Look for California’s new governor at a ski resort near you
California’s next governor will probably spend more time in Squaw Valley now that he’ll have to be in Sacramento so much.
The alpine valley, 40 miles from Reno, has been an Easter vacation spot for Arnold Schwarzenegger for years.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a lunchtime skier,” skiing pal, Olympian and fellow Austrian Franz Weber said. Schwarzenegger has several small planes, and Truckee, which is 104 miles from Sacramento and a short drive from Squaw Valley, has an airstrip.
Another source says Schwarzenegger is likely to go further and make the valley a second home—or a second office, a place to meet away from the pressures and players of the Sacramento State Capitol. Weber, a Reno sports promoter, declined comment on that possibility, saying, “I wouldn’t want to be releasing that information because it goes to his privacy.”
Schwarzenegger owns a home in the ski country of Sun Valley, Idaho, but he’s a dedicated skier. The Sun Valley runs are closed during Easter, so he started coming to Squaw Valley each year for those periods.
Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, with Reno serving as the host city. But in the years since then, the valley has become more of a retreat for the wealthy, and the valley is now ringed with homes.
Census figures show a large number of the homeowners have second homes. “No trespassing” signs are common. One housing development called Masa Ti even describes itself as an “enclave,” a term often used to define an area protected from outsiders. Blyth Arena, the great skating arena in the center of the valley and the principal remaining structure from the Olympic events, collapsed in 1983.
Schwarzenegger stays at a development called Resort at Squaw Creek, and his privacy has generally been respected by residents and other visitors to the place. On occasion, he and his family have been approached in the restaurant, but he has firmly told the intruders, “Not while I’m eating.” Schwarzenegger has also learned how to exit from the restaurant through a back door if he creates too much of a stir.
“He handles his fame very well,” Weber said.
Weber’s Reno firm represents athletes and arranges excursion trips on which celebrities serve as part of the attraction—a current trip with Dustin Hoffman is in preparation.
A couple of years ago, Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, went along on a Weber ski trip to Austria for a couple of dozen people. The group stayed in an Austrian castle.
Robin Holabird of the Nevada Film Office says Weber and Schwarzenegger also were instrumental in bringing location shooting for the film True Lies to the Lake Tahoe basin in 1993. She says the film’s director, James Cameron (later famous for Titanic), originally intended for True Lies to include much more ambitious ski scenes.
“They wanted to do something that would break all boundaries of previous ski movies and ski stunts,” Holabird said. “James Cameron wanted to film the movie of all movies with everything over the top.”
But the production ran out of time, and the film was made with less elaborate (though still impressive) ski scenes.
The filming took place on the California side of the lake (a few miles north of Squaw Valley), but much of the crew was hired in Reno, and the crew stayed at the Cal Neva at Crystal Bay while Schwarzenegger stayed at Squaw Valley.