Magic in the Mountains film airing Saturday in Truckee |

Magic in the Mountains film airing Saturday in Truckee

Miranda Jacobson /
The 1960 Olympic Games were the first to be televised due to Walt Disney
Provided/David Johnson

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Snow Sports Museum and Coolfire Studios are bringing the underdog story of how Squaw Valley ski area in California hosted the 1960 Olympics, and with the help of Walt Disney, changed the games forever. 

“It was a game where there were many firsts that had never been done in the Olympic Games and sort of set the tone for all of the Olympics moving forward,” said the executive producer of the film David Johnson, of Coolfire Studios. 

The film will air at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Truckee Community Arts Center Auditorium. Tickets are on sale through for $25 (plus taxes/fees) and doors to the show will open at 6 p.m. 

The viewing will include raffle prizes and a post-movie Q&A with some featured principles from the movie, including historians and authors Eddy Ancinas and David Antonucci. The event will also have beer, wine, and soda for sale. 

The movie captures history that the museum hopes to eventually display. Johnson said the live screenings of the film truly make the experience special. 

“When we made this film, obviously you want as many people to see it as possible, but you know, at the end of the day, even though we’re not from there, we sort of made this as a love letter to the region and for people to really embrace and be proud of what’s been built there,” Johnson said. 

The showing will include a raffle and a conversation with panelists after the film.
Provided/David Johnson

The film features many people from Lake Tahoe who helped put the movie together. Johnson, not being from the area, said the first thing he did was reach out to local news publications and post to social media looking for old footage or film from the Olympic Games. To his delight, he got a number of responses. 

“All of the sudden I started getting all these emails from these people saying, ‘Hey, my grandparents left me this footage,’ or ‘my granddad was a photographer there,’ or ‘I was a volunteer and 16 at the time but I had this little eight millimeter camera,’” said Johnson.

After developing a relationship with a lab in Sacramento, Johnson and his team had all of the old footage transferred to digital files, which allowed him to see the treasures of the past in real time. 

“Sometimes there was great stuff on there, sometimes there was nothing,” said Johnson. “But we used just about every single ounce of it and it was really kind of fascinating to sort of unearth all of this footage that people have probably forgotten about, and we were able to use it. I think it gave the film a lot of context and a sense of letting people feel what it was like to be there doing those games. I think it just gave authenticity to the film that we wouldn’t otherwise normally have.” 

The showing in Truckee will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22 in the Truckee Community Arts Center Auditorium.
Provided/David Johnson

Johnson is excited for everyone to get to the theaters and see the screening live, which is an experience many have missed out on in the last two years. 

“Going and watching a movie in a movie theater is sort of a communal experience,” said Johnson. “You go watch the film together, you hopefully stay afterwards and talk, and I know at this panel they’re going to have some of the people that are in the movie speaking. It’s so cool to hear their perspectives on things.”

Miranda Jacobson is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sun.

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