by Bob Sparrow
Squaw Valley and I are old friends; I’m just 6 years older. We first met in 1952 when I visited the 3-year old resort and returned a few years later to learn how to ski. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Brother, Jack and I went to Squaw Valley for our first attempt at skiing. The lift ticket for an all day pass was $6, which we thought was quite exorbitant – today it’s $179! We had no ski gloves, but we didn’t think we’d need them as we both tolerated cold weather fairly well. What we didn’t realize is that our lift up the mountain initially would be a rope tow and after the first time we grabbed the moving rope with our bare hands and our hands started to blister, we realized we needed gloves. We could only afford one pair, so we each wore one glove on the hand with which we grabbed the rope. We were pretty good athletes, so we learned fairly quickly how to stay upright most of the time as we skied down the bunny slope. When we were ready to go on a chairlift for something a little more difficult, we didn’t realize that getting off the chair once we got to the top was the biggest challenge we would face thus far. I believe Jack got off the chair cleanly, but they had to stop the chairs and pull me out of the way after my face-plant exit.
While the day started with rope burns and face-plants, by day’s end we were exhausted from all the runs that we were able to get in – some without falling.
I returned to Squaw Valley to attend the 1960 Winter Olympics there and ‘hit the slopes’ many times after that. When Jack was living in Tahoe after he sold his restaurant up there, he worked at the Inn at Squaw Creek when it first opened in 1990, and our last ski expedition together was to Squaw Valley in the mid-90s when we stayed at the Inn at Squaw Creek.
So attending a wedding at, the new name is The Resort at Squaw Creek, last weekend was like seeing an old friend. The wedding was for Blake Sullivan and Molly Ainsworth; we’ve known Blake’s parents, Rick and Kara for over 30 years; when they lived in the ‘hood; Rick coached our kids in soccer and baseball and learned how to rollerblade himself so he could help our kids become better roller hockey players.
We flew into Reno with other friends from the ‘hood and rented a 4-wheel drive with Mark & Kathy Johnson, for the one hour drive to Squaw Valley. We actually drove past Squaw Valley into Tahoe City for a lunch at Jake’s on the Lake where we had a window table with a fabulous view of the lake.
We checked in to the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek and that evening took a shuttle into the old Olympic Village to PlumpJacks restaurant for a gourmet food station dinner and open bar hosted by the Sullivans.
Sunday, the day of the wedding started out with a rain storm and ended with a snow storm, but didn’t detract from the wedding, which was originally scheduled outside, but weather conditions dictated a move inside. The reception dinner was held at the Six Peaks Grille, where the full length glass walls afforded us an awesome view of the falling snow.
As of this writing we are hoping to get out of Squaw Valley to Reno airport on Monday, but if the storm doesn’t allow, we’ll just have to spend another day in this winter wonderland.