The Fourth Annual Olympic Heritage Celebration kicks off at Sugar Pine Point Saturday, January 11 starting a weeklong celebration of the Olympic heritage in North Lake Tahoe. Events include meet-and-greets with Olympians, walking tours, races and biathlon training. Among the many events is a tradition started by Walt Disney before the 1960 Olympics. The tribal dance tradition that helped bring snow to the Sierras before the 1960 Winter Olympic Games will be recreated at the Opening Ceremonies.
Worried about the lack of snow in 1960, Walt Disney, who orchestrated the ceremonies, brought in tribal dancers to coach the snow to fall. The Olympic Heritage Celebration committee followed Disney’s lead in 2012 when the same weather pattern emerged as the long-planned festivities were about to begin.
“We have invited the Eagle Wing Dancers back to our opening ceremonies at Sugar Pine Point State Park on January 11th to perform, among other ceremonial dances, a snow dance in front of the iconic Tower of Nations at the park entrance”, said Heidi Doyle Executive Director of the Sierra State Parks Foundation, one of the program sponsors. “We encourage the community to join us as we honor our Olympic Heritage and dance for snow”, she continued.
In addition to the tribal dancers, former Winter Olympic athletes and dignitaries will be on hand to light the caldron and take a guided tour of the Olympic Trails at the state park where the Olympic Nordic events took place 64 years ago.
“We will make sure everyone has a great time experiencing our local Olympic Heritage, ” said Rob Weston, a park volunteer whose business, West Shore Sports, is a partner for the events. “This entire week of events will be an opportunity to meet with former winter Olympians and to try out something new. We have a full state of events and invite the public to join us,” said Weston.
Olympic Heritage Week consists of a series of programs designed to highlight the North Tahoe Olympic cultural history as well as recreational events to promote the spirit of fair play and fitness. In addition, a fundraiser is planned at Granlibakken Resort January 17 to benefit the grooming of snow trails at Sugar Pine Point State Park. Squaw Valley Day will conclude the week with races, music and closing ceremonies. The full schedule of events can be found on: www.gotahoenorth.com/events/olympic-heritage-celebration or by calling the Sierra State Parks Foundation office at 530-583-9911.