Recently, I heard a radio interview on KCRW on the program “Press Play with Madeleine Brand”. She was interviewing Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe. Since last winter was so dry in most of the United States, Brand was questioning Wirth about how the summer drought in California may affect the skiing industry this winter.
Brand mentioned that as of now, water usage was cut by 27% for Californians. There is also a forecast of El Nino affecting winter snows this season.
With all of these negative conditions, Wirth remained optimistic about business at his lodge this winter. Even last winter, which was unusually dry, Wirth commented that they only had a decrease in business of 20%.
Of the 6,000 acres available in Squaw Valley, Wirth said that 4,000 still had enough snow for skiing and other winter sports. He mentioned something that meteorologists called “a ridiculously resilient ridge” that kept low systems from forming in the valley.
During the summer, said Wirth, the lodge has enough business with weddings and other special events to make up for any losses during the winter. He stated emphatically that Squaw Valley would continue to be profitable, regardless of the winter forecast.
Andy Wirth, 49, has over 20 years of experience in the skiing industry. During his years of college, he became a ranger for the Rocky Mountains National Parks. He was also a wilderness ranger for the San Pedro Parks. After graduation in 1986, he became an intern for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation. In 2006, he became the company’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Now, he is CEO of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. He oversaw a major $70 million overhaul of the property. Andy Wirth is also well-known for his philanthropy. He and his family contribute a lot of money and time in the Lake Tahoe area to the community and environmental service organizations. Wirth’s goal is to continue the improvement of the area for everyone.
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