To The Daily Sun,
Gunstock Mountain Resort is a business. It generates all income from customers who choose its goods and services. It operates with a vision that becomes an operating plan. If not operated profitably, Gunstock will fail or become a taxpayer burden.
More than 80 percent of profits are from the ski and snowboard business, a capital-intensive business with high maintenance and operating cost. If we don't operate profitably there are no funds for payroll, maintenance and capital improvements and it will fail.
Gunstock competes and over the past three years is winning, against other ski areas and activities consumers spend disposable income on. Under COVID restriction in 2021, Gunstock produced the highest revenue, profit, skier visits and yearend cash in their 80-year history. Fiscal year 2022 through October is performing ahead of last year. This is because the Gunstock Area Commission and management have a plan. That's also why the GAC voted 4-1 in favor of performance bonuses. This is standard operating procedure to reward personnel for meeting or exceeding the budget, and to retain good people. Any one of our leadership team could get jobs elsewhere. No business can afford turnover, it's expensive and disruptive.
A business must control its destiny. We bought out a food and beverage provider; before this year, those profits went out of state. Leasing the entire facility would abdicate our responsibility as steward. If Vail were to lease the business, most profits would go the Vail shareholders with a minimal amount available to maintain and improve facilities.
GAC and Gunstock were going to release a plan to the public Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. in the base lodge for the largest expansion in resort history. It's reasonable and protects the character. I hope everyone with an appreciation for this asset will come and share thoughts.
The Belknap County delegates do not have a plan. They want budget control and voted the resort should not be run like a business. Their reasoning is government should not run a business and Gunstock's food and beverage business hurts local restaurants. You can't make this up.
To accomplish this agenda, Belknap County Delegation Chair Mike Sylvia called a meeting to remove three commissioners who oppose this nonsense, gain control of the GAC and proceed with no plan.
In business this is called the nuclear option, to blow everything up.
To break up the GAC three weeks before opening casts a shadow, is irresponsible and will have consequences. We can't run businesses that way and should fix this at the ballot box next November. The delegation has a Republican Caucus that votes as a block. This allows them to share information avoiding Right to Know laws and is likely why Sylvia won't allow public or GAC commissioners and their lawyer to speak at the hearing. County taxpayers and voters should call their representative and ask for a no vote on the motion to remove any commissioners. Otherwise you'll likely have a new commissioner appointed to run the business who joins Jade Wood and Peter Ness neither of whom have any experience.