Category Archives: Colorado State University

Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth Said Skiing In California Was A Challenge In 2015 Thanks To Four-Year Drought

According to Hole Oceanographic Institute, the California drought is the worst drought in more than 500 years. The residents of the state have faced serious challenges over the four years that rain has been avoiding the state.

Water trucks became California farmers’ best friends, and the truck companies made a small fortune delivering their 2,500-gallon loads of water to the parched lawns and gardens of the California elite.

But one group felt the shock of not having rain or snowfall the worst. That group was the California ski resorts that attract skiers from all over the world every year.

Ski slopes looked like dirt slopes in February and March, and the lack of real snow forced many of the resorts to close the season early. There was something strange about seeing skiers on the slopes in T-shirts, but that was the dress code in the warm 60-degree temperatures on the slopes.

Squaw Valley in Northern California is considered one of the top 20 ski resorts in the world. That 6,000-acre resort complex is managed by CEO Andy Wirth. Wirth has been interviewed several times over the last six years. He became CEO and Chairman of Squaw Valley in 2010. One interview was particularly interesting for ski buffs as well as for lovers of the Lake Tahoe area.

The Madeline Brand, Press Play with Madeline Brand show on KCRW, did a fascinating interview about the impact of the drought on Squaw Valley. Andy Wirth had some surprising answers to Brand’s questions. Mr. Wirth told Brand that Squaw Valley did feel the effects of the drought in 2015, but there was still 4,000 acres filled with snow.

Andy Wirth admitted that fresh snowfall did cut Squaw Valley revenues by 20 percent, but the resort has enough money to ride out several seasons like the 2015 season. One of the reasons that Squaw Valley did better than most resorts was the technical advantages the resort has when it comes to producing snow.

Andy Wirth is a seasoned mountaineer and business executive. He attended Colorado State University and he spent 20 years with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation. Wirth worked his way up the corporate ladder there, and in 2006, he was named the Executive Vice President of Sales and Chief Marketing Officer of that resort. He replaced CEO Nancy Cushing at Squaw valley four years later.

The Cushing family controlled Squaw Valley for more than 70 years, but the family wanted someone with resort and business experience to direct the company in the new century. The family liked Wirth, and he managed the resort during the $70 million renovations. Wirth is very active in the Lake Tahoe community, and he is a major contributor to several non-profits in the area.

Learn more about Andy Wirth:

https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfSquawValley/posts/10152191670133708
www.kcrw.com/people/andy-wirth