Pay Powder: How much would you pay to ski fresh powder? Does it even have a price? Squaw valley seems to think so. Squaw is built on private rather than forestry service land with limited access to the backcountry. That is set to change as it re-jigs lift pass prices in light of the credit crunch. [...] The resort has always strictly controlled access to the out-bounds terrain including the National Geographic bowl, at least if you are a Squaw paying customer. For that you will need to purchase the eye-wateringly expensive platinum pass at $1699. This enrolls you in the “out of bounds program”. (Via PisteHors)
The sky is not falling. Squaw's program is intended for well-off pass holders for whom the extra cost of a platinum pass compares well with the cost of a day of heliskiing. Nothing obliges Squaw to offer convenient lift access to the backcountry for free. Since Squaw has always forbidden backcountry access from its lifts, nothing has materially changed for the worse with this new offer. Except maybe for the green-with-envy feelings it creates on those confined to inbounds tracked out turns while the high-living are taken on fresh tracks just over the boundary rope. If you can't stand the wave of envy, there's nice Sugar Bowl just a few miles NW as the crow flies who allow easy backcountry access from their lifts. And there's always skinning for your turns from a multitude of trailheads around the Tahoe basin.