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"Olympic" isn't just a name for this quiet resort town on the northwest edge of the lake — it's a legacy.
Host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Olympic Valley (or Squaw Valley, as it's also commonly known) is a major draw for advanced skiers seeking rugged terrain. The valley boasts dozens of renowned lifts and some of the deepest snow levels on the globe. It's also home to a handful of athlete-friendly resorts, the 3,600-acre Squaw Valley USA being the most popular among them. A recent push for a new mega-resort has garnered its share of supporters and detractors, but whatever its future holds, Olympic Valley remains the skier's capital of Tahoe.
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The four-mile hiking trail though Shirley Canyon boasts a colorful display of wildflowers in spring, as well as several waterfalls. A cable car from Squaw Valley USA provides easy access for visitors who prefer to hike one-way instead of round-trip.
Like Coachella for the chakra, the multi-day Wanderlust Festival stops in Olympic Valley each July, combining world-class yoga, music, food, and wine. Headliners for Wanderlust, now in its fifth year in California, have included Deepak Chopra, Ziggy Marley, and Moby.
A kid's paradise at Granlibakken Resort, the Treetop Adventure Park includes an obstacle course of zip lines and bridges ranging from heights of 15 to 50 feet. The "Aerial Adventure Course" is open through Thanksgiving.
Olympic Valley's major resorts — particularly Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, situated about a mile apart from one another — are gaining buzz for their increased backcountry access, allowing for a more rugged, high-octane ride between the two sets of trails. The route is part of an initiative through the U.S. Forest Service, expanding what's known as "off-piste" skiing and snowboarding.