According to Powder Magazine, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two Lake Tahoe ski resorts, are finally connecting their respective mountains with a base-to-base gondola. Andy Wirth, CEO of Squaw Valley, said this had been a dream of the founder, Wayne Poulsen, for many decades and it will finally become a reality. Squaw and Alpine merged in 2011, giving skiers the chance to go to either mountain through their respective parking lots.
The two mountains are visible to each other, and Poulsen’s dream was always to have a gondola connecting the two at one point. Pretty soon, skiers will not have to physically drive to each mountain but could take a lift. It was not until recently that this became a real probability. Learn more about Andy Wirth: https://about.me/andywirth
When Andy Wirth became CEO of Squaw Valley, he wanted to have a real, genuine friendship with neighbor Alpine Meadows, which is what he achieved. Before him, the only relationship the two ski resorts had was through lawyers and litigation, a situation he saw fit to change immediately. Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://squawalpine.com/explore/blog/andy-wirth-elected-chairman-reno-tahoe-regional-air-service-corporation
The merging and continual friendship between the two mountains is the only thing that has allowed founder Poulsen’s dream to finally become a reality. There are people and families who have skied either mountain since the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. According to Wirth, about 20-25% of people ski both mountains, but there are some people who are particularly attached to one of them.
Andy Wirth believes that the inclusion of this ski lift will completely alter the culture of the ski areas and create a new environment in which conversations between the two mountains are potent and ongoing. Andy Wirth has worked in the ski mountain and hotel business for over 25 years. After his takeover of Squaw Valley in August 2010, the resort underwent a $70 million upgrade and went from the bottom 20 percent in customer satisfaction to the top 20 percent.
Because of his excellent relationship with nearby Alpine Meadows, the two resorts underwent a merger in 2011 which finally connected the two mountains for the first time. In 1960, Squaw Valley was the setting for the Winter Olympics. Wirth became well known when his arm was torn off and surgically reattached after a horrific sky diving accident.
He was lucky to survive and shared his story, including the Pearl Jam song that came to him when he thought he was dying, to many magazines. He has been the recipient of multiple community service awards for the area of Lake Tahoe, including the Chairman’s Outstanding Service Award.
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