Annual Shareholders Meeting Minutes April 6, 2019





Board of Trustees Meeting

Mad River Glen Cooperative

Annual Shareholder Meeting

Saturday, April 06, 2019




Matt Lillard
Eric Palola
Meg Schultz
Ron Shems
Matt Milan (ABSENT)
John Tobin (ABSENT)
Matt Kenny
Barclay Rappeport
Leigh Michl
NOTE:  Reports and presentation materials will be available on the Coop portion of the website.  Minutes here mainly reflect comments.


5: 00 PM       Call to Order – President’s Report   (Eric Palola)

Eric welcomed everyone, discussed several statistical highlights of the winter ski season, and gave an overview of major Board activities over the last year.  He noted the work of departing trustee Meg Hourihan in her various roles.  He reflected on his final year as a Trustee noting that the last several years had been a “consequential period” for the Coop between the GM leadership transition and the implementation of the capital campaign and that he was very confident in MRG’s future and the Board to carry the Coop forward. Eric reviewed the candidate slate and recognized the all candidates in the room.




Meg Shultz presented Eric Palola with a Single Chair plaque for his service.


5: 15 PM  Treasurer’s Report (Matt Lillard substituting for Matthew Milan)
YTD Financial Results were reviewed
Cash & NOI Projections
Sources of Revenue

Hitting the millions dollar mark for day ticket sales TODAY.

5: 20 PM   General Managers (Matt Lillard)
Today is 127 day of operations and we are very close to breaking the record (134) – and want to!

Zero days this year when the only running lift was the practice slope.

Last year it took over 400 snow-making hours to cover the birdcage zone. Due to improvements, it only took 282 snow hours to do Birdcage this year. (Round of applause of snowmaking improvements!)

19-29 year old pass holder special season pass at $245 ($215 for shareholders). We only sold about 7 passes to that age range in 2018/19.

5: 30 PM   Facilities Committee Report (Britton Rogers- Chair)
Base Box & Ski Patrol/Ski School Building Conceptual Designs
The Chair of the Facilities Committee, Britton Rogers, discussed the status of the BaseBox and Patrol/Ski School building projects.  He discussed that the Board had authorized hiring Vermont Integrated Architects for conceptual design and Naylor and Breen as construction manager.

He further discussed the efforts of these consultants, management, the Committee, and the Board with respect to these projects.

He mentioned that the intention was to complete both projects simultaneously to realize efficiencies and save money and that the targeted timeframe for construction was summer 2020.

With respect to the Patrol/Ski School building, the plan is to build a completely new building (with a new foundation, a full basement, and somewhat higher roofline) within the same footprint as the existing building.  This option was only marginally more expensive that a renovation but would provide huge benefits in terms of functionality.

With respect to the BaseBox, he discussed how various project elements were grouped into must dos, selected, and optional categories (with the optional items only undertaken if campaign funding levels permitted).  In addition to many code and safety improvements that would largely be invisible to customers, the most noticeable exterior changes currently envisioned would be the addition of a stairway/elevator on the ski school entrance side of the building.  First floor bathrooms would have improved ventilation and new fixtures.  Customer stairways would be maintained with improved handrails.  Second floor changes include new front doors and a reworking of the area inside the front doors (i.e., elimination of the bar kitchen to provide more space at the entrance), a window from the bar to the cafeteria area that would be used for ordering access, an emergency exit in the bar, bathrooms and cubbies on the second floor (eliminating the current dishwashing area), and a reworked food preparation area.  The third floor would see cubbies for storage as well.


Draft schematics of showing the different configurations of must-do and selected options were provided.





6: 00 PM       Campaign Report (Annika Holtan)
As of Friday, April 4th


– Campaign Total:                     $4,625,000

– $200,000 Final Match:             $77k from approximately 125 donors.  112 donations made on-line

– WHEN we meet the match, we’ll have raised close to $5 million in gifts and pledges

– Match ends April 30th  (the end of the “public phase” of the campaign)

– 100% participation has been achieved from active Ski Patrollers!


Shareholders have given:            $3,623,000

– Represents 78% of total gifts and pledges

– But fewer than 30% have donated!


Initiative Funding

– Raised close to 90% for On-mountain and Facilities Projects.

– 1/3 of the endowment is funded.


The plans for the Basebox and Patrol buildings will be presented.  To fully fund MRG’s non-endowment initiatives the campaign needs to raise $5.6 million.


Gratitude to all who have given their time, talent and treasure to preserve and protect Mad River Glen!

6: 10 PM       Stark Mountain Foundation Report (Deb Lesure)
6: 15 PM       Shareholder Discussion & Comments

Dr. Dick Bustch

1. do we know the average cost of hourly snowmaking?

Matt: not really. Employees are salaried and power metered… but they are working on figuring out an hourly cost and should have something soon. It’s not that much tho – mostly power.

2. Any thoughts for Patrol upgrades to a multiuse space for an Xray?

Matt L – no due to tough limitations on space, and also from programming needs stance, it’s not likely Patrol will go down the ‘clinic’ road.


Bill Barret

1 – instead of line of credit why not borrow from campaign: Matt L: Tax and legal implication about what we can do with that money. SMF

2. Roll Back the Clock day – crowded – why not run Lift 4 on that day. He had to park at the upper lot and couldn’t get back up easily.

Matt L: It’s hard but yes, they are looking at that.


(John Stokes)

What do we have in liquid assets at the campaign?

Matt L: Roughly $1M, the rest is in the form of pledges or bequest

Eric: Even though we have a stated total available funds amount, it’s not necessarily available to us when we need it according to the timing of project expenditures.


Al Pierce:

Is the Water Supply enough for snowmaking – what’s the assessment in future low water years? Will we continue to use river/brook and damning it up or will we be going to a bigger supply?

Matt L: Happy where we’re at in terms of water. We don’t see a cost-effective alternative.


Ann Sears:

Any thought to Family Bathrooms?

Matt L: Main floor will be either/or. And if we are able to do third floor they would be one bathroom with two full door stalls for either/or.


Dave Crippen:

Has the mountain ever thought of making a Path along Schuss Pass into the base area for more easy/safe walking?

Matt L: With the new Patrol building, parking will probably change a little and we can look at a walkway at this time but we are limited in space/options.


Heidi Laliberte, ski school instructor:

Urges for changes to lunch area size.

Matt L: We are limited by code and cost. It’s something we are heavily looking at.


Janet Albrecht

Thank you for trying to get more 20 somethings to ski at MRG!  [with new young adult season’s pass offering]


Paul Finnerty:

Commented on difficulty of keeping up with the Board & Committee work since minutes are hard to find in a timely way, and the role of a shareholder vote to approve expenditures over $300K.   Eric P responded that the Board will carefully review the Bylaws and ensure a proper shareholder vote on this topic.


John Caffrey:

Regard to Basebox renovations:  concerned that BB renovations deal with narrow stairs and need for more room in the Pub.   Matt L noted that the campaign can not spend charitable funds on the Pub in the same way it can in other parts of the Basebox.   However the design team is looking closely at ways to reduce the bottleneck at the bar.


Spunky Young:

Improving Basebox – have we looked into State or National Historic credits?

Matt: We will look into those. They do usually come with future limitations but we haven’t gotten to that stage yet. We will be looking at these and other efficiency credits, etc.


Chris Jaquith:

Urges the mountain consider an Uphill Skiing Policy – can we tap into that community for contributions to the campaign? Especially when a lot of other ski areas are frowning on uphill traffic.

Matt: We do talk about that will be addressing going forward. All resorts are struggling with that (liability, impact on paying customers, etc.)

Eric F: MRG was first to sponsor Backcountry allowance! We are on it!


Eric F relays a question from online: Are we going to keep the ‘quad’ in the Men’s Room? Matt: Yes.


Eric F read a statement from Bob Spofford, ski instructor


Jay Rickland:

Visitor experience and website; likes the site but needs event updates!

For example single chair was closed for an event – it wasn’t on the main page.

Eric F and Matt: Acknowledges problem, but not everything can go on the home page. Some updates are on Facebook too.


Joe Parella:

Echoed Jaquith’s uphill policy idea. We can do this without encouraging “freeloaders”.


Maura Kaffry: worked in the cafeteria, kids went to and worked in our ski school

100% support the back of the house focus. Recommended elevating the priority of the ski school lunch room expansion in particular! Thinks simply that the lack space in that room sends people to other ski areas.

Matt: Moving a structural wall is no small task but this is definitely an area we would like to work on if the funds are available.


Rocky Bleier: Expressed confusion about the campaign goal.

Matt: $6.5 is goal but we need $5.6 funds all the projects.   There was further discussion about how much of the campaign funds have been spent to date vs what is need for BB/PB repairs.  Many projects have been paid for already with the buildings the last and biggest items


Josh Tower:

Could it be possible to buy a 2 or 3 day ticket w/ mad cards to alleviate crowds in ticket office?  Matt: We are looking into that. Less traffic in there the better


A shareholder commented on the fact that the real limitation to MRG’s growth is the lack of parking on peak days.   Matt: Our capacity is undoubtedly limited by our parking. Newcomers do mind those waits. The designs are meant to improve experience with current capacity, not to expand that capacity.  It may be that we don’t necessarily want to grow the parking either, since peak day lift lines are already pretty long.


Tom Weiss, relaying message from a friend who is a Shareholder who can’t be here)

Friend was dismayed about the amount of plastic used in the bar – can we look to recyclables and compostable products being used instead?
Matt: This is a part of our mission. We don’t have a mechanism right in the bar to wash glasses so that’s hard. We do recycle all those cups in the bar. We will be working more towards reducing that though. There are plans for a dishwasher in the bar and with the new plans we will be looking at better recycling collection systems.


Rocky Bleier:

Sees an opportunity for introducing people to our mountain mid-week. Would the Board consider giving shareholders midweek vouchers to use to introduce non- or infrequent- skiers to this mountain?

Matt L: The board can look in to that. “But only when the conditions aren’t awesome!”


6:55 PM        Adjourn
7:20 PM        Final votes counted for election & announced to shareholders in the Pub


Election Results


In state: (two seats open)

-Andy Weis – 331 

-Carol Pierce  – 321

-Jeff Whittingham – 108

-Wesley Alan Wright – 75


Out of State:  (one seat open)

-Brad Noble – 189

-Matt Kenny – 179

-Charlie Hauck – 45