From “Squaw Valley” to “Olympic Valley”
When travelers first glimpsed the valley, they named it “Squaw Valley” due to the predominance of Washoe women and children. Over time, the community embraced the name Olympic Valley after hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics, marking its significance as the smallest resort to ever host the event.
A Tapestry of History
Olympic Valley’s history intertwines with the Washoe people, the Gold Rush of 1849, and a brief mining boom. The transformation into a skiing destination began in 1942, when Wayne Poulsen and Alex Cushing laid the foundation for the iconic Squaw Valley Ski Resort, opening in 1949. The 1960 Winter Olympics brought global attention, leaving a lasting legacy and major infrastructure improvements.
A Renaissance and Challenges
In 2010, KSL Capital Partners acquired Squaw Valley Ski Resort, ushering in a “renaissance” with substantial investments for improvements. However, plans for a $1 billion expansion faced opposition from Sierra Watch, leading to a controversial approval in 2016. The subsequent years witnessed a roller coaster addition to the development proposal and the official renaming of the valley to Olympic Valley in 2022.
Embracing Nature’s Beauty
A Panoramic Perspective
Nestled in eastern Placer County, Olympic Valley unfolds along California State Route 89. The 3.7-mile-long valley, carved by Washeshu Creek, offers a breathtaking view, perfectly situated between Truckee and Tahoe City.
Experience the charm of Olympic Valley’s climate, classified as a Continental Mediterranean Climate. Mild to warm summers with cool nights give way to cold and snowy winters, creating a haven for outdoor enthusiasts year-round.
As of 2021, Olympic Valley boasts approximately 924 year-round residents, with a surge to around 6,573 during peak times. Housing includes 663 residential units and 1,180 condominiums, creating a vibrant community.
Operating as an unincorporated community, Olympic Valley relies on Placer County agencies for essential services. The Olympic Valley Public Service District oversees water, sewer, solid waste, fire protection, and emergency medical services, ensuring the well-being of the community.
While incorporation efforts were initiated in 2013 by Incorporate Olympic Valley, they faced resistance and were eventually withdrawn in 2015. The community continues to evolve under the guidance of Placer County agencies.
Thriving Sports Scene
Olympic Valley has been synonymous with skiing culture since hosting the 1960 Winter Games. It has also welcomed the FIS World Cup, US Alpine Championships, and the US Freestyle Championships. Beyond skiing, the area hosts events like the Western States Endurance Run and the Ironman Lake Tahoe triathlon.
Arts and Culture Hub
Beyond sports, Olympic Valley hosts the Wanderlust Festival annually, blending music and yoga. The community embraces diverse musical performances, and the Community of Writers conference and Alpenglow Winter Film Series contribute to its rich cultural tapestry.
Olympic Valley is part of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, with Lake Tahoe Preparatory School providing private college-preparatory education.
With a rich history of nurturing Olympic talent, the valley proudly claims the title of the “Official Supplier of skiers to the US Ski Team.” Since 1964, an athlete from Olympic Valley has competed in every Winter Olympics, showcasing its enduring legacy.
Discover the allure of Olympic Valley, where history, adventure, and natural beauty converge to create a community like no other.