The man who made skiing hot
(FSB Magazine) -- Alex Cushing had mountain-sized dreams. He founded one of Tahoe's first ski resorts, Squaw Valley, with one double chairlift and a rope tow, in 1949. Eleven years later the town hosted the Winter Olympics, the first to be televised. The Games were one in a line of Cushing's big ideas - including a promise of "No waiting in line or your money back"- that helped popularize skiing in the U.S.
Known for wearing a shearling coat and a red neckerchief, Cushing helped launch the careers of other entrepreneurs. "One day he said, 'Bill, I think we need a newspaper in this valley.' It was like being anointed by God," says Bill Jensen, who got the message and founded the Squaw Valley Times. "He helped get me a loan. He believed in entrepreneurship and being the captain of your own ship." Today Squaw Valley brings in 750,000 skiers each year. Cushing died this summer from pneumonia at the age of 92.