A Day with Andy Wirth on KCRW

In the recent years, many people in the California region, and in America as a whole, are concerned with the issue of droughts that has seen water usage dip by about 27% as compared to the last two years. Learn more about Andy Wirth: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfSquawValley/posts/10152191670133708 and www.kcrw.com/people/andy-wirth

Many are looking at the threat posed by the El Nino and an increase in the number of storms. These weather patterns have an adverse effect on winter and winter sports and greatly affect ski resorts. This dry spell has forced many resorts to end their season early.

This was the topic of the discussion that was addressed by Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, a parent company of the Alpine Meadow and Squaw Valley ski resorts.

I listened to the radio interview conducted by Madeleine Brand in her program called Press and Play. Andy Wirth acknowledged that their skiing resorts experienced a tough winter due to what the meteorologists termed as the “ Ridiculously resilient ridge”.

This is a weather a phenomenon that prevents low pressure from coming into the mountains. This then leads to less snow which has an adverse effect on the skiing business.

He accepted that the tough winter reduced ski visits to their resorts by about 20%. This had a profound effect on their business but they were able to survive although business was not that profitable. They were able to maintain a solid capital structure even though the effects of less snow were considerable.

He is of the opinion that for a ski resort to be able to survive, it must have the ability to withstand such shocks by positioning itself and restructuring its business models. This can be done through the application of scientific methods in snow management and snowmaking. He envisages a volatile climate in future based on the Stamford weather report.

The situation can be addressed by improving on snow making techniques, and adjusting and changing of business models. Ski resorts can do this by including summer visitations in addition to winter skiing. This are useful in the organisation of weddings, meetings and events.

As resource managers, Andy feels that resorts should be able to leave a legacy by working with energy companies in the reduction of carbon footprints and thereby reducing their contribution to climate change.

Mr. Andrew “Andy” Wirth is the President and chief executive officer of Squaw Valley Ski and its subsidiary, Alpine Meadows of Tahoe Inc., since 2010. His key responsibilities in these ski resorts are in the areas of sales and marketing. He also performs other duties as the senior vice president of sales and marketing at Steamboat of Intrawest ULC.

He has about a quarter a century of experience in sales and marketing and has his offices in Steamboat Springs in Colorado. He is a holder a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the Colorado State University and also attended the Edinburgh University of Scotland.