North America to date has held six Winter Olympic Games. Two have been in Canada, with the rest in the US. Lake Placid, NY has held the games twice, and Salt Lake City is vying for its second in 2030.
Here is the list of ski resorts that were used in any Winter Olympic Games. If you’re looking to ski on an Olympic-tested mountain, here is where you’ll need to go to do that.
1932 – Lake Placid, NY
There were no alpine events in 1932. There were however some Nordic and cross country skiing events, but they were held either around Lake Placid or on the newly constructed Intervales Ski-Hill that has not been used for public skiing since.
1960 – Squaw Valley, CA
The story of how a small unincorporated town in California came to host the 1960 Winter Olympics is fascinating.
Squaw Valley, in 1956 when they bid to host the games, had only one chair lift, two rope tows and a 50-room lodge. At a cost of $80 million, organizers transformed the underdeveloped ski hill into what became Squaw Valley Resort. The resort effectively became the city of Olympic Valley after electrical, sewage, bridges, and a sheriff’s office were built to accommodate the influx of visitors.
Squaw Valley Resort hosted all the skiing events for the 1960 Olympics. Several innovations and technologies were used during these games. Instant Replay was created, artificial ice was used for the skating and hockey events, and timing that was measured down to the hundredths of a second using a Longines quartz clock.
61 years later, in 2021, Alterra decided that the resort’s name was no longer appropriate (was it ever?), and renamed it Palisades Tahoe. Palisades Tahoe is now one of the most difficult and visited ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area.
1980 – Lake Placid, NY
Whiteface Mountain hosted all the alpine skiing events. It was selected because it has the greatest vertical drop in the US east of the Rockies. After Lake Placid was awarded the 1980 games, Whiteface Mountain underwent a $15 million improvement that included a new alpine ski center.
The Intervales Ski-Hill was used for all the ski jumping activities during the games, and remains there today, operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority, but is not an active ski area. Mont Van Hoevenberg in North Elba, NY held the ski jump competitions. It is still a sports complex, but is not a ski resort per-se.
1988 – Calgary, AB
Nakiska Ski Resort was built specifically for the 1988 games, and it hosted the alpine skiing events. The newly constructed $25 million resort was controversial due to various environmental concerns. However, the primary gripe about Nakiska was that it needed to make artificial snow to keep the snow base up to standards, as the weather did not cooperate that year.
2002 – Salt Lake City, UT
Three different ski resorts around Salt Lake City were used in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. They all stayed open to the public during the games, and it does not appear they took any public funds to expand their facilities, preparing for the games themselves.
Deer Valley Ski Resort
Deer Valley Resort hosted the freestyle moguls, aerials, and alpine slalom events. 95% of the resort stayed open to the public during the games.
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City Mountain hosted the giant slalom and snowboarding events. 96% of the resort stayed open to public use during the games.
Snowbasin Ski Resort
Snowbasin hosted the rest of the Alpine skiing events, including the downhill, combined downhill and super-G events.
2010 – Vancouver, BC
Vancouver had the majority of Olympic activities in the town of Whistler, but the skiing was split between two ski resorts.
Whistler Creekside, the original base of Whistler Mountain, held the Alpine skiing events. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb were competing ski resorts until Intrawest combined the two in 1997. It took a while, but eventually, their operations were finally merged by 2003, just in time to make their bid for the 2010 Olympics, which happened the same year.
In 2016, Vail Resorts purchased Whistler Blackcomb for $1.39 billion. The combined ski resort is considered one of the most difficult in North America.
Cypress Mountain held the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events. Cypress Mountain underwent a $16.6 million upgrade of their facilities before the Olympic Games.