Squaw Valley Resort Holdings CEO Andy Wirth recently sat down with Madeline Brand, host of KCRW’s Press Play, to discuss the disappointing California ski seasons that were marred by a drought.
According to Andy Wirth, the California ski seasons were pretty rough. The area was hit by a weather system that meteorologists describe as the “ridiculously resilient ridge,” which kept moisture from entering the mountain region. This in kept the area from producing significant snowfalls. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://www.kcrw.com/people/andy-wirth
Andy Wirth says that visitation dropped by some 20% due to the lack of snow. He also says businesses in the area were affected as well. Although the drought has the potential of wreaking havoc, Wirth says resorts could theoretically survive a number of seasons of drought. “If a resort has a good business model and is fully prepared, they could turn this lemon into lemonade.”
Squaw Valley usually has 6,000 square acres of ski area. Because of the drought the area was diminished to about 4,000. Wirth also says that we are far more technologically advanced and creating snow is something that can be done very easy if need be.
If adjustments have to be made, Squaw Valley can do so, according to Wirth. Offering summer activities is another means to recoup the money lost during the winter ski season. On a positive note regarding the weather, Stanford meteorologists say that the upcoming ski season should provide enough snow for great skiing. El Nino is predicted, which will bring a number of snow storms with plenty of precipitation. Learn more about Andy Wirth: https://about.me/andywirth
Andy Wirth has no doubt that the upcoming ski season will be a good one. Although his resort could stand unlimited seasons of drought, Wirth rather not take chances. He says he is always optimistic but prepares for the worst case scenario.