Squaw Valley Resort has a monumental task of coming up with a new name, following their announcement that they would change it to remove the “racial and sexist” word “squaw.” The historic resort was home to the 1960 Olympics and is now one of the most world-renown ski destinations in the country. This new name will be heard far and wide.
There have been many ideas floating in the atmosphere speculating what the new name should be. Should the resort return to its Olympic heritage? Should it give naming rights to the Washoe Tribe, which has lived in the area for thousands of years and played a key role in the resort ditching its old name? Should the resort carve out a new name moving forward, celebrating its modern-day skiing culture?
These are the questions we posed last month, giving some ideas (provided by the enthusiastic people on Reddit) and asking our audience to vote on what they thought should be the new name of the famed Squaw Valley. Here’s what you said:
1. Let the Washoe Tribe Choose the Name (45.7% of the vote)
It’s no surprise that this option won the vote considering there’s an online petition urging the resort to let the Washoe Tribe head the name change. At 45 percent of the vote, it seems like most of the public believe this is the route the resort should take.
It’s unknown what the Washoe would name the resort, and if they’re currently being involved in the process. But a decision to allow them to rename one of the most popular ski resorts in the Tahoe region would be a major victory for Native American groups. Here’s an excerpt from the online petition outlining the argument:
“The local ski resort, “Squaw”, is stolen land from the Washoe tribe and the name is a derogatory term towards Indigenous women,” read the petition. “In the amount of time I have spent working with the Washoe women I have learned how offensive and violent this word is which is why I refer to it in quotes. The Washoe tribe is standing up to change the name of their Sacred land and they should be the ones to rename it. Help amplify their voice and give them the right to rename their own land.”
2. Olympic Valley (33.3% of the vote)
This was the heavy favorite heading into the vote and may still favored by the resort as it heads towards making the official name change in the 2021 offseason. As the host of the 1960 Olympics, much of Squaw’s marketing includes its Olympic heritage, so it only makes sense to lean in on that moving forward. This was the top choice from Reddit users.
3. Alpine Valley (10.5% of the votes)
In the spring of 2017, Squaw Valley made the groundbreaking announcement that it had purchased the neighboring Alpine Meadows ski resort, with plans to connect the two with a massive gondola. Today, the two resorts sit separately, just a short drive away on Highway 89. In years to come, the resorts will become connected and the ownership group may choose to create one massive resort.
This might be the most seamless way to change names and to brand the combined ski resorts in the coming years as construction on the connecting gondola is set to begin soon. It would also give some credence to the small but amazing ski resort Alpine Meadows, which is adored by locals.
4. McConkey’s Gnar Valley (4% of the vote)
We included this option as more of a joke, so it’s quite surprising that it received 4 percent of the votes. That being said, anyone who’s a fan of Shane McConkey was probably quick to vote for this name.
McConkey was a professional skier and BASE jumper whose shenanigans became that of legend in the Squaw Valley area. Since his tragic death while performing a ski-BASE jump in Italy, he has since been celebrated heavily in the region. This name would be a fun call to the extreme sports community, but is a long shot for a family-friendly resort like Squaw.
5. Granite Chief Resort (3.5% of the vote)
It’s actually quite surprising that Granite Chief came in last in our vote, considering the nearby wilderness and peak already bears its name, along with numerous nearby businesses in the Truckee and Tahoe City areas. Apparently it’s not sexy enough, which is unfortunately something that has to be heavily considered by the Squaw executives. This name has officially become the long shot.
Here is the full voting breakdown:
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine