Monday, August 8, 2016

Winter Games Made Squaw Valley a "World-class" Ski Resort (1)

Before being awarded the rights to host the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, Squaw Valley was virtually unknown among skiers, let alone the wider world.
Following the success of the Games, Squaw Valley has firmly established itself as a major ski destination.

Squaw Valley 1960
18th February - 28th February













NOCs
: 30. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United States and Soviet Union.
Athletes665 (144 women, 521 men)
Sports: 4
Events: 27.

The 1960 Winter Olympics was a winter multi-sport event held between February 18–28, 1960 in Squaw Valley, California, United States. Squaw Valley was chosen to host the Games at the 1956 meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was an undeveloped resort in 1955, so from 1956 to 1960 the infrastructure and all of the venues were built at a cost of US$80,000,000. It was designed to be intimate, allowing spectators and competitors to walk to nearly all the venues.
Squaw Valley was a struggling ski resort with minimal facilities, which made its selection to host the 1960 Winter Olympics a surprise. The only inhabitant and homeowner in the area was Alexander Cushing, who was inspired to an Olympic bid by a newspaper article mentioning that Reno, Nevada and Anchorage, Alaska had expressed interest in the Games. Cushing, president of the Squaw Valley Development Company, petitioned California Governor Goodwin Knight to support a bid to host the Olympic Games. Knight's administration agreed and recommended that the California Legislature appropriate $1,000,000 to the effort. Based on the financial support received from the State of California, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) approved the bid on January 7, 1955. Cushing and the USOC received a resolution passed by the United States Congress and signed by President Dwight Eisenhower, calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider Squaw Valley's bid for the 1960 Games. Preliminary reports were drafted and submitted to the IOC, which was considering bids from Innsbruck, Austria, St. Moritz, Switzerland and Chamonix, France. Squaw Valley was provisionally awarded the right to host the Games, but IOC president Avery Brundage warned the Organizing Committee that unless more funds were secured by April 1956, the bid would be awarded to Innsbruck. Another $4,000,000 were committed by the State Legislature, which met Brundage's requirements. On April 4, 1956 the right to host the 1960 Winter Olympics was officially awarded to Squaw Valley. Competitors and officials from European nations were angered by the selection; they felt that the alpine ski courses were not up to specifications and that the altitude would prove too stressful on the athletes.

Venues (source: 1960 Winter Olympics official report):

For the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, in the United States, a total of five sports venues were used. Except for the Squaw Valley ski resort, all of the venues had to be constructed. For the first time in Winter Olympic history, a temporary venue was constructed at McKinney Creek for biathlon, cross-country skiing, and Nordic combined. A bobsleigh track was not constructed over the guarantees from the FIBT not being able to field the minimum twelve teams needed to compete, making it the only time bobsleigh has not been included in the Winter Olympics. As of 2010, the ski resort used for alpine skiing is the only venue from the 1960 Games still in use.

  • Blyth Arena Figure skating. Ice hockey
  • McKinney Creek Stadium. Biathlon, Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined (Cross-country skiing)
  • Papoose Peak Ski jumping hill. Ski jumping, Nordic combined (ski jumping)
  • Squaw Valley Olympic Skating Rink. Ice hockey, Speed skating
  • Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Alpine skiing
Bobsleigh was not included at this Winter Olympics at a 1957 International Olympic Committee meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria because of a lack of assurance from the International Bobsleigh Federation (FIBT) on having a minimum twelve teams. This was why a track was not constructed for the 1960 Games. As a result, an extraordinary event would take place at the 1956 Winter Olympic venue used for bobsleigh.
The ski jump was designed in 1957 with construction beginning the following year. It was completed the following year with trial events taking place in February 1959. The jumps had calculation (K) points of 40 m (130 ft), 60 m (200 ft), and 80 m (260 ft), the first time in Olympic history that there were three ski jumps.
McKinney Creek Stadium was constructed in August 1959 and completed in time for the 1960 Games.

After the Olympics the Blyth Arena continued as an indoor venue until a heavy snowstorm in 1983 collapsed the roof. By 1991, the arena was demolished as replaced by an outdoor arena that was part of a revitalization plan in Squaw Valley. The speed skating venue was also dismantled by 1991.
The jump was used for the US National Championships in 1976 following renovations. Afterwards, the jump became known for speed skiing and snowboarding events and now serve as alpine skiing events.
After the Olympics, McKinney Creek Stadium was dismantled since it was a temporary venue. The trails where the cross-country skiing and biathlon events took place are popular off-road trails.
Squaw Valley hosted an Alpine Skiing World Cup in early 1969, the only alpine event of significance held there since 1960. FIS Races that are not of World Cup level have taken place in 1998, 2001, 2005, and 2010. The ski resort continues to be a popular alpine skiing and snowboarding attraction and is the only venue of the 1960 Games still in use as of 2010.

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