by Terence Baker | December 01, 2004

Squaw Valley USA

Snow business:
Squaw Valley USA

Four cities in North America have hosted Winter Olympics: Calgary in Alberta, Canada; Lake Placid (twice) in New York; Salt Lake City in Utah, and Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe, in California. In 2010, one more will be added to the list: Vancouver, British Columbia (see page 79).
In these picturesque places, the Olympic legacy lives on long after the Games have gone. What’s left are world-class meeting and recreational facilities and a pride of place that provides an instant theme for meetings.
The slopes are a natural antidote for stress. In Vancouver, “a group can meet all day and then be at the top of the mountain in minutes, with fresh air and beautiful sunsets,” notes Dave Gazley, vice president of meeting and convention sales at the Vancouver Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Here’s a detailed look at what planners will find in the wake of glorious past Winter Games.

Lake Placid, New York
Olympic years: 1932 and 1980

Overview: Perhaps remembered most fondly for 1980’s “Miracle on Ice,” when the U.S. hockey team defeated Russia, this upstate New York town in the Adirondack Mountains has “an aura that says the Olympics have been in town,” says Sandy Caligiore, director of public affairs for the Olympic Regional Development Association, the organization responsible for the city’s winter-sports facilities.

Where to meet: Several facilities built for the 1980 games now are available for meetings and special events, including the 92,000-square-foot Olympic Center (now being renovated to include a new purpose-built conference center, which the destination currently lacks), the 20,000-square-foot 1980 Arena and the 17,000-square-foot USA Rink.
    Group activities include supervised bobsled rides and the Winter Olympic Challenge, a five-day, four-night mini-Olympics complete with an opening ceremony and fireworks, followed by events such as skiing and speed skating and culminating in medal presentations. (All the other North American Winter Olympic sites offer a variation on this theme.)

Where to stay: Lake Placid offers 1,700 guest rooms. The newest hotel is the 85-suite Whiteface Lodge, to open in January. Amenities include a fireplace in every suite, three meeting rooms, an indoor-outdoor pool, a 60-seat screening room, a 7,000-square-foot spa and a 10,000-square-foot pavilion. Also in the area are the 199-room Lake Placid Resort Hotel & Golf Club, 173-room Hilton Lake Placid Resort, 153-room Best Western Golden Arrow, 127-room Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa, 92-room Comfort Inn and 34-room Lake Placid Lodge.

Contact: Lake Placid/Essex County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 216 Main St., Lake Placid, N.Y. 12946; (800) 447-5224; fax: (518) 523-2605;

Squaw Valley, Calif.
Olympic year: 1960

Overview: Measuring two miles in length, with its only road ending at the Olympic facilities, Squaw Valley is a perfect place to meet and play in isolation. Squaw Valley USA, which owns the facilities used during the 1960 games, has added steadily to the original attractions.

Where to meet: Reached only by cable car, Squaw Valley USA’s High Camp looms at an elevation of 8,200 feet and includes several restaurants, a pool, tennis courts and the Olympic Ice Pavilion, which can be rented in its entirety. Down in the valley are most of the event facilities, hosting groups of up to 2,000.

Where to stay: Phase II of the Village at Squaw Valley USA was completed last winter and added 146 guest condominiums and 19 shops, while its 185-room hotel has 4,300 square feet of meeting space for up to 160 people and the Palisades Room for 250. The venue’s Trilogy Spa is set to debut early in 2005.
    Nearby hotels include the 403-room Resort at Squaw Creek, 200-room Village at Squaw Valley, 90-room Olympic Valley Inn at Squaw Creek and 61-room PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn.
    At the Resort at Squaw Creek, which has 18 meeting rooms totaling 23,000 square feet, a $21 million renovation will take place over the next five years.
    Other notable venues in the area include the 160-room Granlibakken Conference Center & Resort, with 15,500 square feet of meeting space; the 424-room Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino, which has a private beach and 50,000 square feet of meeting space; and North Tahoe Conference Center, on Lake Tahoe, which has meeting space for up to 500 people but no guest rooms.

Contact: North Lake Tahoe Visitors & Convention Bureau, 3000 N. Lake Blvd., Suite 10, Tahoe City, Calif. 96145; (800) 462-5196; fax: (530) 581-1686;