Each year the Olympic Heritage Celebration Week is held the second week in January and concludes on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.
Despite the lack of snow, events still took place to celebrate the historic Olympic Cross Country ski races and Biathlon from the 1960 Winter Olympics at the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma, California. Instead of cross country skiing, special hikes took place retracing the trails the former Olympians took 52 years ago.
If you weren’t here this past weekend, a miniature replica of the Olympic Tower of Nations that stood at the entrance of Squaw Valley to welcome visitors to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games was at the entrance to the Sugar Pine Point State Park cross-country ski area. It set the mood for visitors to enjoy a piece of Olympic history.
Our lack of January snow in the Sierra didn’t ruin the event, but it was a great reminder of the problems and concerns for the original organizers of the VIII Winter Olympic Games, and for the Nordic events that were to be held on Lake Tahoe’s west shore in 1960. Back then, right before the games were to begin, area organizers brought in the Great Basin dancers to encourage snowfall, and the snow did fall before the Olympics were held that year.
To close the week of events, Olympic Heritage organizers were able to have the Native American Dance History repeated, as the Eagle Wings Dance Group, descendants of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe Tribes, offered traditional songs and dances sacred to the tribes, which included their dance for snow!
While the weather was cold and windy, they had a great turn out and it was a very special afternoon for everyone that attended.
When the snow does fall (and it is going to snow very soon) you’ll still be able to snowshoe and cross country on the 1960 Winter Olympic Nordic skiing trails at the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma, California. For more information call 530.525.7982.
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The Olympic Heritage Celebration Closing Ceremonies at Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma, California – January 2012