Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, El Nino and the California Ski Prognosis According Andy Wirth’s Interview On KCRW


Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in California Drought, Environment, Public Radio | Posted on 31-08-2015


Recently Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings in Olympic Valley, CA, near Lake Tahoe, discussed the effects of the drought on Skiing in California on KCRW “Press Play with Madeline Band”, How will the Drought Affect California Ski Resorts? The ski season for 2014 ended early due to lack of snow and warmer weather. Wirth explained that the resort faced a weather pattern described by the National Weather Service as a “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”, which simply stated prevented moisture to enter the area. As a result Wirth said his ski visitors were down 20%. However he quickly reported that his resort still did well in 2014 and he anticipates continued financial success.

Andy Wirth explained that it is key to take advantage of the weather conditions as they occur and to make accommodations as needed. Weather patterns continue to fluctuate. As the “2014 Ridiculously Resilient Ridge” leaves El Nino in 2015 will be a factor. Wirth stated he must be prepared. They will continue to use science to best make and manage snow. The resort currently has the potential for 6000 acres of skiing. Last year however, only 4000 were utilized due to lack of snow fall. Also year round use of his resort are increasing: summer sports, conferences, reunions and weddings. Wirth reports Squaw Valley was sold out this past summer.

Andy Wirth is not just a businessman looking to make a profit off his resort. Rather he is an environmentally conscience, keeper of the mountain. He strives to protect and preserve the natural wonders of the area. He has reduced the carbon foot print of the resort in hopes of reducing the negative impact on the environment. In his KCRW interview he stated he cares deeply for the mountains and takes the managing of its resources seriously.

Andy Wirth is the President of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Board of Directors. He graduated from Colorado State and attended Edinburgh University in Scotland. He is training for the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Tahoe. His training helped him recover from a ski diving accident in 2013 in which his arm was nearly severed during a failed landing. Surgeons were able to repair the damage and after many ups and downs he has nearly recovered. Navy Seals who train at the Squaw Valley Resort became his good friends and supporters. As a result he is currently raising money for the Navy Seals Foundation through his 2015 IRONMAN Lake Tahoe team, Special Warfare Warriors.