Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes: January 18, 2020





Board of Trustees Meeting

Mad River Glen Cooperative

Saturday, January 18, 2020, 5:00 pm, Basebox



Present: John Tobin, Matthew Milan, Ron Shems, Brad , Andy Weis, Leigh Michl, Carol Pierce, Barclay Rappeport, Matt Lillard

Commenting Shareholders: Lu Putnam, Matt Kenny, Rocky Bleier, Eric Palola, Jim Elkind


  1. Shareholder Comment


5: 01PM       Call to order, shareholder comments:

Lu Putnam – commented on Lift 4 being closed early and it used to be open 15 minutes extra to get folks back up to their cars and homes. Matt L will have operations look into it.

Lu also suggested a vote regarding increasing snowmaking further up the mountain.


Rocky Bleier – Supported earlier release of draft minutes. He also commented that Facilities Committee minutes have not been posted the web page, and that some had a feeling that there is conflicting information circulating regarding the coming construction. He would like to see better communication on whether both building projects would go forward this summer.


  1. Consent Agenda Items


Approve minutes for December 21 meeting – approved.


III.               Reports and Discussion


Management report (Matt): Weather has provided a roller coaster, but snowmaking has been invaluable. Patrol has been working hard to keep trails open. We are at 80” of snow but have had 3 melt outs thus far. Christmas week(s) were good, with the second week being stronger.

Admin: Ticket office is looking for more help.

Base box: Strong so far. BirdCage is now open for weekends. Private events are coming up as well. Further discussion about upcoming summer operations will be happening soon.

Marketing/Events: Snow reporting/social media has been strong. Still Single IPA will be dropping on Roll Back the Clock Day. Mad River Valley Today has relaunched for the season.

Mountain Ops: Birdland has been open for two days thus far due to weather. Grooming has been limited to keeping trails surfaced as best as snow depths allow. Snowmaking fired back up this past week and will now only be used on an as-needed basis. We have 575 hours of snowmaking in for this year, which is 175 over last year. Summer projects will start coming forward for the February meeting.

Retail shop: On-line sales are up and margins have been strong.

Ski School: Freeski and ski school programs are strong and running well. Staffing ratios are being watched to ensure that costs are not too high. Women’s program and Home School programs have been strong.

Racing: Family tournament is on Sunday which is the first leg of the Racing Triple Crown. The Rockefeller’s Challenge and re-incarnated Kandahar will be the next two legs.

Rental/Repair: Very strong with lots of repair going on. Their margins are strong.

Cricket Club: Looking for increased traffic as snow increases.


Finance committee report (Matthew M.):


The mountain remains in a healthy financial position despite the season’s ups and downs.  Highlights include:


  • Our 12/31/19 cash position was over $300K better than in 2018
  • We have approximately $705K in available Co-op cash and have almost doubled the size of the “Rainy Day” account from 136K to 253K over the last 12 months.
  • Our accounts payable is $50K less than this time last year.
  • We had fewer operating days and visitations compared to December 2018, and day ticket sales were weaker as a result at $56K for the month.


Looking at our year to date performance, the Coop finished up calendar year 2019 in very good shape  and the growth in season pass sales remains the big story for the year.


Overall for the Coop, we’re $150K ahead of budget over last year in terms of NOI, a change of 37% or $163K NOI over the same time last year.


Cash flow is healthy and we don’t anticipate dipping into the line of credit throughout the summer. Currently we are projecting that we will have $125K in the Rainy Day fund through September. Our goal is to keep building the reserve in the Rainy Day account when opportunities arise.


Considering the Holiday Break as a whole, the preliminary numbers are very positive. For the 2-week holiday period we finished up $11K over budget.


A group of Finance Committee members met over the holiday break and decided to focus on season ticket modeling and prediction. With the surge in season ticket sales this year, there is interest in developing a predictive model for season pass sales to complement the existing day ticket sales model.


Facilities committee report (Matt, Meg): Update on status of building projects: The project is out to bid as of two weeks ago. Estimated cost is currently $3.2m. We have available a $3m budget at this time. Bids are due in 2-3 weeks. Some contractors are coming in to visit site and will submit questions to the project manager. At that time there will be more clear information available. There are many options available at this time. Operationally the target is to have both buildings finished next summer. The town permit has been issued and the Act 250 is underway. On 1/27 we will go before the Accessibility Board.


Fundraising committee report (John): Review final fundraising report from Demont Associates – Full report is available.

Eric Palola and Jim Elkind: Observations from Eric were that it was a very strong community effort.

EP: The revised POP goal from $8 to $6.5M. We achieved 85% of the goal. Demont Associates was invaluable in leading the campaign and provided many more months of work without additional compensation. Matt’s ability to give donor’s confidence and to provide clarity in the future direction of MRG provided strength for the campaign. The campaign did take longer than expected, in part because of seasonality – i.e.,donors were more enthusiastic when they were skiing. The original BAMP plans were a bit confusing to the community, but the current designs and cost structure seem to be in keeping with MRG culture. Shifting forward, EP encouraged continued support in keeping with donor recognition. Major decisions that will be coming up will be easier with the Co-Op in a strong financial position.

JE: The campaign has been a nine-year journey, starting in 2010. That journey started with an update to the strategic plan which gave the board and management clear direction. Having professional help from Demont Associates was essential. Jim stated that ensuring that the two building projects were the right scale – not too timid and not too grand – was essential to preserving and cultivating our ability to attract future non-profit funds in the future.

John Tobin and others complimented the efforts given by many volunteers, in particular the dedicated work put in by Annika Holtan.

Carol suggested an annual giving project to assist in further giving. Creating an event and timeline to keep excitement high among the shareholders and community.

Rocky: Commented that he felt the lengthy quiet period soured some people, the campaign should have cast a wider net, and that outreach outside of the MRG community should have greater.


Discussion of slate for 2020 board election. (Ron, Matthew, Barclay): Many interested candidates are declining to run until next year. Matt Kenny suggested providing more information of what the board entails and the time involved would be helpful in attracting candidates. Jim Elkind offered assistance with people who have questions regarding board duties and time. Brad suggested “ski with a trustee” as a possible event.  Meg & Barclay have both declared to run again. Meg suggested an insert with the ballot with basic information of each candidate. Print outs of the bios/candidate questions should be available in the Base Box as well. Matt M suggested mixers/town meetings to help get the candidates recognized.


Training and discussion of board governance best practices (Ron): Ron made a presentation covering the legal structure of the Coop; trustees’ roles, responsibilities, rights vs. shareholders and management; duties of fiduciary care and loyalty; and liability.



Review open items & new business: Open items include the Board policy archives which will be revisited in February. Brad is also continuing to work on community engagement events. Strategic plan should be updated Summer 2020. Forest management plan update will also happen this summer.


  1. Action Items




6:25PM       Adjourn – Carol moved to adjourn. Brad seconded. Unanimous.

Manager’s Report 1.18.2020

January 2020 Finance Committee Report