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Blyth Arena

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Interior view


Exterior view

Blyth Arena was an ice hockey arena in Squaw Valley, California. It was built in 1959 as the venue of the ice hockey and figure-skating competitions and held 8,500 people. Standing-room crowds of 10,000 people were reported for the hockey games between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (on the second-to-last day of the 1960 Winter Olympics) and between the U.S. and Czechoslovakia hockey games during the final day).

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 Olympic Games the wood constructed 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 still more parking.


In 1982 the U.S. Department of Agriculture had a big push for energy conservation. One part of that program was funding to improve insulation on many buildings. The U.S. Forest Service received some of that money to insulate the roof of the arena and the next year the roof collapsed. What was not appreciated at the time was that the roof was not built to hold much snow, but had survived for 13 years without a problem. The plan had always been that heat generated from the ice chilling equipment in the arena traveled to the ceiling, warmed the uninsulated roof, and melted the snow. With the "improved" energy conservation the snow did not melt and the building collapsed under the weight.

The arena was demolished in 1983 after the roof collapsed due to snow accumulation. The site is now a parking lot for the Squaw Valley ski resort.

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