Before Squaw Valley – Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter, Dec 2021

Sandra's Occasional Newsletter - Dec. 2021

A little bit of news… but not too much. 

Before Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe) the destination ski resort for East Coast socialites in Reno for a divorce and Hollywood celebs was Sky Tavern on the Mount Rose Highway. Sky Tavern opened in 1945 with a 21-room hotel, coffee shop and bar. There was no electricity. The resort ran on a gasoline-operated generator. The ski lift consisted of a couple of rope tows and a T-bar lift, where you wrapped one leg around an upside-down metal T attached to a moving cable and let it pull you up the slope.

Squaw Valley opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1949. According to Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows: Tales from Two Valleys by Eddy Starr, opening day was a fiasco. Union workers had stopped construction on the lodge, resulting in strikebreakers being brought in to finish the work. The resort founder, Alex Cushing, was working on the plumbing himself. There was no running water. There was no dinner until 10 p.m. Only one toilet was working and the waiting line for it snaked out into the lobby. One of Cushing’s daughters tripped and broke her leg that night, and the family dog was run over by a guest. However, Cushing persevered and Squaw Valley went on to become a world-class resort and host to the 1960 winter Olympics Games.

Women are less conservative than men in their ski apparel and food choices. While women are more fastidious and tend to eat less because their mind is on their figure and whose contours and details are emphasized by the wearing of ski clothes…they can be more easily persuaded to try what they have not eaten before. That is, to my thinking, because they are as a rule more curious than men.”
– Maitre ‘d hotel Fritz Schwarz, Squaw Valley, and formerly Sun Valley, Idaho (Reno Reporter, Oct 13, 1949)  

Flying M.E. divorce seeker at Sky Tavern ski resort, December 1947

Before Squaw Valley, socialites and Hollywood celebs skied at Sky Tavern ski resort. Pictured: Flying M.E. divorce seeker, Dec 1947. (Photo Valerie Vondermuhll. William and Sandra McGee Collection)

—From the new edition of The Divorce Seekers – True Stories from the 1940s Nevada Divorce Ranch Era. Coming in 2022 in softcover. A limited quantity of the first edition (2004), a hardcover coffee table book, is available on Amazon for $35. The book is currently being developed as a series for cable or streaming.


‘Til next year, happy holidays to all! Open all night for comments below…

Best, Sandra

11 thoughts on “Before Squaw Valley – Sandra’s Occasional Newsletter, Dec 2021

  1. Sandra, everytime I read one of your occasional newsletters, I think how much fun it would be to have the pleasure of a lunch with you!. Your sound like such an interesting person.
    Do you still publish books for other people?
    Thank you, Joyce Campbell-Layman.

  2. Sandra, my dear. Always an appreciated acknowledgment of your ‘Occasional Newsletter’ with opportunity to stay updated & on-track re McGee status. Loved the photo, btw. But where is the olive? 🫒😉
    Best holiday wishes back! Susan

  3. Hi Sandra. As a high school senior I participated in the 60 games opening ceremonies. High school choirs were bussed up there for the event. I still have my pin that was awarded to participants.
    Len Hoskins

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