As California endures its fourth year of brutal drought, ski resorts are changing the way they do business. The $1.3 billion California ski industry is being forced to reshape itself in an attempt to stay afloat – an industry exec stated in January that 32% of US resorts were on their last legs.
After a less than stellar ski season, many Californian resorts are switching focus to improving summer operations. Resorts like Heavenly and Squaw Valley are vamping up summer recreation activities, including zip-lines, ropes courses, and mountain coasters.
Bob Roberts, President and CEO of the California Ski Industry Association, points out the mass amounts of underutilized infrastructure at resorts, which go unused during the summer months. “Right now, we don’t like to think of ourselves as just in the ski business. Our resorts are saying, you know what? We’re in the mountain recreation business,” said Roberts.
Squaw Valley is in their fifth year of a $70 million “renaissance”, which will improve snowmaking, ski lifts, and facilities. Squaw also just announced their plans for an interconnect between Squaw and Alpine Meadows, creating the biggest ski resort in the US with about 6,000 acres of skiable terrain.
Hopefully, summer operations will help sustain these resorts into next season, and we’ll continue to pray for snow.