The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 52

Wayne Poulsen and friends view Squaw
Valley to ascertain the possibilities of
developing a ski area in 1940.
Don Wolter photography, courtesy of the Poulsen family
AMOT (Alpine Meadows of Tahoe) Inc. Board of Directors: Byron Nishkian,
Bill Evers, John Reily, and Larry Metcalf at the end of their first season (1961).
Don Wolter photography
Alpine/Squaw
History
Eddy Ancinas
Author / Travel and Ski Writer
Chair One was installed along Ward Creek at
Alpine Meadows in 1961. John Reily looks
over the resort (below). Don Wolter photography
Wayne Poulsen, a young ski competitor from Reno, was on his way to Tahoe City for a jumping
meet held on Olympic Hill in 1931, when he stopped to look west just before the dirt road from Truckee
entered a canyon. Poulsen pointed out the spot to his friend and ski teammate, Marti Arrougé, who told
Poulsen that his parents, who were Basque, grazed their sheep there in the summer, and that he had spent
many summers camped there by a creek. As soon as the snow melted, Arrougé took his friend into the
valley to fish in a stream that meandered through a meadow surrounded by granite peaks. It was called
Squaw Valley.
Poulsen continued to explore the valley in summer and winter, and before he graduated from college
in 1938, he took an option on 1200 acres of the Smith Ranch. He was certain that someday Squaw Valley
would be his home, that he would build a house there ... maybe a ski resort...
In the early 40s, with the war intensifying in Europe, Poulsen took flying lessons in Reno and then
had to wait to join the British RAF. Arrougé (also a pilot) suggested they wait it out in Sun Valley, where
they could be ski instructors. It took only a week of private lessons with a lovely young lady from New
York for Poulsen to fall in love, and in 1942 he and Sandy were married.
A year later Poulsen purchased 640 acres from Southern Pacific at the western end of Squaw Valley
- a place where he and Sandy camped in the summer and ventured out into the mountains on skis in
winter. With the family growing during the 40s, they built a home on the main road (now Graham's Restaurant),
where their seven children learned to ski on the hill behind the house (Christy Hill). Meanwhile, they
pulled friends and prospective investors on skis across the meadow behind a weasel (see photo bottom of page
53) in full view of the spendor of the snowy peaks around them, hoping to entice these investors to build
a ski area. However, it was a chance meeting in the lodge at Alta, Utah, where Poulsen met Alex Cushing
and invited him to come take a look.
With money raised by Cushing and Poulsen's 640 acres traded for stock, they formed the Squaw
Valley Development Company. Poulsen saw the valley's future as a resort with land and lodging to complement
the ski area, and in 1948 he exercised his option to buy 1200 acres from the Smith family. Cushing
wanted only to be in " the uphill transportation business " . The following year, with Poulsen now a full time pilot
for PAN AM and out of the country, a stockholder's meeting was called and Cushing took over Poulsen's
position as President. As a majority stockholder, he took over the company, leaving Poulsen without his
52 FWSA 90th Anniversary Booklet / 1930 - 2020

The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Far West Ski Association Turns 90

Index
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover1
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover2
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 1
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 2
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - 3
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Index
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The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover3
The Far West Ski Association Turns 90 - Cover4
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