The CEO of Squaw Alpine Andy Wirth is a visionary leader and a marketing expert. For the better part of a decade, he has set out to fulfill the economic potential of the Squaw Valley using the sustainable development model. Read more: Andy Wirth – Squaw Valley CEO and Philanthropist
Andy has been an influential and uniting figure within the local community and the corporate entities in the area. The local community has a vibrant culture that integrates environmental stewardship to conserve the rich ecosystem around the Lake Tahoe area. Several communities also reside in the same location thus bringing a lot of cultural diversity.
The locals have always looked to Andy Wirth’s expertise and experience when the going got tough. At one time, Andy Wirth spearheaded a campaign to oppose an incorporation agenda which would have disenfranchised the local economy.
Since they won that battle, Andy has become a key stakeholder, leader and a role model in the community. Read more: Interview with Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth | Tahoetopia
Some of the key challenges hampering the local economy include the seasonal nature of the business and infrastructural rigidity. The terrain of the valley slopes inhibits the movement of vehicles and goods. Andy had a vision of linking the main facilities in the area with minimal disturbance to the environment. The most practical solution was the construction of a gondola up and down the valley.
Powder magazine recently made the announcement that all the plans had been completed, and the building of the gondola was underway. The local community and the tourist establishments in Squaw Valley couldn’t hide their elation at the difference the gondola will make.
The planning process has taken many years to complete. Andy Wirth had to negotiate with local authorities and the US Forest Service to approve the plans.
Also, Andy Wirth made acquisitions of several resorts complement the existing establishments. The most strategic of these acquisitions was the Alpine Meadows where the gondola would make its last stop before looping back to Squaw Ski Resort.
Andy was also able to lobby another local landowner in Troy Caldwell to approve the passage of the gondola lines through his property.
In other news, Andy Wirth has experienced a severe period in the recent past after a life-threatening skydiving accident. The near-fatal experience put Andy in and out of the hospital as he underwent multiple operation and rehabilitation. Eventually, he lost one arm but has done well to recover and get back to his management duties.
Andy Wirth has a big and generous heart, and he founded the Wounded Warrior Support program to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation. This group supports the retired and injured SEALS in accessing specialized medical treatment and rehabilitation. The group also assisted Andy during his recovery.
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