I have always enjoyed winter sports, especially skiing. Unlike other people, who can’t wait for the summer, I’m always looking forward to winter and snow. But, since this was the driest winter in California so far, I got worried. How can ski resorts survive if there is no snow? What are we, snow junkies, going to do?
And an answer to my question came on KCRW and the program “Press Play with Madeleine Brand”. Madeleine, you’ve been reading my mind! She did an interview with Andy Wirth, and the topic was “How Will the Drought Affect California Ski Resorts?”. That’s all I wanted to know.
First, for those who don’t know, let me explain who Andy Wirth is, In 2010, he became the President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings in Olympic Valley, near Lake Tahoe, CA. It is the same Squaw Valley that was the home of the Winter Olympics in 1960. Since Wirth took the wheel, the ski resort has undergone major improvements, including the mountain design and infrastructure. Improvements also included numerous renovations in culinary, common, lodging facilities, etc. Some changes were also made in customer service. In 2011, Wirth led the acquisition of the nearby Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, which now makes him the President and CEO of both resorts. All in all, he made a tremendous progress with this company and helped to put it in the top 20 percent of ski resorts.
As for the interview, he made me so happy. He said that they could survive quite a few years if the drought continued by using science to make and manage snow. If the last year’s conditions repeat, even 4,000 acres would be used for skiing (of the existing 6,000). After explaining the weather conditions, he mentioned the collaboration with some meteorologists, and said that this winter was more likely to be colder than the previous one. But, even if it wasn’t, the ski resort would be up and running. He then went on and explained that the company was doing a lot for the environment, in order to minimize its contribution to the climate change. He mentioned reducing the carbon footprint and helping the energy companies that Squaw Valley Ski Holdings is working with in order to move off the coal to renewables. He finished announcing the new season opening some time before Thanksgiving. The main thing about the interview was that he seemed so relaxed and calm, like there was no problem, and that everything is working just the way it should. All the information combined with his attitude made me feel like I was worrying over nothing. The new season is on its way, and it will be great.
So, if you are planning on spending Thanksgiving in Squaw Valley Ski Resort, I just might see you there.