The summer of 2020 is coming to an end. 

Did summer happen?

Did I miss summer?

The summer of 2020 definitely won't be on Top 10 summers list.

2020 started like most New Year’s celebrations. 

I was in bed by 10 Pacific time after watching the ball drop in Times Square.  

Ski season was in full swing for us. 

Lots of snow to begin the ski season then the faucet turned off in January. From mid-January through early March there was zero snow.

Yes, no snow at all.

Then the floodgates opened in early March. 

Snow everywhere, feet of snow not inches. 

And it kept coming until...

The ski resorts shut down because of COVID-19.

But the snow kept coming. 

And coming. 

Fresh snow piling up and nobody could enjoy over 30 feet of fresh powder.

The views on the webcams were amazing. 

Not since the late 1950’s has there been so much untouched snow at Squaw Valley.

You see, there were no ski resorts at Lake Tahoe in the 1950’s. 

When the 1960 Olympics came to Squaw Valley it was the beginning of the ski industry at Lake Tahoe. 

It's a crazy story how the Olympics came to Lake Tahoe.

Alex Cushing convinced the Olympic Committee that Squaw Valley was perfect for the 1960 Olympics.

One small problem...

There was no ski resort.

There were beautiful untouched mountains that presented an opportunity. 

In fact, Walt Disney attended the 1960 Olympics and fell in love with the Sierra Nevada mountains. He was so inspired he used a lot of the mountain scenery in the rides at Disneyland.

Cushing was an amazing salesmen who shared his dream with the Olympic Committee. 

He painted the picture of what Squaw Valley would look like as the host of the 1960 Olympics. 

Pictures speak louder than words and Cushing spoke in images as he convinced them. 

And they fell in love with his vision. 

The 1960 Olympics were small compared to today’s Olympics. Only 30 countries participated and it wasn’t the commercial event we see today. 

Alex Cushing saw an opportunity and took massive action. 

He single-handedly built a multi-billion dollar industry. 

And the industry grew exponentially for decades. 


The weather became unpredictable in recent years. 

Droughts limited snowfall.

When snow came, high winds closed the lifts. 

In fact, wind gusts of 198 MPH were recorded in 2018.

The resorts suffered and lost millions. 

They only had one revenue stream. They counted on people buying lift tickets every time they wanted to ski.

You could only buy one ticket at a time so if the snow wasn’t good or it was too windy to run the lifts, the resort lost money.

Lift ticket prices rose every year. I remember the first time Squaw Valley started charging $25 a day to ski.

That was too rich for our budget so we skied at the smaller resorts for $10 to $15 a day.

Today, you'll drop up to $180 a day for a lift ticket if you don't plan ahead.

Always creative, resorts started offering season passes at "reasonable" rates. 

Pre-pay your ski season and use your pass as often as you want. 

Some locals ski over 100 days a year which turns out to be around $6 a day. 

Some Bay Area residents buy their season pass and end up skiing one or two weekends so the resort comes out ahead. 

The ski areas saw an opportunity and took action.

You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about skiing in August. 

I guess I’m sick and tired of being stuck in my house. It's over 100 degrees outside and the toxic smoke from fires is so thick we can’t go outside. Add a dose of COVID and we're going stir crazy!

There are 4 major fires surrounding us so we can't even go for a ride to the beach to get away.

I’m so ready for ski season to start because the fires will be out and hopefully COVID-19 won’t be dominating our lives. 

With every economic downturn, there are massive opportunities. Some companies see opportunities and thrive. 

Other companies try to wait it out. This never works.

What opportunities are you overlooking in your business?

Stay safe!


P.S. Squaw Valley announced yesterday that they were changing their name because Squaw is a derogatory word and offends the Washoe Indians who live in the Tahoe area.

About the author 

Ted Prodromou

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