Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, is ready to move on after it seems the move to incorporate Olympic Valley has ended, according to a story in the Reno Gazette – Journal. The battle over incorporation has gone on for years, but it was halted recently when California’s Local Agency Formation Commission released a study saying the town would not be viable financially.
Snow has also started falling early, so Wirth and ski resorts have good news on two fronts. While the battle raged, a four year drought wreaked havoc with many western ski areas. “This has been a very, very tough four years,” Wirth said.
Now Wirth hopes the community will work together on transportation needs and other issues apart from Olympic Valley. The valley was host to the 1960 Olympics and is now host to Sqauw Valley resort that Wirth runs.
Wirth had opposed incorporation moves, saying it was a threat to business and civic interests. He was relieved when the group pushing incorporation formally ended their efforts after the report was released.
Wirth’s company spent well over $100,000 opposing the measure, saing it wold result in higher taxes and decreased levels of service to the area.
“It was truly a recipe for disaster, for fiscal disaster,” Wirth said.
Backers said Wirth opposed it because he did not want to have to answer to a local city council. Now he only has to answer to county government on things like zoning.
For his part, Wirth noted the group pushing incorporation also spent a lot of money on their campaign, but it will not apparently come to voters any time soon.
Wirth has worked in the resort industry for 25 years, beginning his career at Steamboat Springs in 1986. In 2007 he was named executive vice president and appointed chief of marketing by Intrawest, who had bought Steamboat Springs that same year. In 2010 he left there to become president and CEO of Squaw Valley.
After taking over at Squaw Valley he directed a $70 million upgrade to the overall ski design and infrastructure. He also improved customer experience as the company went from the bottom 20 percent to the top 20 percent in customer satisfaction under his leadership. Nearby resort Alpine Meadows was merged with Squaw Valley in 2011 and now the two offer a combined ski ticket. Wirth is now CEO of both areas.