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Squaw Valley, Placer County, California facts for kids

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Squaw Valley

Olympic Valley
Sign at entrance to Squaw Valley
Sign at entrance to Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley is located in California
Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley
Location in California
Squaw Valley is located in the United States
Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  California
County Placer
 • Total 823
 • Density 15/km2 (39/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-08:00 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-07:00 (Pacific)

Squaw Valley (also known as Olympic Valley) is an unincorporated community located in Placer County, California northwest of Tahoe City along California State Highway 89 on the banks of the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe. It is home to Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Ski Resort), the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley is the smallest resort area to host the Olympic Winter Games.


The town of Claraville, formerly located at the mouth of Squaw Valley was once among the biggest mining operations in the Lake Tahoe region. There were rumors that the mine was salted with ore brought in from Virginia City, Nevada. George Wharton James, author of the book The Lake of the Sky doubts the mines were salted with ore and suggests that the energetic prospector Shannon Knox started the mine with good faith. He writes about the History of the Tahoe Region (pre 1915) in many of the chapters of his book. The Squaw Valley Mining boom was short lived and by 1863–64 the valley had lost almost all of its inhabitants to the Comstock lode in Virginia City.

By 1942, Wayne Poulsen, a former star skier from the University of Nevada, had acquired 2,000 acres (810 ha) in Squaw Valley from the Southern Pacific Railroad. Poulsen met Alex Cushing, a Harvard University-trained lawyer, in 1946 while Cushing was vacationing at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. During his vacation, Cushing toured Squaw Valley at Poulsen's invitation and decided to invest in building a ski resort there. Unlike Poulsen, Cushing had the political connections and access to the capital necessary to create a ski resort. In June 1948, the two founded the Squaw Valley Development Company and Cushing replaced Poulsen as president of the Squaw Valley Development Corporation by October 1949. Squaw Valley Ski Resort opened on Thanksgiving Day 1949. The resort was constructed with $400,000 raised by Cushing, including $150,000 of his own money. The creation of the Squaw Valley Development Corporation and Squaw Valley Ski Resort mark the modern era of Squaw Valley.

In 1954, Cushing began lobbying the International Olympic Committee to host the 1960 Olympic Winter games after he saw an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that detailed Reno, Nevada's bid to host the games. Innsbruck, Austria was Squaw Valley's biggest competitor in the running for the 1960 Winter Games, and Squaw Valley won the right to host the games by a vote of 32-30 on the second ballot. The 1960 Winter Olympics were the first Winter Olympics to be televised live and attracted millions of viewers.

Olympic Valley entered into what was termed a "renaissance" following the acquisition of Squaw Valley Ski Resort by KSL Capital Partners in 2010. With its acquisition, KSL Capital Partners announced $50 million in improvements to Squaw Valley. The total amount was increased to $70 million when Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows merged in October 2011. Investments include upgrading chair lifts and snow-making and grooming equipment.


The climate of Olympic Valley is classified as Dsb (Continental Mediterranean Climate) under the Köppen Climate Classification.

Climate data for Squaw Valley
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3.3
Average low °C (°F) -8.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 257
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 10 5 9 8 5 2 2 1 2 1 5 9 59
Source: Weatherbase

Arts and culture

Olympic Valley has hosted the Wanderlust music and yoga festival annually since 2009. Other musical performances held in Olympic Valley include concerts by Jerry Garcia Band, Jurassic 5, Matisyahu, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Wailers, Brett Dennen, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Olympic Valley is home to the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the organizers of the Squaw Valley Writer's Conference, and the Squaw Valley Institute. The Institute aims to foster "uncommon conversations" and hosts speaker events and other cultural events. Alpenglow Sports, a local sporting goods store, hosts the Alpenglow Winter Film Series at Squaw Valley, in which athletes and explorers from around the world share stories about their experiences and adventures.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 2,501
2000 926 −63.0%
2010 1,366 47.5%
2016 (est.) 823 −39.8%


Skiing and racing culture has been important to Squaw Valley since before it hosted the 1960 Winter Games. An athlete from Squaw Valley has competed in every Winter Olympics since 1964, when Jimmie Heuga competed in the IX Olympic Winter Games. Because of this, Squaw Valley has taken the moniker "Official Supplier of skiers to the US Ski Team." Many members of the US Ski Team began skiing as a part of Squaw Valley's Mighty Mites racing team for five- to ten-year-olds.

Notable winter athletes from Olympic Valley include:

  • Shannon Bahrke – Olympic skier
  • Travis Ganong – Olympic skier
  • Jimmie Heuga – Olympic Bronze medal-winning skier
  • Nate Holland – X Games Gold medal-winning snowboarder
  • Bill Hudson – Olympic skier
  • Greg Jones – Olympic skier
  • Jeremy Jones – Snowboarder
  • Kristin Krone – Olympic skier
  • Bob Ormsby – Olympic skier
  • Julia Mancuso – Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal-winning skier
  • Tamara McKinney – World Cup Gold medal-winning skier
  • Jonny Moseley – Olympic Gold medal-winning skier
  • Michelle Parker – Skier
  • Daron Rahlves – Olympic skier
  • Marco Sullivan – Olympic skier
  • Eva Twardokens – Olympic Skier

In addition to hosting the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, Squaw Valley played host to the 1969 FIS World Cup alpine skiing races. It also hosted the US Alpine Championships in the years 2002, 2013 and 2014 and the US Freestyle Championships in 2009. The area also hosts non-skiing sporting events, including the Western States Endurance Run, which begins at the base of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort. The 2013 and 2014 Ironman Lake Tahoe triathlon also began and ended in Olympic Valley.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Squaw Valley (condado de Placer) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic activists
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