By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — After a tough winter, the Gunstock Area Commission needed nearly $1 million to tide the resort over until next year.
The Belknap County Delegation unanimously approved a request by the Gunstock Area Commission for a $950,000 revenue anticipation note following a public hearing held last night at the Belknap County Complex.
The amount approved was $300,000 more than last year ‘s and the increase was due to what Gunstock Mountain Resort General Manager Gregg Goddard said was the poorest ski season in recent memory. He said that the area drew only a little over 120,000 skier visits during the season, down from the 185,000 high of two years ago.
Total revenue from all operations, including skiing, dropped to $9,096,039, down by over $2.35 million from last year, with about $1 million of that loss coming during the Christmas vacation period, normally Gunstock’s busiest time of the entire ski season.
Goddard said that last year Gunstock’s net revenue was close to a half million dollars but that it was nearly a negative one million this year, necessitating the use of reserve funds in order to maintain operations.
Gunstock still receives more than 70 percent of its total revenue from skiing operations in a 100-day period from mid-December to late March, despite the addition of new summer attractions such as its longest in North America zip line and treetop adventure park. Goddard said those attractions raised over $2 million in revenue, which is just 22 percent of the entire revenues for the county-owned resort.
The revenue anticipation note provides a short-term cash flow for Gunstock and is to be repaid by April 1 of next year from profits made during the ski season. Goddard said that $300,000 of the revenues would be drawn down in June, another $300,000 in September and the remaining $350,000 in October.
He also presented the 2017 budget adopted recently by the commission which project 170,000 skier visits next winter with a $12.1 million on total revenues and a net profit of $1.3 million.
Work is progressing at the resort on its newest attraction, a mountain coaster which will carry riders in carts running on rails up to 30 feet above the ground, relying solely on gravity for speed, 2,660 feet downhill, around two circles and through sharp curves, at speeds up to 25 mph.
Originally projected to open in the middle of July, Goddard said that with the short winter and early spring he hopes that it will be up and running by the Fourth of July.
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