Squaw Valley USA by Lake Tahoe in California was already celebrating clocking up more than 13 feet (4 metres) of new snow by the end of last year, now they’re about to launch a week of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Winter Games and 60 years of operation. The event, which runs to January 17th, will come complete with fireworks, hockey, ski racing, a retro party and a grand gala.
The week kicked off with an Opening Celebration and fireworks display at the Village at Squaw Valley USA. The Village streets welcomed back 1960s Olympians who returned to the Valley, many for the first time since the 1960 Games. Local Olympians ran a torch relay from Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore up to Squaw Valley where the resort will reignite the Olympic flame. Following speeches by Uncle E, Jonny Moseley and Squaw Valley CEO Nancy Cushing, the sky erupted into a gorgeous fireworks display visible from the Village and the KT Sundeck. With the celebration will culminate next Sunday with the 1960 Olympic Legends Gala, where revellers have the opportunity to mingle and dance with 1960 Olympic Legends and Olympians past and present in the Grand Ballroom at the Resort at Squaw Creek. In attendance will be 1960 Olympic Legends Penny Pitou, the 1960 Hockey Team Coach Jack Riley, Osvaldo Ancinas, Starr Walton, Babette Haueisen, as well as other Olympians past and present. A multi media presentation depicting mountain culture in 1960 kicks off the evening. The Gala will come alive with live music and dancing, and cuisine by Chef Jason Friendly, champagne and a silent auction bring in an element of winter sports nostalgia.
The Olympic Heritage Celebration will welcome a wide variety of events celebrating the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Sugar Pine Point State Park is hosting a biathlon and Nordic racing, while Squaw Valley USA is recreating the original men’s and women’s downhill courses, open for guided tours by past Olympians.
The 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics saw many firsts. It was the first time the Olympic Games were held in the Western United States, the first time the Games were nationally televised and the first time computers were used to calculate scores. The 1960 Winter Games were also the first and only time that the Olympic athletes were housed under one roof. In a time before grooming machines, sponsorship contracts and HD Television, the 1960 Olympics revolved around ideals of simplicity, athleticism and international camaraderie.