So Long Squaw Valley, Hello Palisades Tahoe

This is the last time you will see Lake Tahoe’s largest ski resort referred to as Squaw Valley on the blog. Today Alterra Mountain Company announced Palisades Tahoe will replace the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows brand. After extensive research into the etymology and history of the term squaw, the company determined last year it was widely considered a racist and sexist slur that needed to be retired. Palisades references craggy terrain located near the top of the Siberia Express and Tahoe needs no explanation.

“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 Palisades President and COO Dee Byrne. “This name change reflects who we are as a ski resort and community—we have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding. We have proven that those values go beyond the snow for us. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of Palisades Tahoe and after more than 10 years at the resort, I’m honored to be leading our team into this new era.”

Two chairlifts are in the process of being renamed and elements across the resort will feature a new orange and dark blue color scheme. Nearly 5,000 locations where the existing logo and/or name appear will be swapped out by signage teams and more than 32,000 uniform pieces will be replaced. Finalists for the renamed Squaw Creek triple are Eagle Eye, Highline, Resort, Snow King, Storm Rider and Valley View while Squaw One Express‘s updated name is still pending.

The two historically separate sections of Palisades will be referred to as Alpine Meadows and Olympic Valley going forward. A high speed, three stage gondola is under construction to connect the two sides, though the exact completion timeline remains unannounced. You can bet the new gondola will sport the Palisades brand when it opens.

41 thoughts on “So Long Squaw Valley, Hello Palisades Tahoe

  1. skitheeast September 13, 2021 / 10:26 am

    I am pretty indifferent about the new name. I do like the Eagle’s Nest reference and wish their video and blog posts more heavily played into that narrative, as I think skeptics would buy into that.

    Now that the entire resort has a single name and skiers will be able to go back and forth via the gondola, they really should create a single trail map showing everything like Park City did. A James Niehues map would be fantastic, as I really do not like the Vista Map they currently have.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Squaw Valley September 13, 2021 / 12:11 pm

      Cringe

      Like

    • Donald Reif September 13, 2021 / 8:31 pm

      Honestly, VistaMaps are like the poor man’s substitute for a proper trail map by James Niehues or Kevin Mastin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pnwrider September 14, 2021 / 11:51 pm

        I’m just surprised that some high tier resorts like Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, Vail, and the worst offenders, Sun Valley and Mission Ridge (they replaced their James Niehues trail maps with VistaMaps!) even go with VistaMaps. They don’t capture the vivid colors and beauty of the ski resort, and honestly leave me very confused about the geography of the mountain, and what goes where.

        Like

        • skitheeast September 15, 2021 / 9:43 am

          Vail used a James Niehues map until Blue Sky Basin debuted. He painted the addition, but Vail decided they were not happy with the final product and switched to VistaMap for the following season. Steamboat also used a James Niehues map until the mid-90s when they switched to VistaMap. Squaw Valley used a James Niehues map until KSL took over in 2010, and Alpine Meadows used a painted map by a different artist years ago as well.

          Most decent size resorts in the United States have used a James Niehues map for at least a little while. It is more expensive to commission, but these resorts have the necessary capital and many of them already have them lying around. The Park City trail map is one of my favorites, and having a similar expansive map for Palisades Tahoe without the need for confusing inserts would be awesome.

          Like

    • Somebody September 15, 2021 / 5:19 pm

      Creating a map to cover the whole resort would be very challenging. The perspective of Squaw and Alpine is already pretty hard to capture even with individual maps because of wildly varying elevations not far apart distance wise. Making KT-22 seem the right size is tricky when it’s almost as high as high camp but rises right out of the base area. Alpine has similar issues, especially in the area around Lakeview.

      I’m not sure how they’d combine the two without misrepresenting either Squaw or Alpine.

      Like

  2. El Chapo September 13, 2021 / 10:55 am

    What? Naming a huge two-domaine ski area after a small terrain feature that 99% of their customers will never ski or even be aware of is a head scratcher. The word ‘palisades’ doesn’t evoke skiing or boarding. I like the ‘Tahoe’ part since that’s what most skiers or boarders probably mention as their destination when they’re headed up to Squaw Alp… er Palisades Tahoe. I would’ve just called it simply ‘Tahoe.’

    I’m guessing they hired a New York branding firm to come up with this lame name and their branding consultants probably over-thought it and came up with this unmemorable, non-descriptive name. Most people will probably continue calling it Squaw or Squaw Alpine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif September 13, 2021 / 8:27 pm

      “I’m guessing they hired a New York branding firm to come up with this lame name and their branding consultants probably over-thought it and came up with this unmemorable, non-descriptive name.” AKA people who probably never have been to the resort to begin with.

      “Most people will probably continue calling it Squaw or Squaw Alpine.” Y’know, like how many Chicagoans still call it the Sears Tower, or Belleayre skiers still refer to their HSQ as Super Chief, or the Winter Park HSQ that used to be known as the Eskimo Express.

      Like

      • skitheeast September 13, 2021 / 11:46 pm

        The third-party company used was Struck, which is based in SLC. Their most high-profile ski project prior to this was Snowbird’s one-star campaign a couple years ago.

        Like

        • Muni September 14, 2021 / 6:08 pm

          The one-star campaign was pretty great tho.

          Like

        • pbropetech September 15, 2021 / 7:54 pm

          Snowbird’s one-star campaign was gold. The point was to attract advanced skiers who may not have thought of Snowbird and I think it succeeded. At the least it was entertaining. I am a little disappointed in the new Palisades name- I liked the skier-submitted Olympic Valley- but I’ve also never been there and know little of the area besides what Shane McConkey highlighted.

          Like

        • Joe Blake September 15, 2021 / 8:11 pm

          Umpteenth yes vote for that 1 star reviews campaign. Most marketing is frustrating at best, but that one captured Snowbird pretty dern well. And it gave voice to what most of us actual skiers feel about tourists and the corporate concessions most joints give them.

          Like

  3. Resolve.Action.Love (@Snowman55403) September 13, 2021 / 1:34 pm

    I’m neutral on the name. But I’m genuinely curious about the font and even the Eagle logo. Both feel very late 70’s to early 80’s to me. Is that resonant for younger snowsports people? Maybe it seems really fresh, while also harkening for us older riders & skiers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • meirk September 13, 2021 / 2:34 pm

      Note the two different A, it’s not exactly a font.

      I can see what you mean by calling it late 70’s, but it’s not very explicitly retro…
      I’d say the text is retro but the logo is modern?

      I also wonder if there are different colored versions, like a dark background one. And what color the lifts would be.

      Like

        • bryansouth September 13, 2021 / 11:42 pm

          They stole the A from Arapahoe…. Or maybe the Avengers.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Philip Keeve September 14, 2021 / 1:47 pm

        Somebody needs to check their work and make them all the same. It looks weird…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Munier Salem September 14, 2021 / 6:11 pm

          The kerning is also all inconsistent. Some letters overlap, some barely touch, others don’t. They slid things around for the sake of vertical alignment (someone thought it was really clever making the two first-A’s line up … and the L and the I match with the H … but it’s just kind of messy overall.

          Like

  4. Ryan September 13, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    Yet another example of how the Cancel society has taken over.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Think about it September 13, 2021 / 6:21 pm

      The right to be offensive is enshrined in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean it’s good business. Surely you support the right of a for-profit company to market its product under any name it chooses?

      Like

    • 199412vcummins September 13, 2021 / 7:46 pm

      I agree, if I were the owner I would just leave the name how it was. Slightly offensive? CANCEL IT! Some people have become too soft.

      Like

      • squawvalleychief September 13, 2021 / 8:17 pm

        If it were only slightly offensive, that would be one thing, but the old name was deeply offensive to many Native Americans. I can’t get too worked up over the new name. I had hoped they would be a little bolder in the choice of a new name, but they could have done a good bit worse.

        Like

    • pbropetech September 15, 2021 / 8:05 pm

      Not really. ‘Squaw’ has been offensive to First Nations (to use the more descriptive Canadian term) for generations, if not centuries. They played their cards right by waiting for the right social and political climate in the majority white culture to make their point. I’m of the opinion they’ve wanted this change for a while. There’s no ‘cancel culture’ here.

      Like

  5. Myles Svec September 13, 2021 / 4:36 pm

    I’m not sure if I like the new logo. Looks kind of retro to me. Also palisades don’t make much sense in the name.

    Like

  6. Marcus September 13, 2021 / 4:58 pm

    Like the name, love the logo, love that this is making people inexplicably mad. I do agree that a single trail map is called for. I am curious as to how the housing development of the same name tolerates this decision.

    Liked by 4 people

    • @kt22_elliot_c23 September 13, 2021 / 9:42 pm

      That’s what I was wondering too haha. Now when I search for Palisades google won’t be sure if I’m referring to the housing development or the terrain feature or the entire resort! (Or the neighborhood in LA, or the terrain at Sugar Bowl)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Anthony September 13, 2021 / 4:59 pm

    Love it!

    I think it’s smart to include “Tahoe” in the name and the logo mark is a great tribute to both the Washoe Tribe and to Shane McConkey. I appreciate that they’ve been so intentional in this process and working hard to outreach to community members and guests.

    Like

  8. theincsupport September 13, 2021 / 7:35 pm

    Don’t looove the new name, but I love the reason behind changing it. Still have yet to ski here, as it is pretty far away, but still

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ryan Murphy September 13, 2021 / 10:57 pm

      It’s worth a trip if you can get a cheap flight into Reno. KT-22 is unrivaled, and the Red Dog, Headwall, Granite, and now namesake Palisades areas all are awesome. Didn’t get to ski Silverado, but it looks great too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nahms September 14, 2021 / 5:14 am

    No one seems bummed that Alpine Valley lost its perfectly PC name in this

    Like

    • Nahms September 14, 2021 / 5:14 am

      Alpine Meadows LOL

      Like

      • TPAkyle September 14, 2021 / 8:21 am

        The two distinct base areas of Palisades Tahoe are referred to as Alpine Meadows Mountain and Olympic Valley Mountain, so the PC heritage is, indeed, retained.

        Like

  10. TPAkyle September 14, 2021 / 8:17 am

    I’m fine with the new naming convention as it pays homage the heritage of the two original resorts (which I’ve been skiing since the 1970s) However, when you make the right turn off CA89 from Truckee, you’ll still be driving on Squaw Valley Road. Wonder how long that will last before it is changed to Olympic Valley Road?

    Like

  11. carletongebhardt September 14, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    Ski areas have been renamed before usually for marketing reasons to increase visits. This rename was done for slightly better reasons. I think some of the complaints about it not “rolling off the tongue” is that they went from a one syllable ‘Squaw’ to three syllable ‘Palisades’. Perhaps if they could have come up with something one or two syllables, it would be a bit better received. But I’m sure they looked at a lot of options. People will get used to it.

    Like

    • TPAkyle September 15, 2021 / 10:00 pm

      New nick name for Squaw is “Pali”… As in “headed to Cali to ski Pali, bro”…

      I’ll see myself out.

      Like

  12. Harry September 14, 2021 / 4:13 pm

    Name sucks. Top of logo looks like a cock and balls.

    Like

    • pnwrider September 14, 2021 / 11:54 pm

      Now I can’t unsee that lol

      Like

    • BIlluh September 15, 2021 / 7:56 pm

      I think yer jes lookin for cocks and balls. To me it just looks like schmarmy corporate dreck.

      Like

  13. Kirk September 14, 2021 / 6:26 pm

    Don’t think they could have picked a lesser dynamic name for a truly Dynamic Mountain.

    Like

  14. pnwrider September 14, 2021 / 11:55 pm

    I don’t know why, but the new name sounds better to me when reversed.
    Instead of Palisades Tahoe, I personally think it would sound better if it was Tahoe Palisades.

    Like

    • Joe Blake September 15, 2021 / 8:06 pm

      Tahoe Palisades definitely rolls of them tongues, I’d say. Good catch. Given the keys to the kingdom, I would have gone with just calling the whole deal Alpine Meadows. That’s already a boring corporate name. I know scientific accuracy is anathema to corporations and especially their marketing departments, but Alpine is definitely more montane and sub-alpine. If there are trees at the ridgelines, there ain’t much alpine to be had.

      Like

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