The Olympics returning to Lake Tahoe have been a big controversy for many years.  With new found big money in our area in the form of KSL (owners of Squaw & Alpine) and Vail Resorts (owners of Northstar, Kirkwood, & Heavenly), Tahoe is seriously undertaking a 2022 winter olympic games bid.  [Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley,is the chair of the 2022 Olympic bid committee]

1960 winter olympics at Squaw Valley USA

 

As this NPR story displays, locals are very much split on the subject.  The stimulus to the local economy sounds good.  The impact on lifestyle and environment sound bad.

If the Olympics were to happen in Tahoe in 2022, that could be good timing with getting Squaw & Alpine connected, huh?  The estimates of that projects potential completion are for 2022

 Humans NPR Interviews in this Story:

- Andy Wirth (CEO of Squaw Valley)

- Blaise Carrig (CEO of Vail Resorts)

- Jamie Schetman (CEO of Mountain Rider’s Alliance)

 

Transcript from this NPR radio spot:

Stacey Vanek Smith: The city of London has sold 8 million tickets for the Summer Olympics. In order to gear up for the onslaught of visitors, businesses in London are conducting a “stress test” today. For instance, many people will work from home to avoid taking public transit at peak times. Here in the U.S., some businesses are already focused on the winter Olympics… in 2022. Lake Tahoe wants to host.

Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: The Squaw Valley ski resort has ambitious plans for the future rooted firmly in its past. To see what I mean, let’s take the aerial tram.

Tram Conductor: Five hundred fifty feet up off the ground. Kind of like standing at the very top of the Washington Monument and peeking out.

Up to the Olympic Museum. An old newsreel replays highlights from the 1960 winter games, which were held here at Squaw Valley.

Olympics Newsreel: Eighteen thousand spectators from all over the world wonder if they’re glad they came. It is cold. It is dark. Still, the eighth Olympic Winter Games are about to begin.

Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw, would like to see history repeat itself. He’s coordinating the campaign to bid for the Olympics in 2022. Wirth says hosting the games would unleash millions of federal dollars to improve infrastructure.

Andy Wirth: Substantially improving the roads, the bridges and the transportation infrastructure in this area. All benefiting the local economy, the regional economy, the state economy. And also the environment.

He says the environment benefits because reducing congestion means reducing pollution. But some locals don’t see the value.

Jamie Schectman heads Mountain Riders Alliance, which advocates for sustainability in the ski industry.

Jamie Schectman: There’s a lot of us who would prefer not to see the 2022 Olympics here. You know, having commercial airlines flying into Truckee. Having four-lane highways for a two week global competition. Yes, there will be stimulus, but it forever changes the landscape.

The leadership at Vail is half-committed to the Olympic bid. Blaise Carrig is co-president of Vail, which owns three ski resorts in the Tahoe area.

Blaise Carrig: At the same time, our company has resorts in Colorado, and there’s an interest to see the games in Colorado as well.

But the ski industry didn’t have much luck the last time it tried to bring the winter Olympics to Colorado. In 1976, Colorado voters — worried about the impact on the environment — gave the Olympics a thumbs down.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

Sign up for news and our top posts


18 Comments

  1. Lane says:

    This sounds great to me!!! Terrain looks as good as KT’s & I hope the timelines remain intact. One question though, how would this be America’s biggest resort when Powder Mountain has over 7,000 acres?

    Reply
    • Bigger Sky says:

      not all of pow mows acres are actually available with only a lift ticket or are patrolled, alot of them are sidecountry-ish. if you look at the breakdown, they count cat skiing in their total acreage.

      Reply
  2. Fittetryne says:

    NO to the 2022 Games in Tahoe!!!!!

    8 years of construction
    2 weeks of madness
    50 years of understandable infrastructure
    = Not a Good Idea

    Reply
  3. Jamie, bro, man, bro, brother says:

    I really respect your opinion, but this is not the Chugach. I think it’s quite obvious we already need 4 lanes on 89 – and it’s only 2012. Congestion is worse than ever. Do you think business will slow down in the next 10 years? It might if we don’t get the Olympics and continue to nurture this “no changes” mindset around here. This poor landscape is in desperate need of some change and some investment. In my opinion (which is of course the right one) these sad, shitville towns around here (truckee, tc, kb) and our entire Tahoe area is in need of improvement and investment. I think we could greatly benefit from the Olympics in Tahoe.

    Reply
    • wtf? says:

      Congestion worse than ever? It’s nowhere near as bad as it was before the economy crashed. Tahoe needs to diversify it’s economy, not rely so much on tourism, but instead be more self-sustaining. Constant construction (beyond what we already endure) for the next 10 years will keep people away, and piss off those that do come here. All for 2 weeks of the biggest junkshow the basin has ever seen? I don’t really see any benefits that would be worth the 10 years of hell.

      Reply
  4. Jamie, bro, man, bro, brother says:

    Besides that…we can then milk “the legacy” for another 60 years!

    Reply
  5. Geriatic S Gurl says:

    If you want to see what happens when “The Real Olympics Shows Up” in your area, follow the news sources in Great Britain right now as they lead up to the summer 2012 Olympics in London. Of course the real estate speculators are going to gloss over or skip entirely the enhanced security nightmare for the average person, as the military installs anti- aircraft surface-to-air missiles on apartment building rooftops. Landlords near the London stadium venue are also doing last minute (illegal) evictions of renters, to cash in on the demand for rooms. The military occupation is starting their rehearsal.

    I wonder if it is possible for the Navy to get warships up to Lake Tahoe…. like the British will have their largest helicopter aircraft carrier on the Thames River, docked in London. Imagine Truckee airport with a fleet of surveillance drones and fighter jets.

    Quoting from the Olympic London2012 website:

    “Please bring as little as possible with you to Olympic and Paralympic events. You’ll need to go through airport-style security when you arrive at your venue, so the more you bring with you, the longer it will take you to pass through security.

    The full list of prohibited and restricted items varies between venues, so make sure you check the requirements for your venue before you head to your Olympic or Paralympic event. These lists are currently being finalised and will be made available in the coming months.”

    Make no mistake, the impact of an Olympics on the Tahoe locals and the Northern CA Tahoe/Reno area would be huge, in requiring close scrutiny of every public activity and restricting access and movement near the sports sites being used. This would be amplified by our unique, challenging mountain terrain and winter weather. London is an old port city, with existing infrastructure and a culture which recognizes public transportation and services are necessary to make their city function, here in the USA, we’re being run by the right wing GOP/”cooperative Dems” pretty much in this area, and the concept of “public anything” to make your trip easier, and the taxes to pay for it, is something to be attacked as un- necessary and “evil socialism.”

    The net result of the clash between security needs for a world sporting event, and that sort of ideology is going to be a VERY RESTRICTED VENUE.

    Something to think about if you thought this meant everything was going to get easier, it will actually get more difficult and slower.

    Reply
  6. ktgirl says:

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!!

    Reply
  7. YeeKiller says:

    I will be able to rent my house for $25,000 per week = Good!!!

    Reply
  8. justbob says:

    Regardless if it would be good or bad, I just don’t see it happening. People seem to forget that skiing/boarding is only a small part of the Winter Olympics. Events that require arenas, figure skating, ice hockey, speed skating are a much bigger part. Are we going to see facilities for those built in Tahoe? I doubt it. Maybe Reno. But compared to the last three Winter Olympic hosts (Salt Lake City, Turin, Vancouver), Reno is puny. I’ll believe when I see it. And BTW, Tahoe hasn’t even hosted a world cup ski race in a few decades. That can’t be a good omen.

    Reply
  9. derp says:

    All I can say is, if the olympics ever came back to Squaw, I would do anything and everything that I possibly could to play GNAR harder than anyone has ever done before.

    Reply
  10. pan8agod says:

    Just think of the gnar points for running the super g course bn during the comp

    Reply
  11. Bryce bennett says:

    Ruined Park City, Ruined Whistler. Please No. Tahoe is not a good place for it. Plus we’ve already had them, give other people the chance, Stop being selfish.

    Reply
  12. TBST says:

    Almost comical that Andy says getting the Olympics will be “good for the environment.” This guy is the ultimate politician. He’s got balls though. Can’t build an online store that can handle selling a few passes but wants to bring the Olympics to Tahoe. Maybe that’s not balls, but it’s something.

    Reply

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Squaw/Alpine Connect “On Track” | USA’s Largest Ski Resort | *Update* with Troy Caldwell

Leave a Comment