Mad River Glen Cooperative
Board of Trustees Meeting
Minutes – Saturday, March 15th, 2008
Draft – Pending Review
After due notice, a Board of Trustees meeting of the Mad River Glen Cooperative was convened at 5:07 p.m. on Saturday, March 15th, 2008 on the third floor of the Basebox at Mad River Glen Ski Area (“MRG”) in Fayston, Vermont.
Trustees Jay Appleton, Paul Finnerty, Geordie Hall, Steve Mackenzie (departed at 6:10 p.m.), Eric Schoenholz (phone), Bill Reynolds, Rick Moulton, and Jed Kalkstein were present.Lars Bruns was absent.Also present was President Jamey Wimble, Board Candidates Betsy Jondro, Bruce Button and approximately ten shareholders.
Jay Appleton, chair, called the meeting to order at 5:07 p.m.
Trustee Hall moved to accept the minutes of February 9, 2008 and Trustee Reynolds seconded the motion.The trustees approved the February 9th minutes without changes by a vote of 7-0.Trustee Hall complimented the Secretary on the timely completion of the minutes.
Shareholder Vivian Branchofsky commented that the mountain staff had done an excellent grooming.Shareholder Betsy Jondro commended management and staff for getting the mountain back in shape after the recent ice storm.
MANAGEMENT REPORT (Jamey Wimble):
President Wimble presented the management report.The ice storm on March 8th required that Single be shut down due to ice accumulation but staff were able to get the double running by 9:45 a.m.Mad River fared better than Sugarbush, which only had one of its lower mountain lifts running.On February 12 an ice jam in the stream caused a flood in the base area.Water poured into the bottom floor of the basebox.Staff from all departments chipped in to help clean up.Due to the high deductible on the Coop’s flood insurance, no claim was made.
President Wimble noted that the worker’s comp insurance was going to have a large increase due to the experience mod going up but the liability insurance premium would go down due to the mountain’s excellent track record.
President Wimble reported that the Coop has sold 5 shares for the month of February and 21 year to date.Trustee Schoenholz asked if there were any additional requests for redemption.President Wimble responded that there has only been one new redemption request this year.
Trustee Mackenzie asked whether, given the amount of snow still on the mountain, there were any marketing strategies directed at raising revenue by milking the end of the year.President Wimble responded that the issue in the spring season was not so much the amount of snow but the lack of skiers.He advised that the mountain would be looking to reduce costs by running only the Single chair on weekdays and the Single and the double on weekends.Birdland is done for the season.Trustee Moulton commented that keeping the mountain open later this spring will generate good will and help us sell passes this fall.
Trustee Mackenzie noted that Bolton was currently offering steeply discounted seasons passes for next year and wondered if this was something we should consider.President Wimble responded that this type of strategy usually indicated a cash flow problem and would likely result in a significant loss in revenues from pass sales overall.
Trustee Reynolds questioned if the increase in the worker’s comp insurance was due to any particular type of injuries and whether there was something we could do to cut down on injuries.President Wimble responded that the injuries were all over the board and that there was no discernable pattern.He said that the Coop’s worker’s comp carrier was working with the various departments in an attempt to prevent injuries.
Bob Rogers commented that he has observed three lift attendants at the base of the Single and wondered if the mountain could cut down on personnel to save money.President Wimble responded that one of these attendants was probably the roamer who is assigned to relieve the lift operators assigned to the Single and at this point we will be cutting back on staff.
FINANCIAL REPORT (Jamey Wimble):
President Wimble reported that the Coop was looking to come in with a$150,000 to $200,000 profit for the season.
Trustee Hall commented that a number of expenses were well over budget.President Wimble responded that the Coop experienced a number of unbudgeted expenses including two weeks of operation in December, increases in plowing, sanding, electricity and food prices.It was noted that the February expenses for the basebox were 40% over budget.President Wimble advised that he would be working with Mike Witzel to try and get a handle on the basebox expenses.
It was noted that the yield on day tickets was under budget.Trustee Moulton commented that management should keep the low yield on day tickets in mind when setting ticket prices for next year.President Wimble advised that the yield on day tickets was up compared to last year.
The trustees discussed the effect that comp tickets had on day ticket yields.Trustee Schoenholz noted that the comp tickets are not a big influence on yields (about $2.50 in yield overall) and he felt that the Mad Cards had a far greater influence on ticket yields.Trustee Schoenholz recommended looking at the pricing model to increase the yields for next year.Trustee Kalkstein noted that he would be surprised if we did not see an increase in day ticket prices next season. Trustee Moulton urged management to hold the line on season pass prices.
Trustee Hall asked about the projected profit of $150 – 200K.President Wimble responded that he expected the profit to come in closer to $150K depending on the amount of Mad Card breakage.
Betsy Jondro noted that Basebox revenue was up but that expenses were up also, she asked whether management was considering raising prices in the Basebox.President Wimble responded that management will have to look a food prices.He noted that the revenue split between the bar and cafeteria is currently 50/50, whereas before the cafeteria would bring in far more revenue.
Trustee Finnerty asked for an explanation of the Basebox cost increases.President Wimble responded that the increases were largely due to increases in food prices and wages.
Bob Rogers commented that the bar and restaurant seem to be understaffed on weekends.
Lu Putnam suggested that management look into painting the roof on the office.She also noted that the restrooms are usually dirty and she hoped that they will be painted and that the ceiling down stairs will be fixed.
Trustee Schoenholz concurred with Bob Rogers’ comment about the Basebox being understaffed.He noted that ski school and rental and repair shop numbers are way up and that the Basebox is not keeping up with skier visits.Vivian Branchofsky commented that another waitress would really help.
Trustee Hall commented that Mike Witzel is doing a fantastic job and has really worked hard this year to improve the food and beverage service.
SHARE REDEMPTION SUSPENSION (Trustee Schoenholz):
The shareholder redemption policy was left unchanged.One share per month will be redeemed.Trustee Appleton stated that he hoped that the rate of redemption can be increased.
SINGLE CHAIR CAMPAIGN UPDATE (Trustee Hall):
Trustee Hall mentioned that the campaign has reached the $1.54M mark and, with what is in the pipeline, the campiagn is only $45k short of the 1.65 Mgoal, which we hope to reach by the annual meeting.He reminded everyone that there are only 20 chairs left for sponsorship and he encouraged anyone who was interested in sponsoring a chair to contact the office as soon as possible.Trustee Hall thanked everyone for their donations and support.
Trustee Hall reported that a survey was done of the tower donors and that 15 of 16 of the donors were satisfied with the location of the plaques, but 3 of those were okay with the placement but would prefer a different location and 1 donor was dissatisfied with the present location of the plaque.Trustee Hall advised that in order to be viewed without interference with the operation of the lift, the Ski Patrol and SMF/PTV plaques would be moved.Trustee Hall stated that the Single Chair Campaign Committee had looked into the plaque placement issue and recommended that the current policy should stand.
Trustee Hall recommended that a plaque containing lists of Chair and Tower donors be placed in the Basebox.Trustee Mackenzie commented that this was a great idea because 30 years from now people would be interested in reading the names of the shareholders who made donations to save the Single chair.Trustee Kalkstein disagreed and stated that there are too many plaques around the Basebox.He suggested that the lists of donors be posted on the website.
Fritz Branchofsky asked what the level of default on donations was for the campaign.Trustee Hall responded that the level of default was minimal.Trustee Schoenholz stated that there was currently $9,504 owed on pledges.He noted that this was a very low percentage of default.
Vivian Branchofsky noted that many of the numbers had come off of the chairs and asked if the numbers were going to be painted on the chairs.President Wimble responded that the engineers at Dopplemey C-Tec are working on this.
ANNUAL CAPITAL PLAN (ACTION)
President Wimble presented the Annual Capital Plan.He requested that the Board vote to approve Tier 1 expenditures and revisit Tier 2 expenditures at a later date.The Board discussed the various proposed expenditures in the capital plan.
President Wimble noted that Sugarbush was selling two Pisten Bully snow groomers at a very good price ($20 – 30k less than a new machine) and that we had until June of this year to decide.The Board debated the merits of purchasing one of the machines as a replacement for the Co-op’s older groomer and it was decided that discussion the purchase should be tabled until a later date.
Trustee Hall moved to approve the proposed Tier 1 expenditures of $95,800 and Trustee Schoenholz seconded the motion.The trustees approved the motion by a vote of 7-0.
Executive Committee - Trustee Appleton reported that the executive committee approved one hardship request for share redemption.
Personnel Committee- Trustee Appleton reported that the personnel committee has been working on the performance evaluation of the President & General Manager.
CLOSING SHAREHOLDER COMMENTS
Fritz Branchofsky asked how the refurbished Single chair was working out.President Wimble responded that generally the Single Chair has been working very well but that there has been one small leak in the gearbox that the engineers will look at this summer.There has also been a vibration in the cable just after the mid-station that the engineers know about but there is nothing wrong from a safety standpoint.They will look to reduce the vibration by stiffening up the hold-down tower.Trustee Appleton commented that the Single chair ride is now 10 minutes top to bottom at a speed of 575 feet per minute.He noted that our Single chair is the fastest fixed grip lift in North America.
Dave Prescott commented that there is rebar sticking out 2-3” from the tower foundations.President Wimble responded that management would be looking into this.
Lu Putnam commented that new stairs are needed in the Birdcage.
Trustee Reynolds moved that the Board go into executive session and Trustee Moulton seconded the motion.The motion passed 7-0 and the Board went into executive session.
Trustee Hall addressed the Board at the beginning of the Executive Session and then recused himself.
Trustee Moulton made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Trustee Appleton.The meeting was adjourned after a 6-0 vote to adjourn at 8:20 pm.
Respectfully submitted, William Reynolds
A true record.
Lars Bruns, Secretary