Board of Trustees Meeting Mad River Glen Cooperative
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2017
Attendance: Jon Anderson, Alan Bates, Annika Holtan, Meg Hourihan, Matt Kenny, Eric Palola, Ron Shems, John Tobin, Deb Steines – absent
5:15 PM Call to Order
5:16 PM Annika – Congratulations to the young couple who got engaged at the top of the single at 4:00 this afternoon.
5:08 PM Approve minutes of January 14, 2017 (Action)
Deri wants to amend his shareholder comment in the January 14 draft minutes as follows:
Deri Meier – asked about the compensation for interim manager’s contract and whether that sets a precedent. The Board President said that was confidential. Meier then responded that he had been told by Trustee Shems, $50/hour for approximately 20 hours/week through January, 2017, but extendable.
Matt Kenny Moved and John Tobin seconded that the minutes be adopted with Deri’s proposed change.
All in favor.
5:09 Management Report (Meg) - See below
Matt Lillard’s first day is March 4, Meg’s last is March 3. He is very psyched to start
January shut down was brief. We’ve been open more than closed this year, big turn-around from last year.
904 tickets sold on “Roll Back the Clock Day” Many to first-time MRG skiers.
Liftopia sales and packages doing well (packages include a 2-hour clinic and ticket).
Anticipating 2 feet of snow going into Presidents’ Day Weekend
Kids in the ski school program have been doing sweep with Patrollers. Patrol has been taking out six kids who volunteer on Saturday and Sunday. Kids and Patrollers think it’s great and all have a good time and want to learn. This foster cooperation and innovation having patrol and ski school work together.
5:15 PM Finance Committee Report (John T)
January income was behind budget but Co-op’s cash position was strong enough to pay down LOC another $75,000. Current balance on LOC is $75,000
The CapEx review by all department heads is now complete and significant new potential CapEx expenditures have been identified. The next step will be review of the CapEx spreadsheet by Matt Lillard.
Draft audit reviewed by the FC and minor changes were made by CPA. FC recommends that the Board approve the final audit.
Matt Moved and John T seconded to approve audit. All in favor.
5:30 Fund Raising Committee Report (Annika)
- In January, the Co-op received grants totaling $54,288 to help fund the snowmaking electrical work that was completed prior to the start of the ski season.
- The Stark Mountain Paradise Fund at the VCF now has donor designated deposits of $250k.
- The Co-op is working with the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) to look at the economic impact of MRG to Washington County. MRVPD acquired Implan modeling software used by the US Forest Service to measure economic drivers and their impact on the local economy. Results from the input-output model could be useful when speaking to prospective donors. For example, the Blueberry lake mountain bike trials bring approximately $1.8M to the Valley
- A volunteer training session is scheduled for Thursday, February 23rd.
- The January e-newsletter was distributed. The next edition will go out in March.
Question from Wendy Harmon as to when “quiet phase” will be over and “public phase” will begin. We are developing a “critical mass” and working hard to launch the public phase in late 2017.
Bob Demont commends Annika’s excellent and very hard work, and the enormous amount of time she has and is putting into the Campaign!! He says that Annika is fantastic to work with.
The Board and shareholders attending the meeting enthusiastically agree with Bob Demont’s commendation.
5:35 Parking Committee Report (Ron)
Need to meet with Nate and Meg, determine what short-term steps need to be implemented and any budget implications, e.g. sheriff and other measures.
5:40 Board Development (Action)
Jon Anderson – Rocky does not need to run, and we have 7 very-qualified candidates. He asked that we approve the following candidate slate:
In-state candidates: Alan Bates, Meg Schultz and Paula Rae
Out-of-state candidates: John Tobin, Matt Milan, Steve Miele, and Lisa Rockefeller
Eric moved and Matt seconded to accept slate, All in favor
5:45 Proposed changes for monthly meetings (John T)
Presently, the Board meets on the 2nd Sat. of each month and the Finance Committee meets the Thursday before. This leaves little time for staff to prepare financials. Also, many payables come later in the month afterward after the meetings, so the information is incomplete and not as accurate as could be. John T suggests that we move FC meeting one week later, which means that the Board meeting should also be moved. We would be one month behind, but FC meetings would see more timely numbers.
Specifically, the proposal is to move meetings to:
FC: 3rd Thursday of month, (Thurs prior to Board mtg)
Board: 3rd Saturday of the month, New schedule to start in May, after the April Annual meeting.
Eric P moves and Annika seconds. All in favor
5:55 Additional Shareholder Comments
Rocky, suggests that Board meeting be moved from 5:00 to 5:15 during the season so that patrons can make use of Molly’s (new third floor snack bar/pub).
6:50 - The Board came out of executive session
Eric moved and Jon A. seconded that Meg be paid $6,500 for hours in excess of 20 hours/week that she worked from December 10, 2016 to January 28, 2017 because of her assumption of the Interim GM duties.
Meg and Alan Bates abstained
All others in favor
Alan Bates moved and Matt seconded that the contract with Meg be extended from January 29, 2017 through March 4, 2017 for up to 40 hours/week for continuation of the interim GM duties.
Meg abstained. All others in favor
The Board adjourned
January Management Report DRAFT
Submitted for February 11, 2017 Board Meeting
Letter from the GM
Our strong December start soured as we hit a typical January thaw. On January 12 we were forced to
suspend all operations, re-opening with only the Practice Slope for the MLK Jr long weekend, and then
suspending all operations again until January 19. The weather returned in our favor, with snow and colder
temperatures and on January 31we Rolled Back the Clock to Mad River’s opening day ticket price of $3.50
and saw 904 tickets sold. Many new faces and first-timers were welcomed and experienced a great day of
The forecast continues to look good as we head into the bulk of the season. Lessons and Cricket Club
reservations are on the books for the Presidents Week holiday period, the coverage on the mountain has
survived the most recent warming event, and staff is feeling positive.
Most importantly, the Board hired Matt Lillard as our new General Manager. Matt’s currently the GM at
Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, AK and he will be returning to Vermont in early March to begin here March
4. My last day as Interim GM will be March 3. We’re excited to welcome Matt and look forward to working
with him to close out our season. As the date nears, we’ll
Thank you for your continued support and the opportunity to steward our Coop through this period of
Interim General Manager &
President, Board of Trustees
Mad River Glen Cooperative
The office financial team has been hard at work completing the annual audit for Board approval. In
addition, the tax returns are being prepared and necessary paperwork and preparations are underway for
the upcoming Board elections.
The Basebox is in high gear for the season now. The new tap system’s been positively received and
bartenders are enjoying the more streamlined ability to serve customers. The point-of-sale system’s been
extended into the cafeteria and the third floor. Molly’s is open on the weekends on the third floor with
2 runners delivering après food as the word gets out to those looking for a calmer beer and hot chocolate
scene. Live music continues and and turnout has been strong. The new chairs were delivered and all
projects are complete for the rest of the season.
Many happy families and reservations booked into March.
Plenty of positive press coverage on the hiring of Matt Lillard, our new GM. Coverage in Juneau and
Vermont, as well as industry newsletters, spread the word. Also there was a nice article in Powder
Magazine about east coast skiing and Mad River Glen, featuring a quote from Betsy Pratt.
Online ticket sales through Liftopia continue to bring in new skiers and some mid-week revenue. Roll-Back-
The-Clock Day brought many first-timers to Mad River for a bluebird day and great conditions. The positive
vibe extended throughout the base area and staff reported the Pub was full of unfamiliar happy faces at the
end of the day.
Happy Trails Update
This program is starting to show results in January with six Happy Trails checks being issued totaling $367
in value. Three were for food and beverage, totaling $15, one was for a rental set-up, one was for a lift
ticket and another was for two all-day kids programs. The program is working well and we are working out
some reporting kinks so we can get a better indication of how they are being used and how it’s creating
communication and engagement with customer service.
We have finished snow making for the year. Thank you again to SMF, generous donors, and the Board of
Trustees for funding the electrical upgrades in fall 2016. It made us feel much safer making snow this year.
Just remember part of the electric still needs to be replaced. We still need to get a snowmaking box over
by s-turn. We have had some people asking us to make snow on s-turn. Royal would not have had time to
do that work last fall as we started that project late in the year. With last year’s bid, we are looking at
around $30,000 to finish that part of the job.
We finely have snow so we can do some real grooming. We got some great footage of the sunrise and
grooming with the drone a couple of weeks ago. Everyone’s been having a great time skiing. Everything
seems to be going very well and hopefully we continue to get snow.
We seem to have eradicated the draft issues in the Stark's Nest fireplace with a new cap on top of the
chimney. We will now be able to have fires on the weekends and not smoke everyone out. Our accident
rate is staying low with relatively minor injuries. The Freeski team has been very helpful in trail foot packing
and tree clearing. Ski School has been joining us on sweep and it’s been great to have such
interdepartmental cooperation. The pro patrol and volunteers have worked very hard in these freeze/thaw
cycles, really glad to be at 100%. And new jackets and pants arrived for pro patrollers, folks are looking
Ski School continues to have a strong season. Reservations for President’s week are coming in and the
weather looks promising.
We’ve had good success with several new kids programs thanks to some great interdepartmental
cooperation. A few new learning opportunities include:
• Jr. Patrol/Guide program – Members of the development team and Freeski team have been doing
sweep with the Patrol. This great learning/eye-opening experience exceeded our expectations, and
the kids, their parents, and the Patrol are very happy with the results. We will be expanding this
program going forward.
• Taste of Racing – The Race department has partnered with us to provide a fun introduction to racing
program. For more details, see the Race Team section.
The Fayston Elementary preschool program was a big success. We’ve signed up two kids for the seasonal
program for the remainder of this year, with many more parents making plans to enroll their kids for next
season. There were eight parent volunteers, and three Fayston teachers in attendance who got to
experience first-hand how extraordinary the MRG Ski School staff is. We created a great amount of
goodwill in the community, and started a great buzz about the quality of the staff.
Inn Keeper Ambassador Program, and personal Thank You Note/Return Visit discount programs have
begun and are on-going.
The Liftopia lift/lesson program is gaining momentum. So far we’ve sold seven packages, with six of them
to first time MRG visitors. These guests informed us that having the lesson/guide as part of their
experience was the reason for their visit. We are currently working out some operational issues with this
program with regard to scheduling.
Mid-Week Seasonal Women’s program has been moved for scheduling reasons to the five Fridays in
March. We’re calling it March Mountain Mamas at Mad River Glen.
The team is off to a strong start this year. A successful lasagna fundraising dinner allowed for the purchase
of six new radios to improve coach communication and safety on the hill. The team has travelled to events
at Jay Peak, Magic Mountain, and Stowe, with very respectable results in all age groups. At home the
rescheduled Jr Unconventional Terrain Competition went off with great success and assistance from Patrol
and volunteers. We’re looking forward to hosting the Unconventional Terrain later this month and traveling
to Jay in March for the STEFT Finals.
Race Department is pleased to be back in regular operation on the Practice Slope. The quality of the
surface (depth and width) are meeting our needs and helping us fulfill our training and racing obligations.
We’ve purchased and received donations on gate parts and panels so that we have enough equipment to
host our races this season. The next Mad River Ski Club social event will be 2/18 and the Family
Tournament has tentatively been rescheduled (due to the lack of snow on MLK day) for 2/20 (Presidents'
Junior Race Program
The Program cancelled a USSA U14 race scheduled for 1/22/2017 due to inadequate surface and limited
terrain. We did successfully host a USSA U12 race on 2/5/2017. Terrain and the surface by that point in
time had improved to safely run the race.
In an effort in generate interest and improve athlete skill base, the Program began working with Ski School
to initiate a "Fast Start" program. Fast Start is an opportunity afforded to season long children's program
skiers where they join the Junior Race Program from 9:00-9:30am each Saturday morning for an intro into
racing before their lesson starts. Currently a pilot program, we hope to extend it to 8:30-9:30 am and offer it
Sunday's as well. This initiative may require additional staffing, but is seen as a positive way to bridge the
gap between Ski School and the Junior Race Program, recruit new racers while improving skier's technical
skills at no additional cost to the athlete.
We hosted the VPA, Burlington HS race on 1/27/17. Turn out was marginal due to the uncertainty of
operations in the week(s) prior to the event. As a result, three schools withdrew from the race and attended
other races instead. Our next event is 2/10, the Harwood Union Dual Panel Slalom event. We hope to have
a much larger field size for that event.
Rental & Repair Shop
The shop is seeing good business on tunes and rentals. Roll-Back-The-Clock Day brought in folks putting
on skis for the first time in many years. Discount tune offer during the January thaw and shut-down period
brought in some extra business.
Karen says it’s great to be back in the shop and in the office! She’s still doing what she can from home as
she approaches full weight bearing on her leg. January had busy times and some slow weeks but we came
out in great shape just missing sales numbers by less than $500. Highlights were Roll Back The Clock Day
and unexpected business that continued right through Super Bowl Sunday. RBTC was phenomenal. Lots
of new and old faces. Plenty of enthusiasm for the MRG experience and for picking up trinkets and T's to
celebrate the day. The vibe was palpable.
Thank goodness for snow fill ins which kept the week rolling with stronger than expected sales for a mid
week period. The snowy days helped sell lots of goggles and what goes well with new goggles? Helmets!
Folks have discovered the great boot bags, new house gift items like painted pottery and pillows. Our new
T shirt designs continue to do well. Also continue to see uptick in the ladies department. Very encouraging.
We are all stocked up and ready for February break weeks.
Office work now focuses on securing early season order payment terms and discounts on next season’s
goods. By ordering early we can negotiate 90 day terms and up to 10% discounts with our larger vendors.
We are analyzing sales-to-date and determining what to bring in next year