Tranquil Tahoe: Resort at Squaw Creek
A little languor by the lake, with snacks
By Viju Mathew

“Snickerdoodle?” asked the shuttle driver as I took my seat. That’s a little familiar, I thought, before I noticed his container of homemade cookies. I grabbed a couple, rationalizing that the detoxifying spa treatments I would soon be receiving would off set the sugar bombs, and sat back to watch the picturesque mountain village of Squaw Valley come into view. Well-being takes many forms.

squaw creek spa tahoeIn the case of the Resort at Squaw Creek, it comes in the form of the 10,000-square-foot spa, the most expansive facility of its kind in north Lake Tahoe. The sanctuary’s Craftsman-style entrance of set stone, etched metal, and glass reflects the region’s grounding elements. “We tried to infuse in our design, services, and product choices a sense of Squaw Valley’s environment — natural, beautiful, and simple,” explains spa director Kathleen Hall. This philosophy echoes inside the facility as well, through interior details such as a green slate floor, rich cherry lockers, and gender-exclusive redwood saunas and tiled steam rooms.

The basalt rocks for my Tahoe Hot Stone Massage —collected from the area’s namesake lake — were used to relaxing e ffect with flowing sports-massage strokes and soft stretches to increase range of motion. An organic oil of grape seed, safflower, and sweet almond (among other soothing botanicals) allowed both the stones and my senses to glide through the session. “Following a day of heavy activity, this treatment is a perfect way to wind down and recover quickly. It pushes lactic acid out of the muscles and into the circulatory system to beflushed out,” says Norma Jean Bower. It’s no wonder this is a signature o ffering — upwards of 70 percent of the clientele are spa-savvy sports enthusiasts. Bower, the first woman to solo Denali, continues, “Squaw Valley attracts a higher-than-average number of über-athletes. Olympians train here and are made here — the place breeds them.”

For those deficient in über, a Vitamin C Facial will at least impart a toned look from the neck up. After a deep cleansing and a gentle exfoliation, a high-intensity vitamin C serum (with zinc and tyrosineto aid collagen creation) is applied, followed by an application of sunscreen. The result is an enviably well-heeled appearance that’s protected when lounging outside by the trio of hot tubs and a heated pool. To help sustain the spa experience, standout product lines such as Yon-Ka, Cellex-C, Farmaesthetics, and European bathing remedies from Kneipp are available in the spa’s retail boutique.

Still aglow from my transcendent treatments, I ventured outside, sipping a Chimay and watching families roasting marshmallows over a fire pit. As the sun silhouetted Squaw’s amphitheater of rock and snow, I marveled at the many forms of well-being to be found here — and wondered where I might retoxify with another snickerdoodle.