Why celebrate the 1960 Olympic Winter Games and build a museum now?


In 2010, the North Lake Tahoe region celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. It was a weeklong endeavor featuring numerous special events enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. However, it highlighted the fact that Squaw Valley is one of the few winter Olympic host venues without its a permanent legacy recognizing the region's amazing achievements in winter sports.

Those who were fortunate enough to be a part of the momentous 11-day celebration and competition -- as an event organizer, athlete, coach, volunteer or spectator -- are reaching their golden years or beyond. We are in a race against time; SVSMF feels a sense of urgency as a result.

SVSMF also believes that the proposed museum will act as a community anchor offering inspiration and recognition for today's Olympians and all aspiring winter sport athletes who call North Lake Tahoe home. Celebrating our past achievements while supporting future Olympic-level dreams is an integral part of SVSMF's vision.


Who is leading the museum project?


Formed in 2008, Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation is comprised of a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Committee dedicated to capturing, preserving, and exhibiting North Lake Tahoe's Olympic legacy and winter sports heritage of the Sierra Nevada dating to the Gold Rush era. Meet the Board of Directors >

The members of the Board of Directors represent a diverse range of backgrounds and professional achievements, each with their own North Lake Tahoe tie and story. What all the members share is a passion for the vast Olympic and ski heritage in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the vision to build a legacy museum and cultural center to showcase the heart of skiing in the region.

In September 2016, SVSMF reached a milestone in the hiring of an executive director, Sandy Chio. Joining the foundation at a critical time, Sandy is focused on building momentum and support for the SVSMF museum project, managing the Placer County EQ/Site Application process, and fundraising. Learn More >


Where is the proposed museum site?


Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation's desired museum site is located at the entrance to Olympic Valley within Squaw Valley Park. This site offers the following benefits:

  • Year-round vibrancy of the Park
  • Synergy of outdoor and indoor recreation for visitors and residents
  • Visibility and convenient access from SR-89 corridor
  • Utilization of previously disturbed land; minimal visual or noise impact due to distance from nearest residential units

In seven years of site studies in conjunction with independently contracted architects and land planning engineers, SVSMF reviewed a dozen of sites throughout the North Lake Tahoe region, from Sugar Pine State Park to Truckee. After preliminary analysis, SVSMF determined that a site within Olympic Valley would offer the most natural tie to the region's Olympic legacy and the greatest chance for long-term sustainability of a legacy and cultural center.

Six sites in Olympic Valley were given comprehensive consideration including the "7-11 Gateway Site" located on the Northwest corner of the valley entrance. In total, SVSMF and Placer County conducted three independent studies of the 7-11 site. However, Placer County and SVSMF findings consistently showed that the following challenges prevented that site from being a viable location for the museum: patchwork of ownership, easements, deed restrictions, land use restrictions, high voltage power lines, an unsightly permanent electric substation, potential electromagnetic fields (EMF) hazards, difficult traffic circulation, highway noise, and a designation of Entrance Commercial zoning which could mean potential high-density retail and other development.

site study findings available upon request


What about other ski history museums in Tahoe region?


Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation's proposed museum is a regional effort. We have worked closely with the following organizations in the greater North Lake Tahoe region throughout its master planning process:

Squaw Valley Resort Olympic Museum at High Camp

Auburn Ski Club Western SkiSport Museum

Donner Summit Historical Society

Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics

Representatives from the Western SkiSport Museum and Museum of Sierra Ski History &  1960 Winter Olympics are active participants on the SVSMF Board of Directors. Once completed and open to the public, the proposed museum will incorporate the collections from a number of these museums and continue to work together to share the ski heritage of the region.


What does an EQ and Site Application entail?


Since 2008, Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation and Placer County have been working closely to secure a site for the proposed Olympic ski museum. In July 2015, SVSMF received approval from the Placer County Board of Supervisors (3-1, one absence) to submit a site application for the museum building at Squaw Valley Park. The next steps in the process includes a submission of an Environmental Questionnaire (EQ) and site application, along with a requested zoning amendment, to the Placer County Planning Department.

The EQ is part of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. Through this submission, the county works with the organization to review and address environmental impacts with the goal of receiving a "mitigated negative declaration of environmental impact" which means the mitigated project would not have any significant effect on the environment.

SVSMF is also working with the County to amend the current zoning of the desired site so that it accommodates a museum or cultural center. The currently Forest Recreation (FR) District zoning is defined as:

The intent of this district is to retain the general character of the forest environment while at the same time permitting active recreational development (SVGPLUO Section 250). With few exceptions, lands in this district are considered too remote, too steep, or contain serious development constraints which would prohibit development of commercial or residential land uses. It is the further intent of this district to establish areas wherein public or private recreation facilities, either commercial in nature or publicly funded, can be developed to meet the year round recreation needs of the residents and visitors in Squaw Valley. Permitted uses include forest stations and look outs, grazing, growing and harvesting of timber and other forest products, outdoor amphitheater, picnic areas, public and private playgrounds and parks, riding and hiking trails, stables and corrals, ski lifts and ski trails, structures and uses required for the operation of a public utility or performance of a governmental function, tennis courts, and helicopter skiing. 

Museum Project / County Planning Timeline:

  • EQ /Site Application submitted at the end of September
  • Placer County Planning Department preliminary review; SVSMF submission of parking & traffic studies and tree arborist study (30 to 60 days)
  • Planning Department / SVSMF meeting to review application findings and necessary modifications per County (Q4 2016, Q1 2017)
  • Schedule for public meetings to present project information (Q1-Q2 2017)
  • Presentation to Placer County Planning Commission (Q2 2017) seeking approval for a Conditional Use Permit and to certify the 'Mitigated Negative Declaration'
  • Presentation to Placer County Board of Supervisors for approval on zoning change (Q3 2017)

With a successful site application and necessary approvals by Placer County, SVSMF anticipates launching a museum building capital campaign with a grand opening during the 2019/20 winter season.


Who is paying for the museum?


Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation is a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit. As a public charitable organization, SVSMF actively fundraises for its efforts through individual giving, corporate sponsorships, as well as public-sector and private foundation grants.

The following organizations have provided financial funding or in-kind services on behalf of the museum project:

SVSMF anticipates launching an official capital campaign in the second half of 2017. For interested individuals and organizations, please contact Sandy Chio, Executive Director, for information on giving and naming opportunities. To make a donation today, please click here.


How can I support or get involved with the museum project?


The museum project needs your support! To make a donation, please click here. SVSMF has a goal of $250,000 for the 2016/17 winter season. These funds will allow the museum project to achieve its goals towards a successful site application and zoning change, as well as position SVSMF for a productive launch of its  capital campaign.

SVSMF also has volunteer opportunities available in a number of areas. We look forward to hearing from you!


Who supports the museum project?


The vision for the 1960 Winter Olympics Ski Museum is for the community! Thank you to the following organizations for your on-going support.

  • Auburn Ski Club / Western Ski Sport Museum
  • California State Parks
  • California Ski Industry Association
  • California Tahoe Conservancy
  • Granlibakken Resort
  • North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
  • North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce
  • North Lake Tahoe Resort Association
  • North Tahoe Business Association
  • Olympic Trails Organizing/Restoration Committee
  • Placer County Museums Division
  • Squaw Valley Avalanche Education Fund
  • Squaw Valley Merchant Association
  • Squaw Valley Ski Holdings
  • Squaw Valley Institute & Writer’s Conference
  • Sierra State Parks Foundation
  • Tahoe City Downtown Association
  • Tahoe City Public Utility District
  • Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation
  • Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association
  • United States Ski Association and U.S. Ski Team
  • United States Olympic Committee
  • West Shore Association