One of the most important influences on the 1960 Winter Olympics came from the chairman of the Pageantry Committee, Walt Disney! Few people today know how important Walt Disney was to the region first as one of the early investors in Sugar Bowl (for fun look under our “press page” for the Goofy cartoon showing “Sugar Bowl Lodge”) and then as the architect of the 1960 Winter Olympic theme with the splendid opening and closing ceremonies (the first of their kind for the modern era). You can read about it in detail in a great new article about Walt which you can find on link to in our “press” page on this website. I think you will find it a fascinating read both from an Olympic perspective and also a personal one about Disney. At the Museum we have a display which includes one of the few known flagpole plaques mentioned as part of the story. Walt Disney was a fascinating man with many talents, the greatest of which was making people happy!
We were very fortunate to have a visit from Stephanie Givens’ 6th grade class from the Tahoe Expedition Academy in Kings Beach. Museum co-founder David Antonucci also dropped by to answer any questions and show everyone around. The museum exists for this purpose ~ to keep the young people informed and interested in the heritage of this great region as they will someday be the curators. Thanks so much Stephanie we hope you will come by with next year’s 6th graders!
Extreme athlete, pioneering ski and sport filmmaker and Lake Tahoe legend Craig Beck brings another wonderful display to the museum – the 10th Mountain Division. If you scroll down multiple posts to March of 2014 you will see Craig’s first display featuring longboards first used by the miners and kept alive by Craig with his organization the National Longboard Association. With longboards over 16 feet it is the most striking of the Museum displays. Craig wasn’t satisfied with just longboards and so he created a display to pay respects to our military and specifically the 10th Mountain division. As one of the most decorated army units in World War II and still active today around the world, the story of the 10th is too great to tell in this simple post. The names of those great fighting, skier servicemen from our region include Wendall Broomhall, ski jumper Roy Mikkelsen and the great ski instructor Luggi Foeger. Craig’s display contains numerous posters, original back packs, boots, snowshoes and skis – a must see. Thanks again to Craig and the entire Beck family for all they have given to our region!
Numerous rare Kodak 3D slides from a family trip of the 1960 Olympic facilities were donated by James and Karen Stephenson. Not only are they in 3D and include the facilities from the base level and from the high mountians, but many are from inside of the Olympic buildings. These are great as they are of exceptional quality and give us a very rare perspective of that time. Thanks so much James and Karen!
Greg Jones has been a lifetime local of North Tahoe learning to ski as a small child from his legendary father Bud Jones. Greg has spent his entire life in the ski industry, first as an Olympic medal winner and for nearly 40 years as a coach. He has coached many of the greats from Tahoe including Daron Rahlves, Julia Mancuso, Marco Sullivan and Travis Ganong among hundreds of others. You can really get a feeling for Greg’s love of skiing and true passion for coaching in his latest interview with Lake Tahoe TV (follow the link “event videos” on our home page). Greg, pictured above on the left, is the “coaches coach”, having trained three generations of ski coaches. We want to thank Greg for everything he has done for this region and for his continued work with the Lake Tahoe Ski Club to keep the future of Tahoe skiing strong. A great Museum partner ~ Thanks Greg!
We want to welcome Lake Tahoe TV to the Boatworks Mall as our new neighbor. Within a few days of their arrival they conducted interviews with several of the mall businesses including a live interview with museum co-founder and Tahoe historian David C. Antonucci. Additionally, we had a surprise visit from US Olympic medal winner Greg Jones who gave a fun interview about skiing, coaching our kids and his other passions fishing and baseball. You can see David’s most recent Lake Tahoe TV interviews on our website under the “event/press” page and “event video” link. Thanks so much Lake Tahoe TV and welcome!
Another Great Year for the Museum coming up in 2015. Looking back we want to thank those people that really helped us in 2014. First, Channel Properties for providing the space – without them the Museum in the Mall would not exist. Next, Hal Slear and his staff at the James Harrold Galleries for all of their great help and support – without them we couldn’t remain open. Thanks also all of the ski clubs, groups and skiing professionals that have added greatly to the museum with their presence and donations. And Finally, all of the wonderful donations from the public that keep us motivated and viable. Thanks for everything and Happy 2015!
We received news from Santa Caterina, Italy today (Dec. 27, 2014) that Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) took first place in the men’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour for his career first victory! Travis after the race: “It was a perfect run! I love to take on a new challenge and a new slope. I love the hill—the mountains are huge here and it’s fun skiing.” Congratulations Travis!
Although summers are busy at the Museum, the winters are even busier. The Boatworks Mall is the only indoor mall in Tahoe and is in a prime location in the center of downtown Tahoe City. We have found that some people come just to see the Museum while others are there for the art gallery, shopping or great dining in the warm atmosphere. Admission to the Museum is free so if you stay for a few minutes or even hours everyone can leave feeling good and hopefully will have learned a little about their ski history. Pictured here is Sacramento Physician Dr. Theo Marentis and the wonderful Paige Greaves straight off the slopes of Squaw for a quick run through the Museum and a little mall browsing – Thanks everyone for coming by!
The Batiste and Antonucci families want to thank everyone who took the time to travel to the Museum and who donated so generously. We had a great year with a record number of visitors and truly unbelievable donations, both monetarily and with Olympic and ski history artifacts. We look forward to the New Year with many new things to come including adding rare artifacts and expanding the contemporary displays beginning with the Mancuso exhibit in just two weeks! Happy holidays to everyone and as always hope for peace on earth.
The Museum was able to recently acquire a copy of the Official 1960 Olympic contact book – the only one known to still exist! It contains all the names of the people involved in the Olympics from the pageantry division to the US Army personnel involved. It is an excellent find not only showing those to contact but how contact was made back then through speaking directly with the operator. The 16 page book will be cataloged and then placed on display at the museum.
Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) pictured here pulled off the first ever all-American podium in alpine World Cup ski racing at Lake Louise today(Dec. 6) . Congratulations!
We are so happy to have the Far West Nordic Ski Education Association join us at the Museum. They are a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the sport of cross country skiing and facilitate competitive XC skiing for juniors (under age 20), seniors (ages 20-29) and masters (age 30 and up). Far West Nordic is particularly active with juniors, bringing coaching and a variety of training programs to our younger generations. By joining Far West, you’ll be helping kids stay healthy and active, and you’ll be supporting cross country ski athletes of all ages and levels of ability. We want to thank them for being part of the museum and for all the great things they do for the kids and community!
The emblem is the New Oslo City Hall overlaid by the Olympic rings, and surrounded by the phrase, “The 6th Winter Olympic Games / Oslo 1952″. This wonderful framed display was donated to the Museum by Inger Bisson who had only recently donated a very rare 1960 Olympic plaque. America won 4 gold medals in the 1952 winter games including Dick Button’s gold in figure skating, Ken Henry’s gold in speed skating and Andrea Mead Lawrence’s 2 gold medals in alpine skiing. The games were memorable also as it was the first time women competed in cross country skiing. If you see Inger skiing, golfing or riding bikes in this area please let her know that the Museum and the entire region is grateful for her gifts!
The Museum recently acquired the rare Walt Disney Olympic ceremony pageantry pin attached to the even rarer presentation card (only one we have ever seen!). Disney not only designed the unique Olympic torch but scripted the very successful Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. The pageantry pins were given to all those who were lucky enough to be involved in these ceremonies. At the museum we have several very unique Disney artifacts from the Olympics with more to be displayed shortly. Walt Disney loved the mountains and spent large parts of his winter skiing in the region. Like us, he probably watched the skies, waiting for snow!
If you want to hear a great talk on the 1960 Winter Olympics or go on a walking tour of the site of the Olympics you will have to track down Museum Co-founder David C Antonucci. He has been a Lake Tahoe resident for over 40 years and is considered the foremost historian of the 1960 winter games. David is the Author of the premier books about our Olympics – “Snowball’s Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe” and “The 1960 Winter Olympics (Images of Sports)”. David is also the author of “Fairest Picture — Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe” following the adventures of Mark Twain at our Lake. So….if you want to learn more about the 1960 winter Olympics or the history of Mark Twain in the region you can book David for a talk through his website www.tahoefacts.com, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or get right to the source and call him directly at 530-525-5410. Thanks David for all the great teaching – when is the next fun book coming out?
We were so lucky to have Stacey Rodarte’s 4th grade class from Glenshire Elementary School visit the Museum earlier this year. Perhaps the best part (other than entertaining our Olympic host Joe Pete Wilson) was reading all of the essays that they had written following their visit. Thank you Stacey for teaching and for the Museum visit as nothing is more important than the kids!
Barbara once again provides the Museum with outstanding memories from the past. As noted in an earlier post her family was an integral part of the early history of Squaw Valley. This recent donation includes many rare family pictures of their life in the early days of Squaw Valley. Shown above is a picture of lunchtime on the deck where the group is seen sharing a jug of wine and hamburgers as they take a break from skiing. Robert Fritschi is on the left (crew cut), likely Bobby Huega is in the front. Irene Fritschi is petting her cat and Skip Sherman has his head down, looking at the cat. Thanks again Barbara ~ we will catalog these family pictures and prepare them for display soon.
This small and rare plaque from undetermined Olympic memorabilia shows the official logo with an engraving of the Norwegian Birkebiners. In the 12th century, the Birkebiners carried the heir on skis to the Norwegian throne on skis to safety across treacherous mountainous terrain. The plaque was a donation from Inger Bisson, the author of the acclaimed novel, Rotar and the Silver Book of Knowledge. Inger continues to search for more donations of rare memorabilia from the 1952 Winter Olympics held in Oslo, Norway.
Thank you, Erica, for your generous donation and the appreciative note that you left at the Museum. As you know, Museum admission is free with donations gladly accepted. We have had a successful year because of generous donations which will help us move into the fall and winter months. Your donation, along with the others, gives us more motivation to grow and provide the community and the world with ever increasing resources to help tell our story. Thanks to Erica, and all who have helped with donations, both material and financial. The posted picture is from Erica’s education card.
Barbara Fritschi Morgan donated copies of a number of rare documents associated with the early days of the Squaw Valley Ski Area. Most significant of these were examples of Alex Cushing’s annual letter to stockholders, a brochure and excerpt from a magazine article. Barbara’s parents, Theo and Dave Fritschi (pictured), were among a group of founding investors in the ski area recruited by Wayne Poulsen. Dave Fritschi worked for the Ski Corporation for many years and his daughter Barbara spent summers with him at Lake Tahoe. Barbara assisted her mother in writing a memoir of her early years at the ski area in the book, Powder Perfect. Barbara generously donated a copy of the book and it is now part of the museum’s Squaw Valley archive and artifact collection.
The new “Know Your History” T-shirts have arrived! A limited supply will be available for purchase at our booth during the “Homewood Days” celebration on July 12. The t-shirts will be available soon at the Tahoe Visitor Center located at the “Y” in Tahoe City and in the Boatworks Mall. We will keep you posted on when and where to purchase the shirts.
Homewood Days, held on July 12, is a celebration featuring the people, music and outdoor activities which make the West Shore the great place it is. The Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics volunteers will staff a booth with a display of some of the unique ski items and an overview of our ski history. Stop by and chat with the volunteers about the great ski history of the region. The new Museum T-shirts will be available for purchase at the booth. In this area it is never off season to think skiing. See you there!
Come by and see the new Museum display featuring the 2010 Vancouver Olympic ski outfit from Daron Rahlves and the 2014 Sochi Olympic ski outfit from Julia Mancuso. We thank them so much for sharing with everyone!
The two personal Olympic Ski Outfits, generously donated to the museum by Julia Mancuso and Daron Rahlves, are the centerpiece of a new display featuring the two skiers. Co-founder Maryann Batiste is shown putting the finishing touches on the display which we hope to have placed in the museum the first week of May. As noted in our prior posts, these are not only two of the greatest athletes of our time but surely the most generous – the Museum cannot thank you enough for your donations and your support!
During the 1960 and 1964 Olympic reunion at the museum, Billy Kidd gave a wonderful speech about the people and events in his life and the importance of ski and Olympic history. I complimented him afterward on his speech and he said: “you know, Stan, that wasn’t really a speech those are just my thoughts on the great times”. You can see the video of Billy’s thoughts under “Events/Press” link on the “ Event Video” page on this website. Thanks Billy!
Although considered by many as the best ski resort in the Sierras, most people, even the locals, do not know the fascinating history of Sugar Bowl. Yes, the skiing there is great, but the great importance of Sugar Bowl to the museum lies in its rich history beginning with the pioneer trail that went through the later built ski area; the Snowball Express that brought up skiers beginning at the turn of the century, and all of the celebrities who came for the best skiing and lodging of the time. The history continues with the formal opening of Sugar Bowl in 1939 with early investors, like Walt Disney, who loved the resort, up through the continuing modernization and growth seen recently when another peak opened to skiers ~ Crows Nest Peak. The story is wonderful but too detailed for this simple blog. ~~~ We are so excited that Sugar Bowl has formally joined the museum as they have graciously constructed three large display cases giving us a glimpse of their rich history. Thanks so much to those at Sugar Bowl for their historical contributions to the people of the region and for their hospitality on the slopes!
The museum received a donation of the book “Powder Perfect” by Barbara Fritschi Morgan. The book tells the little known story of the Fritschi Family as avid skiers and early investors in the Squaw Valley Ski Area. The book recounts bootstrapping up a new ski area at the dawn of the modern winter sports era in California. The Fritschi’s were real pioneers in the industry and deserve much credit for the early success of the ski area. The book includes Theodora Fritschi Heric’s reminisces of early ski adventures in the Eastern Sierra near Mammoth and Robert Fritschi’s restoration of Glen Alpine Springs Resort, near Fallen Leaf Lake. It will be included in our Squaw Valley Ski Area collection and serve as an important resource for future researchers. ~ To purchase a copy of “Powder Perfect” go to the “books” page on this website.
The Topol Family of Tahoe Pines donated two rare Sports Illustrated magazines devoted to coverage of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The donation was made in memory of Nate Topol. These are the kind of things that keep the museum growing and provide further insight into our wonderful ski history past. We will try to present these magazines in such a way that the stories within the magazine are shown. Thank you so much, Topol Family, for your gift!
Museum Co-founders David C Antonucci and Stan Batiste (pictured 2nd and 3rd from the left, next to Billy Kidd) are so happy to have hosted a reunion reception for the members of the 1960 and 1964 US Ski Team at the Museum. It was a fun night with 1960 US Ski Team members; Beverly Anderson Brockway, Tom Corcoran and Joan Hannah and 1964 US Ski Team members Billy Kidd, Chuck Ferries, Joan Hannah, Barbara Ferries Henderson, Bill Marolt, Ni Orsi and Starr Walton Hurley. Everyone had a great time with food and drinks again provided by Joe Lanza and Eli Covell of the Hacienda restaurant and talks by Tom Kelly of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, Museum Co-founder David C Antonucci and Olympic medalist Billy Kidd. Thanks also to photographer Sarah Brunson and US Olympic team logistical manager Jen Desmond for helping to make it go so well. Another wonderful time ~~and we are already planning the next museum party!
Julia Mancuso is known for her generosity and philanthropy which now has touched the Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics. Julia grew up only 5 minutes from the museum in Olympic Valley, CA. She is America’s greatest skier winning 4 medals in the Olympics, the most ever for a female alpine skier, and of course is our local hero. Upon returning from her bronze medal victory in Sochi, Julia donated her entire Downhill and Super G ski outfit to the Museum (pictured above). We have already picked out a display case and plan to have the suit on display in the museum by the end of April. ~~~We cannot thank you enough Julia for your donation to us and for all of your generosity to others!
Joseph W. Smith has found and donated the original 1960 Winter Olympics, State of California/ Olympic Commission engineering plans for transportation and snow compacting. These are fantastic, very rare books with over 110 pages describing the Olympic facilities plans for traffic and parking. Tahoe City and Truckee are among the areas included in many charts, maps and drawings detailing the transportation and parking plans for the event. We know of no other copies of these books in existence. Once these are copied we will put them on display. ~~~ Thank you so much Joseph for your valuable donation!
Norm Sayler, the icon of the summit, president and manager of Donner Ski Ranch for 46 years, owner and operator of the History Museum in Soda Springs and the man singled out for his “forward-thinking” contributions to Donner Summit and the entire Tahoe region will be joining us. Doing things his way he can be credited for many important things such as being instrumental in making Donner the first ski resort in America to open its slopes to snow boarders in the 1980s, which led to a resurrection of the snow sport industry. As Norm stated: “My philosophy is simple. I don’t show people how to have fun, I let people have fun. That’s what skiing is all about.” ~~ Norm was instrumental in saving both the Rainbow Bridge which looks over Donner Lake, as well as ensuring that large parts of highway 40 were preserved. Norm has a great ski history collection at his museum which is available for all to view in downtown Soda Springs, CA. We are so happy that Norm will be working with us to preserve the skiing history of the west.
What a great time for both the Cub scouts of pack 264 and our museum host Olympian Joe Pete Wilson. The scouts learned about ski history of our area and were able to hear stories of the 1960 Olympics from one who was there. These are the types of experiences and gatherings that we hoped for when we created the museum. Thanks so much to all the leaders and parents of Cub Pack 264 hope you can return next year!
Craig Beck can be characterized as a Renaissance man and truly one of the first Extreme Sportsman. Craig’s first introduction to skiing was as a press runner at the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley, USA. One of the original Lake Tahoe ski “hotdoggers,” he went on to produce the iconic ‘70’s ski film, “Daydreams,” which he also shot and starred in. His love of skiing and other board sports is constant. For many years he resurrected an interest in the historical longboards by designing and honing dozens of pairs himself for a National Longboard competition, which he organized and held for many years in the Lake Tahoe region. This led to an Olympic demonstration spectacle at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Craig and wife, Cindy, are the parents of Clay, Emily and David and also the doting grandparents of four active grandsons! Come by and see examples of Craig’s longboards which he has placed on display as well as informational materials about the great sport of longboard racing. Thanks so much Craig and Cindy!
It is through great donations like this rare 1960 Olympic Map from the Grunwald /Howarth family that allows the Museum to grow and ensure that we are able to preserve our history. This very unique map was available at the 1960 Olympics and features an overview of the mountain courses and the valley Olympic venue. The framed map will be on display in the museum shortly. We thank the Grunwald /Howarth family for becoming part of our museum!
The museum made its primetime television debut on NBC during the night of the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics Closing ceremonies. The story included an overview of our museum with interviews of Co-founder~David C. Antonucci, 1960 winter Olympian ~Joe Pete Wilson and Blyth Arena model builder Doug Yates. The story preceded the Olympic Games during KCRA’s “Olympic Zone” broadcast. You can watch the coverage under the ”PRESS” page of this website. Thanks so much Mae Fesai and Chris Riva for your great reporting.
Doug Yates has created a Fantastic scale model of the Blyth Arena which stood as the center piece for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. Doug has gone over-the-top on this model by including all the fine details of the Arena’s architecture out to replications of the art that hung in the front. The model even includes the exact replica scoreboard with the original score and is complete with working lights. It is exciting for those of us who remembered the Arena and for all of us we can now feel closer to what it was like being there. Although it appears finished, Doug has told us that he is going to keep working on it to fill the bleachers with spectators and place in the front of the model the original Disney sculptures. Doug we really can’t thank you enough for your hard work and commitment and for sharing this with the Lake Tahoe community.
We are so excited at the museum that Tahoe ski legend, 4-time Olympian, Sugar Bowl Resort ambassador and the most decorated US Male Downhill skier, Daron Rahlves will be joining us as a contributor and as our Athlete Museum host. Daron has graciously loaned us a large part of his Olympic memorabilia, including his participation medal and nearly his entire skiwear from the 2010 Olympics. We are creating a large display to tell the story of Daron and once cataloged, we will put all of the Olympic memorabilia on display. Come learn about Daron’s amazing accomplishments and see why his collection is such a valued gift for the Museum to share. Thanks so much Daron!!!
For the Olympic Heritage Celebration Week Museum open house, we created a new 1960 winter Olympic movie comprised of newly edited Olympic footage. We included pre-Olympic footage from the US forest service as well as video clips from honeymoon videos the summer after the Olympics with view of the inside of Blyth arena. Watch the opening ceremonies and brief overviews of all the winter events. The video debuted at the very successful open house with a list of Tahoe dignitaries and multiple prior Olympians. ~~~~~~ You can watch the video as it is on the video link on this museum website. Thanks so much for everyone coming to the open house and stay tuned to the website for the next upcoming event!