Thank You!

Dear MRG Community,

Thanks for all the support over the years!

When I became Mad River Glen’s Marketing Director back in 1995 I felt like I was the luckiest guy in the world.  I always said that if I ever lost that feeling I would hang ‘em up and give someone else the opportunity to be the head cheerleader for this amazing place. Well, after 24 years that day has come, I have decided to retire from Mad River Glen and move on to the next chapter in my life.  It has been an honor and a privilege to work here. I’d like to thank the entire Mad River Glen community for all the support over the years.

MRG has been at the core of my life for a very long time. My boys, Ben and Eli, quite literally grew up here.  I met Holly, the love of my life, on this mountain.  Mad River Glen is and will continue to be a very special place to me.

Eli, Ben, Ken Quackenbush and I after taking the final chairs up on the “Old Single”.

I am very proud of what we have accomplished over the past quarter century (YIKES!).  If you step back and reflect it  is really quite remarkable. When the Co-op started our success was not a forgone conclusion by any stretch. Over the years we have proven that America’s only skier-owned mountain could be successful.  Heck, we’ve finished in the black for three quarters of the years since the Co-op’s inception.  We implemented the 12 & Under Free Kids Pass program which has been the foundation of the Co-op’s renaissance. Our community has grown to nearly 2,000 Co-op shareholders representing nearly $4 million in critical capital. We have raised well over $7 million in donations over two successful capital campaigns and fostered a culture of philanthropy that will be key to our long-term sustainability. We became well respected players in the local business community and within the ski industry generally. We forged a close bond with Sugarbush and work tirelessly to promote The Valley in a cohesive way.  We codified Mad River Glen’s fabled history by publishing a definitive history book. In addition we’ve cataloged and preserved the mountain’s voluminous photo archive. This effort culminated with Mad River Glen becoming the first ski area in the nation to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. I have been able to play a large part in all these successes and at the same time having  more fun doing snow reports and communicating with our community than anyone should be allowed to have.

Benny on the Single

 I always viewed my role as the steward of the Mad River Glen brand and I can look back knowing that it has been left in very good shape.  All of our success has built a strong foundation that will keep attracting skiers to this hallowed mountain for generations to come. Despite a myriad of challenges, the future of Mad River Glen is bright and I am proud to be a part of the Co-op’s unique mission of protection and preservation.

The key to Mad River’s success is our people. They are a huge part of the awesome sense of place that Mad River Glen exudes. We are fortunate to have an incredibly loyal and devoted staff and I will miss carousing with our cast of characters;  Stevie and his merry band of lifties, Michael, Rob and the irrepressible Basebox crew,  John Ayers and the incomparable Ski Patrol, Callie who helped raise my boys and got them off skiing on the right foot,  Nate and the whole Mountain Ops crew who maintain our little slice of heaven, Karen and the ladies in the General Store who have found a way to put the MRG brand on near anything, the unparalleled Ski School folks who literally manufacture top-notch skiers, Mike and the “Shop Boys” who have always taken me in like one of their own and of course the outlandish cast of Mad River Glen Today! These are the folks that really make the magic and I am proud to have served with them all for so long.

Young Eli at his happy place!

I’d like to thank some of our leaders here at MRG.  I was so fortunate to have had an overlap with the legendary Ken Quackenbush.  His wisdom and knowledge of the industry and his devotion to MRG were astonishing. He made me keenly aware of my responsibility to the mountain, the MRG community and the local economy.  I am so appreciative that Bob “Boomer” Mazza took a chance and hired me on for this adventure.  Bob Ackland was so incredibly supportive. He appreciated what “guerilla marketing” is really all about and encouraged me to take risks and go against conventional wisdom.  I brought Andrew Snow to Mad River as an intern over 20 years ago and I had no idea how fortuitous that decision would be for me and for the mountain.  He has become a close friend, confidante and trusted colleague. There is no one more passionate about this place and we are lucky to have him. Most importantly I want to thank Deri Meier for his devotion to Mad River Glen and for being such an amazing mentor and a tremendous friend.  I don’t believe enough of our community realizes how critical he was to the success of the Mad River Glen Cooperative.  Using the “founding fathers” metaphor, Deri was our Alexander Hamilton. Without him none of the successes we enjoy would have ever been possible!  Next time you see him in the Pub be sure to buy him a beer and say thank you!

Me and my girl driving off into the sunset!

In this day and age it is rare to have a work-place as tight-knit as we do in our office.  Sharon, Virginia, Ernie and I have been together through all of life’s triumphs, trials and tribulations over the years.  I love these women dearly and they will always hold a very special place in my heart.  What I will remember most are our communal lunchtimes and laughing as hard as I ever laughed before.

See you on the mountain!

With that all said I bid you all adieu. I plan to stay here in the Mad River Valley as I seek new professional challenges and I look forward to re-discovering Mad River Glen as a skier once again. Thanks again to the entire MRG community for all the support over the years. I look forward to seeing the vast majority of you up on the hill.