Tahoe Nugget #6:
Went for a bike ride today, which included a quick loop into Squaw Valley, California. Snowpack is melting fast in the high country and
water is flowing strong. Water supply is always a big deal in the arid West. The peaks of this ski area represent the Pacific Divide (Sierra Crest) and all water draining the east side of this area (this view) will
end up in the Truckee River flowing to Nevada and the Great Basin. Nevada is the driest state in the nation and the Truckee River supplies 85% of the water needs for the Reno metro area as well as extensive
irrigation for agriculture.
Squaw Valley became famous as a top tier ski area after Alex Cushing, a Harvard-educated lawyer and co-founder of the resort, went to
Europe in 1955 with an 8 ft. X 8 ft. plaster of Paris scale model of the topography and his concept of an "Olympic Village" which landed California the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. Many "firsts"
were set at those 1960 Games, including the introduction of the Biathlon. Cross-country ski events were held on Lake Tahoe's west shore, south of Squaw Valley.
It was the first Olympics to artificially freeze the ice in the skating rink and Walt Disney orchestrated the opening ceremonies, which
included fireworks, balloons and doves. The U.S. hockey team surprised the world by winning the gold medal, a feat to be repeated 20 years later known as the "Miracle on Ice." It was the first time
computers were used to time the athletes and finalize scores. But reason number one why these games were so pivotal in accelerating the development of Tahoe's winter sports industry is that they were broadcast
live into TVs across the U.S.