The Statement Issued By Squaw Valley on Water Quality at Upper Mountain

The Placer county department of environmental health of Squaw Valley received a report on November 8 about the contaminated water on Upper Mountain. The news stated that some bacteria namely E. coli and coliform had been detected in the drinking water in the area. In response towards the potential health threatening issue, Squaw Valley gave a lengthy statement stating the underlying facts of the situation.

The director of Placer County Environmental Health, Wesley Nicks told Sierra Sun Tuesday that they acted on the issue by continuously treating the water which is gradually giving some positive results. This action was carried out immediately after receiving the report on The four wells that serve the upper mountain area were affected, and out the four, three have been fully treated from E. coli, but some concentration of coliform was remaining.

Some daily activities in the upper mountain region have been affected as well. For instance, the nearby restaurants remained shut down while the skiers got barred from drinking water in the area. The restrictions were to remain active until the problem is entirely resolved. Fortunately, no health incident has occurred, and although the skier couldn’t drink the water at the ski resort, they were still allowed to ski up and down.

Liesl Kenney, The Public Relations Director for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, issued the statement to the public on the water quality on Wednesday, November 30.
Below are some of the facts that he pointed out:

He stated that there was an unusual storm during the heavy rains that fell in the month of October in Placer County that happened to damage some water systems. This incident forced Squaw Valley to install new and upgraded water systems at High Camp and Gold Coast during summer. The results of this development were the contamination of the water system. This means that the only water system that was affected was the one recently installed and the contaminated water was not available for public consumption.

He added that after detecting the problem, they immediately talked to water safety experts for consultation on the matter. The Squaw Valley Public Service District and Placer County Environmental Health responded positively and helped them in resolving the issue which they promised to be of help till the matter is fully settled. He said that operations at High Camp and Gold Coast would remain inactive until the health officials confirm that the water is safe for consumption.

Lastly, he said that what they care more about is their customer’s safety and promises to tackle the water issue more diligently than they have ever done in their resort before. Once the water safety is re-assured at High Camp and Gold Coast, their guests will be informed of the same and be allowed to enjoy their usual facilities. They had planned for free gifts to their customers in the form of bottled water which will be offered once they are fully back.

He ended the statement by appreciating the efforts that the Squaw Valley Public Service District and Placer County has shown in helping resolve the problem and their continued support.

Is This The End of Ski Vacations?

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:

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, 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 (

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:

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.