Present: Matthew Milan, Barclay Rappeport, Matt Lillard, Will Kriewald, Mariah Riggs, Brad Noble, Andrew Carey, Meg Schultz, Carol Pierce, Jeff Whittingham, Rocky Bleier
8:06am – meeting called to order (delayed due to internet issues)
Call to order, shareholder comments (Matthew Milan)
Consent Agenda Items
Approve minutes for September 2022 Board Meeting (Matthew Milan) – approved by consent agenda.
Reports and Discussion
Management Report (Matt Lillard) See attached
Fall has been busy. Preseason sales period was strong. While demand is still strong, it’s leveled out from the past two years. Many pass products are sold out. Reminder that shareholders can always buy a pass and the teen pass never sells out. The APR mad money rush (to use up last year’s and purchase next year’s) was smooth. All the managers will be meeting in November in advance of the return of winter staff.
The annual audit will happen over the next few weeks. Andrew Snow and Sharon Crawford will lead that for MRG.
Basebox had a great summer and will go into a rest period between events. Adding a 5th day this summer to the weekly calendar was successful.
This weekend is the Waitsfield Elementary SchoolWES Ski & Skate sale.
Marketing & Events is gearing up for a busy season. MRG was 4th in the Ski Magazine Eastern rankings/readers survey.
Lift inspections are in process. Snowmaking is ready to go as soon as the temperatures cooperate.
Retail shop was strong throughout the foliage season with steady traffic.
Ski School has over 200 kids for seasonal programs. Midweek programs will start bookings soon.
Freeski is recruiting coaches and looking forward to the competitive season.
Race program has strong numbers in the U8 & U10 programs. Both the Freeski & Race programs are now under the umbrella of the Mad River Ski Club, which serves as a booster for those programs.
Rental shop will be open around Thanksgiving weekend.
Patrol was on staff for foliage weekends and will be doing their refresher the first weekend of October.
Questions were asked about pass selling strategies and what metrics are used to set them. Historical data and weather analysis from past years was discussed.
Finance Committee Report & Discussion (Andrew Carey): See attached.
In summary, for the period ending September 30, 2022 was significantly ahead of budget on a Total Revenue basis, and slightly behind budget on a Net Ordinary Income basis.
The Stark Mountain Pub exceeded budget by 64%, generating almost $60,000 in revenue. Much of the $23,233 increase was consumed by higher operating costs for the pub.
The General Store and current year Mad Money breakage provided an additional 26,000 of positive budget variance.
Basebox expenses were over budget by $28,631 (100%) due to the increase in the pub operations as well as end of summer maintenance.
Credit Card expenses are running significantly above budget (3x) due to the strong ticket and pass sales and increasing fee structures. This trend has been evident all year.
Several additional expense accounts had timing variances with cost either accelerated or postponed from August.
Facilities Expense was also above budget in September by 15%, reflecting timing issues of the mow crew.
Unbudgeted SMF donations helped the bottom line by $105,000.
Unbudgeted Depreciation and Amortization accounted for $40,000 of additional loss a the Net Income level
Will commented on the healthy cash position the Co-Op is in. Mariah questioned what parameters were used to determine what goes into the Rainy Day Fund. Matt Lillardcommented that the net share proceeds go to the Rainy Day Fund. Generally this is done in December.
Facilities Committee Report (Matt Lillard):Facilities working group met last week and is going to start working on getting their charter to the board for approval and update the membership from a working group to a committee. They are currently keying on the Sunnyside Double conversation and the Pub – what the next steps should be on updating some design ideas for the Pub. We will be seeing the charter and some requests for the pub project, to mitigate the flooding/foundation issues and to update parts of the pub as the use of the pub grows.
Communications Committee CharterReview & Approval (Brad Noble): Charter is attached.
The Communications Committee is the drumbeat of the Cooperative for its shareholders. It will keep our shareholders in step with our mission as a Cooperative, with the purpose of driving active participation in our mission over the long term.
This is intended to be a standing committee with the following guiding principles
Focus on shareholders:
This is about driving shareholder engagement, not marketing
Find the helpers:
The Chair is accountable for deadlines and deliverables
Reach people where they are
Don’t just back up the truck:
Not everyone is an expert:
Prepare for feedback:
Barclay Rappeport made a motion to approve the charter as written and to appoint Brad Noble as the Chair. Mariah Riggs seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Brad will present a membership slate at the next board meeting.
Sunnyside Double Midstation Discussion (Matt Lillard):Management is addressing the changes needed to keep the base area flowing and to provide more skiing when conditions are poor. The intent is to be able to open additional terrain during poor snow times other than just lift 4 and the two trails off of that lift. This would also provide better experiences during times such as Christmas weeks of the past two years, when we were limited to just lift 4.
The goal would be to install an off-load only midstation on the Sunnyside Double during the summer of 2024.
Brad questioned the design of only off-load – could it be retrofitted later to allow folks to load there? Matt Lillardstated that it would need to be a separate station due to current tramway parameters/rules.
Will is looking for explanations going forward to delineate the true project costs vs areas where the project will offset future maintenance – as we move forward.
Mariah commented that the seasonal programs would greatly benefit from this addition to the lift.
Matthew Milan commented that we will be following the strategic plan to maximize our skiing. This will lead to questions about how we use Birdland and how to expand access to this area for the guests and to be cognizant of skier density.
Meg questioned the staffing changes that would be necessary. Matt Lillard said that a midstation would just require one additional lift operator. Additionally, if Birdland were running more frequently, then that lift would need to be staffed as well.
Will asked if we are authorizing management to evaluate both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the project. Meg commented that the facilities committee approached the POP campaign/changes the same way.
This initiative will come before the board for a vote at the November meeting.
Shareholder Rocky Bleier commented concerning the midstation on the Double. Rocky had previously supported the midstation on the Double back in the day. One question is the potential steepness of the ramp. Another question is what happens if the top of the mountain isn’t open and a rider doesn’t get off. Lastly, can snowmaking be expanded into Birdland to assist in expanded terrain. This would require a shareholder vote. Meg commented that while the projects don’t need to be linked, it is valuable to include this as a future goal. Matt commented that increasing snowmaking into Birdland is hampered largely by the issue of water.
Carol commented that there are many skiers who would like to have more access to Birdland. Matthew Milancommented that this is an ongoing conversation with management.
Matt Lillard will bring a proposal to the board in November.
GM 2023 Goals Review & Approval (Matthew Milan):The GM’s goals were presented in alignment with the pillars of the strategic plan. Goals for this season are:
Sunnyside midstation project: Strategic Pillar Alignment: Expand skiing opportunities at Mad River Glen
Communications: Strategic Pillar: Communicate the value and responsibility of ownership
Staffing: Strategic Pillar: Staff for the long term
Will questioned: how do you see the board measuring the ‘feels’ of the staffing goals. Matt Lillardsuggested that we need to put processes in place and continue as the board has with surveying staff in the spring. Additional questions to the gray area between results from management and communications committee as to measuring results – because of Matt’s efforts or because of the committee’s efforts?
Brad asked about any financial goals that didn’t make it into the goals statement. Matt commented that as a normal course of action he would always strive to beat budget.
Matthew Milanmade a motion that we approve the goals as stated in the document. Mariah seconded. Unanimous vote. (Andrew Carey and Carol recorded vote via the chat function)
Google Drive Discussion (Matt Lillard): Asked that everyone move forward to making cleaning up the drive and moving everything into the proper folders for the coming season. The 20/21 and 21/22 board shared drives need to move to the Co-Op drive before we get to the season. Mariah volunteered to help with that. Matt Milan commented that Brad and he had previously done this when we moved from Slack to Google. Matthew Milansuggested that he and Matt Lillardconnect later this week to explore administrative controls/permissions for the past drives and then a google meet can take place and move the files as needed.
Action Item: Matthew Milan wanted to recognize the Montclair Ski Club’s 75th anniversary. There should be a formal letter going out to recognize the support and contributions of the MSC over the past 75 years. Will suggested we explore what the anniversaries of other ski clubs as well so we can recognize these partnerships. Brad commented that this also follows the strategic plan to nurture durable communities.
MSC’s anniversary is the 22nd of October.
Open Items & New Business No new business. Rocky Bleier comments: thank you to the board and management and he is overall satisfied with the board and management, but remains frustrated on a number of points. He would like to see the draft Communications Committee charter posted on the website (Note: now that it’s approved it will go up on the website) and expressed concern that these types of documents are not available prior to formal Board of Trustees meetings for shareholder comments in advance. Matthew Milancommented that we have taken Rocky’s comments to heart and are acting on them. Rocky would like to see the historical meeting minutes on-line and available going back to the beginning of the Co-Op. Matthew Milancommented that we will move towards this goal as time and resources allow.