UVSSF @ Whaleback
Questions Being Asked
Q: Why is UVSSF asking the community to help raise $100,000 by October 22?
A: There are a number of significant expenses related to re-opening the mountain and successful businesses require sufficient working capital, but perhaps more importantly it demonstrates to potential large donors that the Upper Valley community wants Whaleback. This fund drive will open doors to larger giving.
Q: Do season pass sales count toward the initial $100,000 goal?
A: No, season pass sales do not. We are starting from scratch and need to cover some pre-season expenses without poaching important revenue streams. Because we want Whaleback to be financially healthy from the start, we feel this is a prudent strategy.
Q: What is the $100,000 being spent on?
A: There are a number of significant expenses right out of the gate; for example, the lease payment to the bank, property taxes, deposit for the power company, insurance, mountain pre-season-prep and maintenance, among other.
Q: What happens if you don’t raise the $100,000, will I get my money back?
A: We are confident we will achieve our goal based on results to date. But suppose disaster strikes and Whaleback does not open. All season pass purchases and donations are being carefully tracked, not a penny spent, and it would be returned in full.
Q: Is UVSSF going to be asking for money every year?
While we will ask for donations annually, we are convinced that a non-profit offers a self-sustaining business model for Whaleback and we have a business plan to make it happen. To begin, no mortgage and reduced tax burden are big boosts to net income.
Q: What improvements are planned for the mountain?
We can’t promise major improvements for this winter because we don’t take the reins until the end of October; however, improving the on snow experience is a top priority. We can make a few modest investments in snowmaking that will have a noticeable impact, such as high performance snow guns. Also, there is an opportunity to improve lighting. As for the future, we have a strategic plan that calls for significant capital improvements to snowmaking and buildings, a surface lift, nightlights, and trail improvements.
Q: Will there still be a mountain school and programs like camps?
Yes. One of our other priorities is education. We want Whaleback to excel as a place to learn to ski and ride. That means improving our mountain school and instruction, as well as offering youths affordable options like camps.
More information …
What is UVSSF raising money for?
-To open for the 2013-2014 season: $100,000 (by October 22)
-Purchase of Whaleback properties: $650,000
-More than doubling snowmaking capacity: $400,000
-Purchase and installation of surface lift: $200,000
-Lodge and outbuilding improvements: $100,000
-Other capital improvements & equipment: $150,000
-Operating & capital reserve: $400,000
What will be different?
-As a nonprofit we provide a sustainable business model for operating Whaleback.
-Business professionals providing oversight and seasoned snow sports management team.
-No mortgage and no debt that would otherwise depress net income.
-Investment in snowmaking and trail upgrades to improve visitor experience and to provide better training and competition venue.
-Contingency funds to offset poor winter weather and unforeseen equipment failure.
Why is UVSSF purchasing Whaleback?
-UVSSF feels strongly that Whaleback’s benefit to the community must be preserved.
-Whaleback is an invaluable community asset that serves thousands of adult and youth winter sports enthusiasts annually.
-Whaleback offers programs and pricing that allow a large Upper Valley population to participate in snow sports who otherwise could not afford to.
-It has been made evident that there is a significant need for a training facility that caters to the alpine and freestyle disciplines in both skiing and riding.
-There is a noteworthy number of youths who do not participate in traditional team sports who greatly benefit from Whaleback and related programs.
-The purchase of Whaleback by a nonprofit would provide an opportunity for making Whaleback a sustainable business.
Who uses Whaleback?
-We draw mostly from a tight circle of communities including Canaan, Enfield, Grantham, Hanover, Hartford, Lebanon, Lyme, Norwich, Plainfield, and White River Junction.
-The total number of annual winter visitors who purchase a ticket has exceeded 5,000.
-After School Groups: Every week WB hosts more than 450 students in school and recreation groups from 8 different towns for lessons or just riding.
-Winter Camps: Whaleback hosts camps with total number of campers over 100.
-Ski & Snowboard Teams: There is a significant demand for training that Whaleback can fulfill. A number of ski and snowboard teams train at WB, totaling over 200 athletes.
-Competition Hosting: The mountain has hosted alpine and boarder cross races, and freestyle competitions that include moguls, slopestyle, and big air. -The number of participants in all of these events has been over 1,000. In addition, there have been snowmobile competitions.
-Adult Race League: On Thursday nights Whaleback hosts a slalom race league with more than 40 teams and almost 200 participants.
-Whaleback Mountain School Lessons: For the 2012-2013 season, the WMS provided group lesson to 361 individuals and private lessons to 67 individuals for a total number of 428.