Andy Wirth, the President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and a Board Member of the Tahoe Fund, will be leading team “Special Welfare Warrior” to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation. The Foundation provides assistance to members of the Navy SEALs and their families. Wirth will anchor the team, participating in the “run” portion of the triathlon. One other team member will perform the swimming portion and another the cycling.
As the head of one of the country’s most prominent ski resorts, Wirth has always loved adventure sports. But in October 2013 this sense of adventure took a frightening twist. While Wirth was skydiving, wind currents carried him away from his landing spot, requiring him to land in a nearby vineyard. Wirth’s arm was nearly completely severed when it caught on a pole. Wirth managed to stem his bleeding long enough to get emergency treatment. Doctors were miraculously able to reattach his arm.
A long, and still ongoing, rehabilitation was necessary to simply get back to day to day functioning, let alone high level athletic competition. During this period, Wirth met a group of Navy SEALs who were training in Squaw Valley. Wirth befriended the group was inspired by their service, their persistence, and their wisdom.
In 2014, Ironman agreed to bring its Triathlon series to Lake Tahoe after a prolonged and persistent lobbying effort by Wirth. Although he was not even a year removed from his accident, Wirth decided to compete in the triathlon. Still recovering, he limited his participation to the marathon run and had teammates handle the other legs. In a salute to the soldiers who inspired his recovery, Wirth used his team’s spot in the race as a vehicle to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation. His team continues its efforts for the second year in a row.
Wirth is encouraging people to contribute to the Navy SEAL Foundation through his fundraising page for the race. Andy Wirth’s fundraising page can be found here.