The merger of Squaw Valley and Alpine meadows made a whole lot of fuss in the ski resort industry. Some say it was just a matter of time before the merge happened considering how adjacent the two iconic ski resorts are. You can literally see one mountain from the top of the other. Squaw Valley owners purchased its neighbor Alpine Meadows in 2011. Turning what was once two competing companies into one juggernaut of a ski resort.
Although the two resorts have merged, they’re still not fully unified. Skiers have to drive from one parking lot to the other in order to ski each mountain. A problem Squaw Valley Ski Holdings is well aware of. In an effort to solve the problem, the company has announced plans to build a gondola with the aspiration of connecting the two ski resorts.
The gondola would operate in three parts that include: starting at the bottom of Squaw Valley, up and over the ridge between the two mountains, and down to the bottom of Alpine Meadows.
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth and Troy Caldwell, the owner of the land between the two resorts, reached an agreement they’re both happy with. Connecting the two ski areas would be impossible without Caldwell’s cooperation.
Squaw Valley does still face some resistance from the U.S. Forest Service and Placer County. Squaw Valley is also in the act of expanding their base village. A plan that has garnered much controversy and protest. The company is asking the public to support the building of the gondola on their website. Hoping the public support will help persuade the U.S. Forest Service and Placer County to give them the go ahead to start work on the proposed gondola.
In an interview with Powder, Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth explained that the plan to connect the two mountains originated from Squaw Valley founder Wayne Poulsen. Poulsen envisioned the two ski resorts being connected decades ago.
About Andy Wirth
Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth was born Andrew Wirth July 25, 1963. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University before attending Edinburgh University.
According to Ironman, Andy Wirth started his career in the resort industry in 1986 with Steamboat Springs Resort. Wirth held various positions of power in his time with the company. When Intrawest bought out the company in 2007, Wirth was appointed chief marketing officer. In 2010 Wirth became the President and CEO of Squaw Valley.
Wirth is also an accomplished philanthropist. He has received much praise for his efforts in making the world a better place. He was the recipient of the Community Five Award in 2014.