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Grand Mesa Nordic Council

Board Meeting

February 21, 2024



Board Members Present: Dan Tille, John Traylor, Christine Noel, Marguerite Tuthill, Tom Ela, Susie Attaway, Larry Gruel, and Ben Graves

Board Members Absent: None

Staff: Christie Aschwanden, Melissa Newell, Chantell Wofford Hansen, Beth Klein, Tigran Bailey, and Debbie Cheesman

Guests: Nike VanArsdale, Jeff Mikesell, and Val Szwarc


Dan called the meeting to order at 6:04pm and read the GMNC mission.


  1. Guests. Val Szwarc shared his appreciation for the GMNC and operations team, particularly for the high-quality grooming. He asked if the CO Enterprise Tax Zone was for building donations for general donations. Christie responded that she felt it was specific to donations to the capital campaign which is primarily for the building and some operational costs related to the building. 


Jeff and Nike VanArsdale shared their shift in interest for serving on the Board from Jeff to Nike. Nike shared that is her main interest for sitting in on tonight’s meeting. Dan will reach out to Nike to schedule time to discuss her interest further.


  1. Minutes. Marguerite asked for any edits to the January meeting minutes. Christine pointed out that Marguerite forgot to list her as a Board member in attendance at the January meeting. Tom motioned to accept the January minutes with the addition of Christine as an attendee. Susie seconded; motion passed unanimously.


  1. Financial Report. Christine provided her Treasurer’s report, a written copy was included in the Board packet. She shared GMNC had net operating revenue for January. The January revenue is helping to close the gap for the year-to-date deficit. Trail boxes are doing well, and the total number of donors is up over last year to date.


Investments – Christine shared that several of the GMNC’s investments are maturing between now and May. The Investment Committee’s plan is to reinvest most of these mature investments for one year but keep enough at the 4-to-6-month timeline in case funds are needed for purchasing materials and next season’s operations.


Banking Updates – GMNC has moved forward with opening an account with Bank of Colorado to provide for deposits to be made in Cedaredge.


Insurance Updates – All insurance bills came in over budget. Christine shared that Dan is planning to check on the renewals to see if the increase is reasonable based on the seasonal nature of the majority of GMNC’s employees.


Other Updates – GMNC’s tax return should be wrapped up by the end of February. The internal audit will likely not be completed until summer due to the amount of information needed. 


Finance Committee Recommendation – The Fundraising Committee is exploring options for an advertising campaign package. The Finance Committee recommends GMNC move forward with the package outlined in the ED Report.


Donation – Christie provided the Board with an update on a $5,000 donation from an individual whose employer will be matching that amount.


Christine then provided her monthly financial literacy lesson. This month’s lesson was on the 12 golden rules for non-profit finance.


  1. Operations Update. Debbie shared the ski school has had a great season and is operating in the black. She feels the price increase didn’t negatively impact participation and recommends maintaining lessons costs for the 2024-2025 ski season. She will provide participation numbers to Christie for the March meeting. Tigran shared operations have been uneventful but full of snow. 


  1. Community Outreach Director Update. Melissa reviewed highlights of her written report included in the Board packet. She reviewed the success of the Backcountry Ski Meet-up at Ward and thanks Art Trevena and Joyce Tanihara for volunteering. She also highlighted the success of the Community Pop Up Day with The Nature Connection. The GMNC raised close to $1,400 in daily donations, swag sales, and memberships at that event. The Women’s Meet Up continues to go strong.


Grand Mesa Friluftsliv Challenge Recap – The ski-a-thon was a big hit! Twenty-six people registered and $4,808 was raised in addition to the $780 in registration fees, $803 in other donations and swag sales, and $250 in memberships. This proved to be a great fundraiser for GMNC. Melissa thanked John for attending the event, fundraising, and his support the day of. Many participants did ask for the event to occur again next ski season.


Volunteer Hours – As of the end of January, GMNC has 98 active volunteers in this fiscal year plus 22 active ambassadors this fiscal year.  Volunteers have donated 704.75 hours since May 1, and Trail Ambassadors have donated 201.25 hours from 5/1/23-1/31/24 for a total of 906 hours.


  1. Executive Director Update. Christie provided highlights from her written report included in the Board packet.


Bookkeeping – Christie introduced Chantell Wofford Hansen, GMNC’s new bookkeeper who is starting tomorrow. Christie thanked Beth for her fantastic work for the organization and staying on to train Chantell.


Enterprise Tax Zone – Christie shared this has gone through and thanked John for his assistance in getting it completed. 


Ward Parking Lot – Christie met with CDOT about the parking lot. Outcome of the call was positive, and she hopes the next step will be pulling together a meeting of stakeholders to discuss solutions.


CPW Grant – GMNC did not receive the CPW trail planning grant. The main reason was the lack of year-round access in our NEPA proposal. Christie shared she is reaching out to COPMOBA to see if they could collaborate on a year-round approach for next cycle.


USFS – Christie and Dan met with Bill Edwards and Lacie Jurado and reviewed the updated building project plan.


Craig Wheeless – Christie met with Craig Wheeless who is based in Carbondale. Craig helped Spring Gulch design their capital campaign that is doing very well. Christie included the proposal in the Board packet. This is the proposal Christine mentioned the Finance Committee recommends approving during her update. Board discussed whether bringing on this contractor would require a Board vote. The Board ultimately decided the expenditure was up to Christie’s discretion. Christie will move forward with getting Craig Wheeless in place.


  1. Insurance Update. Dan provided an update on the insurance renewals. Dan dug into the renewal applications and found the information provided to the underwriters was riddled with errors and needs to be corrected. Corrected information has been shared and Dan is waiting on the updated quote. 


  1. Building Update. Dan shared the Fundraising Committee is meeting regularly with Ilene to ensure the capital campaign is well prepped for roll out. He has also been talking with Tigran to determine if it would be possible to add a cover for the snowcat that can be set up during the winter and removed during the summer.


  1. Bylaws. Dan reviewed a recent reading of the bylaws showed a need for a bylaw review and update.  It has been a while since this document was reviewed. This review would be done by Annie and Ilene. Any suggested updates would be reviewed and voted on by the Board. Dan agreed with Tom’s suggestion to start with Annie since it would be done pro bono.


  1. Upcoming Meetings. The Board scheduled the next six Board meetings for the following days and time.
  • March 13, 6-8p, Zoom
  • April 17, 6-8p, Zoom
  • May 22, 6-8p, Delta (annual meeting)
  • June 12, 6-8p, Zoom
  • July 17, 6-8p, Zoom
  • August 14, 6-8p, Delta


John motioned to adjourn the meeting; Christine seconded; the motion passed unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 7:28pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Marguerite Tuthill

Board Secretary