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Grand Mesa Nordic Council

Board Meeting

July 18, 2023

Board: Dan Tille, John Traylor, Christine Noel, Marguerite Tuthill, Susie Attaway

Board Members Absent: Tom Ela & Larry Gruel

GMNC Staff: Christie Aschwanden

Guests: Greg Randall and Tim Carter

Dan Tille called the meeting to order at 6:05 pm and read the GMNC mission statement.


Public Comment Period. The Board opened the meeting to public comment.

Greg Randall provided a summary of his perspective of his interactions with the Board at the past two monthly meetings. He asked the Board a series of questions that reiterated the concerns and questions he has shared at previous meetings. Greg questioned Christie’s qualifications for serving as Executive Director. Dan explained the hiring committee felt Christie met the qualifications outlined in the job description. Greg also shared that he is against the lodge. He recommended GMNC offer opportunities for members to ensure their donations are  bookmarked for specific uses, i.e. for grooming only.

 Tim Carter asked for details on the decision regarding the groomer’s employment and Dan reiterated that there will be no discussion of personnel, as dictated by Colorado labor laws. He also shared his concern about the lodge and why the building wasn’t specific to operations needs. Tim also asked for the Board to have more transparency with the members, particularly asking if the Master Development Plan can be shared publicly. Dan explained the USFS has asked GMNC to refrain from sharing the Master Development Plan publicly until it has been officially approved. Tim asked if Christie had run a ski school before and whether the ski school needed as many instructors as it had in the previous ski season.


June Minutes Approval. Christine motioned to approve the June minutes as submitted, John seconded, motion was approved unanimously.


Finance Report. Christine reviewed the financial dashboard included in the Board packet. Christine shared that total expenses are budgeted at a rate of about 8% per month, or about $25,000. GMNC is currently tracking at 6.5% of total budget at two months in, which is good. GMNC will need to keep an eye on budgeted costs for the snowcat as the current estimate for repairs is $22,500. $25,000 has been budgeted. Later this year the Finance Committee recommends discussions with professionals to assess the following: The “sweet spot” for when to trade it in, the estimated trade-in value, and estimated cost of a new machine. GMNC currently estimates 5 years of remaining useful life; GMNC may need to revise. GMNC will need to budget for replacement costs and prioritize funding.

GMNC will likely have a budget shortfall with grant funding from the City of GJ and Mesa County and will need to reassess our position in September and consider some budget cuts.

Investments Updates – The Balance Sheet tab on the Dashboard Excel Spreadsheet shows GMNC currently has about $175,000 invested with the US Treasury. The most recent investment was made at the end of June, per GMNC’s Investments Strategy:

  • 13-week, $125,000 T-Bill
  • Issue date: 6/29/2023
  • Maturity date: 9/28/2023
  • Interest rate: 5.336%


CPA Updates – Christine met with our new CPA, Travis Boyd, to discuss GMNC needs.

He is happy to take GMNC on as a client and assures a timely filing of this year’s 990.

The GMNC bookkeeper and Christine will be providing him with various documents and records. Then he will review these and will let Christine know his fees. After Travis assesses the soundness of GMNC books, Christine can inquire locally about the cost of a review, which is lesser in scope than an audit, but is still performed by an independent CPA who goes through a peer review process. The Board agreed a second set of eyes on the books is the right decision.

 Executive Director Report. Christie reviewed her Executive Director report included in the Board packet. Details she highlighted include:

USFS Update – Christie received an email about the parking lot toilets having been pumped out. Skyway and Mesa Top will be pumped out in August. We’ve been told the pit toilet at Ward will be redone, but no word yet on when. Christie continues to work on Master Development Plan approval with the USFS. She has received word that it has been signed but needs to move through a couple other stages before final approval. The permit for the September trail run has been submitted.

 Fundraising – Grant writing and potential funder meetings has taken up most of Christie’s time lately. Dan and Christie had a great meeting with the Mesa County Commissioners, some discussion was had about potential collaborative efforts with the Mesa County trail clearing staff. The El Pomar Foundation decision should be made by mid-September. Anschutz shared that the GMNC wouldn’t be a good fit for their funding priorities. Multiple community and governmental organizations have offered to write, or have written, letters of support for the Skyway building.

Snowcat Maintenance & Grooming – As Christine shared in her update, the snowcat is in worse shape than anticipated and this has resulted in a larger than expected repair estimate. Christie hired Rich McCreanor to oversee the maintenance needs over the summer and he has offered to help during this coming season. Christie has posted the grooming job description and has had some interest in the position.

 Employee Handbook – Christie is working on an employee handbook that will include process documents explaining how to complete all necessary work. The goal of this document is to memorialize institutional knowledge.

Board Boot Camp – The Board is interested in attending but GMNC will need to move their September meeting. Board discussed making the September meeting Zoom and the October meeting in person. The Board will confirm dates with the full Board and then Christie will post the meetings on the GMNC website.


Community Outreach Director Report. Melissa’s report was included in the Board packet. Christie shared details on Melissa’s report. Melissa’s hours are decreased during the summer, down to approximately 8 hours per week. She has developed a silent auction fundraising committee composed of GMNC members volunteering their time. She has also set up the software needed to allow for online bids on auction items. She is working on kickoff event locations. The Board agreed Edgewater would be a great location for this event.

Melissa has also been assisting Christie with the capital campaign work. Additional work is being done with the Fundraising Committee to prep the messaging around the capital campaign and how it will be rolled out.

 Christine asked about the schedule for trail clean-up workdays. Christie and Melissa are working on that schedule and will share it publicly soon.


Building Update. Dan provided an update on the building process. Dan shared that no decisions can be made because the full Board isn’t present. The second bid came back higher and GMNC saw more declinations to bid compared to the first bid request. The Fundraising Committee met in early July, and Melissa has sent out the capital campaign database for initial review. Christie shared that she is cognizant of the need to maintain a focus on operational funding needs and ensure the building doesn’t cannibalize all focus and time.

The GMNC will meet next via Zoom on August 15th at 6pm.

 Board then moved into Executive Session at 7:27 pm.


         Respectfully Submitted,

         Marguerite Tuthill