Blyth Arena

Emigrant Gap, United States

Blyth Arena

Blyth Arena was an ice skating arena in the western United States, located at Squaw Valley, California. It was built in 1959 as venue for ice hockey, figure skating competitions, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1960 Winter Olympics. With a seating capacity of 8,500, standing-room crowds of 10,000 were reported for the hockey games between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (on the penultimate day) and the U.S.-Czechoslovakia game during the final day. The elevation of the rink was 6,200 feet (1,890 m) above sea level.

Named for Charles R. Blyth, an investment banker who led the California Olympic Commission, Blyth Arena was open on its south side, enabling a view of the mountains. The 400m speed skating track was just to the south of the open side of the arena. This side of the arena also faced the 70m and 90m ski jumps and the slopes of Squaw Valley now known as the Red Dog. Following the Olympics, the wooden ski jump facilities were left unmaintained and slowly deteriorated over time. In 1963, the 400m speed skating track was replaced by a parking lot in spite of protests from California speed skaters; since at the time it was known to be the only mechanically frozen 400m track in the country. From 1963 to 1983, the Squaw Valley ski area operator appealed regularly to the state of California to have the arena torn down to provide additional parking.

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