Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Democracy in action occurs here in Vermont on the first Tuesday of March. Schools are closed and residents show up to discuss and approve school and municipal budgets. An official Moderator operates by Robert's Rules of Order and there is total transparency. Unlike what we see occurring in the Middle East, the residents of each Vermont town have a real say in what happens and how their money is spent within their municipalities. The only hitch is that you have to show up to get a say and a vote.
The big issue this year was whether to approve a special expenditure to repave 8/10ths of a mile on the Sugarbush Access Road. This road has not been paved for nearly two decades and is well overdue. The Selectboard has recommended doing this work in phases, beginning with the worst section from Gold Hill Road to the Wheeler Brook apartments. It will add approximately $25 to each $50,000 of assessed value. In other words, someone with a home assessed at $100,000 will pay an extra $50 this year for this paving project. For those of you who have never experienced a Vermont town meeting, here is a link that describes it accurately.
Well, the busiest two weeks of our season have come and gone and they were a great success. Our paid skier visits during these fourteen days were up approximately 7% from last year, which was a very good year. We were delighted to see so many new faces.
While the first weekend of the holiday started out with a thaw and overnight freeze, our groomers really did a fabulous job of getting everything back in shape. As the Presidents' weeks ended, fresh snow once again gave us marvelous conditions and people left the mountain smiling on Sunday.
I was particularly pleased to ski on Sunday with two college classmates and show them around Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen. They not only complimented our conditions but also our friendly and helpful teammates. One is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and stayed as long as he could before rushing home for his annual Oscar awards party. (They take an oath of silence so he couldn't share his votes with us, unfortunately.)
What continues to pleasantly surprise us is the number of first-time lessons we are giving and the number of season passes we have awarded in our First Timer to Life Timer program -- nearly 150 so far. A 60-year-old skier came back last week for his first "check-up" lesson after getting his free pass and could not have been more enthusiastic about his new-found passion. -Think about your friends who could take advantage of this program and develop the passion that we all have for skiing and riding! As this baby boomer proved, it is never too late to begin.
March came in like a lamb today. And since this is my favorite time of the year, I am really looking forward to adding to the 82 days that I have had on the slopes through the end of February.
The forecast looks good this week and with milder temperatures and longer days there is no reason not to be here. In fact, I would suggest that "You'd Better Be Here" and you'll feel better here!