May 2021 Board of Trustees Preliminary Minutes
Mad River Glen Cooperative
Date: Saturday, May 15th, 2021, 5:00 PM EST
Location: Online – Zoom
Trustees Present: Matthew Milan, Brad Noble, Meg Schultz, Andrew Carey, Ron Shems, Carol Pierce. Matt Lillard (GM)
Shareholders Present: Will Kriewald, trustee elect
Call to order, 5:07. No shareholder comments (Matthew M)
Consent Agenda Items
Approve minutes for March 2021 Board Meeting (Matthew M)
Reports and Discussion
Management Report (Matt L)
We are settling into summer mode and looking forward to a productive summer. Matt thanked all of our passholders for their support during the Spring Sale. The Spring Pass Sale was by far our biggest one yet and is a testament to everyone’s passion for and support of the Cooperative. As we look back on winter, we are proud of our ability to safely operate the ski area for guests and staff alike while providing the best experience possible. We learned a lot of new things along the way and will be taking those lessons with us as we come out of the pandemic and learn to live in a post-Covid world. Matt hopes our “Mask Up” and “Vermont Travel Guidelines” signage can forever be relegated to a history, and we can get back to enjoying our skiing community with all its aspects next year. Thank you to all of our staff for working so hard this winter to provide a great ski season. Stark’s Pub opens on May 27th for the summer. A Mad River Glen Fish Fry with a refreshing Lawson’s on the deck is the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
Administration-We have been busy wrapping up the season and processing passes during the Spring Pass Sale. The Pass Sale was incredibly successful with sales more than 3x last spring. As part of closing out the winter we were happy to be able to give bonuses to our seasonal staff again this year. Our staff put themselves on the line to provide a safe and enjoyable experience this winter. Next up we will tackle the budget, finalize next fall’s pass and seasonal products offerings and get into summer projects in the office.
Base Box-The Base Box maintenance crew has been busy during bad weather cleaning up the Basebox and getting ready to open the Pub on May 27th. This includes finishing the painting and punch list items to wrap up the Base Box project. The decorations on the main level are getting revamped and the Base Box will be looking sharp for the Pub opening. The final step will be completing the final furnishings to reopen for next ski season. On the roof front we are getting set up to replace the membrane roof this summer.
Marketing/Events As noted, the Spring Pass sale was a huge success. We are now diving into summer projects which include updates to the website, putting trails and other features on the new trail map and cleaning up our expansive archives of old photos and videos. As the Pub opens, we will be starting ads in local media. Our social media channels will stay active including a summer of “Ski It If You Can” bumper sticker photos. This summer we will also welcome back the return of some on mountain events including some adventure runs and Siptemberfest in the fall.
Mountain Operations The Mountain Operations crew jumped right into summer maintenance and summer capital projects. The admin building was first on the list and work is moving along nicely. We have also begun to stage materials for the Birdland base lift operators building
rebuild. We have been sourcing materials as quickly as possible for all of our summer projects due to increasing prices and scarcity of materials. As the mountain dries up, we will also start to get out and tend to our snowmaking and mountain work. We are excited to take ownership of our new (used Demo model) groomer in the fall. Finally, we are in the process of landscaping the base area with some new grass to repair and enhance the base area following last summer’s base area projects. If you are on the mountain, please heed all signs and ropes and stay off the grass until it comes in.
(Visitors to Mad River this summer should take note that Route 17 from the top of the gap to ~ Number 9 Rd will undergo paving so expect delays) starting in mid-June.
Retail Shop The General Store has been busy filling online orders and getting in some new summer merchandise. Keep an eye out to our website and social media for some new and returning offerings. The General Store will be having some Pop-Up sales during holiday weekends this summer.
The Ski School is all closed up for the summer. We will start work towards the end of the summer on next year’s programming. We are looking forward to a return to normalcy for our seasonal and other ski school programs.
The Race program had a successful year and is looking forward to getting back into racing full time next winter.
The Rental shop is closed for the summer and is looking forward to getting back into their space with new windows and new siding next winter.
Ski Patrol is closed for the summer and has stored all their gear in the new Patrol building. The building turned out really well and has proven incredibly energy efficient.
The Cricket Club is closed for the summer.
The Naturalist Program is looking forward to a more normal season and growing the program next season. Additionally, with the help of the Stark Mountain Foundation, we will be performing some maintenance on the Kent Thomas Nature Center and rehabbing the displays.
Finance Committee Report (Brad Noble)
Despite a season dramatically affected by COVID, with fewer skier visits and limited services in key areas of the business—e.g., day tickets and the Basebox—the Co-op’s cash position is very strong due to a mix of factors including product and marketing adjustments that drove historically high season pass and share sales from last Fall through to the end of April, prudent management of expenses through the winter, and state and federal COVID assistance.
Though the mountain was closed in April, the Spring campaign for pass sales drew a whopping ~$600k, three times the yield of last year’s Spring pass campaign that was, until now, the all-time record. Share sales in March and April were also outstanding: March came in at ~$28k, and April came in at ~$26k on a projected $6k.
The first federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan of $190k has been forgiven. Management will apply for forgiveness of the second PPP loan of $560k next week. If that loan is forgiven, which is expected, it will switch to income like the first PPP loan.
Capital expenses this summer include completion of the base area renovation, the purchase of a new (to us) groomer, and a new drive for the Birdland lift, among other things. Management believes that with the cash on-hand, the Co-op will be able to handle expenses and operate through the summer without having to touch either the Rainy-Day account, which remains at ~$500k, or the Line of Credit, which sits at zero.
Strategic Planning Committee Report (Andrew C)
The Strategic Planning Committee is shifting its focus from hypothesis formation to validation. To date the team has worked to perform market research and hypothesis formation around three central areas:
Sustainability – This area covers both environmental and economic sustainability and will help ensure Mad River’s viability as we move forward.
Community Engagement – This topic covers the Co-op’s ability to maintain and cultivate the countless communities that make up MRG’s unique and tight fabric.
Service Offering – This theme encompasses the entirety of Mad River’s product set and supporting operational requirements.
This next phase will take several cycles of interviews and listening. As we gather their feedback and refine the strategic vision, we will also take our findings to a broader set of the MRG community for refinement, testing and socialization.
The goal of this work is to inform a presentation to the broader Co-op membership at the 2021 Green and Gold weekend.
Proposal from Homeowner to purchase property – Discussion (Matt L)
A homeowner is seeking to purchase .2 acres of MRG property. The intent is to drill a well as theirs is failing and fouled due to road salt. They are working with the state but in any case, MRG must allow them rights to potable water. We need to respond within 30 days.
GM Performance Review Process – Discussion (Matthew M) the GM performance review process kicking off now as you know the board doesn’t actually have that many responsibilities of written down, we’re going to use the same process as last year. It’s a simplified 360 based evaluation. Ron is going to help arrange one more conversation for the board to discuss and provide their own feedback that I will take the lead on writing up evaluation based on this information using the same template as last year and my goal is to share it with Matt one week before board meeting so that he has chance to see it beforehand.
New Trustee Onboarding Procedure – Review/Approval (Ron) the procedural documents have been shared with the board. The procedure was basically edited and condensed. There are no substantive changes, and all the subscript points remain. There will be a meeting set up with new board members Jeff and Will. I move that we approve the new onboarding policy with the one change that Carol had mentioned on the email that is a general manager’s design. Carol second that all in favor– Passed
Organizational Appointment Process – Discussion (Matthew M) The organizational appointment process similar to GM performance review towards the end of the board year. Are we required to assess whether folks rolling off need to be addressed or whether their roles need to be addressed in terms of appointments? We also need to think about what the membership and direction of the executive committee looks like. We’re not going to discuss this now but what I would like us to do is find time in the next three weeks for a short discussion. I’ll work with you to find time for this 30 minute where we can talk through some of these things. At the end of June, we will need to appoint another person for the executive committee: for example, I’ve asked the folks from the facilities committee to give me a recommendation for the future facilities committee. This is how to begin what our appointment strategy might look like.
June Meeting The June board meeting will be on June 19 at 8:00 AM. There is noThe meeting could be in person or partly in person I won’t be able to tell them they’re not going to open the borders anytime soon for add for us, but I would encourage us if we can do a hybrid meeting at work super, we don’t have a July August meeting which makes GM clearly quite happy. Matthew motioned to adjourn. 2nd Meg. Unanimous approval.