Recent drought conditions nearly brought the California ski industry to its knees. The unseasonable weather patterns resulted in a small amount of snowfall due to the lack of moisture.
Squaw Valley Resort CEO Andy Wirth was interviewed on KCRW’s Press Play With Madeline Brand to speak about the recent drought that gripped the industry over the last few seasons.
Brand revealed that in an effort to conserve, California water usage fell about 27 percent in June. And a recent poll revealed that residents are more concerned about are drought conditions more than any other issue. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://squawalpine.com/explore/blog/andy-wirth-elected-chairman-reno-tahoe-regional-air-service-corporation
When asked about the how the dry conditions affected the ski industry, Wirth responded that the past winter was pretty tough. The area was hit by what Stanford meteorologists define as the ridiculously resilient ridge — a weather system that prevented low pressure systems from entering the mountain region.
Despite the drought, Wirth said his resort made out better than he imagined. There was a drop in visitors of about 20 percent. Read more: How Will the Drought Affect California Ski Resorts?
Wirth said that his resort could theoretically withstand a number of winters of drought if forced to do so. Squaw Valley’s business structure is solid, and as long as they continue to be profitable, there is no reason to panic. The key is taking advantage of the situation you’re faced with, according to Wirth.
The good news is that meteorologists are predicting El Nino conditions. This should bring plenty of storms and an excellent snow season.
Andy Wirth assured listeners that Squaw Valley will be okay. “Even if we have 4,000 acres of skiing opposed to 6000, we should still have a great ski season.”
Andy Wirth is a pretty tough businessman. He is also a sportsman who does a lot of daring things that many would shy away from. About two years ago, he had a terrible skydiving accident that ripped his arm off. This is something that nearly ended his life. But he looked at it as another challenge.
Thankfully, Andy Wirth has a good support system that helped him through his ordeal. While undergoing physical therapy, he befriended a group of Navy Seals training in the area. He was able to form a support group that supports the Navy Seal Foundation, which supports veterans and their families.
Wirth admits that the stories of these brave men have helped him on his journey to recovery.