KCRW Interviews Andy Wirth About Impact of Drought Conditions On Tahoe Area Resorts

I recently caught an episode of Press Play with Madeline Brand on KCRW while researching winter vacation resorts. She interviewed Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, and mentioned how widespread local concern about recent drought conditions, due to California suffering severe drought over the 2014 winter season, and how it would impact resorts in the area.

Mr. Andy Wirth discussed a weather phenomenon called Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, coined by Stanford scientists, and described the effect that El Nino and climate change has on both the physical landscape of mountain ranges in the American west, noting that from his understanding, the upcoming season may be colder than previous years.

He also talked how resorts like his can construct business models that are more economic and environmentally friendly – . Mr. Worth went into some detail about expanding long-term business goals to include summer resort events, such as weddings and Iron Man Lake Tahoe, to help offset productivity drops during winters when lack of snowfall becomes an issue. It was an incredibly informative interview.

For those not in the know, Andy Wirth is the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, an approximately six-thousand-acre resort complex that includes Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts near Lake Tahoe. He credits his training and employment as a backwoods ranger in Northern New Mexico for much of his concern about the stability of the mountains that house his resorts.

One of his goals is reducing carbon footprints in terms of climate change, and his business is looking into renewable energy sources as a long-term solution to the volatile weather patterns of the last few years. Read more: Just Breathe: Andy Wirth on the Upswing in Tahoe and Andrew Wirth: Executive Profile & Biography

He is also an active athlete, and after a serious accident while sky-diving several years ago, credits the Navy Seals and the Iron Man endurance competition for greatly helping in his recovery. In gratitude, he set up a foundation to assist Navy Seals and their families, and bringing the Iron Man competition to Lake Tahoe is part of that philanthropic effort.

Learn more about Andy Wirth:

andy wirth | POWDER Magazine
How Will the Drought Affect California Ski Resorts?