Squaw Valley CEO Andy Wirth has announced his retirement after eight years with the company. He joined the organization in August 2010, replacing former CEO Nancy Cushing. We are honored to have been graced with his presence, he was a true leader who encouraged initiative and cultivated teamwork with outstanding entrepreneurial flair. He was a great influencer and listener who operated in integrity with everything that he said and did. Andy has succeeded in planting seeds of greatness within everyone he came into contact with. Not only is the company a better place because of his influence, but the employees are better people. He is looking forward to spending more time with his family, and becoming more active in the area of philanthropy.
His wealth of knowledge, skill, expertise and strong business acumen revolutionized the company and steered it through a momentous transformation. He immediately took on a $70 million renovation project and within one year, Shaw Valley sky rocketed from being ranked among the worst ski resorts to being repositioned amongst the top 20 percent in the skiing industry. The company was massively transformed with upgrades to the infrastructure and mountain design, the lodging, kitchen and common areas were renovated. Most importantly, the customer experience was reformed, and is now known for their superior customer service. During his tenure, his tireless and inspired leadership brought about the successful merge with Alpine Medows Ski Resort, enabling customers to buy one ticket but have access to both resorts, the distribution of almost $100 million in transformative capital, as well as spearheading the California Express Gondola project which enabled skiers and riders to experience the glory, beauty and majesty of both mountains. Andy was also instrumental in pushing forward the green movement that enabled the company to acquire electricity from carbon free sources. As a result of his dedication, two of our resorts are now using renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint; the goal set by Wirth is that the whole of Squaw Valley Alpine Medows will operate on 100% renewable sourced energy by the end of 2018.
We not only admire him for his outstanding work ethic, but his personal life is a powerful testimony of how far a tenacious attitude can take you. In October 2013, Wirth lost his right arm in a skydiving accident. He skilfully reduced the blood flow until medical assistance arrived and he was taken to the Davis trauma center. His arm was surgically reattached and he underwent 23 operations. Andy returned to work within 50 days.
Wirth’s vigorous attitude to service has not gone unnoticed, he has been the recipient of numerous awards for both his work in the community and his professional achievements. He received the Community Five Award in 2014; in 2012, he was rendered the Chairman’s Outstanding Service Award; in 2009 he was listed as one of the Top 25 Minds on the Hospitality and Travel Sales and Marketing list. In 2002, he was presented with the Steamboat Springs Business Leader of the Year Award.
Wirth built a strong leadership team and made a succession of wise strategic moves to focus the company. His strong personality and loveable character will be greatly missed not only by his colleagues and subordinates but by the community he served. The strength of the foundation that he has laid cannot be measured in what is said, but on what has been built upon it, and the legacy that he has left is undeniable. We will continue on in the spirit of excellence and innovation that Wirth has imparted to us.