Squaw Valley Ski Corporation
PO Box 2007
Telephone: (530) 5836985
The site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and internationally recognised world-class ski resort. Squaw Valley has a huge number of chair lifts serving one of North america’s largest ski areas. There’s a ski-in resort at Squaw Creek opened in the early 1990s followed by a new pedestrian village.
One of North America and the world’s major resorts, Squaw Valley ‘s history as a ski resort dates back to the late 1940′s when the resort’s first chairlift was installed. A little over a decade later the resort’s meteoric rise saw it hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics. With more than 30 lifts, including North America’s first Funitel, serving 4000 skiable acres Squaw is definitely a world class resort. The ski-in and ski-out lodging property, the Resort at Squaw Creek, opened in the early 1990s.
Still family owned, Squaw is sensibly following the trend in North America’s top resorts and has extended its existing slopeside lodging to create a state-of-the-art $250 million resort village, in partnership with Intrawest who run a dozen major North American resorts. It incorporates over 80 shops and restaurants as well as more than 700 condos.
The resort’s move into the 21st century has been boosted by the $20 million investment in a new Funitel. This is a combined gondola-funicular system with 46, 28 person cabins capable of transporting 3000 skiers per hour in winds which had, on occasion, caused the resort to suspend operations of older lifts on the higher slopes. The ascent time has also been cut from 12 to 8 minutes.
The resort’s achievement in hosting the 1960s Olympics is still a topic of conversation more than forty years on. It wasn’t just that the area succeeded in staging what was then the world’s largest games, with a thousand competitors from 34 nations, a little over a decade after Squaw’s inception, but that the resort actually won the bidding five years earlier, in 1955, when it was virtually unheard of outside California.
The first Games to be nationally televised and to house the athletes in their own Olympic village, the opening and closing ceremonies were orchestrated by Walt Disney and involved over 5,000 participants and the use of 1,285 musical instruments.
Squaw Valley’s history does go back a little further than the start of the ski industry in the area of course. The Washoe Native Americans were the original inhabitants, then the town of Claraville grew up in the 1860s where today the entrance to Squaw Valley stands. The valley’s popularity then was the result of silver being discovered in the area. The town’s population peaked at 1000 residents and, whilst ranchers, shepherds, miners and trappers came and went, it wasn’t until the Squaw Valley Development Corporation was established in 1948 that the area really took off.
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