Andy Wirth, President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, is a living story of strength and overcoming the odds. Along with a very impressive career, including receiving multiple community service and professional awards, Wirth is an athlete. He enjoys working out on a regular basis, running trails, and has competed in numerous marathons and triathlons.
It was this love of working out and adventure that led to a tragic day in October of 2013. Wirth, along with a few friends, went skydiving. The conditions of the day altered his course and forced him to make his final landing in a less than ideal spot, a vineyard.
As Andy Wirth descended (http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323846504579073381471958044), one of the steel poles that held the vines in place took off Wirth’s arm. He quickly realized he was in trouble, but with his experience as a backcountry ranger he knew the most important thing he had to do was stay calm.
Andy Wirth recalls that while trying to calm himself, “Just Breath” by Pearl Jam came to mind and he began to sing the lyrics to himself. It became his narrative that afternoon as he spent 15 minutes with his fist planted under his brachial artery to stench the blood flow before he was found.
An article on Crunchbase shows that Andy Wirth was loaded into an ambulance and then a helicopter that took him to the hospital where he spent 3 months recovering. In the end, the avid runner, cyclist, and triathlete had his arm back after struggling through a physical and emotional journey. He was back to running by March, though it was difficult to regain his previous fitness standards.
After lots of time training, he alerted his longtime friend and IRONMAN CEO Andrew Messick that he was back in the fitness game and convinced Messick to hold IRONMAN 70.3 in Tahoe, home of Wirth’s resort.
Wirth put together a relay team called Special Warfare Warrior Support Team who raised funds for the Navy Seal Foundation. Despite the difficulty of running with his arm in a brace, Wirth found strength in his new friendships and trained like never before. He’ll be competing in the up-in-coming IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Tahoe, and that will mark the end of a long and difficult journey he has embarked on in returning his life and health back to normal.