Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes: March 11, 2017





Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Saturday March 11, 2017 

The Board held its regular March meeting at 5:30 at the Basebox

Present: Jon Anderson, Annika Holtan, Meg Hourihan, Matt Kenny, Eric Palola, Ron Shems, Deb Steines, John Tobin                                                                                           

Absent: Alan Bates


5:30 PM         Call to Order

5:31 PM         Welcome & Shareholder Comments

  • Leigh Michl   Welcomes Matt and appreciates that he’s here for the hard job. (Note:  The new GM, Matt Lillard, started on March 4th)
  • Rocky and Penny said and carried handmade birch bark signs saying, “Welcome!”

5:35 PM         Approve minutes of February 11, 2017 (Action)

Jon Anderson moved and John Tobin seconded

All present approved. 

5:37 PM         Management Report (Matt)

  • Please see the attached Management Report
  • Matt appreciates Meg and the Quad Team’s work.  Tough year, and tough now, but things are good all considering.
  • Will go up on the Mountain tomorrow to see how things can be patched together and see if the main mountain can be opened with the forecasted new snow. 

5:50 PM         Finance Committee Report (John T)

  • The Finance Committee met this past Thursday, and welcomed Matt to his first meeting.
  • The financials for February were strong, gross income was 14% over budget and NOI was 38% over budget despite the thaw during President’s day week.
  • For the year to date, factoring in the weak January, gross income is 98% of budget and NOI is 90% of budget.
  • The line of credit was paid down in February, but given the recent bad years that have depleted our cash and the outlook for March, the current projection is that we’ll have to go back into the line of credit in the spring.

6:00 PM         Fund Raising Committee Report (Annika)

  • The Preserve our Paradise campaign has secured pledges and gifts of $2,289,162 as of the end of February.
  • Solicitations are underway to close on verbals of $115k.
  • Donors are responding very positively.  Their gifts continue to come in at 14 times greater than what they gave on the Single Chair Campaign.
  • 68 volunteers working in the quiet phase. Plan is to have over 100 volunteers by the end of the year with the expansion of the Major Gifts division.
  • Priority projects we are working to fund include: snowmaking, mowers, Birdcage, Lift 4 building.
  • The Stark Mountain Foundation has three new board members:  Amory Hunnewell Julian, Debbie Lesure, and Brandi Meyers.  

6:05 PM         Parking Committee Report (Ron)

  • A last call for ideas was put out.  The Committee will compile a list of ideas, for Matt, let him vet the list, and he can call on the Committee for further help to further pursue issues that are viable from a management perspective.
  • Using the sheriff during the Presidents Day weekend worked quite well.  The deputy enjoyed the job and wants to come back.  He can come back on relatively short notice.  We plan to have him available for big weekends and powder days. 

6:10 PM         Board Development (Deb)

  • 3 in-state and 4 out-of-state candidates are running for election.  This is a very strong slate
  • Currently working on getting counters, voting process is in place
  • Not planning on meet and greet because of weather and will not do this unless need and opportunity requires/allows
  • Corrected bios on website.  Back page of Alan Bates did not go out in mailing
  • Deb proposed and explained revised procedures for annual meeting trustee election vote –
    • On-line instead of mailing in subsequent years
    • Mailing would be limited to ballot and envelope
    • Timing shifted Candidates declare by Jan 15. Instead of Feb 1.  Makes it smoother.
    • Board would approve the slate at the January meeting
    • Bios can be mailed on request or picked up in the office

Eric P. moves and Ron S. seconded to approve amended election procedures

All present approve

  • Geordie Hall commented that board development was a struggle and commends Deb for great slate and new procedure.
  • John Stetson asked for posters in the men’s room to advertise for candidates. 

6:15 PM         Preparation for Annual Meeting

  • Management, financial and fundraising reports will be presented
  • Eric P. asked shareholders present for topics for Annual Meeting
  • Bob Rogers suggested presentation on upcoming summer activities, fish fry, concerts, need for volunteers, etc.       

6:30 PM         Additional Shareholder Comments

  • Paula Rea suggested fish fry on Fridays during Lent.
  • Rocky said that we need to consider other sources of income without the bull wheel spinning.  For example, we could be an education center that sometimes has great skiing.  Five years ago we never had activities when lifts were not running.  Now we do and should build on that and build on our character/uniqueness – there is a lot of potential and a very strong brand.  We are an attractive alternative and need to be creative.

6:35 PM         Action Item Review (Ron)

  • Parking committee to convene and compile a list of suggestions for Matt
  • The Board and all in attendance are unanimously in favor of more snow!      

The Board adjourned its meeting at 6:06.  The next regular meeting will be the April annual meeting.


Management ReportSubmitted for March 11, 2017 Board Meeting

Letter from the GM

Thank you to the Mad River Glen Community for the great welcome. It has been an interesting and exciting first week.  I am looking forward to meeting more people within the community and helping to protect and preserve Mad River Glen.  My first week has been filled with getting to know staff and introductions to a huge number of topics and issues that I look forward to working on.  I have begun reviewing and discussing budgets and issues/concerns with department heads.  I have a lot to come up to speed on and the staff has been great to work with over the past week.

The strong February has given way to a very warm stretch of weather that has forced us to close the main mountain until we get more snow.  Currently we are operating the Practice Slope only on weekends while we wait for more snow.  The office is open during the week but no other services are open midweek.  We are hoping for a big storm to get us back into main mountain operations.

I would like to thank the Interim GM Meg Hourihan, the Quad Team Members, the Board of Trustees and all the staff at Mad River Glen for all of their work to get through this difficult season to date. I hope we can get some more days on the Single Chair before the season is over.

Think Snow!

Matt Lillard
General Manager
Mad River Glen Cooperative 

Department Reports


Audit financials were board approved in February.  Tax returns are being prepared however they are “bogged” down at the moment w/returns that are due March 15th.  I will make weekly contact w/Tyler (auditor) so that we don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Meg met with Chris Gautreau from Hacket Veline & McDonald for our annual Memic (workers compensation) review and renewal.  Our rate over all has dropped 1.729%.  We’re on track for hopefully another decrease next year.  The policy runs from 3/6/17 – 3/5/18.      

Election material mailed on March 1st and the election material has been posted online. 

The ticket booth (when needed) and office will operate for the remainder of the season with the year round staff.  We will be here 7 days a week from 8 – 4:30 until the season is officially over. 

I would like to thank Meg for working with us as interim GM.  It wasn’t always an easy position but she persisted and was always fair and thoughtful about decisions she had to make.  I appreciate the support she gave the entire staff and her willingness to work with us. 

We all welcome Matt as new GM and look forward to working with him going forward. 

Share Sales

Share sales in February were strong:  4 new subscription shares and 5 new full shares.  We had 2 shares convert to preservation certificates and 2 new tender requests which brings the total tender request to 5 for the fiscal year. 


The Basebox had a strong February with a couple of really big days.  With the limited operations we are looking at ways to drive visits and revenue.  This included live music with is a strong draw.   All systems are working well.


Marketing is working on messaging during our adverse weather with an eye toward the message when snow returns.  We are also working on ideas and concepts regarding future pricing/marketing in the face of potentially big changes in the New England season pass price landscape.

Mountain Ops

We have laid off most of the outside staff and trying to save a little money. We will need to perform dynamic test on lift three and four this year. The testing will be scheduled when we know we are down for the year and the temps stop going below freezing at night. Other than that, we will start summer work when weather permits.

We are all looking forward in working with Matt the rest of this winter and beyond. Hopefully the weather will change and we can finish the winter the way we should.

Ski Patrol

Our most serious accident to date occurred after hours on 2/19.  A nine year old ran into tower 2 on the single while sledding.  Most recent reports are that she is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

Two patroller are testing over the next two weeks for their senior classification.  We wish the well.  All patroller must have achieved the NSSP senior classification in order to become a full member of the patrol.

Bart Howe , Jon Cohen, and Christian Jaquith filled in very well in John’s absence, during pretty trying conditions. Plans are under way to build “bleachers seat” stairs to the front of the new double warming hut.  Concerns have been raised about the present stairs and railings.  The new stairs would address both issues.

The Rage in the Cage is scheduled for March 18th.  ALL BOARD members are invited.  At the bird cage at sweep.   It is a pot luck event although the patrol does supply libations and hopefully live music.  Come enjoy a mtn tradition.

Ski School

Ski School continues to have a good season despite uncooperative weather. At this point gross revenue is about 1.5 percent below two years ago, which we are fairly pleased about, given the conditions.

Overall, customer satisfaction this season has been excellent. I do have some concerns for retaining customers for next year, as conditions at the end of this season are looking a little dismal. We will be putting forth a concentrated effort to leave our customers happy with the season, and looking forward to returning next year. The last weekend of Seasonal programs is ski-in-a-costume day – always a day the families look forward too. I instituted an outreach program to hire and train additional JR. instructors for the Seasonal Programs this winter. We enrolled five new trainees into the ski school and the results have been very promising. Three of the trainees are now on the staff as regular JR. instructors, and the others look like good possibilities with more training. I plan to do another outreach prior to the beginning of next season. The success of the Fayston School pre-school program continues to be seen. We will be working very hard to finish this season on a high note!

Race Team

Junior Race Program:

Because conditions at MRG improved greatly throughout the first half of February, this allowed our athletes to train on Loon (in Birdland) for the busiest weekends of the year. Doing so allowed us to use the more appropriate terrain there for drill and teaching courses as well as use the Practice Slope for other events. Without Loon, our athletes would have missed out on valuable training time when were running clinics for ski school and ski club parents, as well as hosting other races.

Our one scheduled junior race during this reporting period, the John Kearns Memorial Town Meeting Day Slalom was cancelled due to poor hill conditions and the suspension of MRG services. We are grateful to Cochran’s ski area and Cochran’s Ski Club for hosting the event for us. It is good to keep this VT tradition and John Kearns’ spirit alive.

For results, we are pleased to recognize both Lindsey Carey and Liza Jernigan as U14 MRSC athletes who qualified for the post season. Liza even further qualified for U14 States where she competed in Super G, GS and Slalom on Burke Training Hill.

MRSC alumni Austin Taylor won the Vermont Cup U19+ title. And his younger brother, Carson (skiing for Mount Mansfield Ski Club/Stowe) won the overall Vermont U16 title. This is even more impressive for after coming off a significant and potentially career-ending crash last season.

High School:

The VPA Harwood Dual Panel SL scheduled for 2/10 was postponed due to high winds and cold conditions. The race was rescheduled and successfully run on Presidents’ Day (2/20) in the afternoon following the 2017 Family Tournament.  There is potential to expand that event into a bracketed run-off style race after the first two qualifying runs. We increased the race fee for that event because it was a dual.

Intra/Interclub Races:

The ASCNY and Montclare Ski Club races were run as scheduled. We have increased fee for these events; the first in at least seven years.

Mad River Ski Club:  Held its mid-winter social and lasagna dinner on 2/18 following Valentines Day.  Athletes made gift baskets for lifties and department heads which were distributed the morning of 2/19.  The next MRSC event will be the club championships and year-end party on 3/25.

Other races: Family Tournament was run on 2/20. A limited field due to many athletes and guests having school. We should consider moving this race MLK day so more racers can participate.

Other Notes:

  • We purchased urea (nitrogen fertilizer) from Kenyon’s to temporarily improve course conditions for athletes racing and training.
  • We recognize the generous contributions from Eric Friedman, Karen Derrick (The General Store), MRSC and Volkl/Marker/Dabello USA for the John Kearns Memorial TMD SL we held at Cochran’s.

Retail Shop

Overall February was a very strong month for Retail. The great snow peaking mid-month and Presidents week visitors brought solid sales. We continued to see great support from our Shareholders and as is typical for vacation week we saw many first time visitors. We are often the last stop as visitors leave the mountain for the day. We heard many comments about what a great experience folks had! The downside was the change of Mother Nature’s intentions which hurt our last week’s numbers significantly. Even then people remained very positive. Folks just love to be here and are especially happy when their kids are happy and engaged in our programs!

Sales Budget had income set at $82,950.90 and we hit $82,551.88. This was phenomenal given the change in conditions mid Presidents week. We lost traffic from our VT/NH school vacation families the last four days of the month as well.

Looking forward

Re-orders were placed mid-month as the snow was deep and all indications via the various weather sources were that we were set up for a solid few weeks. The drastic change in weather and our current conditions leave the Store heavy on inventory. Budget has March sales at $86,457.67. If the miracle dump doesn’t materialize we will be lucky to reach $25,000. To date we are at $7,256.87. We will run 20% off the entire store with a clearance rack of 50% off some items we are not carrying forward. Discussion has also taken place about opening the Store on Fish Fry evenings over the off season. Discussion to continue but I’m excited to try it!

I am so pleased to have Matt on board. I look forward to working with him to develop some strategies for the General Store going forward!