaw Creek provided complimentary lodging, activities and meals on this trip. As always, our opinions on Ciao Bambino are our own. Photos by Kristi Marcelle except where noted.
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