Expansion at Squaw Valley with the Help of Andy Wirth Passes First Hurdle

In a recent National Public Radio (NPR) newscast, the expansion requests being made by Squaw Valley were under consideration by the Placer County Planning Commission. This first step toward receiving the go ahead passed in a congenial meeting of proponents and opponents. The representative from Squaw Valley was Andy Wirth who has been the CEO and the heart, soul, and head of Squaw Valley since he began his tenure. Under his guidance, Squaw Valley has acquired next door neighbor, Alpine Meadows, in an effort to create a super-sized resort. A gondola was recently constructed to link the two ski resorts together making it possible to ski both with the same lift ticket.

Andy Wirth has not disregarded the environment as he builds this complex and often quotes his grandfather’s efforts in saving national lands. Wirth, too, has been involved in every aspect of caring for the environment witnessed by his earlier position as a backwoods ranger.

The meeting between Squaw Valley’s Wirth and the Placer County Planning Commission proceeded without the usual rancor associated with this type of expansion. Squaw Valley’s expansion project now moves to the County Board of Supervisors for its final approval or denial.

Andy Wirth’s major opponent, Jesse Patterson is the deputy director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, his primary concern is the mounting problem of additional traffic. But Wirth was ready for this criticism and outlined a plan to improve traffic and even offered a new transit package, which would benefit not only the ski resort and Lake Tahoe area but the surrounding communities as well.

Patterson appreciates that idea and wants to see Wirth’s new traffic initiatives on paper. Wirth, too, feels optimistic that his proposals will be presented to California voters within two years.

Andy Wirth has an excellent history of getting things accomplished and no one should bet against him in this latest expansion effort.

Read more:
Andy Wirth – KCRW

How Andy Wirth Connects Two Ski Resorts with a Base-to-Base Gondola

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have provide Lake Tahoe with premier ski experiences for decades. Now, Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth has announced plans to connect the two resorts together with a base-to-base gondola. Powder Magazine caught up with Wirth to find out how the proposed gondola will change the face of the Lake Tahoe valley.
How the Gondola Helps Visitors

Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have been long-time neighbors. In 2011, the two ski resorts merged as one under Wirth’s directive. Combined, both resorts offer over 6,000 acres of skiable land for visitors. Since the merger a single pass has allowed visitors to ski both parks in one day. However, getting there required driving or a shuttle bus. With the gondola, it’s only a short ride away.

Connecting the Two Resorts

The idea of connecting Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley originates with Wayne Poulsen, the founder of Squaw Valley who settled in area in the 1930’s and envisioned the two valleys being connected. Decades later, it is finally coming to fruition. The gondola will connect the bases of the two resorts together and feature two angle stations, allowing the route to turn as it navigates across the mountains. Skiers will get an aerial view of both resorts on the way.
Environmental Impacts and Considerations

Andy Wirth’s resume includes work as a backcountry ranger and contribution to several environmental causes, and as such plans for the construction of the gondola take environmental impact into consideration. While there is some worry about this from concerned locals, Wirth proposes to design and construct the gondola in the most environmentally safe possible. The gondola will also mean less traffic on local roads, leading to reduced carbon output from drivers between ski resorts.

Benefits for Local Businesses

While the gondola might be the primary project that Wirth is working at the moment, local businesses will also benefit from improved services at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. With more visitors and skiers, local lodgings and tourism will enjoy the boost during the winter months, when Lake Tahoe really sees an influx of visitors.
About Andy Wirth

According to Crowdrise, Andy Wirth took the helm at Squaw Valley as President and CEO in 2010. One of his first moves was to oversee an overhaul and completely redo the Squaw Valley experience, making it the extraordinary ski resort that it is today.

Read more:
Andy Wirth describes how music of Pearl Jam pulled him through near-fatal skydiving accident