Why is Headwall lift closed? This isn’t a banner snow year. You have to know what you’re doing to find good off-piste snow at Squaw right now. There are some decent turns to be had, but you need to sniff them out. Some of the best skiing of late has been in the Headwall area. So why is this lift closed?
Unlike KT-22, which is currently offering “experts only skiing”, there are run options for every level of rider. The Sun Bowl is great and even getting back to Mountain Run via the Bullet or Horse Trails is super fun. The Tree Chutes have been skied up and are chalky, fast and smooth. The Ho Chi Minh to the Horse Trails provides a decent escape route for those who might get overwhelmed by the other offerings. The long and short is that running this lift would benefit a lot of people.
There are ramps at both the top and bottom stations of Headwall. The excuse I was given when I called Squaw’s main phone line was “there is no ramp at the bottom station” and “there are creeks at the bottom of the lift.” Creeks have never prevented Squaw from opening Headwall before (except maybe by flooding and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon).
So if the lift isn’t closed because the skiing is dangerous or because there isn’t enough snow on the ramps, why is it closed? The only thing left to reason is the Squaw Valley Budget Hold. Placing a lift on hold because of weak day ticket sales is not a reasonable excuse when the season pass sales were through the roof this year. Passholders, and people that come up for a weekend for some decent skiing, should get lift access to some of the mountains best terrain.
People buy tickets and seasons passes for lift accessed skiing, not for the privilege of clawing their way across icy, rutted up traverse lines to find decent skiing. In this years marketing campaign, KSL chants “Welcome to Extraordinary.” Accessing Headwall terrain by the Reverse Traverse makes for a skiing experience that is anything but “extraordinary.”
Should we expect that when we buy a season’s pass that lifts will be put on “budget hold” because we’re having a poor snow year? This is the first drought year KSL has seen and it will be a year that sets precedents. Closing lifts that access great skiing due to budget cutbacks shouldn’t be allowed to stick. If you are a pass-holder or even a day ticket buyer, give the main office a call (530-583-6985) and let them know that you want to ride the lifts that you paid for. Or welcome yourself to ordinary…