Olympic Valley is one of the largest ski areas in the United States and houses a popular landmark for Northern Tahoe, the 1960 Olympic Games.
It all began in 1942, when two ski adventurists, Wayne Paulsen and Alex Cushing, began building Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The quaint mountain resort officially opened with fifty rooms, one chairlift and two tow ropes in 1949. Although the resort was small, their lift received the title of the longest double chairlift in the world.
As the resort grew in popularity, Cushing was determined to make the resort a national success. When he heard Reno, Nevada was in the running to host the 1960 Olympic Games it sparked his ambitious can-do attitude, and he made a bid for the games to be in what is now Olympic Valley. He proposed the idea that the location was a blank slate and could be transformed into exactly what the Winter Olympic Games needed within five years. His promise to build facilities that could accommodate the athletes and audiences included roads, bridges, hotels, restaurants, event arenas, and all the tracks needed for the games. His scale model of the planned site put his compelling argument over the top when he won over the International Olympic Committee in Paris.
The 1960 Olympic Games would be televised through CBS for the first time and the Committee knew making it a memorable event required special creative talent. In 1958, during the construction of the first Olympic Village, the Olympic Committee asked Walt Disney—an avid skier—to become the Chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the games. Walt’s goal for the opening, closing, and awards ceremonies was to be “full of innovation and firsts”. His vision was carried throughout the games and is now the foundation for all the Olympic ceremonies.
Since the games, visitors have come to ski the mountain that Olympians jumped in the 60’s and to see the tribute sign with the Olympic Rings placed near the ski lifts. There is also a tram that takes you to the top for a tour of the newly renovated Olympic Museum with a view of Lake Tahoe. The museum is a must-see on a sunny day too where you can enjoy a lunch date at the museum and end with a hike at the top of the mountain.
To learn more about the Olympic Museum, visit their website by clicking here.
Vacation at Tahoe Sands Resort to be a short drive from all of these outdoor activities! Olympic Valley is about a 30 minute scenic route away from our resort.