The entire management team at Gunstock Mountain Resort, NH, quit on Wednesday night at the Gunstock Area Commission meeting, walking out in protest of the potential privatization of New Hampshire’s only county-owned ski area.
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Staff members including Tom Day, president and general manager; Cathy White, chief financial officer; Becky LaPense, director of human resources; Peter Weber, snow sports director; Robin Rowe, director of resort services; and Patrick McGonangle, facilities operation director, offered two weeks notice for their resignations, reports The Laconia Daily Sun.
Gunstock Mountain has been in operation since 1937 and is owned by Belknap County. Much loved by locals, in 2021 it grossed $14 million and contributed $247,000 to the county coffers.
The current management team has an expansion plan to add a hotel, new trails, and lifts giving the rundown resort a much-needed upgrade. But Republican politician Norm Sibler, 76, has other ideas. He wants to privatize the resort and lease it to a third-party operator, in a similar way to how state-owned Mount Sunapee is now operated by Vail Resorts. As you can imagine, locals do not want this.
If privatized and leased to a third-party operator, would the resort make more money? Yes, of course it would. But at what expense? Happy with the current management team, locals want the ski area to retain its authenticity and not become just another number on a huge corporation’s balance sheet.
This is what the management team wants too. And they believe in it so strongly they voted with their feet.
The resort shared on Facebook this morning that its adventure park is closed until further notice.