I admit it. I love to Ski. I have been lucky enough to ski at some of the best resorts in the country. However, this year was different. Slopes that I frequented closed earlier than usual.
The ones that were open, had far fewer people on them. Snow was thin and the days were warmer than usual. This drastic shift in weather definitely had an effect on the amount of time I spent on the slopes. As I was listening to Press Play with Madeleine Brand on KCWR, I realized that I was not the only one who was affected.
When I tuned in, Madeleine was doing an interview with Andy Wirth. Andy is the CEO of Squaw Vally Ski Holdings in Olympic Valley, CA. He is the man responsible for brokering the deal to connect Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts by gondola.
This gave Skiers access to both resorts and increased the space, safety, and enjoyment for all who’d love to ski both mountain ranges. Andy himself is an avid skydiver and thrill seeker. He has a love for all thing adventurous including skiing.
Andy Wirth discussed that Squaw has made changes to position itself for less snow. This past winter they only opened 4000 acres of skiing, compared to their normal 6000 acres. They have also have spent more than normal on learning the science of creating snow.
Andy Wirth is confident in his ability to sustain his ski resort even though admissions were down 20% last year. Although he is expecting more snow next year due to El Niño, he is preparing ways to remain profitable if weather patterns become increasingly more volatile.
There has recently been a greater push to in summer activities in order to increase revenue earnings for the year. He is also looking at ways to change the business so that it puts less strain on the environment.
He’s hoping that reductions in their carbon footprint may reduce the negative impact that can lead to the skewed weather patterns that we’ve been experiencing. Learn more about Andy Wirth: https://about.me/andywirth and http://www.sierrasun.com/news/business/17254546-113/squaw-valleys-andy-wirth-appointed-chair-of-reno
I hope this year for a colder, snowier, winter. If that isn’t in the cards for me, I at least feel reassured that these mountains won’t go unvisited. There is someone making sure that ski resorts will survive, even if winters as we know them completely change.