The new Sierra History and 1960 Olympics displays are finally open! With the help of the great Truckee Movers, the Batiste and Antonucci families and JJ Whitney we managed to move all the displays, which includes hundreds of ski artifacts, into the upper floor of the Gatekeepers museum in Tahoe City. Come see your ski history from thousands of years ago through the miners in Plumas to the early regional history and Olympics up to the present time. Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, their president Jim Phelan, Executive Director Marnie Carr and Pete Billeter directing the process. We are now finally finished! ~ right before the snow falls in another upcoming winter Olympic year! Thanks!
As of Aug 12th the exhibits of the Museum of Sierra Ski History will be hosted by the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society within the fabulous Gatekeepers Museum. We want to thank the members of the Historical Society for making this happen. This will be the home of the collection for the next few years while we continue to work on our permanent space. Our collection of over 1000 regional ski artifacts will complement the large existing museum collection of Lake Tahoe artifacts and the Steinbach Indian basket Collection. Great News ~Thanks so much!
57 years after the Olympics the inflatable cushion remains in perfect condition! The most impressive thing is that the cushion inflates and appears as though it were made yesterday. Good to know that people watched the Olympics in comfort. The story behind it is also fun with Mr. Reynolds moving to Sparks in 1959 with his mother. She worked as a hostess in the Sparks Nugget coffee shop where she received several Olympic pins and this pillow as tips. The pillow has been stored carefully ever since. Thank you so much Bob and Nancy for the donation and the great story!
Well we tried our hardest to remain open everyday, all year long. Turns out the last big storm dropped a little too much rain and snow causing some minor issues to the museum. Because of this, we have decided to close for a few weeks and work on renovating the museum, both improving the layout and adding to the displays. Stay tuned and within a week or so I will describe the newest additions including bringing in the great artifact donations that we recently received. Enjoy the Snow and see you soon!
What a great donation! Flags from multiple countries, a spectators Olympic flag, rare Olympic pins and an Olympic Program all in great condition! These origninal items will all be place in the museum for everyone to see. Thanks so much Emily – a Wonderful Donation!
Theodore (Ted) A. Wilson so enjoyed the out of doors and said that when he went to work for California Department of Parks and Recreation, “Why should I work in the city and go to the mountains two weeks a year when I can live in the mountains and go to the city twice a year!” That being said, he went to work for “Beaches and Parks” and enjoyed thirty-one years of the great out-of doors – such parks as Emerald Bay, Big Basin, Humbolt Redwoods, Santa Cruz Beaches, Squaw Valley, Oroville SRA, Santa Barbara, Sierra Area – starting as a Ranger and retiring as District Superintendent. He was a decorated veteran of WWII serving in the Asia/Pacific, American and European Theaters of Operation. He was also at the Battle of the Bulge and very honored to serve his country. He was admired and respected by all who knew him. Thank you so very much Ted for all you did for the State and for saving such wonderful Olympic artifacts now for all to share. Thanks also to Sue and Jim Kubinec for providing us with Ted’s collection which we will give great care.
Sven Wiik(center), a genial and tireless proponent of Nordic skiing in Colorado and a member of both the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, died of natural causes July 5 at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs. He was 95. Among his accomplishments, Wiik coached the 1960 U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team in Squaw Valley, California, as well as the 1958 World Championship team, and with coach Marty Hall, designed the course of the Birkebeiner — North America’s premier ski marathon from Cable to Hayward, Wisconsin. For more information and to watch an inspiring video go to the link: http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2016/jul/06/sven-wiik-recalled-ensuring-nordic-skiings-place-s/
15th Anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Snowshoe Thompson Saturday, June 25, 2016 11–4 pm Mormon Station State Park, Genoa featuring: Nordahl Grieg Norwegian Folk Dancers, Fjord horses with Jacquelyn Leuener, Richard Blair ~ musician, “Snowshoe Thompson” (aka Steve Hale) and Norwegian dignitaries. Free admission to the “Snowshoe” exhibit in the Genoa Museum Sponsored by the Friends of SnowshoeThompson ~ www.snowshoethompson.org Information: 775-315-7777 (Pictured above is Nina Macloed in her normal ski wear ~ authentic Norweigen clothes and, of course, Shoeshoe Thompson.)
Pictured in the upper right is Nina MacLeod who started the Snowshoe Thompson event 17 yrs ago in Hope Valley. Now together with “Friends of Snowshoe Thompson” also participated in Norway’s 28th tour in March. Between 1856 and 1876, Snowshoe Thompson delivered mail between Placerville, California and Genoa, Nevada. Despite his nickname, he did not make use of the snowshoes, but rather would travel with ten-foot skis. Thompson typically made the eastward trip in three days, and the return trip in two days and did not carry a blanket or a gun. My favorite story is that when he would get cold he would just dance a jig on a rock. Hard to believe someone could do this job even with today’s luxury clothing ~ truly a great man!
The Museum has had the great fortune of acquiring one of the very few Olympic Sweaters that were given out at the 1960 winter games. It is truly impressive ~ in great condition like the day it was worn. The sweaters were given to the winners prior to receiving their medals on the podium. Pictured here is the beautiful, American gold medal winner Carol Heiss and American bronze medal winner Barbara Roles.
The Museum of Sierra Ski History and the Western Skisport Museum are partners with the Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation (SVSMF) in working towards the creation of a World Class museum for the region. On January 15th the SVSMF launched their website and one month earlier began the fundraising drive to get the project in full gear. Between the two museums there is the largest western ski collection with 1000’s of artifacts including items from Snowshoe Thompson and skis from the gold rush era, to turn of the century skis up to items from our Olympians and the world class skiers of today. We are all proud of the groups effort and are looking forward to making the SVSMF project happen. Thanks everyone for the work and thanks to those that have donated. For more information please visit the NEW SVSMF site at www.olympicskimuseum.com
The great skier Al Vincellette, winner of multiple titles, won the National Nordic Combined Championship on Feb 8th 1960 and went on to represent the US in the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. Al competed for the US in both nordic events and ski jumping which would be unheard of these days. We are so fortunate that the family of Al donated his Olympic jumping skis which will be on display for everyone to enjoy shortly. The skis are made of wood and, unbelievable for that time, had plastic molded bottoms and stand over 7 feet tall. There are no metal edges, as with ski jumping there is no turning, and therefore, no wear on the sides. Thank you so much Laura (Vincelette) Brewer, Al Vincelette, and Linda Vincelette Sehidoglu and their families at present! ~~~~~~~ (You can see David Antonucci’s Tahoe TV interview about the skis and donation under the “Event Video” link on “Events/Press” page).
The Batiste and Antonucci families want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We had another wonderful year at the museum with the opening of new displays and multiple parties, gatherings and successful group meetings. We want to reach out and thank everyone for their generous financial donations and the extra generous donations of rare ski history memorabilia we received. All of the items will be put on display shortly. We are looking forward to another great year with even more involvement of the community and more fun! If you are wondering, the picture above is a rare postcard from Tahoe circa 1905 – just more fun!
The museum recently received a set of rare books donated by Peggy Deen in memory of her father Charles Proctor an early California skiing pioneer. The donation included: “California Winter Sports and the 1960 VIII WinterGames at Squaw Valley” by J. E. (Jerry) Carpenter; ~ “1960 United StatesOlympic Book” Edited by Arthur G. Lentz ; ~ “III Olympic Winter GamesLake Placid 1932” Compiled by George M. Lattimer; and “ A History ofSkiing in California” by J. H. Hildebrand, ~ a 16 page booklet reprinted from the 1939 issue of THE BRITISH SKI YEAR BOOK “Lost Sierra” by William B. Berry . ~~~ The 1932 Winter Olympics book and the History of Skiing in California booklet are in excellent condition and extremely rare. These will be of much use by researchers and enjoyed by museum visitors. Thanks so much Peggy!
If you missed it we had a great party at the museum to revealing the new Granlibakken display. The display combines the old and the new of the longest continuous open ski resort in the Sierras. The display was created from the wood of the old ski jump at “Olympic Hill” in Granlibakken with the display content created by historian Carol Van Etten under the direction of Granlibakken owner Ron Parson. The largest crowd the Museum has every hosted enjoyed the “Reveal Party” complete with food, drinks and camaradiere to make it a fun, special event. Come by the museum, view the new display and learn the fascinating history of our neighbor Granlibakken.
Save the Date! Don’t miss the opening night of the Museum of Sierra Ski History Museum’s exhibit on the history of skiing and winter sports at Granlibakken Tahoe! Did you know that Granlibakken Tahoe is one of California’s oldest continuously operated ski areas, and that it was host to the western trials for ski jumping and cross-country skiing for the 1932 Winter Olympics? Learn about this and much more at the opening night of the Museum of Sierra Ski History on November 13, 2015! Details: Opens November 13, from 6:00–7:00 PM, with a brief ceremony at 6:45 Appetizers and refreshments included Address: Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics, Boatworks Mall, 760 N Lake Blvd, Second Floor, Tahoe City, CA 96145 We will see you there!
The buses were on time and we were there waiting for their arrival. Twenty museums were free to the public from Roseville to Tahoe and many decided to take the bus ride through the mountains to enjoy the history tour. We could tell that they were all having a great time and all seemed very interested in the museum and the story of Sierra Ski history. The tour was highlighted as the famed official photographer for the 1960 Winter Olympics, Bill Briner (pictured above in the red vest) showed up and greeted everyone and answered many questions. Bill’s original photos line the walls of the museum so it was great to have the man and his work available for all. Olympic medal winner and museum partner, Greg Jones also came by to be part of the event. It was truly a good time and we are really looking forward to participating again next year!
This is the 8th year for the event and 20 museums from Roseville to Tahoe are opening their doors free of charge on August 15th & 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All 20 museums are committed to showcasing history in a fun and entertaining way. For many Trail Travelers, this event has become a family tradition. The museums are grouped in three clusters and are easy to reach from Interstate 80. Seven Valley Museums are located in South Placer. Six Auburn Museums are located within one mile of the Historic Courthouse. Seven Mountain Museums are located in the Sierra Nevada and the north shore of Lake Tahoe. We encourage you to visit several museums during the two day event. This Trail Guide will help you find your way and we invite you back to visit those museums that you missed any time during the year. FOR MORE INFORMATIO PLEASE VISIT: http://theheritagetrail.blogspot.com/
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.