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January 24, 2011

Confessions of the World’s Worst Skier

skiing Confessions of the World’s Worst SkierFull disclosure: I can’t ski. I took a ski class once as a kid, and was so dismal, the instructor demoted me to a class with younger children. The experience was demoralizing enough to keep me from hitting the slopes ever since—but I’ve always told myself that if I do try again, I want to do it in Lake Tahoe.

That said, I was pretty excited to attend a Squaw Valley USA reception last Friday to hear about changes taking place at the renowned Tahoe ski property. The event, which was held at the beautiful Clift Hotel in San Francisco, shed light on the recent announcement that the resort has been given $50 million to invest in its world-famous slopes. And according to the property’s CEO, Andy Wirth, that money will be put to very good use.

In addition to a series of upgrades and improvements, including new snow-cleaning equipment and chairlifts, the resort is set to sponsor a unique “design compete,” which will pit various mountain planners against one another to come up with the best plan moving forward. The property has also refocused its attention on service, to take it—as Wirth put it—into the top echelon of hospitality-driven ski resorts. (One guest at the reception who recently went to Squaw said he already noticed a marked difference in the service level).

But perhaps the best part of the reception was when Wirth popped in a video showing skiers at the resort from the past winter season. Watching the skiers sail down powder-white crests as the California sun beamed above them, I was suddenly struck with the urge to give that skiing thing another shot. And with all the improvements set to take place at Squaw Valley USA, I know exactly where to go if I do…

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