It’s been a beautiful spring so far here in Terrace. Most (but not all) skis have been stashed away for the year and we are in full spring/ summer maintenance mode at the hill. As we continue to wrap up and run the numbers from this season, the reality of our financial position has got us all feeling nervous about next steps. How do we better balance our cornerstones of Affordability and Sustainability? How do we increase revenues in an industry that depends entirely on the weather? How do we put a few bucks away when every buck is being spent on equipment maintenance and crucial upgrades? On fuel to keep the power on? On increasing costs of staffing as minimum wage rises with inflation? On inflated food costs? On wildly expensive operating insurance?
How do we develop other avenues of revenue generation that can keep us afloat if… dare I say it… we get a low snow year?
MMC, we as your board are feeling it. We are concerned. MMC/ Shames Mountain is a bigger entity than it ever was. The scope of our maintenance and expansion projects are larger, the cost of doing business is greater and the need for an engaged membership is being felt more than ever. Thanks for taking the time to read. It’s a bit of a doozy.
- As alluded to above, we have finished this season in a tighter financial position than ever before. Here’s a breakdown:
- Operating costs were at an all time high this season. Uncontrollable variables such as minimum wage increases, liability insurance, building/ maintenance supplies and food/ beverage inventory contributed to this.
- As MMC/ Shames Mountain continues to grow, so must our overheads in order to meet our operational demands. Things such as operating software, additional staff housing, maintaining a fleet of vehicles* and improved internet access are a few examples.
- This year we landed under budget on ticket sales revenue. With the pandemic coming to an end, many families have returned to their pre-COVID winter hobbies. Though we are seeing more ‘first timers’ visit the mountain, overall ticket sales were down and the increase in price was insufficient to make up the difference.
- This year we operated at five operating days (instead of four) for a large part of the season. In addition to this, most of March was slow. Did you know it costs $15 000/ day to operate Shames Mountain? When ticket sales are down and the cost of operating stays about the same, we see a rapid loss in revenue.
- This year we were without any of the pandemic subsidies that we were fortunate to receive over the preceding two seasons. We were also on the hook to repay some of what we were given.
- Capital investments including a large generator replacement, dipped into our rainy day fund this year and we were unable to replenish it given lower than budgeted revenues.
* A note on our fleet vehicles: many of you saw that we posted four vehicles for sale at the end of the season. These vehicles were acquired at a very good price at auction with the help of a registered dealer (our very own Kelly Gingles). They were sold for just less than the price of purchase. Lots of thought went into this decision, it allows us to decrease maintenance costs associated with aging vehicles over time.
- On a positive note, for the first time ever, we made a few bucks in the kitchen this year! Unfortunately, in previous years we were selling a lot of our food at a loss. This made the price increase seem staggering with little change to the actual food being prepared but allowed us to do better than break even!
- The pricing committee has met a few times already and will be coming to the table soon with pricing recommendations for the 2023-24 season. We can expect price changes that align with inflation. Ski school prices have not changed in over a decade, so we will likely see some recommendations there. We will continue to prioritize the effort to keep skiing affordable for families, and to seek out operational efficiencies.
- Our corporate contribution package is getting revamped in the hopes that we will be more successful in seeking corporate engagement. This is a great volunteer opportunity if you want to help us capitalize on corporate opportunities!
- Reach out if you are interested in participating in our pricing subcommittee or a corporate engagement subcommittee.
OPERATIONS & PROJECTS
- As mentioned, summer maintenance is well underway. Our largest projects this summer will be some significant lift maintenance and finishing up the exterior of the carpet.
- We were recently awarded a planning grant from the BC Government Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program which will be directed at long term planning for future development of our base area as well for aging infrastructure like our water sewer treatment plant.
- A member-led solar power project is underway this summer to upgrade the solar power system that our caretaker relies on over the summer. Check out their website where some very cool hoodies are available for purchase to help fund the initiative: Step 3 Project – Shames Mountain.
- We hope to run our annual Shred Scrambles this year but will require a significant volunteer base to make this happen! Watch for an email with all the details coming your way soon.
- Terrace August 19th
- Prince Rupert September 24th
- We hope to see the return of the Blueberry Festival this year – stay tuned for more information!
To put your name forward as a volunteer please email [email protected] or message us on Facebook!
- Pricing committee
- Corporate engagement
- Golf Scrambles
Thanks for reading, MMC. We are in this together and we are in a financial position we have never been in before. The reality is that a complete status quo may very well have us running out of money before the beginning of next season. We need your ideas, your time, your engagement. A short Season Feedback Survey has been created to provide a platform for feedback and idea sharing. Please take the time to complete it before June 15th. We ask that you do so in a manner that provides tangible suggestions over criticism, and with the willingness to participate and follow through to make your great ideas a reality. Once survey results have been reviewed, we plan to follow this up with a virtual town hall tentatively set for June 22nd. We will use questions, responses, and other information from the survey to dictate focus points for this meeting.