Tahoe Ski Resort Drops ‘Derogatory And Offensive’ Squaw Valley Name

Lake Tahoe’s famous Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California is changing its “derogatory and offensive” name to Palisades Tahoe, the company announced in a statement Monday.

The resort, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, has had the controversial name — which the statement referred to as a “racist and sexist slur” against indigenous women — for 72 years.

“At the end of the day, ‘squaw’ is a hurtful word, and we are not hurtful people,” resort President Dee Byrne said in her statement. “It was a change that needed to be made for us to continue to hold our heads high as a leader in our industry and community. We have a well-earned reputation as a progressive resort … and progress can’t happen without change.”

It was the “right thing to do and I think it’s going to make a difference. I think we’re going to be seen as a more welcoming, inclusive resort and community,” she said.

The resort, about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, is in Olympic Valley, which was known as Squaw Valley until it hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

The resort’s logo is also being changed to an eagle’s head. The new name and logo will also include its partner ski resort, formerly named Alpine Meadows.

The head of the council of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California expressed “great appreciation” for the “positive step.”

The “Washoe People have lived in the area for thousands of years; we have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands,” Chairman Serrell Smokey said in a statement. “We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades.”

The ski resort came up with the new name during consultation with the tribe over the past year. The Palisades is a series of peaks in the central Sierra Nevada, where the resort is located. 

Rebranding to remove the old name will begin immediately, according to the company. All gear with the “Squaw” logo has been removed from the retail shops, and names on signs are being changed. But the resort asked for patience as the old name and logo appear in “thousands of locations across the resort.”

Most of the “public-facing signage … will be removed by the start of this year’s ski season,” said the company statement, “but we expect it will take multiple seasons before it is entirely replaced.”  

Palisades Tahoe is the largest ski resort in the Lake Tahoe region, with about 6,000 skiable acres across two mountains.

 Here’s the video the resort released announcing the name change:

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