Wirth moving on after incorporation bid fails

Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC., is relieved that the move to incorporate Olympic Valley has apparently ended. He hopes with the recent snowfall that has helped ski resorts, that he can move on and better things are in store. Early snowfall this year has allowed resorts to open earlier than they have in recent years because of a nagging drought.

“This has been a very, very tough four years,” Wirth said in a recent story in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The application for incorporation was withdrawn recently when a study by California’s Local Agency Formation Commission said the town would not be financially viable. Both sides spent a lot of money on promoting their issue, and Wirth’s company was opposed from the beginning.

“This has been divisive … I just hope we all see this as chance for healing.” Wirth said.

Olympic Valley was the host site of the 1960 Olympics, and that also led to the creation of Sqauw Valley resort which Wirth runs. Wirth opposed incorporation because he thought it would raise taxes on individuals and business and would reduce services like snow plowing which is important for ski resorts.

Proponents said Wirth spent so much money opposing it because he did not want to have to answer to a city council on issues like zoning. Wirth pointed out that proponents had spent a lot too, and dismissed that criticism.

Wirth and company hopes to improve the real estate market in the area with commercial and residential development. Since joining Squaw Valley in 2010 Wirth combined the two resorts and they now offer joint ski tickets. His company has also announced plans to develop a gondola between the two resorts.

Wirth has been in the resort business since 1986 when he went to work for Steamboat Springs He worked there in management and marketing until 2007 when he was named executive vice president of Intrawest, who bought that resort the same year. In 2010 he made the move to Squaw Valley as president and CEO. He also worked for the Rocky Mountain National parks as a back country ranger and for the San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area as a ranger.

He was born in Germany, but grew up in the United States and graduated from Colorado State University. He also attended Edinburgh University in Scotland. He is the grandson of former U.S. National Parks Service Director Conrad Wirth.