The name is new. The legend continues.
Welcome to Palisades Tahoe.
In 2020, we came to the conclusion that it was time to change our name. The reasons were clear—the old name was derogatory and offensive. It did not stand for who we are or what we represent, and we could not in good conscience continue to use it. So we began a long and difficult process.
We spoke extensively to the local community, heavily researched local history, and went through countless rounds of creative exploration. We dug hard and deep to find a name and identity that would do justice to this place and its legacy.
No matter how far we pushed, we kept coming back to something close to our hearts. A place that has helped define not only our mountain and the people who call it home, but the sport itself.
We are very proud of our resort’s new name. It encompasses both of our mountains, captures the individuality of our people, and welcomes all guests to take part in our new chapter.
"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. 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.” - Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne.rich-text, responsive-table
"We have been in the area for thousands of years. Olympic Valley is within the ancestral homeland of the Washoe people. The word itself is a constant reminder of the unjust treatment of the native people, of the Washoe people. It’s a constant reminder of those time periods when it was not good for us. It’s a term that was inflicted upon us by somebody else and we don’t agree with it.” - Darrel Cruz, Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Officerich-text, responsive-table
Vital to both the history of Olympic Valley and the Washoe people, the Eagle is a legendary symbol of freedom that keeps watch over our valleys.
We added our two mountains in a way that can also be read as eagle feathers or the waters of Lake Tahoe.
The shapes reference the flat land and cliffs of the Palisades, while the wavelike forms exude the distinct vibes of California culture. rich-text, responsive-table
The Name Change Blog SEriesGet to know why we changed our name and how we made it happen. You'll hear directly from the Washoe Tribe and from resort administration in this detailed series.
Frequently Asked Questions
After extensive research into the etymology and history of the term “sq**w,” it is undeniable that the word is now widely considered a racist and sexist slur. Continued use does not align with our company’s core values.
Why is the word “sq**w” considered offensive?
We recognize that when the resort was named in 1949, there was no intent whatsoever to be derogatory or offensive—it was just a reference to the name of the valley. Similarly, when our guests and community members say the name today, they are not doing so with an intention to be racist or sexist. However, the reality is the times change, societal norms evolve and we learn things we didn’t previously know. Over the years, more and more has been learned about the word “squaw.” It has been the subject of extensive research and discussion. There is now insurmountable evidence, dating back to the early 1800s, that the word “squaw” has long been used as a derogatory and dehumanizing reference to a Native American woman.
Over recent years, the growing recognition of the full history of the word has resulted in all major dictionaries recognizing it as derogatory and/or offensive. This recognition has in turn kicked off calls for changes of placenames containing “sq**w” across North America. In the last 25 years there have been dozens of successful efforts to remove the name “squaw” from locations. In 1995, Minnesota made it illegal to have a “sq**w” placename; six more states have followed suit. The U.S. Forest Service in our region has declared the word offensive with respect to Forest Service placenames. Locally, the Washoe Tribe has actively sought name changes, and has previously asked local government for the removal of “sq**w” from locations within its ancestral homeland, which includes our resort.
What is the new name?
The new name of the resort is Palisades Tahoe. The resort as a whole will be known as Palisades Tahoe, and we will use Palisades/The Village at Palisades Tahoe and Alpine/the Alpine Lodge to refer to each base area when needed, such as on directional signage.
When will you implement the new name?
We will begin implementing the new name Palisades Tahoe immediately. You will see that we already began changing over on-site signage, our website and our social media handles. From today forward we will be known as Palisades Tahoe.
Why did you choose that name?
Following the community-centered discovery process, the recurring themes that came out of our conversations about what sets this resort apart included the unique geography and one-of-a-kind terrain of these mountains, the deep Olympic and ski culture histories across both valleys, the resort’s ability to challenge all levels of skiers and riders, and the incredible strength and loyalty of the community.
With the name Palisades Tahoe, the resort honors the past—the arena that put Olympic Valley on the map and the terrain with the same name alongside the historic Alpine Bowl Chair at Alpine, that inspired countless skiers to push the limits, and created a culture unlike any other—and looks towards a new chapter.
Who was involved with deciding the new name?
Our resort leadership had the final say on what the new name would be, but there were many people involved in the process along the way. We solicited community input via surveys and focus groups, and we hired a branding agency with experience in this field to help us take all of the history, culture and emotion that came out of those community discussions and turn it into a name that best encapsulated what this place means to its most fervent fans.
Why did it take more than a year to change the name?
Renaming a business with 70 years of history is no easy task. It’s not something anyone here at the resort had experience in, and it’s not really something that there is a standard roadmap for. While we thought it would only take us a few months to rename, it took longer for all the right reasons. While time-consuming, we made it a priority to capture a lot of community opinion via surveys, working groups and one-on-one interviews. Our goal was to determine what it is about these mountains that sets them apart and keeps people coming back, and how we might best reflect those thoughts and feelings in a new name. We took our time to make sure we were doing right by the community and keeping them at the heart of this decision.
What about the many local businesses that use “Sq**w” in their name? Will they be required to change theirs?
While we hope that the local businesses that use “sq**w” in their name will join us in this initiative, that decision is entirely theirs. We have offered assistance to those who want to change their names because of our decision.
Why did the resort think now is the right time to change the name?
The use of the term “sq**w” in our resort name has been a topic of discussion for many years, but with the momentum of recognition and accountability we saw around the country in 2020, it was clear that the time had come for us to fully acknowledge and confront the reality of this word. We are fortunate to have the support and resources of our parent company, Alterra Mountain Company, while we undergo the extensive and expensive process of a large-scale renaming of the entire resort. Our former name is emblazoned all over our resort, from our uniforms and name tags, to signage, vehicles all the way down to pint glasses. The decision to change our name was in no way the “easy way out,” but it is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
Won’t changing the name erase the history and legacy of the resort?
We have to accept that as much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, that love does not justify continuing to use a term that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur. While the resort name has changed, this special place will always be the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the home of the iconic KT-22 and Summit lifts, the place where extreme skiing pioneers changed the sport forever and the treasured mountain home for so many people who revere this amazing ski resort.
Why are there still some signs around that say "Sq**w" Valley?
We are asking for patience and understanding as we make the transition; our old name and logo appear in thousands of locations across our resort, and though the majority of public-facing signage, and especially the most prominent uses. We expect it will take multiple seasons before it is entirely removed from the resort.
How was the Washoe Tribe involved in this change?
Following our 2020 commitment to rename the resort, our team embarked on building a relationship and partnership with the Washoe Tribe. The Washoe were the original people of the lands that Palisades Tahoe is on, and are current landowners in Olympic Valley, and it was important to us to explore how we could make tribe members feel more welcome in these valleys, beginning with removing harmful language from the resort. The Washoe Tribe was involved in the discovery process, but they were not consulted on the name decision. They expressed to us that their goal was to remove the use of “sq**w,” and they supported our decision making beyond that.
What does your partnership with the Washoe Tribe entail?
Going beyond the name change, Palisades Tahoe has developed 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 valley’s origins as the ancestral land of the Washoe Tribe, and to ensure mountain accessibility for present and future Washoe generations. Starting in Summer 2021, the resort launched the Washoe Cultural Talk series, which offers guests a view of the mountains through the eyes of the Washoe people. Members of the tribe share stories of Washoe history and culture at the High Camp mid-mountain lodge. In addition, Palisades Tahoe has installed 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.
Will the names of "Sq**w Peak" and "Sq**w Creek" change also?
Yes, the Washoe Tribe is leading the efforts to rename these geographical entities in Olympic Valley, which is a long and involved process with various government agencies.
Are you still selling "Sq**w Valley" merchandise?
No, all “Sq**w Valley” logowear has been removed from our retail shops.
How does this affect Alpine?
Palisades Tahoe is the name of the resort as a whole. We have been one resort for a decade now. Though Palisades and Alpine have their own identities, we have very much been a single entity for a while. While Palisades Tahoe will encompass the whole resort, we will use Palisades and Alpine to refer to each base area, for uses like on directional signage or which base area you should pick up rentals or meet your ski lesson at.