How It Started

Once upon a frosty December morning of 1954 he was sitting in the chair sipping coffee and looking through the newspaper. Alex Cushing“He” – I mean Alexander Cushing, the owner of Squaw Valley, and “the newspaper” was the “San Francisco Chronicle”. The article he was reading was about the future 16th Winter Olympic Games. Anchorage, Alaska, and Reno Nevada submitted bids to hold the Olympics of 1960. Cushing peered out his window.

“Why not Squaw Valley?!” – he thought. The idea was born in that moment! At the time Squaw Valley was a tiny remote ski resort with only one chairlift, two rope tows and a fifty-room lodge. In essence, it had little to offer, but – from another point of view – the Valley had everything! It had: mountain slopes and a huge valley below; there was enough spread for ski tracks, for skating rink, for hotels and buildings, and for the meeting square.

Cushing had a very clear image in his mind - the Olympic torch lowering from the mountain, and Olympic fire burning. His vision followed with applauses of thousands of sportsmen and guests. Yes, of course, this Valley had everything, and Cushing was not only it’s inspiration owner, but also it’s architect. He was the one who could see the future; this dreamer had an iron will and a vivid imagination.

After a few articles published in major newspapers, the idea caught on, and Americans were mesmerized by his magnificent vision. “Olympic games… In the California mountains… with the annual snowfall of 450 inches…” – it sounded so beautiful, that it began to appear that there could not be any other venue. Squaw Valley indeed was the perfect choice.







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