Palisades Tahoe Chosen as New Name for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
New Name, Who Dis?
The artist formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows introduced its new name and logo – Palisades Tahoe. The branding revamp “honors the resort’s history as a land of legends—home to freeskiing pioneers, Winter Olympians and cultural icons across more than seven decades of ski history.” The new name and brand will house both mountains under one title.
“It is inspiring that after seven decades in operation, a company as storied and established as this resort can still reflect and adjust when it is the necessary and right thing to do,” said recently appointed Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne.
Why The Change?
The resort announced its commitment to rename the destination in 2020 after extensive research into the historical and current usage and regional history of the word “squaw.” That, coupled with discussions with the local Washoe Tribe affirmed the position that it is widely considered a racist and sexist slur against Indigenous women.
The Renaming Process
The first step involved an in-depth research and discovery process. At the outset, the resort team dissected what elements of these neighboring valleys, from the mountains to the people, truly set them apart. Everything from the history of the Washoe Tribe, whose ancestral lands were in Olympic Valley, to extreme ski movies that featured the resort were considered in the name change decision.
The resort also conducted numerous surveys, collecting more than 3,000 responses, and held focus groups in order to consult with a wide range of individuals in the community, including local residents, longtime pass holders, athletes who grew up on these slopes, employees of the resort, and members of the local Washoe tribe.
Why Was Palisades Tahoe Chosen?
The Palisades Tahoe name captures and honors two of the resort’s most legendary arenas – one on the Olympic Valley side and one on the Alpine Meadows side, where granite walls rise all around and where generations of freeskiers made their mark.
The new logo aligns the two unique mountains that make up Palisades Tahoe with the outline of a majestic eagle—a nod to the sacred Washoe symbol used to communicate with the heavens, the powerful bird that calls Tahoe home, and to the resort’s freeskiing roots. The bold colors and interwoven design pay homage to these majestic mountains—past, present, and future—and the fierce allegiance and individuality of the Palisades Tahoe community.
“Anyone who spends time at these mountains can feel the passion of our dedicated skiers and riders. It’s electric, exciting, reverential, and incredibly motivating. However, no matter how deep, meaningful, and positive these feelings are and no matter how much our guests don’t intend to offend anyone, it is not enough to justify continuing to operate under a name that is deeply offensive to indigenous people across North America. We were compelled to change the name because it’s the right thing to do, especially for the generations yet to come, who will grow up without having to use a slur to identify the place where they chase their dreams down the mountain,” said Ron Cohen, former president and COO of Palisades Tahoe.
We know how much people love this place, and so we spent more than a year making sure that we were doing right by the community in choosing a name that would honor the past and reach out to the future. I am so grateful to the Palisades Tahoe team for their dedication to writing the next chapter of the resort’s storied history.”
Going beyond the name change, Palisades Tahoe has begun building a partnership with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California to continue to give the tribe a platform to educate the public about their culture and the valleys’ origins as the ancestral land of the Washoe Tribe, and to ensure mountain accessibility for present and future Washoe generations.
This summer, the resort launched the Washoe Cultural Tour series, which offers guests a view of the mountains through the eyes of the Washoe people. Darrel Cruz, Director of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Cultural Resources Office of the Washoe Tribe, shares stories of Washoe history and culture at the High Camp mid-mountain lodge.
In addition, Palisades Tahoe will install a Washoe exhibit at High Camp, complete with tribal artifacts that show the Washoe way of life that members seek to preserve to this day. The groups are also exploring future programming centered on making skiing more accessible to Washoe Tribe members.
Palisades Tahoe Rebrand Could Take Time
The resort will begin implementing the new resort name and branding immediately, but expects the full changeover to be a multi-year process. The base area village on the Olympic Valley side will now be known as The Village at Palisades Tahoe, and Palisades Tahoe also plans to debut new names for the Squaw One and Squaw Creek chairlifts, to be selected with input by the Washoe Tribe, Resort at Squaw Creek, and the public. Palisades Tahoe leaders continue to assist other local businesses who are interested in changing their names, and the Washoe Tribe is leading the efforts to rename Squaw Peak and Squaw Creek. For more information on Palisades Tahoe and the upcoming winter season, please visit the resort’s website.