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The 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley, California

Postcard from Squaw Valley showing scenes of skiers and snow covered mountains.

Squaw Valley was a long shot to win the bid for the winter Olympic Games. In 1955, the fledgling ski area had only one ski lift, two rope tows, a small day lodge, and a mountain of untapped potential.

In 1955, the International Olympic Committee announced its choice for the location of the 1960 Winter Games. The news was greeted with surprise and in some cases open disbelief. At the time, Squaw Valley was a sleepy community, nestled in a deep, high mountain forest. Though blessed with an abundance of natural resources, it was not even remotely suited to hosting a high profile international sporting event.

The saga of the 1960 Winter Olympics is a true Cinderella story with a cast of unlikely characters lending their magic to make an impossible dream come true. What began as a publicity stunt with no real hope of success became a stunning example of American ingenuity, perseverance and dedication. In just four years this quiet mountain valley was transformed into an Olympic city that would dazzle the world.

Construction of the ski jumps for 1960 Winter Olympics.

Construction of the 60 and 90 meter Olympic ski jumps pictured here were part of an intensive four year project to build an entire resort and competition site from scratch.

Old news article showing skating venue for the 1960 Winter Olmpics.

Historic Blythe Olympic Ice Arena (in the background), the speed skating oval (center) and two practice rinks (foreground) were built specifically for the Games.