Powder Magazine

Andy Wirth Seeks Connection of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows through Gondola

In the mountains of Olympic Valley lies the promise of a ski lover’s dream: the connection of two equally respected and popular ski resorts, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. These ski resorts merged in 2011 following the purchase of Alpine Meadows by the parent company who owns Squaw Valley, KSL Capital Partners, and are considered some of the best skiing in the continental United States.

Earlier this year, Andy Wirth, the CEO of Squaw Alpine, announced that a gondola would be constructed to better serve skiers of both resorts. Speaking to Powder Magazine in an exclusive interview, Wirth indicated that the percentage of skiers who were on both mountains stood at 25%. This was enough to warrant a discussion of creating a transportation system that took skiers off potentially dangerous roads while still providing them access to both resorts.

The gondola, which will operate in three parts, was made possible by the cooperation of Troy Caldwell, who owns the stretch of land that separates Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, also known as White Wolf. Through an agreement with Wirth, the gondola will begin at the base of Squaw Valley, rise up and over the ridge that separates the mountains, and down to the base of Alpine Meadows, effectively taking a significant amount of cars off the road.

Andy Wirth has been instrumental in Squaw Valley’s development, having signed on as CEO in the summer of 2010. Wirth was responsible for the massive $70 million renovation that saw Squaw Valley rise to the top of the highest-recommended ski resorts in the United States. In 2011, Wirth helped negotiate the purchase of Alpine Meadows, further cementing the ski resort merger as the largest in the country.

Andy Wirth has been active in the resort industry for nearly 30 years, beginning his esteemed career at Steamboat Spring Resort until 2007, when he moved on to become CEO and President of Squaw Valley. Prior to his work in the resort and hospitality industry, Wirth worked as a park ranger, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather. He lives in Tahoe, California, with his wife.