New sports museum still in the works at Squaw Valley

Hannah Jones
An unmarked photo hanging in the Olympic Museum at High Camp, Squaw Valley shows speed skating oval with Blyth Arena in the background during the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley.
Sierra Sun file photo

The Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation is moving forward with plans for a new sports museum in Squaw Valley with a revised contract with the county.

In October of 2017, Placer County approved a contract to complete initial studies for an Environmental Questionnaire. However, the contract expired in June 2018 before the work was completed according to a staff report.

Placer County Board of supervisors voted last week to work with the foundation and revise the budget to complete an Environmental Questionnaire for the project.

“Until we take that step and spend those funds and finish the EQ, we can’t begin the process of identifying what level of environmental document we need and what the keys issues are,” said County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

To date $337,000 in transient occupancy tax funding has been approved by the county to fund the site evaluation and engineering and architectural studies to complete an Environmental Questionnaire for the project. In 2017, the museum foundation received a matching grant of $125,000 from the county to conduct community outreach and complete the design of the project. The foundation has raised $84,000 of its $125,000 needed to match the grant, according to its website.

“At the end of the day we fully intend to show that we can fund this, that we can make this last for generations,” said Bill Clark, a board member of the Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation.

After meeting with Forest Service representatives in February, it was still unclear whether they would allow a project to be built on that site. Through consultation with their own legal staff, Clark said the project as envisioned would not be in violation of the Forest Service’s deed restriction. However, he added “we understand that that isn’t enough.”

“We’re committed to working with the county staff to find creative solutions to satisfy the risk that is associated with granting the museum the ability to bring the facility to the park,” he said.

The 16,000-square-foot building, currently planned on the Squaw Valley Park site, will include state of the art exhibit galleries, a community meeting and event space, a multipurpose community room, a library, gift shop and café and an archival and preservation area.

Over 150 years of winter sports history in the Western United States will be exhibited at the museum. The Auburn Ski Club’s Western SkiSport Museum will provide most of the collection with other artifacts coming from the Batiste Family Collection and private donors.

Clark said that in the last year they went through an extensive branding and marketing workshop to create the official name of the museum, the Sierra Nevada and Olympic Winter Sports Museum.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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