Alexander C. Cushing, Squaw Valley Founder, Dies

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Publish Date

08/21/2006

SAM Magazine-Squaw Valley, Calif., Aug. 21, 2006-Alexander C. Cushing, who founded Squaw Valley and brought the 1960 Winter Olympics to the resort, died from pneumonia Aug. 20 at his summer home in Newport, Rhode Island. He was 92.

Cushing grew up in the East, where he attended Groton School, Harvard University, 1936 and Harvard Law School, 1939. He practiced law for the New York firm of Davis, Polk and Wardwell and also for the U.S. Dept. of Justice, where he argued a case before the Supreme Court. The day after Pearl Harbor he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a member of the first officer training class at Quonset. He served in South America and the Pacific for five years. retiring as a Lieutenant Commander.

A ski trip in California inspired Cushing to open the ski area in 1949 with a double chairlift, a rope tow and a 50-room lodge. In his crowning achievement, Cushing shocked Olympic fans by beating out Innsbruck, Austria, St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, to host the 1960 VIII Olympic Winter Games. The first televised Olympics, the Games brought international publicity to the Lake Tahoe region and sparked interest in winter sports and California skiing-and launched Squaw's international fame.

For this and for keeping Squaw's facilities on the cutting edge of winter resorts, Cushing was inducted into the Ski Industry Hall of Fame in 1999.

"Alex has left his vision for Squaw Valley USA's future with his wife and current president of Squaw Valley Ski Corp, Nancy W. Cushing, as well as the board of directors to fulfill," said Squaw Valley Ski Corp Trustee David Robertson.

Cushing is survived by his wife, Nancy; three daughters, Justine Cushing, Lily Kunczynski, and Alexandra Howard; six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.