Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes: March 18, 2023





Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes

Mad River Glen Cooperative

Date: Saturday, March 18, 2023, 5:00 pm

Location: Basebox 3rd Floor – Hybrid (In-Person/Zoom)


Present: Matt Lillard, Carol Pierce, Brad Noble, Andrew Carey, Matthew Milan, Barclay Rappeport, Will Kriewald, Jeff Whittingham, Dorene Nabilo, John Skelly, Mariah Riggs, Britton Rogers, Murphy Wilson

Shareholder Comments

Call to order, shareholder comments (Matthew Milan): Matt shared the news that Betsy Pratt passed away yesterday (3/17/23) and spent her last days watching the snow fall on the MRG webcams – the board and all attendees shared a moment of silence.

There were no shareholder comments.

Consent Agenda Items

Approve minutes for February 2023 Board Meeting (Matthew MIlan): Minutes were approved.

Reports and Discussion

Management Report (Matt Lillard)It has been a wild month capped off by a storm dropping over 3’ on General Stark Mountain. Skiers were clearly waiting for good snow as they have been coming out in big numbers since winter made a turn for the great at the end of February. We are on our 4th week of beating revenue budgets! Huge thank you to staff across all departments. Everyone has been busy and pitching with extra hours, a helping hand and a smile on their face. I’m looking forward to skiing in April for the first time since the pre-covid era. Matt offered a shout out to staff and encouraged them to remember why we do this!

Marketing/Events (Ry Young)

We’re getting closer to launching a new function on our website that will allow skiers to track their stats by entering their pass number into a search bar. I believe this is going to be a wildly popular feature. The goal is to have this up and running by the annual meeting. It will take some time to iron out the kinks over the off-season but I am excited to offer this feature to our skiers. A huge thank you goes out to David Marchiony who spearheaded this initiative and has volunteered countless hours into getting this up and running.Spring events are being added to the calendar now that we have snow that will carry us through. EasterEggs have arrived and we will look to host a pond skim on April 15th if we can make it that far.

Mountain Operations (Nate Martin)

lifts have been running great. We have a good staff even though we could have used more employees,everyone has worked hard to keep the lifts spinning. Spring is here, now we will get the snow. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the snowfall we have been getting.

Retail Shop (Karen Derrick)

Busy busy month since last report! Challenge has been keeping the store stocked for each weekend ofstrong business. Many new visitors to the mountain are keen on bringing home our classic merchandise.I have been quite grateful to have local screen printer Deerfield Designs on task. Quick turnarounds and competitive costs. New visitors have also meant strong numbers for helmet sales. We do not rent helmets and the customer appreciates the time we spend to properly fit and educate them. Staff has been fantastic as we have kept a sprint like pace through President’s week and onward. I am looking forward to a few more big weeks as we welcome spring! Early April I will turn my attention to working up

the FY ‘23-’24 budget.

Ski School (Dave Knoop)

The Ski School is wrapping up a very successful year. The Saturday seasonal program was at maximum capacity, and the Sunday program very nearly so. We had record numbers of beginning skiers, and record numbers of 4 and 5 year olds – which bodes well for the future. We had some issues with making exceptions into our programs for 3 year olds and some 4 year olds not quite ready for a full day program.We hope to develop a program that better matches the needs of our youngest skiers.

The midweek programs were also very well attended with over 100 skiers in programs for most weeksthis season. The Women’s Thursday program had 51 attendees, and we had to turn a few away. We arelooking to add more students next year to the Monday graybeards program, the Women’s Tele Tuesday,and the Homeschool Program on Thursdays.

We hired and trained 31 new ski instructors this year as a result of an expansive recruiting program. Our innovative embedded instructor training program was extremely successful. Despite our extensive hiring we still turned away business on a regular basis – almost every weekend day. If you are reading this you probably have an interest in the health of the MRG co-op, perhaps a passionate one. Please accept this as an invitation to join our ranks as a ski instructor. We can train anyone who is an intermediate skier or above. Joining the staff will make a valuable contribution to the success of the Co op. If you are interested, please contact me at

Freeski (Ry Young)

Freeski wrapped up the “regular” season of competition today up at Jay Peak. Overall the team had yet another wild year of success on the IFSA competitive circuit. The first round of invitations to North American Championships have gone out and we expect 15-20 invitations total. NorAms returns to Kicking Horse, BC which hosted the IFSA in 2019 and hosts the FWT tour. We are thrilled to return and represent the east and Mad River Glen. On Sunday, March 26th we will host a Friendly Freeski Comp, open to all ages, this event will be a FUNdraiser for the MRSC. To run the event we will employ coaches, athletes and parent volunteers.

Race Program (Jim Komarmi)

The Junior Race Program muscled through several large events in February and early March. Those included: the Kandahar Mountain Race, Amateur and Montclair Ski Club races, the NVC U8/U10 GS race, the Kearns Memorial TMD Slalom and the Rockefeller Challenge. While attendance at the Kandahar was more than last year and the event was a success, attendance did not meet our expectations. The U8/U10 and Rockefeller events were both sold out and huge successes.

On the Junior Race Program front, we continue to make progress and now with most of the season of training, are having some good results. We hope to continue that into the last weekend of competition. We were psyched to have Vera Pashby win the annual Stowe Duals this year.

Ski Patrol (Jon Cohen)

The new snow has kept us busy and we love it. We have been dropping ropes and letting people ski as much of the mountain as we can. We had some avalanche activity which is pretty rare and a good reminder that the mountains can be a dangerous place. We are looking forward to spring skiing.

Will questioned if there was marketing around the Grift coming on the 25th. There will be info coming out this week. Additionally questioning the 3-4 year old program and hearing feedback that parents had higher expectations than were met this year. Matt replied that we will be developing these programs this summer/fall season.

Mariah commented that Special Olympics is looking for opportunities for the Middlebury ski club to have some training over here as well.

Finance Committee Report & Discussion (Andrew Carey)

In summary, the period ending February 28, 2023 showed a tremendous recovery from January. While snowfall was limited in the beginning of the month, the operations team managed the snowpack effectively to provide a great ski experience. Then the snow came…

  • Total Income of $678k was $78k above budget. Day ticket sales and Basebox operations were well ahead of budget totalling a $63k surplus.
  • February operating expenses were generally in line with budget. Basebox operating expenses were 18k over budget, but this overage was absorbed by below budget expenses in other areas.
  • The Co-op finally received insurance reimbursement of $57k for last year’s flood related expenses.

Year to date, the Co-Operative is still running ahead of budget with revenues $155k ahead of budget and expenses slightly below. Items of note include:

  • Basebox revenues up 26% – $107k
  • Day ticket sales up 12% – $55k
  • Retail sales up 12% – $29k
  • Services income up 8% – $41k


Cooperative Investment Policies Update (Andrew Carey)

Cash Reserve Investment Program

In response to the Board’s approval of the cash reserve policies last month, Co-Op management met with Northfield Savings Bank to determine the best options for implementing the program. As background, the current funds are currently yielding 1.4% and are spread across several banks to ensure full FDIC coverage.

Management suggest breaking the cash as follows:

Operating Reserve:

$400,000 to be invested in a Vanguard Money Market yielding 4.6% as of 2/13/23. The funds are available with a 1 day lag and a $12 redemption fee. As a comparison, CD’s have a $10 maturity fee.

Non-Operating Reserve:

$1,000,000 to be invested in laddered Treasury Bills which are currently yielding between 4.91% and 5.05%. These funds would be invested in bonds with durations no longer than 12 months. Maturities will align with anticipated cash needs. Northfield’s transaction fee ranges from $35 to $65.

Both investments would be handled through Northfield Investment Services which has a broker dealer relationship with Infinex and a custodian relationship with Pershing. Both firms are well capitalized, have no material regulatory disclosures and long histories of service to the banking industry.

Investments managed through Infinex and Pershing are covered by SIPC which covers investments up to $500,000 for non-cash assets and $250,000 in cash. This coverage does not cover investment loss, only custodial fraud.

The Finance Committee supports this proposal and recommends that the Board approve implementation.

Andrew moved to accept the investment proposal as presented by management, Mariah 2nd. Unanimous acceptance.

Facilities Committee Report (Carol Pierce/Britton Rogers):

Conceptual design phase to commence this spring w/VIA. Matt should be getting a game plan from VIA soon. We will meet with the design team to hear their approach and give them specifics.

  • Britton will be prepared for a Presentation on the 1st to Shareholders to summarize our expectations of this phase of design work.

○ 1. Will give a Wrap up Base Area Project: Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget, Energy


○ 2. Pub Project:

■ 1947 to now – track the changes.

■ Describe the RFP –

■ Historic Preservation

■ Stop the flooding,

■ improve acoustics,

■ structural integrity, foundation, safety, hazardous material remediation, better

windows for light, views, and ventilation;

■ Energy efficiency and longevity: insulated, conditioned, ventilated.

■ We will establish a platform and schedule for Staff Input and shareholder input

■ Looking toward the goal of a Conceptual design with an Estimate, we will ask for

feedback at Green & Gold

○ Basically: We are going to rebuild, because it needs a foundation: it will have high

performance: windows, energy, lighting, acoustics, wiring,

Carol asked a question about the hazmat process – will remediation if necessary, be allowed- Britton replied that the since the building will be going down to the foundation, then remediation will naturally occur as part of the process.

Communications Committee Report (Brad Noble): We have had strong open rates and positive feedback from shareholders who are receiving the bulletin. Brad also offered thanks to Betsy Pratt.

Matt Lillard had a question regarding the feedback – whether it was board specific or bulletin specific. Brad commented that it’s board specific, not necessarily shareholder specific.

23-24 Spring Pass Pricing Proposal Discussion and Vote (Matt Lillard): Summary: Mad River Glen Management seeks approval to launch spring Season Pass sales for the 2023-2024 Season.  Early 2024 Season Pass sales are a great way to capture excitement from this ski season and lock in passholders before everyone turns their attention to summer.  Revenue from spring sales helps the Cooperative get through the summer months without needing to use its reserves.  Since starting spring pass sales in 2019 we have seen tremendous growth in both the spring sale and total pass sales.  The spring 2024 pass sale and its results will inform our decisions regarding fall and winter rates and availability.  We have listed potential fall and winter rates but are not seeking approval for those at this time. We will also be seeking approval to increase ticket pricing ~10% on the full rate to $110. This will be a more significant increase than the past few years and bring us above $100. We feel the passholder has carried the burden of increased costs over the past few years and it is time to break the $100 threshold and shift some of that burden to day ticket holders.

Other Notable Items: We will keep the $99 Junior 12 & Under pass that we introduced in 19-20.  The Stark Mountain Cards will be included in the sale at the same cost with the same rules. We will guarantee SMC availability to shareholders through September 30th.  The Value Pass will remain valid every Sunday, without any holiday blackouts.

Jeff Whittinghamquestioned the decrease in sales of midweek passes and whether there would be a price decrease to encourage sales. Matt commented that midweek passes are supporting our midweek programs and that he anticipates sales rising.

Net yield is up $2 over last year. Will had a question if the 15% discount for shareholders would continue. The 15% discount DOES apply to discounted tickets already as well – so shareholders can obtain a secondary discount on tickets purchased online. Shareholder walk up rates are only mandatory when we are in a sold out position – then the shareholder MUST walk up to the window to purchase their two tickets.

Matthew Milan moved to approve the pricing for the 23-24 spring pass sales as proposed by the GM.

Andrew seconded the motion. Unanimous acceptance.

Summer Capital Improvement Plan Discussion and Vote (Matt Lillard): Co-Op management presented its capital spending plan for summer projects. The total request for non-POP/SMF projects is $173,533 which is in line with past years. Projects cover most of the mountain, but major components cover:

  • General Stark’s pub planning – $50,000 (approved in November by the board)
  • Lift and Patrol shack repairs – $37,500
  • Base area renovations – $22,500
  • Basebox improvement – $11,000
  • POS/IT – $15,000

These costs are all covered within the operating budget and do not require any funding from the capital reserves.

The Finance Committee supports this proposal and recommends that the Board approve implementation.

 Brad moved to accept the CIP as presented by management. Mariah seconded the motion. Unanimous acceptance.


2023 Elections Process Update  (Barclay Rappeport): Mariah Riggs will be tallying the emailed votes. Once again, we will have Claire Ewald & Paige Gaylord on-site to count votes during/after the annual meeting. They will be overseen by Mariah Riggs on the day of the meeting.

Annual Shareholder Meeting Prep Discussion (Matthew Milan): Matthew pointed out that last year’s meeting had an unusually long question and answer session and looked for suggestions for this year.

Carol commented that she believes we should have a person to transcribe the meeting in person. Barclay will be in person this year to record the minutes.

Jeff Whittingham commented that we could use a different format to record and transcribe the meeting.

Due to the length of the meeting last year, we were unable to provide a full recording of the meeting (the 2022 meeting was 3.5 hours)

Candidates will get a set 3 minutes to introduce themselves.

Brad will prepare an update with assistance on the strategic plan and our current alignment.

Action Item – no further action items

Open Items & New Business Mariah brought an idea from the Mad River Barn last evening regarding Betsy’s house being called ‘Pratt Fall’ and suggested that we consider a trail name in respect to Betsy in the future. Andrew commented that it’s worth discussion. Matt reported that both Betsy and Roland are both honored with a plaque at the entrance to the basebox. Betsy often commented that the staff is the mountain.

Carol moved to adjourn at 6:33. 2nd and adjourned.

Manager’s Report 3.18.23

Finance Committee Report – March 2023

Facilities Committee Report – March 2023

Communications Committee Report – March 2023

23-24 Season Pass – Spring Pricing Proposal