San Francisco Chronicle

Resort rebrands and expands in Tahoe

- By Gregory Thomas

After a year of discussion­s and meetings, the ski resort formerly known as Squaw Valley has been renamed Palisades Tahoe.

But the new name doesn’t just refer to the world-famous ski area. It’s meant to encapsulat­e the formation of a single mega-resort in North Lake Tahoe.

Colorado corporatio­n Alterra Mountain Co. owns both the ski resort in Olympic Valley (also known as Squaw Valley) and Alpine Meadows, the premier ski area in an adjacent valley. It is building a gondola through the mountains to link the two resorts under the new name Palisades. Once connected, it will be North America’s third largest ski resort.

The base area at Alpine Meadows will retain its name. But the resort and ski village formerly known as Squaw Valley will be referred to as Olympic Valley going forward, resort executives said. That name stems from the 1960 Winter Olympics, which the resort hosted, and echoes the community name used by the U.S. Postal Service. (There is a separate Squaw Valley in California outside of Fresno that predates the Tahoe community.)

Palisades refers to a prominent terrain feature at the Olympic Valley ski area: a set of sheer cliffs laden with steep chutes above the Siberia chairlift that has attracted some of the resort’s most famous skiers. There is also a separate terrain feature named Palisades off the Alpine Bowl chairlift at Alpine Meadows, Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne said.

The name is the result of a long process of community hearings and branding meetings and is meant to signify “the unique geography and one-ofa-kind terrain of these mountains, the deep Olympic and ski culture histories across both valleys, the resort’s ability to challenge all levels of skiers and riders, and the incredible strength and loyalty of the community,” the resort said in a statement.

The new logo depicts a snowwhite eagle in profile above a pair of pointed mountainto­ps representi­ng the two mountains at Olympic and Alpine, Byrne said. The orange, setting California sun hangs in the sky as well.

The eagle is a nod to both the late Shane McConkey, a local skiing legend memorializ­ed by a metal eagle statue perched atop the resort’s KT-22 mountain, as well as the Washoe Tribe, which inhabited the Tahoe area, including Olympic Valley, before the arrival of white settlers. Tribal leaders had been asking the ski area to change its name for decades.

“The eagle was an important

bird to the Washoe,” Byrne said. “It communicat­ed between the Earth and them and the heavens.”

The resort at Olympic Valley recently began offering Washoe cultural tours on its property and hopes to expand its outreach to tribal members soon, Byrne said.

“Next step is to find a way to engage the tribe in skiing and riding up here this winter,” she said. “I’m super stoked about that.”

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