Podcast #21: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Pre…

Listen now (49 min) | Who: Ron Cohen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Why I interviewed him: Because when one of the most important ski areas in America makes one of the most controversial and consequential naming decisions in the history of the sport, it’s worth hearing them out about why they did it. The backstory, the nuance, the broader perspective of why “squaw” is not the cozy little identifier of a Native American woman that we all learned it was in first grade and is, rather, a word you don’t want to throw around in the presence of said Native American women has been ground up in the social media wood chipper and simplified into all caps accusations of PC kowtowing by reactionary bozos. But the mountain didn’t just wake up one morning, slam their name through the Wokenator 5000, and decide it was newly and unreasonably offensive. Rather, they underwent a very deliberate process to explore the history and etymology of the word and decide whether the sum of all those things reflected the rad cliff-hucking sunshiny snow-buried ethos of one of the most historically and culturally significant mountains on the continent. They decided it didn’t. And I wanted to hear why they made that decision in an environment free from the digital flamethrowers of people who WILL NEVER SKI SQUAW VALLEY AGAIN AFTER THIS OUTRAGE.

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