Squaw Valley, Placer County, California

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For other places with the same name, see Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley
Olympic Valley
Unincorporated community
Sign at entrance to Squaw Valley
Sign at entrance to Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley is located in California
Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley
Location in California
Coordinates: 39°11′47″N 120°14′01″W / 39.19631°N 120.23356°W / 39.19631; -120.23356
Country United States
State California
County Placer County

Olympic Valley (commonly known as Squaw Valley) in the U.S. state of California is an unincorporated community located in Placer County northwest of Tahoe City along Highway 89 on the banks of the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe. It is the home of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It is the smallest place in the world to ever host the Olympic Games.

Mail to Squaw Valley is addressed, "Olympic Valley, CA 96146"[1] to avoid confusion with the census-designated place of the same name in Fresno County.


Squaw Valley was once a mining boom town and was the biggest mining operations in the Lake Tahoe region. There were rumors that the mine was "salted" with ore brought in from Virginia City. George Wharton James, Author of the book "The Lake of the Sky" doubts the mines were "salted" with ore and that the energetic prospector Knox started the mine with good faith. He writes all about the History of the Tahoe Region (pre 1915) in many of the chapters of his book. The Squaw Valley Mining boom was short lived and by 1863–64 the valley soon lost almost all of its inhabitants to the Comstock lode in Virginia City, Nevada.

By 1942 Wayne Poulsen, a former star skier from the University of Nevada, had acquired 2,000 acres (810 ha) in Squaw Valley from the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1946, Poulsen met Alex Cushing, a Harvard University-trained lawyer, with the political connections and access to capital that would make the resort a success. Shortly before opening in 1949, Poulsen and Cushing had a disagreement over the future of the resort, and eventually Cushing ended up controlling the Squaw Valley Ski Corporation.

Though the 1960 Olympics had practically been promised to Innsbruck, Austria, Cushing went to Paris in 1955 with a scale model of his proposed Olympic site and persuaded the International Olympic Committee to choose Squaw Valley. It was the first Winter Olympics to be televised live and attracted millions of viewers.

Although the Squaw Valley Ski Resort remains the primary attraction in Olympic Valley, other year-round attractions and businesses have sprung up around the community.

Since 2013, residents have been attempting to incorporate, in part to help exert some control over the Squaw Valley Ski Resort's expansion plans. If the community eventually becomes incorporated, it will take the Olympic Valley name because the census-designated place of Squaw Valley in Fresno County has official precedent.[2]


The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Csb" (Mediterranean Climate).[3]

Climate data for Squaw Valley
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3
Average low °C (°F) −9
Precipitation mm (inches) 257
Avg. precipitation days 10 5 9 8 5 2 2 1 2 1 5 9 59
Source: Weatherbase [4]


  1. ^ "Contact Squaw Valley". Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  2. ^ Fletcher, Ed (August 13, 2013). "Squaw Valley incorporation effort would name new city Olympic Valley". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ Climate Summary for Squaw Valley, CA
  4. ^ "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on July 2, 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Squaw Valley at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 39°11′47″N 120°14′01″W / 39.19631°N 120.23356°W / 39.19631; -120.23356