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Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Mad River Glen Cooperative
Saturday, December 10, 2016 

Attendees:

Jon Anderson

Alan Bates (absent)

Annika Holtan

Meg Hourihan

Matt Kenny (via Skype)

Eric Palola

Ron Shems

Deb Steines (via Skype)

John Tobin

5:00 PM

Call to Order

 

 

5:02 PM

Welcome & Shareholder Comments

 

Rocky suggested that Trustees make themselves available at the Pub for conversation

 

 

5:08 PM

Interim Management Team Report (Various)

 

Sharon Crawford and Eric Friedman presented the attached management reports.

 

 

5:15 PM

Finance Committee Report (John T)

 

There were two meetings this past month, a regular meeting and a strategy meeting.

The balance on the letter of credit drawn on last season is $300,000.

Replacement of the snowmaking electric system was estimated at $145,000.  The first grant payment of $53,788 was received from the Stark Mountain Foundation (SMF) from donations to the Preserve Our Paradise Campaign.

Income and expenditures are both lower than projected.  Because both are lower -the budget is on target.

The final grant payment for the new snow cat was provided by SMF.  Snow cat was fully funded by campaign donations.

 

 

5:25 PM

Fund Raising Committee Report (Annika)

 

The POP Campaign is still in its quiet phase and continues to build volunteer organization.

Early achievements include:

New snow gun

New snow cat

Warming shelter at the top of the Double

New snowmaking electrical system

Endowment at Vermont Community Foundation; currently at $240k.

The POP website is up and November e-newsletter distributed to 455 people. Open rate over 50%.

Materials for campaign and fund-raising training are ready and orientation sessions are being scheduled for volunteers.

 

 

 

5:30 PM

Parking Committee Report (Eric and Ron)

 

Places for satellite parking are being explored along with the hiring of a shuttle service or purchase of a van/bus.

Cooperation with VTrans is solid and on-going

 

 

5:35 PM

Executive Search Committee Report (Meg)

 

More than 50 persons applied for the GM/ED position

The Search Committee:

Reviewed resumes

Called several applicants

Conducted 10 initial interviews

Narrowed the list to six applicants

 

The interview process was deliberately broadened for the second round of interviews.  Second interviews will be conducted by 2 staff, 2 shareholders and 2 trustees not involved in initial interviews 

Two days of second interviews are scheduled

The goal of second-round interviews is to recommend 2 or 3 candidates to the Board for final interviews

The search committee is developing a recommended process for the final interviews

The goal is to make an offer by the end of January.

 

 

5:40 PM

Board Development (Deb)

 

Website will soon announce need for candidates

Candidates will be recruited in the next few weeks

A calendar will be developed

 

 

5:45 PM

Shareholder Tender Requests (Action)

 

12 tenders amounting to $17,498 have been requested

Share sales this fiscal year provide a balance of approximately $62,000 and allow the shares to be tendered

Eric Palola moved and John Tobin seconded that the tender requests be allowed.  The motion was unanimously approved

 

5:50 PM

Holiday Week Town Meeting Discussion

 

Discussions on whether to schedule both a town meeting and regular board meeting will continue.  Scheduling issues include final GM/ED interviews.

 

 

6:00 PM

Action Item Review (Ron)

 

Annika Holtan moved and Meg Hourihan seconded approval the minutes of the November meeting.  The motion passed unanimously.

 

 

6:05 PM

Executive Session

 

 

 

 

6:59 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7:18 PM 

The Board came out of executive session.  Ron Shems moved and Deb Steines seconded the motion to:

 

(1) Appoint Meg Hourihan as interim general manager because we are now moving forward into ski season operations; and

 

(2) Make timely and appropriate communication of this appointment to staff and shareholders. 

 

Deb Steines, Eric Palola, John Anderson, Annika Holtan, John Tobin, Ron Shems and Matt Kenny voted in favor.

Meg Hourihan abstained.

 

The Board adjourned.

 

 

 

 

 

November Management Report

Submitted for December, 2016 Board Meeting

Presented by: Sharon Crawford, Eric Friedman, Meg Hourihan & Nate Martin

 

Key Incident

On Tuesday, November 11, 2016 at approximately 1:30 PM the 911 Dispatcher called the Mad River Glen office asking us to help transport Mad River Valley Ambulance Service (MRVAS) up the hill to respond to a call about an injured skier.  Sharon Crawford took the call who then connected with Pete DeFreest, Mad River Glen’s mechanic who also happens to be the Warren Fire Chief. Pete called the 911 Dispatcher to coordinate uphill transport for the response team. Eric Friedman was in contact with one of the victim’s friends. She gave him the location and they spoke several times to update her on the rescue team’s progress. Pete fired up the snow cat to meet the MRVAS team and took them up the hill. This included Spencer Leonard, a Mad River Glen Ski patroller and MRVAS member, who responded to the call. Eric Clifford, a Bolton Valley ski patroller, happened to be on the mountain skiing at the time and volunteered to head up to the scene on the snow cat. Peter drove the snow cat up to the scene of the accident which was located on the bottom of Partridge, just above the Slalom Hill cut-over. The MRVAS attended to the skier and were brought back down on the snow cat. The young man was moved to the awaiting ambulance at approximately 2:45 PM.  The ambulance went down to the MRVAS helipad in downtown Waitsfield. The DART helicopter flew him to Dartmouth Medical Center in Hanover, NH. The ski area was not open to the public at the time, but there were a fair number of people hiking up to ski/snowboard.

On Wednesday November 23, 2016 John Ayers, Mad River Glen’s Patrol Director, visited the victim’s family at the hospital and met with his father as well as the 3 other young people that he’d been skiing with. John reported that the young man had completed surgery to stabilize his C7 vertebrate which had been broken. The spinal cord was not severed according to the MRI. As of the time of the report he had no feeling below his chest but could move his arms.

On Friday Nov 25 Eric met with Angela Magary, the attorney from MountainGuard, our general liability insurer. Eric had been in close contact with her since the accident. They skinned/snowshoed up to the accident scene and took photos and videos to make sure everything was documented properly in our incident report. She was very happy to hear from us, complimented Eric on reaching out so promptly after the accident and said, "you did the right thing." The Quad Team appreciates Eric's proactive contact with Mountain Guard and all his efforts to improve our communication and relationship with them. And in particular, taking a day from his vacation to hike up.

At the weekly Quad Team meeting, we discussed what happened around the accident, from Pete trying to use the snowmachine before the snow cat, the luck of having patrollers around before we were open, etc. We agreed things went well, but that we can do more to clarify procedures for "non-open" accidents. We worry luck plays too big a part in our success. With the growing number of people visiting and skiing before we're open, we face an increase in the likelihood of future accidents. We discussed various actions to consider and will be changing some operational procedures going forward. There will be updates in subsequent management reports outlining these procedures.

 

Mountain Ops

All lifts are inspected and ready to go!

The Snowmaking system electric project is complete. The ops team is pleased with Royal Electric’s service and feels like the installation went perfectly. The system is ready to be fired up just as soon as temperatures allow.

The old wires and electrical infrastructure will be removed in the spring. While it is still unsightly it is safe for our skiers and we look forward to the aesthetics to be improved upon removal. This removal simply couldn’t be done prior to the season.

Water levels are continually improving and we are more confident of our ability to have enough to make snow. Groundwater levels remain relatively low and this still may mean that we will have a shorter snowmakingwindow especially if temps get too cold.

Our goal is to focus our snowmaking “firepower” on the main mountain versus the Practice Slope. If we get close to Christmas week and the likelihood of opening the main mountain is looking limited we may make the call to switch over to get the Practice Slope open as a last resort. This strategy can come back to bite us potentially but it has the full support of the Management team and the Department Heads.

Nate continues to work with Meg on the Cap Ex plan to ensure that the plans are clear, complete and ranked by priority. CapEx will also be reviewed by the rest of the Department Heads when they return to work on December 5th.

Administration

The audit field work has been completed and we have received a draft

Share Sales

Share sales for November – with 7 sold FY 2017 year to date (FY budget of 30) are as follows;

New sub 1

New full - 0

Shares converted to P.S. - 0

Tendered shares -1

 

Ticket Office

Complete pre-season sales and APR payments are noted in the Monthly Financials

As of the end of November total Mad Card sales are 13% down from the same period as last year.

Regular Mad Cards are up 1%, Shareholder Mad Cards are down 15% and Family mad Cards are down 24%.

Invoices for delinquent APR’s will be mailed in early December.

Marketing

Liftopia online ticket inventory has been activated and sales are starting to roll in. We are not linking directly to our MRG online ticketing store at this time as we don’t want to impinge on pre-season Mad Card sales. We are going to consider selling Mad Cards on Liftopia but there are logistical issues to consider along with the commission structure.

 

The Happy Trails Program, our new customer service initiative, has been finalized and is ready for introduction to staff and implementation. It has been warmly received by our entire staff.

We continue to finalize our Web listing commitments from local businesses and make the rounds to various local businesses doing the normal outreach and check-ins. Meeting business owners, distributing brochures, snow report posters, etc.

 

Investigating the potential for electric car charging stations with both Tesla and Green Mountain Power.  Tesla has already offered us a charger at no cost. I have had preliminary discussions with Nate about potential placement. Tesla chargers are brand specific so we are also talking to GMP about their charging station options as well.

Ongoing communications & Social Media Efforts

Ski Patrol

John Ayers has been incredibly helpful in regard to the recent accident. He reached out to the vicitim’s family and has been giving us updates. This is the kind of personal contact that truly differentiates John, our ski patrol, and Mad River Glen.

Basebox

Sharon and Eric continue to meet with Mike Witzel to finalize plans for the upcoming season and to begin the process of reviewing financial results on an on-going basis. On November 14 we met with him to review General Stark’s Pub off-season financials. As a result, we determined that off-season operations next year for General Stark’s Pub will be from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend offering dinners on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday brunch. This eliminates the Sunday dinner, leaving Sunday nights available for private functions.

We have purchased a new water bottle filling station (similar to airports and schools) to replace the water fountain located by the dish-room on the cafeteria level of the Basebox. We will offer MRG-branded collapsible water bottles for sale at the cafeteria, and we will discontinue bottled water sales.

The new cloud-based point of sale system, LAVU, that we introduced in the Pub last season has been expanded into the cafeteria and the 3rd floor. This will eliminate the old cash registers and enable us to take credit cards at all the locations in the Basebox. Mike is also planning on setting up a Square account for the Birdcage so they too can accept credit cards.

Michael is putting a focus on the 3rd floor this season in an effort to expand its usage and improve revenues. He’s negotiated a plan with Farrell’s, one of our beer distributors, to add a tap line system for the 3rd Floor Snack Bar. It will be a limited system with two taps. He will augment the offerings up there with canned beer options, as well as specialty drinks for kids (bottled root beer, Shirley Temples and hot chocolate). Installation of the Lavu system upstairs will also enable our guests to order apres ski pub food from the third floor for pick-up in the cafeteria line. This will give visitors another place to hang out after skiing and ease congestion in the Pub on busy days. Consideration is underway for a name for this new hang-out area.

Progress is being made on a much improved recycling system for the Basebox. More details to follow, we hope is to have it ready by the start of ski season.

20 new chairs have been purchased for the Basebox and we will replace old stock bit by bit on an annual basis.

General Stark's Pub will be open on weekends starting December 9th no matter if the mountain is open or not:

Friday Night Fish Fry 4:30 to 8:30 PM

Saturday Lunch & Apres 11 AM to 6 PM

Sunday Lunch & Apres 11 AM to 6 PM

The Ski Season Launch Party is set for Saturday December 10th. Santa Claus will be coming to MRG and kids (of all ages) will have the opportunity to sit with St. Nick's on the Single Chair from 3-5 PM. Then folks can enjoy dinner and libations in General Stark's Pub. The evening will climax with a performance by The Grift, MRG's favorite apres ski band!

Cricket Club

Eric has been working with Callie to receive a waiver on the new state regulations required for daycare directors. This should not be a problem as they will certainly consider over 40 years of experience and exemplary accolades from families and colleagues.

Callie and her key staff member, Leslie Montalto are attending the Vermont Ski Resort Childcare Conference on December 2.

The Cricket Club is ready to go whenever the season begins.

Ski School

Seasonal Kids Programs revenues as of the end of November are $128, 215 which is about 12% off YTD in FY 2016

The Ski School staff had their annual pre-season meeting on November 19th. It was great to see all of the returning instructors. Eric spoke to the group to give an update from mountain management.

Leigh Clark, the Assistant Director has been coming in once or twice a week to begin prepping for the upcoming season.

Retail Shop

Overview

Eric and I collaborated on the Holiday Post Card mailing. The thought was to drive both General Store online business and sell Mad Cards. The post card looked great and through careful work by Vee and our new mailing house dupes were greatly reduced which reduced cost over prior years’ mailings.

We took delivery of goods on or about 11/15/16. Another round of our non-logo goods are due to arrive on or about 12/1/16.

11/30/16 we had our first vendor clinic day. Clinic days see our vendors come to meet staff and teach us about their product and how to drive sales. 11/30 we welcomed reps from Patagonia, Marmot and Julbo.

Sales
Gross sales for the month of November were gross $7,887.95 net $7,243.23. These numbers are off of last year same period $10,771.17 and $10,197.47 respectively. While this seems significant we are on target for our budgeted amount of $7,000. Analyzing where the differences were I see that $1,852.97 is attributable to a drop in boot bag sales and the home goods category. All other categories tracked similarly to last year. I will have Eric highlight the underperforming categories in his store communications.

Looking forward we will take delivery of non-logo goods this first week of December. For example: ski poles, gloves/mitts, base layers, goggles and sundries.

The store will be open daily starting with the Season Launch Party December 10th.

Another vendor clinic day is scheduled for 12/14/16. We will meet with Smith, Giro, and Parlor.

Looking forward to a strong December with blessings from the great Ullr!

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