Category Archives: Environment

Andy Wirth Focuses on Marketing Ski Resort Despite Drought

Recently Andy Wirth President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holding, talked with Madeline Brand of KCRW Radio. The topic discussed was how ski resort are handling the lack of snow due to the drought and warming temperatures. What is being done to keep business flowing?

Andy Wirth said that the past winter was tough. Business was down 20 percent down, but they managed to still make a profit. We have the capability to make snow and manage it well on about 4,000 acres, he said. Despite the driest seasons in about 1,200 years, the resort has increased season passes about 37 percent.

Squaw Valley offers passes to customers for other resorts that have more snow. It has retail shops, restaurants, and a winter park that offers tubing to children and adults. They have even found ways to use the warmer season to generate business. The company invested $50 million in upgrades which means that they cam make plenty of snow not relying on mother nature.

Mr. Wirth says making the resorts into a year round business offsets the lack of snow too. In the warmer weather they offer opportunities for weddings and special events for clubs and associations. Some resorts have rope climbing courses, mountain bike trails, hiking and tours given by staff. Plans to have zip lines and disc golf courses are underway.

Wirth is considering building a water park with pools, slides, and a training center for athletes to increase business in the summer months. He plans to build a gondola to connect two Lake Tahoe slopes. It will link the Alpine Meadow and Squaw Valley resorts. This reduces vehicle traffic between the two resorts say Mr. Wirth.

He thinks this connection will make it one of the best ski resorts in North America.
When it is easy to get back and forth between ski two resorts this creates more opportunity for increased traffic. With the changing climate he has to think of innovative ways to attract visitors to the resort in warmer weather.

All his life Andy Wirth has worked for the hotel and hospitality industry. His interest in the career began when he attended Colorado State University and later Edinburgh University in Scotland. He served as back county ranger for Rocky Mountain National Parks and as a forest ranger for San Pedro Parks Wilderness Area. He started as an intern with Steamboat Steamboat and Resort Corporation. He quickly was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing. He worked there 10 years. In 2010, he became CEO of Squaw Valley.

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Filed under Environment, Public Radio, Weather Conditions

Devastating 7.8 Quake Hit Nepal, the Largest in 80 Years to Hit the Nation

The worst recorded earthquake to hit Nepal since the 8.0 that rocked the nation in 1934 killing more than 10,000 people has struck the area at 11.56 am local time, Saturday, April 25. The magnitude 7.8 quake violently shook houses and structures to the point of collapse, heaved up roads and destroyed centuries old monument and temples. By day three, authorities confirmed over 4,000 people were dead in the nation that is set in the Himalayas, with another 50 deaths confirmed between India, Tibet and Bangladesh. These numbers are feared to climb throughout the region as rescue efforts continue.

The epicenter was recorded less than 50 miles from the nation’s capital of Kathmandu and radiated out across the region, affecting large areas of northern India more than 200 miles away, China, where 12 were killed and causing an avalanche on Mt. Everest, killing at least 10. Occurring at a mere 9.3 mile depth, the shallow quake was more severe and devastating than if it were deeper. Less than a half hour after the initial quake, a magnitude 6.6 aftershock again shook the already devastated area. The U.S. Geological Survey has reported at least 15 more aftershocks registering at least 4.5 in magnitude have also occurred in the area since.

Fearing the instability of structures still standing, residents of Kathmandu, were setting up makeshift beds and shelters outside their homes on cardboard or in their cars as night fell reported Ricardo Tosto in Nepal. The area is experiencing cool daytime temperatures in the 60s and nighttime temperatures going as low as 53˚ with rain, making it even harder on survivors and rescuers.

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Filed under Devastation, Earthquake, Environment, Sad News

Destruction by Mother Nature

Areas of Illinois, especially in Chicago, had to deal with destruction from a tornado on April 9, 2015. This storm caused a great deal of damage, and at least one person was killed during the storm. There were almost a dozen people who were injured. This is a time of the year when people need to be weather ready. A tornado can be hard to see if it is wrapped in rain, and there are some that touch down without any notice. Homes were destroyed in the area, and there were cars and trucks lifted like they were toys.

 

This storm shows the devastation that can occur with nature. Residents such as Crystal Hunt were walking along streets to survey the damage caused by the tornado through the night. Parts of the area were flattened. There is something to be learned with this storm in that you need to be prepared whenever there is the threat of any kind of severe weather. A plan needs to be in place, especially if you live in a mobile home.

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Filed under Environment

Cyclone Pam Is One Of The Worst Ever!

Pam Left Widespread Destruction In The Pacific Archipelago Vanuatu

The weather is a strange bedfellow. One minute we are praising its beauty and the next minute we are cursing its vicious relentlessness. We spend a lot of time talking about and tracking weather patterns. News channels run weather stories before almost any other story because we want to know how we should act and react when the weather changes its demeanor.

We call Atlantic Ocean storms hurricanes and Pacific Ocean storms Cyclones. Both of them pack winds that can destroy cities, and they carry water and rain that can bury cities in sand, dirt and rubble. People at Anastasia Date know that this year’s Cyclone Pam is one of the nastiest storms in recent history. Unfortunately Vanuatu, the Pacific Ocean archipelago, found out first-hand how horrible a cyclone can be.

Reports of the damage are still coming in because the communication systems in the outer islands were destroyed. Early reports from UNICEF indicate that entire villages were wiped out. No one knows how many people were impacted by the storm, but initial reports claim eight lives were lost, but many fear that figure will rise.

Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. The islands are already suffering from the effects of global warming. Some of the islands are returning to the sea thanks to sea level changes. Cyclone Pam adds more water and uncertainty to the islands.

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Filed under Environment, Weather Conditions

Dangerous Droughts on the Horizon

Though the southwest and Great Plains of the United States have been suffering from droughts, they are predicted to only get worse in the next 75 years. Various reports estimate that in the latter half of this century, these regions of the United States will experience droughts of the magnitude which have not been witnessed for a thousand years. Jaime Garcia Dias has heard that, with further developments in climate change yet to fully manifest, conditions could only take a turn for the worse.Find more on Dias on Pinterest.com.

As explained in the research headed by Benjamin Cook, the droughts will be a product of heightened temperatures. This will lead to a decrease in rainfall, as well as an increase in the rate of evaporation. Even were the rainfall to remain a constant, the greater rate of evaporation would still leave soil dry and barren. This is a distressing extrapolation, given the heavy burden it will place on farmers, and the need to develop effective water distribution strategies. Cook believes that our current practices for dealing with droughts are fairly effective, but is less certain that these methods will prove to be successful against more expansive and detrimental droughts in the future.

Considering the mounting evidence, this ought to be a problem which demands a greater portion of our attention. The nation needs to prepare for this inevitability, and we should mediate our harmful habits to diminish the chance of making the situation more dire.

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Filed under Environment, Weather Conditions

Rare Red Fox Spotted In Yosemite For First Time In 100 Years

One of the most rare animals in the world, the Sierra Nevada red fox was spotted for the first time in over 100 years in Yosemite National Park. These foxes are rare animals for the Sierra Nevada and have been seen north of the area, but for the first time in a century it looks like they have returned to the Yosemite area. According to an article found on reddit and written by ABC News, the foxes were spotted and caught on camera on two occasions.

Not very much is known about the Sierra Nevada red fox, because it is an expert at avoiding areas that are inhabited by human beings. Susan McGalla knows that  it was written in a 1937 hunting book by Joseph Grinnell that a pelt from this breed of fox was (and is) worth a lot of money due to its rarity. However in the 1980s, the animal was put on the endangered species list for the state of California.

After all, humans and other animals need each other to keep the Earth diverse and thriving because we depend on each other for our lively hood. Seeing this breed of fox is a good indicator that we have done something right.

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Filed under Animals, Environment