Review: “Undercover Boss: Andy Wirth” [UnofficialAlpine.com]


Mark Fisher, founder of UnofficialAlpine.com, shares his two cents on tonights episode of Undercover bosses featuring Squaw/Alpine CEO Andy Wirth. 

Review: “Undercover Boss: Andy Wirth”

By, Mark Fisher

I am not sure I have ever considered reviewing television shows, but the CBS Undercover Boss series is a show that often catches my attention. Since this week’s episode featured Andy Wirth, CEO of SquAlpine, I figured it’s worth talking about it here.

If you have not figured it out yet over the last two years, Andy Wirth is a master at marketing his vision. Tonight’s episode served largely as a one hour infomercial for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. There was a lot of emphasis on Andy assuring the viewers that he understands the differences between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. But I am guessing that a lot of Alpine Meadows enthusiasts know that he entirely missed the mark. Early in the episode, he describes Squaw Valley as a mountain enjoyed by primarily advanced and expert skiers, which is why they bought the lowly Alpine Meadows next door, to provide “family friendly” terrain and groomed slopes. Suddenly, the meaning of the intense grooming at Alpine Meadows this season begins to take on a new meaning. He really does not get Alpine Meadows.

Keep Reading Review: “Undercover Boss: Andy Wirth”


Did you watch the episode? If so what were your thoughts? 

  • Squirrel

    Sounds like all ski resorts are the same. Had family who ran ski school at Heavenly, Sun Valley and a few others. Can’t support a family on a “never becomes full time” job, even though its promised when you start working for them. These places are so affected by economy and being a niche specialty that there is never a chance to follow a dream of working at a career in the ski resort industry unless your far up the management chain. If you had workers who could count on a job year round you’d have a better work atmosphere for employees which results in a “happier” resort climate. It’s a shame that everyone is looked at as expendable now days.

  • Extraordinary?

    Dear squaw mgmt,

    on early closing in April.

    Wait for the coming public abuse on FB

    wait for it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Extraordinary?

    Hearing rumbliings about KT/Squaw closing dates in April.

    Stupid asses, mgmt. You have a village to support and local vendors, doesn’t that matter to you?

    Alpine sucks, and keeping Squaw skiers from Alpine makes AM employees and guests that much more happy.

    Can’t you dicks figure it f-ing out yet??? Claim Squaw as Extraordinary, then close early and send everybody over to invade the namaste @ Alpine. Yeah, sure you bitches sure know what you’re doing……………………………………………….

  • Charlie don't surf

    ,,,,,and Karen Wirth don’t ski, so STFU.

    these corporate f@#kfaces have no idea what commitment to the ski lifestyle means or the sacrafice in career and lifestyle takes.

    instead they take the easy way out and affiliate with the corporate side of existence and think that because the corp owns a ski area they’re connected.

    how much money did it take for JT or Mosely to sell out and cross the line to corp skiing? F@#king Jt’s comments on Squaw’s FB site almost made me puke in my mouth. Yeah, JT, you’ve known Wirth for how long? and you think he’s a solid guy, huh? You just lost all your cred with me, why are you a squaw legend? yOu never skied in any olympic event or world cup for that matter.

    Point made.

  • Lego Snow

    Great mountain, Squaw’s the best in Tahoe in my opinion. I’ve skied there for many years. Unfortunately the mountain experience and feel of Squaw is diminishing. Squaw’s Village looks like a dumpy out of-place LegoMall. It is seriously ugly! Like the old ice rink, I’d like to see it demolished. Also, the few that I know who work there have rarely crossed paths with Andy. He is perceived a nose picking puppet behind the curtain. Rather than giving $100,000 to four cherry picked employees with a perfect story to air, I would have rather seen a hundred employees receive a $1,000 bonus, or perhaps two hundred employees receive free snow equipment. And Andy’s wife’s remark makes me wonder what is said behind closed doors. Does she ski? Stay in your glass Truckee house and shut your trap. The Wirths would be a better fit working across the lake with Vail resorts. Undercover Boss is a charade.

    • Just off the truck

      The old Blythe Area was destroyed years ago, the only remnant of that historical designated building is the old concrete pad that is of course now a parking lot.

      Nice thought about the bonuses, nice touch. You wanna be my boss, I’d work extra hard and always with a smile for someone with your values. Probably wouldn’t be talking bad about me behind closed doors either instead invite me into your glass house for a bit.


  • Lake Tahoe Guy

    It was “Undercover Boss”, NOT “60 Minutes”…

    It was a “fluff” piece, “dumbed down” for the National Audience…

    That being said, I believe Karen’s comment was intended for Andy’s “character”, David, and not aimed at the Employees…
    Andy is a smart guy, and he would have trouble as “David”, not using his intellect.
    That is how I understood Karen’s comments…
    Karen said, “Andy is very determined, he’s very motivated, … I think he will have a very difficult time not being the Boss. I think he’ll have a hard time not taking charge. I think it’s going to be hard for him to dumb it, dumb it down to that level so that he’s believable.”

    • Wirth lover BS

      Sorry, your comments are laughable and just illustrate how Wirth already dumbed you down.

      If Wirth was truly an honorable person, his wifey would not need to publicly protect his epic PR fails.

      If he were an honorable boss, he would have personally sat down and terminated long term employees himself during the past 2 years, not leaving the dirty work to his henchman Livak.

      If he were an honorable conservationist as he has publicly claimed, he would not propose the village development in the scope as it exists, but seek to make Squaw a nationally registered scenic resource to be protected for eternity.

      Wirth is a phony and a fraud, plain and simple. 21 resorts in 24 yrs speaks volumes about his integrity. He is nothing more than a puppet and the face of KSL here, and knows nothing about what it really takes to be part of a great community like Squaw.

  • Rob

    I don’t understand where the hate is coming from. I grew up on the Squaw Ski Team when Squaw Valley Ski Corp. was in control. I thought it was a fantastic mountain then, and it is a fantastic mountain now. I ski almost everyday, and other than some new lifts, updated pass technology, and nicer food courts in the lodges, I am not seeing the DRASTIC changes people are talking about. I understand that Squaw has a very “local” aura around it, but I think KSL and Andy Wirth have done a lot of good for both resorts. It is ignorant to say that Alpine has not gotten any better in the last 10 years. There is a high speed six-pack that takes you to the top of the mountain and allows you to access most of the best terrain on the mountain. Maybe grooming has increased, but I fail to see how it is a bad thing when the best powder lines have remained untouched by a cat. Squaw I think has improved a ton. They have kept the integrity of the mountain and have managed to make it a great place for everyone, not just the Tahoe locals. The cookie shop is still around, and has actually grown. As for the employees and the money they received, it’s a reality TV show and this is how the show works. We know there are a ton of employees that work hard and have dreams outside the ski industry as well, but these are the 4 that were picked for the show and I would imagine there was probably a reason for their being chosen. No need to be salty. It is a good thing that these 4 people got what they received.

    • johnnygaper

      Well you don’t know that much about Alpine then. Sure some things have gotten better, the Summit lift is nice, but how many things have gotten worse? Enough to be firmly displeased with KSL. And if you think Squaw still has a “local” aura around it, you don’t know Squaw as well as you think anymore. Aaaaand its hard to notice the “drastic” changes when you ski every day courtesy of your trust fund. Talk to one of the 100+ employees that have been laid off since KSL has taken over, I bet some of them noticed the changes.

      • Rob

        For the sake of discussion, what at Alpine has gotten worse? After skiing and training there several days this winter it seems to me that they have exceptional on and off piste runs.
        I’m confused as to what Squaw has lost in regards to the local crowd. The Tahoe locals, from US Ski Team athletes to the everyday skier, have and will continue to ski Squaw. While I agree it sucks that the lines get long from weekend Bay Area traffic (which, other than a few days this season, hasn’t really been an issue), it’s great in the sense that we have access to cheaper passes and the mountain will be able to make improvements by adding new high speed chairs. Has KT changed? No. Has Granite Chief changed? No. Has Silverado/Broken Arrow changed? No. Etc… The areas of the mountain that all the locals love to ski have for the most part remain unchanged, even the ancient chairlifts that are operating on them.
        And I’m not sure where the trust fund comment came from. That would be nice, but I work part-time year-round to pay for school, skiing, and living.

    • YaddidaShred

      Look into the development proposals going on in the actual valley. They are planning on turning the place into an over built conference center. No Loft Bar, no Olympic Plaza, and no parking lot (which equals no parking for the “expert skiers” that Squaw caters to)… Just hotels, time shares, and private communities where the parking lot used to be.

      • Rob

        Thanks for the info. I was not aware of the proposals for the changes to the parking lot and the additions you mentioned. I was under the impression that they were upgrading olympic plaza, not replacing it. It would be a travesty, neigh, a tragedy to wipe out that area for new buildings. I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea to add some things, but sacrificing the more-or-less historic aspects of Squaw’s apres ski and lodge area would not be awesome.

  • johnnygaper

    Haha at least half of the nice things Andy said were edited (and poorly edited) in after the real conversations took place. Obviously it took a lot of effort to make him not seem like a total D-Bag.

  • JadedTahoeLocal

    I would like to know where the money came from for the payouts at the end. It’s no secret that there are a ton of deserving people that are underpaid and under appreciated in our community. I’m on that mountain every day I can be. I put on my leaky Helly Hansen Coaches uniform and work all day while I watch the corporate guys wear their brand new North Face Jackets for a couple runs. I set courses, carry heavy loads, pull rope line and ski with kids that make me smile form ear to ear. Its rewarding hard work. I don’t do it for the money. I do it for my passion, but its hard to watch even $100,000 in payouts go to 4 people, to achieve their dreams outside of Squaw/Alpine, when we have an extreme wage problem within the Snow Sports Schools. Want to meet the real unsung heroes? Visit the Pass Office and say hi to the working moms, shake your childs coach/instructors hand, high five the lifty, thanks a patroller for keeping you safe, and enjoy your mountain experience. After all, we don’t do this for Andy, we do it for our mountain lifestyle.

    • Ski Bum

      That’s not what I’m hearing from many or experincing myself, but as my post stated, I was referring to Squaw. Alpine seems the same or better to me, but that is certainly a matter of opinion. I don’t ski there a lot, but a few days. I’m glad my pass is good at both and I’m glad I can access it by bus or by the traverse.

  • Ski Bum

    First of all, it’s a reality TV show, so it’s not going to be riveting drama. It’s a short program. I thought it was well done for what that show is and showed both resorts in a good light. Andy and his wife are both very nice people, in my opinion and I have met them both. Andy, not his wife, is the one in charge of both resorts. Like it or not, he’s not going anywhere and has done a lot of good things too. Squaw aquired Alpine because it made sense for lots of reasons. The tasteless comments are unfortunatley typical, but of no value, as they solve nothing. Squaw is a better resort today than it was 10 years ago in almost every respect.

  • Local Retard

    To all of my fellow locals. You guys are IDIOT”S! Cushing had know idea how to run a resort in the 21st century. He ran it like it was 1960. I mean come on you guys. Food Sucked(still does but has gotten better), Lifte’s had no idea how to hold lifts or be nice to the customers(they are much better now). Season passes finally came down. 1400 was ridiculous for a pass. I know Nancy lowered the prices but she was just trying to make the mountain more attractive to the buyers by making it seem like squaw was packed. Squaw is much more crowed since they lowered season passes us true locals know that!! You have to blame that on Nancy not KSL..
    I know it still takes them for ever to open the mountain on a powder day but as you saw in the show they seem to be short handed out there. But it was not any better back when the crushing’s were running it so.
    KSL has made the resort much more appealing to customers and is putting more money into it to make it better. Remember locals if we don’t get paying customers to the resort we love the resort will not be open. Squaw cannot rely only on us locals. We don’t spend enough MONEY for them to survive. You need Visitors. I know it sucks but it’s a fact..
    KSL has a lot to improve on. They have a huge task ahead of them but i believe they will make it happen and make this a better place for us locals. Stop smoking so much weed and clear your mind for a bit. Think outside the box. If they ever combine squaw and alpine? How F in awesome would that be??? Give them a chance.

    • BoGnar

      Shut the fudg up bro. KSL sucks. I would rather pay 1400 than have a fucking shit show of gapers every time the weekend comes around. The food should suck. I am here to ride, eat my PB&J and slug a few PBRs. We fo not meed more signs, Starbucks, better food or any cush BS. I want a ski AREA with reliable lifts and happily employed people.
      Fudge squaw all together.

    • You sir are obviously mentally challenged

      ,,,,,and you should learn remedial spelling. you meant ‘no’ not ‘know’, ‘crowded’, not ‘crowed’

      yep and blame it on technology cause you posted from your douchephone, what a loser, not looser.

      Nan had to sell because she had not a clue and ran things into the ground, was sued by the principle shareholders, (heirs of Cushing) and basically threw us locals under the proverbial bus. Thanks Nan.

      KSL/Wirth are the Idiots cause they bought something that had old and deteriorating infrastructure without knowing how much it would really cost to upgrade and operate. Notice how the ‘Renaissance’ went from $50m to $70m in about a year?

      Another fine example is that douche Livak is still running mtn ops and is a holdover from the Nan days with the old mentality of cutting costs at the expense of delivering a poor experience for guests. He also has a fine track record of real estate development failure when he sold out to Foster/Symes and the failed proposed development at Soda Springs. He then came begging back to Nan for his job. He is unethical in his business practices and has no integrity whatsoever. His word is less than shit.

      Alpine and Squaw feature totally different terrain and accessibility. There is no logical reason to connect beyond what hwy 89 already offers.

      Give it up, I’m way smarter and better than you,,,,

      • English Teacher

        While you make a good argument, if you are going to criticize others for their spelling, you ought to learn the difference between “principle” and “principal”.

    • 1960

      Your really are a Local Retard because obviously you never knew it in the Jim Mott and Mark Mueller days when shit opened everywhere, ON TIME. You actually had to choose where you wanted to go for freshies and no BS 3:45 Headwall openings.

      Employees didn’t like them, but core squaw skiers sure did, he got shit done, on time, no excuses.

      It’s really been pretty pathetic since. no C2 storm days, bullshit ‘progressive’ openings, nobody’s fault except mgmt for understaffing.

      Props to the employees who still bust ass and try to get it done with skeleton crews. You guys and gals still rock!!

      F@#k management for making it so suckish. Hire more people A$$holes!!!

  • Squawbear

    The fact that someone can be the CEO of a business in which they know so little about the details of is unbelievable. Do you think google would be as successful if the founders were real estate developers instead of coders?

    I understand that Squaw/Alpine is a business, and that its got to make a profit to stay in business… thats all well and good. But the issue is a glaring lack of competence of Andy Wirth. The guy went to a second rate university and isn’t a California native, two crucial problems with him.

    Someone should get Sequoia Capital involved. Sequoia is a multi-billion dollar fund with a focus on the environment. Using them, developers would have the money to develop sustainable new developments in the area that would increase revenue without changing the feel and even better, adding to the local vibe

    Oh also, I’m pretty sure the guy who invested in unofficial is part of Sequoia

  • Firebreaker

    Well at least Andy know how his employees feel about everything. I think he did good and we hope he take action to continue to make Squaw and Alpine the special places they are.

  • Wirth less douche bag is a complete n total hypocrite

    Says he’s a conservationist cause his ‘ol dead granddad was NPS director ’54-’63 or something.

    what part of real estate development and heavy commercial construction in a scenic and historically registered resource is ever considered environmental conservation???? Answer that doucheface.

    from the tone of the other comments, he comes off like quite a charlatan too.

    from freedictionary.com definition Charlatan pr. Sharleten noun

    “A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.”

    ,,,,, if the shoe fits,,,,, like a pair of gloves,

  • Wirth less douche bag is a complete n total hypocrite

    Says he’s a conservationist cause his ‘ol dead granddad was NPS director ’54-’63 or something.

    what part of real estate development and heavy commercial construction in a scenic and historically registered resource is ever considered environmental conservation???? Answer that doucheface.

    from the tone of the other comments, he comes off like quite a charlatan too.

    from freedictionary.com definition Sharleten noun

    A person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud.

    ,,,,, if the shoe fits,,,,, like a pair of gloves,

  • Andy H


    I met Writh and his wife outside the resort right after he took over, he was cordial but came across as someone who thinks he has it all figured out brushing aside all my concerns with broad non answers, also admiting he liked horses more than skiing.

    His wife though, looked as if she might try to pepper spray me if I got any closer. Seriously the look on her face was classic.

  • Andy H


    Wirth doesn’t understand Squaw either.

    He needs to spend more time running a mountain and less time promoting himself.

  • Al P. Squawt

    Andy’s performance was exactly as I expected. Toothless, boring and predictable. The man hasn’t got a clue what it means to work at either resort in any position.
    He wouldn’t amount to a pimple on the ass of a real Ski area boss. He’s not qualified to carry skis belonging to greats like Cushing, Badami, Reuter or Saylor.

  • Ha

    Andy is very confused with the difference between family friendly and local skier friendly. The only thing that makes Alpine more family friendly is that beginners don’t have to take an intimidating tram to the bunny hill, and the lifts require you to exert a little more effort to get to the better terrain. Otherwise Alpine and Squaw could not be anymore similar in terms of terrain. How log will it take them to start bulldozing the cliffs that get in the way of the groomers?

  • Roots

    Seems like a desperate move on Wirthless’s part. Sad stunt. Time to start looking at climate change as a great unpredictable phenomenon to eliminate the financial viability of douche bags like this ruining the legacy of such a great place as Squaw. Andy Wirth and all those associated with KSL will never even come close to being on the level of the guys that built Squaw from the ground up. Hell these guys aren’t skiers there more like sad old golfers looking for a excuse to skirt the responsibility of pacifying their lame wives. KSL, QUIT MAKING YOUR POOR LIFE CHOICES EVERYONE IN SQUAW VALLEY’S PROBLEM.

  • Ari kooperman

    It was fake, everyone knew it was Andy and this was just a pathetic PR stunt. Andy isn’t well liked in the small Tahoe community. They should have asked Andy about firing 200 expericed and dedicated employees the first year KSL owned Squaw and firing anonther 200 employees when KSL bought Alpine. He sited lack of snow for the layoffs instead of the truth that he was just cost cutting with no respect for the years of service these people had put in. If he would have stuck his neck out for his employees last year when the snow was thin, a little sacrifice last season would have gone a long way toward building moral and loyalty instead of buying a couple of people fancy gifts on a TV show. This was a truly sad stunt to pull. . Plus they spared him of being in the true line of fire regarding customers and that is the ticket office where customers are never happy and complaints are endless. If they wanted real results, they should have had him try his hand at booking a lesson and or sell a ticket, or help book a room at the resort, it would have been a PR disaster.

      • MaxKnightdipshit

        douche, you obviously missed the point a long, long time ago. we are here to ski the absolute best lift accessed terrian in NA, not own businesses.

        Apparently you are much less than a brilliant businessperson if you want only to run a ‘business’ and try to make money in a seasonal, weather dependent, micro-market cap and rural populated area.

    • Localicious

      400 people fired, that is way overinflated! Not that I’m saying people didn’t lose their jobs, but get the facts straight.

  • Andys Wife

    All time worst comment by Andy’s wife: “hopefully he can dumb it down enough to fit in” Is he that far above his staff? BTW, I want 25K to work on my truck.

    • soulskier

      What do you expect from a woman who worships money? “False gods”? Locals are anything but Dumb! We’ve figured out how to follow our souls and NOT “sell out” to the world of money worship. She doesn’t have a clue how much sacrifice and effort it takes to live the lifestyle enjoying nature. She just follows her husband from town to town destroying it for money- pathetic!

    • nancy

      WOW – and I thought I was the only one to catch that “dummy down” comment. Obviously, most of the replies are from people familiar with Wirth or his business. I never heard of him – I just thought it would be an interesting program to watch. The arrogance of his wife. and even worse, the fact that he did not edit that comment out so as not to hurt his employees turned me off immediately to whatever was to follow. He may retain the staff that received gifts from him, but he will be in trouble with the rest unless he can “buy” some humility.

      • Chris

        Thought the wife’s comment about her husband having to “dumb it down to their level” was absolutely rude…..totally turned off by that…..what a rotten thing to say. Who does she think she is? What a cruel, ignorant person to say such a thing. I can’t stand people who think they are better than others because of how much money they have. Money definitely doesn’t buy class!

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