- For $139, a two-night stay for up to four in a one-bedroom Kitzbuehl suite Sunday–Thursday<p>
Watch the video from our visit.
By Amanda Nyren, Travel Correspondent
Mountain Chalet Steeped in Olympic History
It may be that the precision of this clock is all but wasted here. Built by Longines for the 1960 Winter Olympics as part of a $200,000 network of timepieces that took four years to create, the clock now hangs idly above a rack of tourist brochures, its finely calibrated ticks capable of charting the seconds in Pacific, eastern, Greenwich mean, and Tokyo time. But enshrined in the lobby of Olympic Village Inn—the building itself an artifact of the games—the clock soldiers on, and nearby, lodgers sprawl out poolside or lounge in hammocks, losing track of the hour.
Comprising two wings laid out in an L shape, Olympic Village Inn previously housed the dormitories of the 1960 Olympic athletes. Today guests can peruse photo albums of the games in the lobby or practice luge cheers in their rooms, where gold, silver, and bronze medalists once slept. Post-Olympic renovations to the garden-style building merged pairs of dorms to form each one-bedroom suite with a private balcony looking out onto verdant gardens. In the bedroom, a brass bed piled with downy white sheets overlooks the rugged, pine-strewn faces of the Sierra Nevadas. The bathroom, adorned with white flower-print tiles, connects the bedroom to a living room and a kitchenette fully equipped with a microwave, a dishwasher, an electric stovetop, and a refrigerator.
Olympic Village Inn keeps travelers busy with programming such as Wednesday afternoon pottery painting and an evening wine and cheese hour. Hammocks dot the rolling lawn, rocking guests to sleep amid the sounds of the babbling brook and the intoxicating scent of pine. A terrace lines the inner crook of the inn, with wrought-iron café tables bestowing views of the soaring peaks of Squaw Valley as well as the waters of the inn’s pool and five outdoor hot tubs.
Squaw Valley: Mountain Enclave off Lake Tahoe’s North Shore
Squaw Valley’s venerated mountainsides and proximity to the northern part of Lake Tahoe make it a premier destination for outdoor recreationalists. Just outside Olympic Village Inn, beyond the mess hall where the 1960 Olympians ate, sits an open-air promenade of shops and restaurants known as the Village at Squaw Valley. The village’s broad cobblestone paths meander between clapboard and stone buildings with chalet-inspired rooflines. Come happy hour, diners flock to Mamasake for specials on beer and plates of Mama’s Balls, tempura-fried morsels of seafood salad, tofu, and sriracha. A quick walk north of the village, the aerial tram climbs 2,000 feet to High Camp, where panoramic views and challenging inclines attract hikers or skiers, depending on the season.
In nearby Tahoe City, Truckee River Raft Co. rents rafts big enough for families, couples, and the egos of demoted sea captains. The river’s burbling waters float vessels 5 miles downstream for a mostly gentle two- to three-hour self-guided journey with beer or wine available for purchase beforehand. Here and there, squeals resound as crafts pass intermittent rapids, which may toss passengers overboard into the chilly but shallow waters.
Twenty minutes southeast of the inn, rings of pine and spruce and the soaring peaks of the Sierra Nevadas border north Lake Tahoe’s deep alpine waters. Tahoe Sailing Charters depart daily from Tahoe City Marina for two-hour cruises aboard a 50-foot-long 1982 Santa Cruz sailboat. Passengers seated at the prow of the ship can let a toe drag in the cool water, and padded benches near the stern provide drier, more stable seating suitable for sipping complimentary beer and wine. Further north, standup paddleboards and kayaks launch from Carnelian Bay’s pebbly beachfront, where folding chairs cradle idle sunbathers.
Recommendations for Your Getaway
- Mamasake<p> A menu of maki, nigiri, and Japanese-inspired tapas draws a steady crowd, especially during happy hour.
- Alice’s Mountain Market<p> This quaint general store in the Village at Squaw Valley sells dry pastas, condiments, produce, and wine for at-home meals.
- PlumpJack Cafe<p> A well-known destination for inventive, sustainability minded dinners, PlumpJack lays out a breakfast buffet featuring slices of house-made sourdough-wheat toast and thick-cut bacon from Sierra Meat Company.
- High Camp<p> Accessible via an eight-minute aerial tram, this veritable mountaintop play land boasts a heated pool, three eateries, and summertime paintball and roller-skating.
- Truckee River Raft Co.<p> This Tahoe City outfit rents rafts for 5-mile floats down the Truckee River and sells a curated selection of beer and wine to bring along on the journey.
- The Pfeifer House<p> Hearty plates of schnitzel, steak, and potato pancakes accompanied by foaming glasses of Franziskaner hefeweizen are served in a retro eatery amid mounted deer heads, exposed timbers, and cuckoo clocks.
- Tahoe Sailing Charters<p> Captain Mike sets sail daily on a 50-foot 1982 Santa Cruz sailboat. The two-hour cruises cut across North Lake Tahoe and include complimentary cocktails.
- Waterman’s Landing<p> A friendly café set on Carnelian Bay serves coffee, fresh wraps, and baked goods and rents kayaks and standup paddleboards.
1909 Chamonix Place
Olympic Valley, CA 96146