Group wants to restore 1960 Olympic Games’ cross country ski area |

Group wants to restore 1960 Olympic Games’ cross country ski area

Kara Fox

TAHOE CITY – The Winter Olympics may be in Torino, Italy, next year, but the West Shore Association wants to remind residents and visitors the 1960 Olympics were in our back yard – the organization plans to rehabilitate some of the cross country trails used during Olympics competition.

The 1960 Winter Olympics Nordic Trails are located in Sugar Pine Point State Park. They have gone without use for two years because the 1960s-era grooming equipment failed. State Parks doesn’t have the money for repairs so the WSA is hosting a fundraiser to raise the $14,000 needed for new grooming equipment. Another $6,000 to $10,000 is needed to restore trails west of the subdivisions on the West Shore and to display artifacts and memorabilia from the 1960 Olympics.

“We looked at this as an opportunity to provide additional recreation,” said WSA President Phil Hynes. “We want to bring back this type of recreation to the West Shore.”

David Antonucci, a historian and West Shore resident, said research he did in 2000 revealed there was 60 kilometers of cross country trails spanning Homewood to Tahoma. All of the evidence was torn down and the area restored after the Olympics.

“They’ve been forgotten about,” Antonucci. “It’s important to preserve our heritage and our Olympic history and legacy of cross country.”

Several years ago, the trails near Homewood Ski Resort were restored and interpretive panels erected. In 2002, during the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the trails were rededicated, according to Antonucci.

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The West Shore Association and Antonucci hope to restore the Sugar Pine Point cross country trails by January and to have people on skis through there by the Winter Olympics in February. Ten to 15 kilometers of the trails can be restored, with five already in use.

“What the West Shore Association is doing is a wonderful thing,” Antonucci noted. “It is highly unlikely that the trails would be groomed if the West Shore Association hadn’t gotten involved.”

The fundraiser will be held Wednesday, with wine and appetizers served by Nate Topol at the soon-to-be reopened West Shore Café, from 6 to 8 p.m. Olympic athletes from the Tahoe area will be on hand, as well as 1960 Olympic memorabilia. There will also be live music from Remmel Wilson and a silent auction. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, 380 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City. Proceeds go to reopen trails, grooming and maintenance. For more information, call (530) 581-7307.