Communities surrounding Lake Tahoe have had a serious drought to contend with. The natural damage became apparent this winter, as resorts and businesses that relied on them suffered from the drop in revenue. Add to that the business battle over Olympic Valley, and its easy to see why the region is struggling. But, if Andy Wirth is right, relief may be on its way.
Wirth pointed out that early storms were able to provide the environment that draws vacationers to resorts, feeding the local economy a little earlier than has been the norm in warmer winters in the past decade or so. Incorporation of Olympic Valley, however, is testing the civil climate among businesses and patrons in the region, testing their ability to take advantage of what prosperity is available to them.
Wirth’s Squaw Valley Holdings invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fight against incorporation, seeing the eventual hikes in taxes and business costs for all in the region. It could also lead to segmentation that would isolate Olympic Valley from others in the region. Wirth claimed this would impede all businesses.
Those with investments in the incorporation seem to be moving ahead regardless of the opposition, drawing up and promoting plans to develop more commercial and residential real estate, and even a gondola that would run from Alpine Meadows to Squaw Valley. What they have said is that the opposition (Wirth and others) are simply looking out for their own business interests and not those of the people who work and live near Lake Tahoe. But these claims quickly fell apart when it became known that both sides of the incorporation decision spent nearly the same amount fighting one another’s position.
In the end, residents in the area had nothing to worry about. The Local Agency Formaiton Commission of California determined the proposed plans simply weren’t viable for the region.
With the future back in the hands of locals, Wirth sees the present as the right time to focus on invigorating the local transportation infrastructure to better service all those living in and coming to the region.
Andy Wirth is the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, where he’s invested time and resources into making the ski resort as destination for tourists from around the world. This has fostered an attachment to the environment and causes, to which he is a contributor, especially in the Lake Tahoe region.
Aside from his concern over the environment, Wirth has invested in other philanthropic causes. Following his recovery from a skydiving accident, Writh helped to start and support “Wounded Warrior Support,” a team that competes in Ironman competitions, raising money for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which assists returning special operators and their families adjust to life back home.