Grand Mesa Nordic Council
October 17, 2023
Board Members Present: Dan Tille, Tom Ela, Marguerite Tuthill, Susie Attaway & John Traylor
Board Members Absent: Christine Noel & Larry Gruel
GMNC Staff: Christie Aschwanden, Melissa Newell & Beth Klein
Guests: Dusty Dodson & Moose Traylor
Dan Tille called the meeting to order at 6:04 pm and read the GMNC mission statement.
September Minutes Approval. John motioned to approve the September minutes as submitted, Tom seconded, motion was approved unanimously.
- Finance Report. The usual dashboard and investment report were unavailable for this meeting but will be posted soon. John provided a brief update on financials. Revenues & expenses are tracking to this time last year. The one exception is the bill for the snowcat ($25,000). This bill creates a situation where the Board will likely need to allocate more funds for this line item later in the year. This bill came in December of last year. Tom asked about revenues. He mentioned an increase in memberships from the Apple Fest event. Christie shared donations are running a bit ahead of this time last year.
John discussed finance committee recommendations to make two investments with funds that have matured in September, roughly $50,000 in the building fund and $100,000 in the operating fund. He also mentioned that the quarterly investment report will be posted to the board Drive once Christine has approved it. Investment income is running ahead of projections and should help offset new costs in the budget.
- EDZ Tax Discussion. John reached out to the Delta County Economic Development Zone (EDZ) Coordinators at Christie’s request to see if GMNC would be eligible for an EDZ for the building capital campaign. It appears that GMNC would be eligible under the support of capital campaigns and tourist attractions criteria. The outstanding question is around whether the project is more in Mesa County or Delta County. The regional EDZ Coordinators will discuss the potential for a joint project. There is a fee to receive the EDZ: a 1% from the program to administer this tax credit. GMNC will need to submit an application for the building project to receive this EDZ designation and will need to complete the project within 5 years of receiving the designation.
- Strategic Plan Draft Discussion. A draft of the strategic plan was included in the Board packet. The Board thanked John for his work on organizing and facilitating the Board retreat and this subsequent summary document. Dan reminded the Board that this document will be shared publicly and will be posted to the GMNC website. Dan asked the Board to review the draft over the next month and will plan to approve at the next Board meeting. Plan will be posted to the GMNC website soon after being approved.
- Public Comment Period. The Board opened the meeting to public comment.
Dusty Dodson – He asked if the race schedule had been posted on the website yet. Christie shared the race schedule was posted on October 16th.
- Thirty Minute Comment Period Policy. Dan reviewed changes made to the Thirty Minute Comment Period Policy. Tom moved to approve the policy as written. Marguerite seconded, and the motion passed unanimously. This policy will be posted to the GMNC website.
- Executive Director Report. Christie reviewed her Executive Director report included in the Board packet. Details she highlighted include:
23-24 Ski Season – The season has officially started. Two people tied for winning the First Skier of the Season. Snowmobiles are being prepped.
Grants – The CPW grant has been submitted. This grant required a lot of collaboration with other entities and pulled together a great project. The next step is to present the project proposal in person.
Ops Crew – The Operations Crew is now fully hired. Tigran has done a great job of bringing together a team of talented groomers. In addition to Tigran, GMNC has three other groomers lined up. Two of them have snowcat experience.
Membership Options – Christie & Melissa have been developing some additional membership options. The Sustaining Membership option allows donors to provide ongoing support with a monthly donation. There are multiple dollar amount levels within this membership option. The Snow Angel Club is for members who donate $500+ per year.
Alpine Bank – GMNC received a $300 matching grant for KVNF underwriting from Alpine Bank. GMNC will use this to publicize events (e.g., free ski clinics, kids days, full moon skis, and race series).
Ski School – Nearly all instructors from last year are returning, providing a large pool to pull from and increasing the availability of private lessons. The clinic dates will be posted to the GMNC website soon. Clinics include: 3 free ski clinics, several paid skate and classic clinics, and a 4-part progressive skate clinic. The women’s clinics will also be returning, but the dates haven’t been finalized.
Christie is working with Tim Carter and Tina Wilson on this year’s Masters Clinic, this year it will be called the “Grand Mesa Nordic Festival.” People can sign up for either a two or three-day clinic. Dates are Dec 8-10. Tim has lined up several ski companies to offer free demos all weekend. With the Mesa’s reliable early season snow and great skiing, Tim thinks GMNC could really become the preferred early season clinic for masters around the country.
Website – The website should be fully updated with clinics, races and other events by the time of our board meeting this week. Empowered Energy Systems has renewed as presenting sponsor of the race series.
John asked for an update on when the grant spreadsheet would be shared with the Board. Christie will add it to the Fundraising folder on the Board drive.
- Community Outreach Director Report. Melissa reviewed her Community Outreach Director report included in the Board packet. Details she highlighted include:
Events Update – GMNC had its first on-mesa event of the season on Saturday, September 23rd, the Run For Snow. Between 40-45 racers participated. The event went smoothly, and there was good feedback all around.
Applefest took place the first full weekend of October and was a huge hit! Over the course of the weekend, Melissa, Tom, and volunteers signed up 27 members (a nice mix of new and returning), sold a lot of swag, and had countless positive interactions and conversations. In total, the GMNC brought in $3890 during this festival.
GMNC will have its season kick-off parties coming up in the next couple of weeks, Cedaredge on October 22nd and Grand Junction on November 4th.
Silent Auction Update – The auction goes live on Monday, October 23rd, and as of right now, there are over 75 donated items, with more coming in. Over these next couple weeks, Melissa will be working on finishing inputting the items, sending out tax donation receipts to business donors, and spreading the word.
The Finance Committee approved the integration of the Stripe credit card processor into our online auction platform, and GMNC will now be able to take credit card, Paypal, cash, or check payments the night of the live silent auction event.
Additionally, Melissa did secure a sponsor for the silent auction, Cedaredge Land Company.
Trail Maintenance – GMNC has had several more trail work days since the September Board meeting. The bulk of the work continues to be at Ward, and the USFS is completing the work on Scales Lake Road at Skyway. There are two more scheduled work days, one at County Line for a bit of work on the Overlook vista loop and then a longer day scheduled for Ward with the goal being to complete the signage and mark the backcountry trails of Skinned Horse, Finney, and Sheep as well as replace the “No Snowmobile” signs. Melissa thanked Rich and Eric for their help on this work.
Volunteer Management – Volunteers have logged 323.75 hours, mostly on trail work days and the Co2Ut race so far this season. Melissa plans to revamp the Trail Ambassador program in the coming month.
- Miscellaneous Business. No other business was added to the agenda.
The GMNC Board will meet next via Zoom on November 14th at 6pm.
The Board then moved into Executive Session.