Out-of-State Candidate Pascal Hess

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

Pascal Hess

Deisenhofen (Munich), Bavaria, Germany

Candidate Statement & Bio

Bio: Pascal Hess was born in Munich on April 13, 1982. Skiing has been a very important part of his life from the age of two, when he first skied at a local Bavarian mountain, called Brauneck. As he couldn’t pursue a professional skiing career due to the corresponding financial possibilities, he eventually became a statistician and started focusing on data. 

Data also plays an important role in his spare time, when he is collecting information while researching abandoned ski areas and the history of US ski lift manufacturers. He is also supporting local ski hills and a proud shareholder at Mad River Glen since 2019.

After visiting all 50 states in the US with his wife, living in various cities in Germany and spending time in Canada and Australia a few years ago, he returned to his hometown last year for work. Both his wife and Pascal fell in love with Vermont a few years ago and hope to move there one day.

Statement: I know this an unusual application. More than 3,800 miles are between Mad River Glen and where I live. I can’t ski MRG most of the time, I won’t even be able to attend most, if not all meetings in person. But I would like to offer an outside perspective, my knowledge for local ski hills and areas, the appreciation for the heritage, my love for the ski area, for the state, its people and their mindset. When I met Eric Friedman for the first time and we were chatting while studying the original drawings of the Single, I instantly knew this is a special place. Over the years, we became friends with many Vermonters. Vermonters, who ski MRG. And it always feels like coming home when we drive up from Boston and read the “The Green Mountain State” on the sign.

Candidate Questions:

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

I’ve skied many places in the world, but I’ve never seen one where the people are so deeply connected with their mountain. It’s not just the skiing, it’s the community and the way people treat each other, including strangers like me. There is something special at MRG that got lost in many parts of our daily lives. I have great respect for that and the work that is done by each and every one.

The idea of the Co-Op is also something that is part of my mindset. To be strong together, to work together on a mission and to share the same interest. There is so much more to achieve if the power does not belong to one single person.

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

In my professional career, I help our clients to optimize their businesses by using data (think of Andrew’s ticket forecasting model). But I’m not just offering them new technology or Artificial Intelligence, I do offer support, strategic thinking, inspiration and a different perspective on their business and their customers. That technique is something that could be helpful for the board.

I have also devoted my spare time to supporting local ski hills and understand their challenges. I’m also focusing on the history of the lift business in the US for what my wife and I traveled the country extensively. We helped a small ski hill in Minnesota finding spare parts for a chairlift that was only ever built twice and we connected many people in the business that didn’t know about each other. These two things are of course related to skiing, but they helped me to learn to connect people, search for relationships and investigate.

So I can think like a ski area, but also out-of-the-box while still acknowledging the own heritage.

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

I wasn’t able to ski for a long time after my parent’s divorce. I know what it’s like to live on welfare. Skiing has always made my happy and when I had to stop, I learned how to value other things in life, how to overcome the disappointment and how to take care of money. I’m also more an introvert and always had to fight to be heard in our noisy and hectic world. But that  helps me to understand the dynamic of groups and how to achieve a goal when there are many different interests. And as I said before, I can share the unique perspective of someone who is living in a different part of the world, but who can use his experience in the US to still understand things from a a different point of view. 

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

Preserve our Paradise – to me that is more than just the name of the campaign. This is where I would also focus on long term. And to me this is more than just the buildings or the lifts, it is also the community, the spirit and the uniqueness of the mountain overall. How can we preserve all that while facing the challenges that are ahead – like climate change. How can we be modern, without denying our heritage. I do not presume to know the answers, but I would like to offer my support in finding them.