Grand Mesa Nordic Council
December 12, 2023
Board Members Present: Dan Tille, Tom Ela, Christine Noel, Marguerite Tuthill, John Traylor & Susie Attaway
Board Members Absent: Larry Gruel
GMNC Staff: Christie Aschwanden, Melissa Newell, Beth Klein, and Tigran Bailey
Guests: Ben Graves
Dan Tille called the meeting to order at 6:03 pm and read the GMNC mission statement.
- Public Comment Period. The Board opened the meeting to public comment.
Ben Graves – Ben has applied to be a member of the Board. He also shared his enjoyment of last week’s event and testing out the new ski gear.
- Finance Report. Christine reviewed the financial dashboard included in the Board packet. November’s revenues are up from last November. November 2023 trail boxes are lagging compared to last November, although the YTD compared to last YTD is higher. Even though overall GMNC is lagging compared to last year YTD, it is important to remember last year was an exceptional snow year and may not be an accurate benchmark year. Compared to a more normal year, GMNC is doing just fine financially.
Internal Audit – GMNC’s CPA is in the process of the internal control environment assessment and mapping the Council’s various processes. It will likely be January or February before the internal audit is complete. The CPA’s next task will be to complete our tax filing, due March 15, 2024.
Financial Literacy – This month’s topic is the Profit & Loss Statement and how it articulates to the balance sheet. Next month the topic will be cash basis vs accrual basis accounting and the budget process.
John shared the Finance Committee is proud of its current standing but looking forward to hearing from both Mesa & Delta Counties on this year’s funding amounts.
Finance Committee Meeting – The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on Monday, January 8 at 3:30pm via Zoom.
- Community Outreach Director Report. Melissa reviewed her Community Outreach Director report included in the Board packet. Details she highlighted include:
Events – The first race of the season went well, as did the first Full Moon Ski. The Events Committee is working through a lot of details around keeping events at their high level of quality and engagement. Melissa also provided a rundown of upcoming events including the Family Fun Day with Nature Connection and Grand Valley Nordic Ski Club.
Volunteers – Melissa and Christie have worked through the glitch in the newsletter, and it shouldn’t be getting caught in spam folders anymore. Melissa also put in a plug for more Board members to attend the trail ambassador training. To date, Susie is the only Board member to complete this training. Overall, GMNC has 78 volunteers that have been active in this GMNC fiscal year and over 558 hours donated to the organization.
Other Trainings & Partnerships – Melissa attended a full day workshop with the Colorado Tourism Office called Destination Blueprint. She also continues to attend the Western Slope Outdoors Alliance meetings and feels those meetings are starting to pick up steam.
Tom asked for an update on the Grand Valley Nordic Ski Club. Melissa shared they are looking for Board members and waiting on final word from USFS for permitting for their lessons.
John asked for more details on the Grand Mesa Friluftsliv Challenge. Melissa explained this is GMNC’s spring fundraiser / ski-a-thon that will be held on Saturday, February 17th. A virtual platform will be used for donation collections, and Jagged Edge Mountain Gear will be donating prizes for top fundraisers. Reporting of ski mileage is on the honor system. This is a fundraiser and definitely not a race.
- Operation Report. Tigran’s Operations report is included in the Board packet. Tigran shared the grooming team has managed to get almost the entirety of Skyway and County Line trails going, even with the limited snowfall. Some final issues with the snowcat are being worked through. Christie shared the Ward snowmobile grooming is making a great difference to those trails. Tigran also shared the grooming team is working well together and working through these early season glitches well.
- Executive Director Report. Christie reviewed her Executive Director report included in the Board packet. Details she highlighted include:
Colorado Gives Day – Christie shared we exceed our fundraising goal for this day (aimed for $10,000 and made $10, 204).
Memberships – Memberships are starting to roll in steadily now and folks are signing up for the sustaining memberships. Christie is planning to investigate how this new program is changing GMNC’s bottom line.
Operations – Christie shared she has been getting a fair amount of positive feedback on the grooming and is impressed with the Ops Team’s grooming thus far. This is feeding into GMNC’s continued move towards our trails being destinations for Nordic skiing for skiers around the state.
USFS – Messaging from the department points towards the Annual Operating Plan being approved soon. Christie does feel the Skyway Cabin’s 60% plans should be submitted sooner than later to help move this next step in the approval process along.
Fundraising – Christie has been talking with each of the Snow Angels Club members to thank them for their support and learn more about what drives their giving. She continues to work on expanding business memberships but needs additional business ideas for outreach. Christie is headed to Denver on January 17th for the CPW grant presentation.
Ski School – The increase in rates due to making instructors employees isn’t having any sort of negative impact of sign-ups. This month’s master’s clinic did make $2,000 which will cover admin costs, grooming, and some other expenses. Debbie provided a written report on the first learn to ski clinic, it is included in the Executive Director report in the Board packet.
Safety Plan – All instructors have gone through a one-day first aid class at St. Mary’s Hospital. Tigran shared a need to train the grooming crew on safe snowmobile techniques to help skiers who do get into trouble out on the trails back to the parking lot. Dan mentioned the need to remind skiers about ways to have safe experiences on the trails. Marguerite asked about the need for a volunteer ski patrol. Christie shared these discussions have occurred in the past and the insurance cost is currently prohibitive. Dan also shared the feedback from the insurance rep stated messaging around the trails being backcountry and used at skier’s own risk covers the GMNC from any potential lawsuits due to injuries on the trails, that were not caused by GMNC actions. Board also discussed what the next level of permit would entail.
John shared the positive feedback he received from a member about their appreciation for receiving a direct thanks from Christie for the member’s support of the organization.
Tom asked for a copy of the emergency response plan, so he is prepared on race days. Christie will share the document. Tom and Dan asked to get certified on using the snowmobile. Tigran will work with them to schedule time to do that.
- Christie’s 5280 Article. Dan, and the Board, congratulated Christie on her excellent “love letter to her job” article featured in 5280. It was excellent exposure for the GMNC and its trails.
The next three GMNC Board meeting are set for:
- Wednesday, January 10th at 6pm in-person at the Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta
- Wednesday, February 21st at 6pm via Zoom
- Wednesday, March 13th at 6pm via Zoom
The Board then adjourned into Executive Session. Please note that during Executive Session, Tom motioned to approve adding Ben Graves to the GMNC Board, Susie seconded. Vote passed unanimously with Dan carrying Larry’s proxy.