Back in 1955, it took Squaw Valley co-founder Alex Cushing, just six months to nail down his Northern California ski resort near Lake Tahoe as the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. The building of the museum that will preserve the history of the games along with the broader history of Sierra Nevada winter sports is taking far longer.

By the time the SNOW Sports Museum opens its doors in 2026 or 2027, it will have been two decades since the formation of the official non-profit foundation to create the museum, and close to seven decades since the 1960 Winter Games.

Just so you know – SNOW is an acronym for Sierra Nevada Olympic & Winter.

Longtime local resident and travel writer Eddy Ancinas, now 86, says there was support for a museum ever since the 1960 games.  He has been involved since the beginning and currently serves as vice president of the board of the SNOW Sports Museum Foundation.

The closest that came to happening was the Auburn Ski Clubs’ Western Ski Sport Museum, which opened in 1969 and fastidiously tended by legendary ski historian and snow sports journalist Bill Berry.

Located on Donner Summit near the base of Boreal Ridge ski area, it is filled with memorabilia and histories of skiing in western North America – especially California and Nevada—from the Gold Rush to the era of ski clubs and the advent of ski jumping. It also includes some 1960 Olympics memorabilia, and is expected to stay open even when the larger, grander, more modern new museum opens nearby.

The longtime Olympic Museum at High Camp at what is now Palisades Tahoe has closed, and it is expected that its collection will be absorbed into the new museum.  Says Ancinas, “Russell Poulsen [son of the late Wayne Poulsen, co-founder with Cushing of Squaw Valley, now Palisades] was the impetus behind the new museum. He was the one who rustled us all together in the early 2000s with the help of Bill Clark, executive director of the Auburn Ski Club.”

In 2008, two years before the 50th anniversary of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation was formed, to find a site and develop a program that would tell the Olympic story and also the history of Sierra and Western winter sports. Since then, it has worked nonstop to launch capital campaigns, host galas, search for an ideal site, navigate the tangle of permits and environmental reviews, and deal with non-receptive government officials.

Recently, with the strong support of a newly elected local government, the foundation found a site, completed the environmental requirements, and hopes to break ground in 2024.

The foundation will lease approximately an acre of land from Olympic Valley Park (formerly Squaw Valley Park) just off State Route 89 and close to the Olympic Valley Entrance, where the original Tower of Nations and Olympic cauldron still stand and welcome visitors.

Plans are to build an 80,000-sqaure-foot, two-story structure to house its collections of ski memorabilia.

According to current foundation president, David Antonucci, 72, a civil environmental engineer and author of several books on Lake Tahoe and the 1960 Winter Olympics, three collections will form the core of the museum’s memorabilia:

  • the private collection of the Batiste family,
  • Palisade Tahoe’s collection, currently on display at the resort’s High Camp, and
  • the 10th Mountain Division memorabilia collection.

The contents of The Museum of Sierra Ski History and the 1960 Olympics, currently on display in the Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City, also will move to the new museum.

This museum was opened in 2011 by Antonucci and fellow board member Stan Batiste and includes memorabilia and artifacts from the Auburn Ski Club Museum, the Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe Ski Clubs, and the Sugar Bowl ski area. Antonucci encourages anyone with Sierra Nevada or 1960 Olympics ski memorabilia to contact the foundation if they have anything to donate.

Eddy Ancinas emphasizes how important this new museum will be to the region and the state.

“I grew up in the Sierra Nevada, as did my father and grandfather, so I’ve lived much of the history the SNOW Sports Museum intends to preserve. The 1960 Olympics were like no other Olympics in the past, present, or future, yet Olympic Valley is the only Winter Olympic site in the world without a museum to commemorate those seminal events.

“Equally amazing are the stories and events that took place in the northwestern Sierra during the final days of the Gold Rush, when men and women in mountain communities traveled in winter on longboard skis—an activity that eventually led to competitions. A museum dedicated to the legacy of the Winter Olympics and California and Nevada’s unique mountain history is long overdue.”

Antonucci agrees, saying, “The SNOW Sports Museum will finally bring to life the compelling story of the 1960 Winter Olympics—the Winter Olympics that changed it all.”

To contact the foundation for more information or inquire about making a monetary or memorabilia donation, go to

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