Our Turn: Squaw’s true character, leadership – a positive impact on community
Ryan Summerlin April 7, 2014
Over the past three years, we have all witnessed a great number of changes here at Squaw Valley. The ownership and leadership of Squaw Valley ski area not only brought forth much needed capital investment to improve the mountain experience, they also brought about the acquisition of Alpine Meadows, something people have talked about for decades. With that, we now can ski and ride over 6,000 acres of skiing on one pass.
In addition to substantial improvements to the mountain experience, the leadership at Squaw Valley Ski Holdings has been extremely active in the community, leading efforts to improve the transportation system for the region and have ignited and are leading efforts to improve our region’s recycling, composting and other environmental sustainability efforts.
They haven’t been doing any “green washing” but rather quietly reducing their company’s carbon footprint and have been supporting and leading other important environmentally related causes. Recently Squaw produced a carbon neutral U.S. Alpine Skiing Championships – a great event for the community where Olympians mixed with local kids and left no trace.
That same leadership has brought forth a plan for the redevelopment at the base of Squaw Valley. This plan has been met with support and opposition. Unfortunately, some of those who have opposed all efforts to improve the acres and acres of parking lots at the base of the mountain have substantially mischaracterized the development efforts.
However, more importantly, the leadership of the ski area promised to listen to the local community and everything the leadership has done indicates that they have, they are and they will continue to listen closely to constructive input.
Glaring and straightforward evidence of the style and character of their leadership is seen in the form of the revised redevelopment plans (announced in mid-December) at the base of the ski area.
Meaningful changes on everything from the substantial reduction in the number of units and buildings to the location of certain buildings and even a reduction of the mountain adventure center footprint were made to address the concerns of the community.
In October 2013, Andy Wirth wrote an op-ed in the local newspaper titled “Voices will be heard on Squaw project.” Clearly, he was listening, and now we have a viable, logical and thoughtful redevelopment plan for the base of the ski area.
The soul and character of Squaw Valley are primarily comprised of the people that live, work and visit here. We feel the leadership of the mountain is focused on the improvement of the mountain and that now, the redevelopment plans are very much in keeping with the soul and spirit of Squaw Valley. They continue to invest in the mountain experience and efforts on important issues such as environmental sustainability and area mass transit. They lead based on their values and their strategic vision.
While we understand that Squaw Valley Holdings and KSL are businesses that strive to grow and profit from their endeavors we feel fortunate that people like Andy Wirth, with integrity and a love for the mountains, are guiding this process.
We interact and work with this team regularly and look forward to seeing them unlock the full potential of Squaw Valley. We have the utmost faith that they will execute the plan gracefully and make Squaw an even more magical place.
Jonny Moseley, Julia Mancuso, JT Holmes, Travis Ganong, Roy Tuscany, Galen Gifford, Matt Reardon, Nick Daniels, Foreste Peterson, Deborah Dutton, and Kendal Naughton.