Out-of-State Candidate Matthew Milan

2021 MRG Co-Op Board Out-of-State Candidate

Matthew Milan

Rossland, BC, Canada.

Candidate Statement & Bio

I am the current President of the Co-op. I have served as the Treasurer, as a member of the Board Development Committee and as a member of the Board Executive Committee.

My wife and I went skiing at Mad River Glen for our first date. That was back in 1996 when the Co-op was only a few months old. My family learned to ski at Mad River Glen. We are passionate supporters of the mountain, the Co-op and our incredible Freeski team. I grew up skiing at what was likely the world’s first ski area cooperative, a now defunct ski hill called Mount Madawaska in Eastern Ontario. Community has always been at the center of the skiing experience for me and I’m deeply invested in the skier-owner model that we have made so successful at Mad River Glen.

Candidate Questions:

  1. Why are you passionate about Mad River Glen and the Co-Op?

Community and Challenge. Mad River Glen is built on the idea that great ski areas are people-first by design. They are few, if any ski mountains in the world that can claim to have a better combination of elements to satisfy the mind, body and spirit of a skier. 

We’re 75 years into one of great social experiments in sport: a ski mountain by the people, for the people. If you can’t get excited by what we’re doing at Mad River Glen, you don’t understand the potential of skiing.

  1. What skills and experiences do you bring from your non-skiing life that would be an asset to the board?

I’m a seasoned entrepreneur, and the cofounder and CEO of a successful innovation services firm. I’ve worked in technology consulting and venture-backed startups. I studied Ski Area Management and Environmental Planning and I spent a decade working on the ground in the ski industry. I know how to make good snow, mount rental bindings, fit ski boots and deliver a $700 dollar private ski lesson. Some of the best years of my life were spent in service roles in the ski industry.

  1. What identities and/or life experiences do you have that you think will bring greater diversity and unique perspectives to the Board?

I’m a middle-aged white male. I am acutely aware of the fact that my lived experiences are not reflective of society as a whole.

Part of the Co-op mission is to create and protect a “friendly, community atmosphere”,  and we need to actively work on extending our community to include, welcome and embrace a much more diverse range of voices, lives and experiences. 

Bringing more diversity to the board starts with candidates and ends with shareholders. We should encourage people to run for the board who can bring diverse perspectives and experiences to the Co-op. We need to trust that changing our perspectives as a board will not change our belief in the mission and vision of the Co-op. Our vision is strong, and a more diverse board will only strengthen it.

For this election, I encourage shareholders not to vote for candidates that you are comfortable with, but to support candidates that challenge and intrigue you.

For future elections, I encourage shareholders to recommend and vote for candidates that can increase our diversity and bring a greater range of perspectives to our work as a board.

  1. What is your long term vision for the Co-Op and Mad River Glen? Who should we be, what should we do?

I want Roland’s vision of skiing, the vision that we all believe in, to win. 

Mad River Glen is more than a place, it is an ideal. Roland, Betsy and the founders of the Co-op all understood this in different ways. We cannot forget that. We are more than the bumps on Chute or the trees in Quacky Woods.

The world around us will continue to challenge our environmental, economic and cultural sustainability. As we look towards the next 25 years of Mad River Glen we will need to find new ways to continue to fulfil the Co-op’s vision. Mad River Glen has dealt with change in the past. We are well positioned to do so in the future without diminishing our stories, experiences and sacred mountain environment. I have no doubt we will succeed here.

My long term vision has two simple ideas. One is practical and the other is aspirational.

Practically, we need to think about water. 

Climate change will demand that we think strategically about water; how we use it, how we manage it, how we access it and how we mitigate its effects.

We have started down this path, but need to become even greater experts in managing our mountain watershed across all four seasons. We will have tough choices and investments to make, but I am confident that there is a “Mad River” way to do this.

Aspirationally, we must invest in industry leadership. 

We have proven that the Cooperative model is a viable alternative to the commodification of the skiing experience. The Cooperative works, from governance to operations. It is a better way.

In the past we’ve used this knowledge to differentiate ourselves. In the future, we should use it to lead by showing other community-driven ski areas how to adopt and follow this better way.