California is in one of the longest droughts in over one hundred years of the state’s history. According to Governor Jerry Brown, drought in California may never completely end and as the Pacific Coast state enters into a fifth year of drought, the Governor recently declared that residents need to continue the emergency water regulations previously imposed. He suggests that Californians need to adjust to living with less water continually.
In a recent interview on Radio KCRW the noon-time Los Angeles talk show “Press Play with Madeleine Brand” spoke with Andy Wirth, current President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings. “Andy” as he is known throughout the resort and hotel industry, is directly responsible for sales and marketing at both Alpine Meadows of Tahoe and Squaw Valley Ski Resorts in the Olympic Valley near Lake Tahoe, CA. Andy brings more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, joining Squaw Valley in 2010.
Under his marketing leadership, Andy has contributed to making Squaw Valley one of the most popular winter vacation areas in the world.
As CEO of the two resorts, with the California drought situation, Andy has his work cut out for him. In the interview with Madeleine Brand, questions from one year ago focused on what Andy anticipates for the 2015 ski season and what he can do to keep ski conditions favorable. The 2016 ski season in California does not look much different than conditions they faced in 2015.
Radio host, Madeleine Brand, weekdays at 12:00 noon discusses “How Will the Drought Affect CA ski resorts?” with Andy Wirth. Among other tough questions, Andy positively responds to her questions regarding how the drought will affect upcoming ski seasons – even 20 years into the future? Andy admits it was a tough winter in 2014 and the Tahoe resorts are looking to remain in business for “quite a few” more years. He claims they have not been as profitable as they could have been through the drought years, however, they are learning to take advantage of the opportunities as they come along. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://andywirth.com/
Weather is variable, but even in below average conditions, by using science to make snow and then managing the snow, they can still have “quite good skiing”, according to Andy. One of the ways he anticipates keeping conditions at a high level is by not opening and running all 6,000 acres of the resorts throughout the winter months. Reducing operating costs and focusing on opening lifts on 4,000 acres, the plan is to make the conditions as good as possible to keep skiers coming to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
One option for increasing profits, Andy Wirth, the previous Marketing consultant discusses are the on-going plans to increase and build around summer activities. He mentioned that they are currently sold out all summer with weddings, meetings, Iron Man events and other summer attractions.
Andy Wirth mentions that early in his career, he fought wildfires in New Mexico and was a wilderness ranger for the San Pedro Parks Recreation Area, then also served as a back country ranger in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
In addition to his experience in marketing, Andy uses these additional experiences to actively reduce the carbon footprint at the ski resorts , as well as in the community of Truckee, CA where he lives. He encourages renewable fuels and cares deeply about the mountains of California. His plan is to keep people skiing in the winter and enjoying summer in the mountains for years to come.