Tahoe Nugget #23:
Squaw Valley grassland
Took this photo yesterday, November 5, 2005. A few snowstorms have dusted the upper elevations of the Squaw Valley ski resort. Like several other Tahoe
ski areas, Squaw Valley is hoping to open for skiing on Nov. 18. They may get some help toward that goal in the next 48 hours. A Winter Storm Watch has been posted for the Sierra with potentially heavy snowfall (1
to 2 feet) above 7,500 feet on Monday and Monday night. Sub-tropical moisture entrained in the flow will make the storm juicy, but that same sub-tropical feed also raises snow levels.
Squaw Valley USA is well known as a major, world-class ski resort, and also site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. But a quick look at the abundant meadow
grasses in this photograph give a clue as to its earlier history. Washoe Indians from present-day western Nevada spent summers here, hunting, fishing, weaving baskets and collecting medicinal plants. Replacing the
Indians were Basque sheepherders who grazed flocks in the verdant meadows. In the summer of 1931, Wayne Poulsen, a Reno High School skier, spent a month fishing and camping in Squaw Valley with his best friend
Marty Arrougé, whose father was a Basque sheepherder on the ranch there. Young Poulsen knew then that he would build a ski resort and his home in Squaw Valley. The rest is history.