Olympic Valley is one of the most beautiful places in all of North America. Located on the north shore of the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe, it’s the place that the Squaw Valley Ski Resort calls home.
Despite the majestic beauty of the locale, times have not been easy for the residents of Olympic Valley. First, there was a snow draught that lasted four years. And then there was the drive to incorporate the Valley, an effort that only recently ended in defeat.
Luckily, the snow has returned this season. In fact, it was a few week early and it has been a boon to the local economy. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding the Olympic Valley incorporation measure still lingered, however, and it had put a damper of divisiveness on what otherwise would have been a fabulous winter season.
Things have been difficult over the last several years, says Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings. “I believe the incorporation of Olympic Valley would have destroyed the fabric of the north shor. And it would have wreaked havoc on the local business community.”
“As the CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, Wirth has worked tirelessly to make the ski area one of the top tourist destinations in the world,” reads his biography on About.Me. He’s also a significant contributor to environmental and community service organizations in the Lake Tahoe area and is a major fundraiser for the Navy SEAL Foundation as well.
As a vocal opponent of the Olympic Valley Incorporation plan, Andy Wirth and his Squaw Valley Ski Holdings had taken a lot of flack from the plan’s supporters. Allocating significant funds to defeat the proposal, Wirth was certain that if the plan had passed it would have meant a decline in the level of service that residents had come to appreciate and taxes would certainly have seen a substantial increase. Moreover, Wirth felt that incorporation would have alienated Olympic Valley from other nearby communities in the north shore area.
Last December the Olympic Valley Incorporation group withdrew its plan after California’s Local Agency Formation Commission ruled that the proposed town wouldn’t be a financially viable venture. Fortunately, much of the resulting acrimony has begun to melt along with the snow.
Andy Wirth is an optimist and believes all will be forgotten in due time. Love of the area can be a healing force and hee is hoping that the North Shore community can work on transportation problems and other important local issues and put the incorporation debate behind them.
This article was originally published in the Reno-Gazette Journal.