The California drought was especially unkind to Southern California. Residents of Los Angeles, San Diego and the counties in between those cities had to change their lifestyle in order to comply with mandatory water rationing program that Governor Jerry Brown put in place.
Northern California was also hit hard by the drought. The fruit and vegetable farmers lost millions of dollars in 2015 because their crops didn’t have enough water. Consumers around the country felt the impact of the drought at the grocery store. Everyone paid high prices for the fruit and vegetables that were harvested in 2015.
But the one industry that should have been devastated by the drought, the ski industry, wasn’t, or least ski resort managers are keeping tight-lipped about their actual losses in 2015. It is a fact that many ski resorts closed early in 2015.
There wasn’t enough snow on the popular slopes, and the ski resorts weren’t equipped to make enough fake snow to compensate for the shortfall. But not all ski resorts were hampered by the four-year drought. The CEO of Squaw Valley, Andy Wirth, was interviewed on the KCRW radio show, Press Play with Madeline Brand.
Wirth told Brand that Squaw Valley in uniquely positioned in the ski resort industry thanks to 70 years of frugal management by the Cushing family. Nancy Cushing turned the CEO position over to Wirth in 2010 right before the resort started their $70 million renovation plan.
With told Brand that Squaw Valley’s 2015 ski season wasn’t great, but revenues were only off by 20 percent from the year before. But 2014 wasn’t that great either so the truth is, as Wirth pointed out, that ski resorts have suffered because of the drought, but most of them will survive. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=36030954&privcapId=7911768
Brand continued to ask Wirth questions about ski resort survival during the drought years, and it was obvious that Wirth was well prepared when it came to answering those questions. Squaw Valley is one of the best ski resorts in the world, and Wirth is considered one of the top CEOs in the business.
Andy Wirth knows a lot about the ski resort business. He spent 20 years at the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation, and he held several high-level positions with that company before accepting the CEO position with Squaw Valley.
Wirth is a respected graduate from Colorado State University and a major contributor to the Lake Tahoe Community. Squaw Valley and the other ski resorts made a roaring comeback in 2016. Snowfall was constant and plentiful so maybe the worst years of the drought are over, but not everyone is convinced of that. The weather people are not sure what will happen when the 2017 season rolls around.
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