After due notice, a Shareholder’s Town Meeting of the Mad River Glen Cooperative was convened at 4:00 PM on October 2, 2004 on the 3rd floor of the Basebox at Mad River Glen Ski Area in Fayston, Vermont.
Trustees Alan Moats (Board Chair), Jay Appleton, Paul Finnerty, Bill Reynolds, Leigh Michl, Deb Steines, and Jed Kalkstein were present.Rick Moulton and Mary Schramke were absent.Also present was President Jamey Wimble, Eric Friedman, Sharon Crawford as well as about 35 shareholders.
CALL TO ORDER:
Board Chair Alan Moats called the meeting to order at 4:00 PM.
Alan Moats greeted shareholders and stated that the format of the meeting would be principally Q&A.He mentioned that the major item under consideration was the Single Chair renovation.He stated that the assumption of the board was that the Single would be refurbished in substantially the same form as today.However, all options were being investigated and would be presented to shareholders along with a recommended course of action from the board.
Jamey Wimble presented the status of the Single renovation process.He stated that most of the changes would be in the base station and would be hidden from view.He stated that the lattice towers seemed satisfactory and could be reused, but that the bigger question concerned the condition of the tower bases, which, if in poor condition, would add substantially to the cost of the project.He mentioned a potential change in the Single’s chair grip mechanism and sheaves to allow for quicker tower re-alignments and greatly improved efficiency during annual chair adjustments.Mr. Wimble said he was considering a new top station design.Changes may include the bullwheel design to prevent a reoccurrence of the Christmas 2003 outage (as well as a similar breakage about 25 years ago) and a sloped, ramp-style unloading similar to the double.
Mr. Wimble noted that $300,000 had been reserved for the Single renovation to date which, when combined with additional savings over the next two seasons, would be sufficient to replace all the bases if necessary.He reiterated the refurbishment plan will require shareholder approval, according to the ByLaws, so shareholders will have the final say.In addition, all options would be presented to shareholders along with a recommended course of action.He stated that the current plan was for the work to be done in the summer of 2006.
Shareholders asked many specific questions on a variety of topics related to the Single renovation.
Mr. Wimble also mentioned that a new double would cost $1.1 million and a new single would cost $1.4 million.The cost of the renovation option is still being evaluated.This option may cost as little as $500,000 or as much as $1.5 million.
Several shareholders made statements concerning their views on the correct course of action.Comments related to the need to preserve the Single as well as the need for a double to reduce liftlines.Mr. Moats pointed out that the ByLaws prevented a material increase in uphill capacity and that such a change was not currently under consideration.Mr. Wimble pointed out that increases in uphill capacity could result in dangerous conditions at trail intersections as well as the fact that the Co-op actively markets its low trail density.
GENERAL QUESTION AND ANSWER
Mr. Moats opened the floor to general questions.Regarding the 20th Hole, Mr. Moats indicated that the Co-op had devoted considerable time to exploring alternatives but that price expectations from the seller made any transaction impossible.There was a question regarding whether shareholder approval would be required before snowboarding was allowed.The board affirmed that shareholders would have to approve such a change.There was also a discussion of mechanisms to track shareholder expenditures for patronage rebate and revenue analysis purposes.
There was also a discussion of pricing.The board pointed out that there was a need to operate at a $200K annual profit (plus a net 20 shares sold) in order for the Co-op’s cash resources to meet its capital and maintenance requirements.A chart was presented indicating that MadRiver’s new $50 day ticket price was among the least expensive in the state, even comparing our new price to last season’s prices at other areas.Mr. Friedman indicated that a principal aspect of pricing decision making was to charge a premium to infrequent skiers who “cherry picked” good snow days versus loyal skiers who bought passes.There was a question from a shareholder as to whether this strategy discouraged “new blood” at MadRiver.Mr. Friedman indicated that new skier visits have been very high to date and that the average age of skiers had declined significantly with the “12 and Under Ski Free” Program.
There was also a question about increasing ancillary income.The board and management indicated a desire to increase ancillary income.One area not under consideration was selling hard goods in a ski shop.Prior studies of the board indicated that a hard goods ski shop would require a major investment and distraction for a very small return.
In response to a question about bio-diesel, Mr. Wimble indicated that even though cold weather stability was improving, the cost premium was very large and the environmental improvement very small.
There was no Executive Session and, there being no further business to come before the board, the meeting adjourned at 5:52PM.