Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 4 – Squaw bounces back | SierraSun.com

Sierra Sun top 10 stories of 2009: No. 4 – Squaw bounces back

the staff of the Sierra Sun

Sun File PhotoFriends and family remembered Shane McConkey during an April memorial ceremony at Squaw Valley USA.

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. – We would prefer to look at 2009 with one eye closed. For a brief time, the region saw the economy dip down to levels not seen since the late 80s, and optimism dip even further. During that volatility, the stress on us as a region was evident. We fought and filed lawsuits, we packed our bags and left, and much of our community was pointing fingers about the future of the school district.

Frankly, it wasn’t much fun, which is why we’d prefer just to move on and forget most of it. Yet, that would be too easy. Between the bad news headlines and tragedies did lay a bit of silver lining. Those in the region who survived 2009 – however you define that – will walk into 2010 with a resolve and a confidence unparalleled in most of our lifetimes.

The evidence is clear. Development on the horizon is beginning to employ more workers. Early snowfall propelled the region to the top of the resort world for the 2009 Christmas holiday week, and the school district is beginning to refocus itself away from the politics and back to the classroom. But we don’t have to remind our readers how far we still have to go, and the volume of challenges we have to overcome to protect our region and our quality of life.

So, to 2009 and all its bittersweet memories, we bid you adieu and thank you for the whipping. And when you finally go, please don’t let the door hit you on the way out, and definitely don’t look back.

Few businesses face years like Squaw Valley USA did in 2009. They saw mountain heroes perish – from local Randall Davis during Christmas week in 2008 to ski patroller Andrew Entin in avalanches in March to big-mountain legend Shane McConkey while filming in Italy. At one point, it seemed moments of silence were as common as the turning of lifts around the mountain, but the resort community responded by caring for the families of those who lost loved ones, and by ensuring safety measures were revisited in every facet.

How did Squaw say thanks? They embraced the local community by dropping pass prices $1,000, and hosting a brand new summer music festival that could bring thousands to the region in years to come.