Growing up in northern Minnesota, snow is an inevitable part of winter. I have a difficult time imagining a frigid January day without a layer of it covering the ground. That is, until I stumbled across an interview with Andy Wirth by KCRW titled “How Will The Drought Affect California Ski Resorts. – Learn more about Andy Wirth: http://www.kcrw.com/people/andy-wirth”
In my protective bubble here in the Upper Midwest, it’s easy to forget about the drought that’s affecting not just California, but also much of the South-west of the United States. When most people think of the impacts of a drought, they think of a lack of rain, not a lack of snow.
Before listening to the interview, I was left with one question. Will drought, and ultimately climate change, be the end of skiing? According to the interview with Mr. Andy Wirth, it doesn’t have to be.
So, who is Andy Wirth and why should we pay attention to what he has to say? According to bloomberg.com, he is the CEO of Squaw Alpine. He is also responsible for the gondola that connects Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley, which allows visitors from one side of the mountain to get to the other without driving (powder.com).
Also, according to to the interview, he has a minor in meteorology. Simply put, snow is his business, and he knows what he’s talking about. Learn more about Andy Wirth: https://about.me/andywirth
Although there was a decrease in the amount of snow at Squaw Valley last year due to the drought, they were able to get by thanks to better technology that can be used to create snow and manage the snow that is already there. According to Wirth, it’s important for ski companies to be dynamic and evolve with the changing climate. This means catering to summer activities as well as winter ones.
Furthermore, Andy Wirth says it’s possible for ski resorts to take advantage of the volatile weather changes. That means taking advantage of the better technology in snowmaking, as well as opening only as many ski runs that allow for the best skiing possible, as well as taking advantage of large snow falls when they do happen.
So, are ski vacations in jeopardy? After listening to this interview, I don’t think so. I believe that just like everything else in life, they’ll evolve and change with the times.