The Times podcast: The fight over Squaw Valley’s name
The fight over what to call this resort
by Amy N. Lame
For years, officials in Squaw Valley, the resort where Arnold Schwarzenegger built a home for himself and the rest of his family in the 1960s, have fought with fans over what to call the resort.
Now they have turned their attention to a different issue: naming a ski area after a U.S. president whose legacy is far from positive.
In recent weeks, the resort known for its alpine freestyle skiing and snowboarding has become the target of a group of skiers and snowboarders who wish to preserve America’s reputation for having a first-class ski resort, no matter who has visited it.
The group, which includes one prominent critic and one former skier for the resort, has demanded the resort’s name be changed to something like the Presidents’ Highway.
The critics say that’s not quite right. It’s too military to be an appropriate name for the small resort town that is home to the ski lodge and chairlift where skiers can get to their “highway.”
“We are not a military operation,” said Bill Lally, chairman of the resort’s board of directors.
Skiers and snowboarders are not the only people who have been unhappy with the resort’s name. In March, the resort won a trademark battle when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the resort the trademark for Squaw Valley under its current name.
The resort was named in 1960 when Arnold and his friends chose it as the name for their ski lodge.
That would have been fine if Squaw Valley had been all about skiing and had been called by Arnold’s first and last name, but it was not.
There was other competition. In 1960, after all, John D. Rockefeller was president. And it was in 1962 that President John F. Kennedy was sworn in, according to the resort’s website.
But some people in the group that has formed to fight for the name change say that’s about all they can do.
“If we go for litigation, what the hell is the point? It will be over in a year,” said Don Yoder, a ski instructor at the resort and a former sk