Weeks ahead of the opening of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea, the El Dorado Arts Council has opened a new exhibition celebrating the 1960 Winter Olympics held at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe.
The curated exhibition of art, memorabilia and promotional items runs through March 9 at the organization’s Fausel House Gallery in Placerville, Calif.
The exhibit, “The Games of Winter,” uses items on loan from the Museum of Sierra Ski History and 1960 Winter Olympics, and collector Stan Batiste.
Batiste and his wife Maryann, owners of the Sierra Ski Museum, say it’s the first time they’ve loaned pictures and artifacts from the museum.
“It should be fun,” they said in a statement last week. “Our goal has always been to share the history of the 1960 Winter Olympics and Sierra Ski History in order to educate the community about our rich history.”
The free public opening reception is scheduled Jan. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m., and will feature local wine paired with fondue — a classic recipe from the 1960s. Batiste, author David C. Antonucci and official Olympic photographer Bill Briner will be in attendance.
Antonucci, author of “Snowball’s Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe” will discuss the 1960 Winter Olympics at another free event at the gallery on Feb. 22.
Alexander Cushing, who died in 2006, helped launch the sport of skiing in the U.S. by bringing the Games to his Squaw Valley resort. He once told the Reno Gazette-Journal his bid for the games was a publicity stunt, never dreaming he might get them.
His fledgling resort was little known outside California, and he stunned the sports world by beating out internationally known resorts in Europe.
The games were the first ever televised, exposing 10 million viewers to what was then considered an elitist sport. Millions of middle-class families caught the skiing bug, and resorts proliferated.
The games brought international attention to the Sierra resort and helped spark a development boom at Lake Tahoe, sparsely populated at the time.
The XXIII Olympic Winter Games are scheduled to open in Pyeongchang on Feb. 9 and run through Feb. 25.