Just imagine you have never driven into Squaw Valley before and as you drive past the turnoff to the Resort at Squaw Creek, you glimpse the valley and mountains ahead. The glimpse prepares you for what’s ahead. You cross Squaw Creek and, to the left, the valley opens up and leads your eyes to the mountains at its head. The view across the open valley has taken you there.

You can now sense the essence of Squaw Valley — the valley itself and the formidable peaks that rim it. Nature, with geologic, tectonic, and geomorphic evolution has given us this place. What will we do with it, and how will we treat it? We haven’t really done a good job so far.


We’ve degraded the valley’s meadow with all kinds of things — some now forgotten and obscure — but now including a golf course, condominiums, and an intrusive, inactive stables complex.

We’ve beaten up the mountains, but they are stronger than any of us: misplaced ski lifts, excessive moving of the earth, unnecessary blasting of our favorite granite outcroppings to accommodate an inadequately planned Funitel alignment, removal of 500 trees from Tram Bowl, intrusion of Solitude and Silverado lifts into the almost pristine north fork of  the Squaw Creek drainage, leveling the top of Squaw Peak.

All of these actions could have been done better, or not at all. None were necessary or desirable as far as the mountains themselves were concerned. But they have taken all this without whimpering, and they are still there. They, and the valley itself, are the essence of Squaw Valley. They are still here, accommodating all of our intrusions.

The valley, which was created by glaciers thousands of years ago, and the mountains themselves will still serve to give us the wonderful view of the peaks for as much time as humans are here. How will we leave them now?

So what is Squaw Valley and its surrounding magnificent mountains? Is it a mountain environment, with everything that implies and naturally encompasses? Or is it a site for a mega resort that doesn’t contribute to the preservation of the environment in the western end of the valley in the box canyon?

Now is the time for all of us Davids to face the Goliath, and work to insure that we have an appropriately designed and constructed expanded village at the head of our valley and at the foot of our unique and challenging peaks — an expanded village that would celebrate and enhance the surroundings, rather than intrude into it environmentally and emotionally.

~ Dave Brew is a Squaw Valley homeowner and one of its resident contrarians.

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