October 28, 2021
Welcome - Mt. Hood Nordic community - to the 2021/22 season! We are eagerly awaiting snow… just like you. We write to update our community on the exciting developments of the past summer, and how they inform our trail fees and budget. From new staff to more programs, a new groomer and evolving operating conditions, this summer has been a busy one. We want to be transparent about these changes, and their financial impacts.
Your governing Board is focused on myriad goals: from enhancing the quality of the skiing experience at Teacup, to ensuring the safety of all users, and our expanded programs that better meet the desires of our wonderful community. Informing our pursuit of these goals is the concurrent goal of keeping things affordable. Many of you have said that we are the “best bargain out there.” And that is by design; we want the joy of the sport and the camaraderie of being outdoors with friends and family to be as accessible to as many as possible. It is with this in mind that we approach every decision about our venue’s expenditures and how they translate to our trails or program fees.
The need to increase our venue’s revenues are driven by many factors. While independent, they are occurring simultaneously and collectively translating, for example, to our trail fee increases of: $150 per person for our all-season trail pass, $50 for student season passes and daily trail pass at $20 per person. New for this year - QR codes at the venue! No cash… no problem - you will now be able to pay via your phone.
Even with these additional costs, we are pleased to continue our “kids ski free” policy. This commitment to invest in the future of sport, health activity and community-building is one of the many ways we work to better serve the public. It allows the access needed for our youth to learn to love this wonderful and unique sport, to challenge themselves physically and cognitively and to develop healthy lifestyles and discipline. In this way, we hopefully are creating lasting, positive impacts on our society.
This past spring, we celebrated the retirement of our much-appreciated groomer, Harold Fischer. As an independent contractor, Harold (and before him Tom Webb) did more for Teacup than most understood. Yes, Harold groomed. But he also provided and maintained the many types of machinery and equipment needed to support operations across an entire season. (A huge task given Teacup Nordic is one of the longest seasons and snowiest venues in the world!) Harold also logged huge hours before the snowfall working on annual trail upkeep. And so with his retirement, we restructured. This included the purchase of new equipment, the most exciting being our new $225,000 Piston Bully 100. And the employment of diligent employees to operate it all.
Another benefit of having talented venue staffing is to better respond to our landlord. We operate on public land that is administered by the US Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service. Compared to the last 40 years, local USFS personnel are now scrutinizing and requiring in ways that take more time and expertise than can be provided by a volunteer-run nonprofit like ours. In order to continue to be allowed to provide the public with high-quality experiences, our budget now requires the skills and efforts of a broadly capable and experienced Nordic ski industry professionals, like our new general manager Jason Lemieux, as well as third-party engineers, USFS-approved contractors and various consultants.
We have also expanded programs and added expert coaching to further fuel the amazing work led by our longtime coach, Karl Anderson. We are thankful to see so many of you joining our Fall training sessions and events. As part of this, we are increasingly mindful of ensuring not just quality, but safety. This includes COVID-19 risk-mitigation efforts as well as new proactive efforts to prevent youth-safety incidences like those which have beset other sport governing bodies. We are devoting funds to fully embrace US Ski & Snowboard background checks, “Safe Sport” anti-abuse/bully prevention as well as “positive coaching” trainings. With our new Programs Coach, Kelly Ryan, we can now administer this effort and are pleased to be investing in our youth and juniors.
Taken together, this past year has been an inflection point for our nonprofit. We hope this letter is understood to be another example of our efforts to be more communicative. And to acknowledge and appreciate that it is your money that makes all of this happen!
We will continue to strive to deliver great value for your money with experiences that last a lifetime and are rewarding on multiple levels. Thank you for your support. Keep emailing us at email@example.com with questions or feedback. We will see you soon on the trails!
Your Teacup Nordic Board of Directors
May 18, 2023
May 11, 2023
February 24, 2023