Squaw Valley KT-22 Ski Runs

Lisa Marie Mercer
california mountains

Many avid skiers and snowboarders believe that California's Squaw Valley KT-22 ski runs provide the best and most diverse terrain in North America. KT-22 offers access to steeps, bumps, glades, and bowls. Some people think that the KT-22 chairlift is the best in the world or at least in North America.

About Squaw Valley's KT-22 Chairlift

The KT-22 chairlift rises 2,000 feet from the base of Squaw Valley. It is home to famous trails such as the Fingers, Eagle's Nest, Chute 75, Olympic Lady, Moseley's Run, and Julia's Gold which was named after local Olympic Gold Medalist Julia Mancuso.

The name of the chairlift was inspired by Gladys "Sandy" Poulsen, otherwise known as the First Lady of Squaw Valley. She started her life as a New York City debutante, but soon longed for a life of adventure. Perhaps this is why she decided to take a ski trip to Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that she met her future husband, Wayne Paulsen. After the couple married, they moved to Squaw Valley, California, and began developing real estate in the area.

The story of KT-22 begins with a ski trip. While the Squaw Valley Ski Resort was being designed in 1948, Sandy and her husband Wayne were skiing down a steep slope. Her husband was an expert skier, who liked to carve his turns. He urged his wife to do the same. However, Sandy was not so advanced. In fact, she was so terrified of the steep terrain that she traversed into the trees and she made what she thought was a secret kick turn. As it turns out, her turns were not so secret. Her husband was waiting at the bottom of the slope and calmly told her that she had performed 22 kick turns to get to the bottom. The area was named KT-22 for Sandy's 22 kick turns. The KT-22 high speed quad was installed in 1995.

Squaw Valley KT-22 Ski Runs Overview

Many advanced skiers and snowboarders regard the KT area of Squaw Valley as a resort for expert athletes. While Sandy Paulsen made it down a slope by performing traverses and kick turns, this is not an advisable method of negotiating the steep terrain. Yet, if you have the skills to explore the area, you can enjoy vistas that can almost be described as mystical. For example, when Squaw Valley's USA Freeride Team members Jessica Sobolowski and Kevin Quinn were married at KT, a rainbow appeared during the wedding ceremony. If you want to experience the magic, here are some descriptions of the Squaw Valley KT-22 ski runs.

Chute 75

Chute 75 is located to the right of the Squaw Valley KT-22 chairlift. This mogul run is a favorite of Olympic Gold Medalist Johnny Moseley. The chute formation makes it a natural half pipe.

The Fingers

If you plan to ski the Fingers on KT-22, you had better be good. The trail runs directly underneath the KT-22 chairlift. The Fingers are a series of rock-lined chutes, which mean that straight-lining is your only option. Long, carved S-shaped turns will not help you.

Eagle's Nest

Some people say that Eagle's Nest is one of the steepest runs in North America. You'll need to be in shape for this trail, since you have to hike to get to it. When you get off the lift, take off your skis, and start hiking to the left.

Red Dog Ridge

Red Dog Ridge sustains a consistent 35-degree pitch. It is noted for its high-speed tree skiing. To reach it, unload from the KT-22 chair and make a left. Traverse past the Olympic Lady chairlift.


Squaw Valley's KT-22 offers challenging and fun runs for experienced skiers. While the runs at KT-22 might be designed for experts, keep in mind that the other California ski areas have terrain that is suitable for all levels.

Squaw Valley KT-22 Ski Runs