Small ski areas form an alliance
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But in a show of commitment to the Mt. Abram project, an MRA founding partner has relocated to Maine for the season to help launch the program. Hancock said skiers will see no immediate changes, but by next year, he expects Abram will roll out a membership package that gives individuals discounts on lift tickets, concessions, and merchandise. In addition, those who sign up will elect an advisory board, so they can have a say in keeping the no-frills mountain true to its roots.
Hancock said the co-op model at Mad River Glen in Vermont could be a template, but with a twist: Privileges will extend to all MRA member areas — if and when they sign on.
“There’s intended to be this accrued benefit beyond the borders of any one individual ski area,” he said. Since announcing his alliance in August, Hancock said he has been contacted by two other New England ski areas about joining, but added it would be “imprudent” to mention which ones.
Magic Mountain in Vermont would be a plausible candidate. It closed from 1991-97 but since has been revitalized. In February, Magic Mountain raised $999,000 by selling 333 shares at $3,000 each.
“People who invested did it not for a dollar return, but to ensure Magic is here for the next generation of skiers,” said Geoff Hatheway, Magic Mountain’s vice president of marketing. “We’re very conscious in every decision that we make that we’re keeping that vibe and authenticity alive. We don’t even call ourselves a ‘resort.’ We’re a ski area.”
Hatheway said he’s been “intrigued by the MRA, and we’re supportive of their message.”