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Minutes of the Spring 2009 Blue Ridge Ski Council Meeting

Location:  Best Western Hotel, Fairfax, VA. May 2, 2009

Host Club:  Potomac Valley Skiers

Attendees: List

Call to Order

President Wayne Homens called the meeting to order at 8:38 am and welcomed the 42 representatives from 19 member clubs plus the following tour operators: Dan Ellis, Winter Ski and Sport; Judy Miller, Group Trips Unlimited; and Effie Rubinstein, Sportours of New Jersey.

Fall 2008 Minutes

Wayne presented an adjusted set of draft minutes for the Fall 2008 meeting for everybody’s review and approval.  There was concern that the original draft minutes, as had been posted on the Council website, incorrectly characterized the discussion and vote on 2011 Western Carnival destinations.  Further discussion and approval of the minutes was deferred to the afternoon and approved as amended (see discussion below).

Date & Host of Fall 2009 BRSC Meeting


SCWDC will host he next meeting on October 17, 2009 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.

Executive Committee Reports

Treasurer’s Report:

Steve Peirce presented the balance sheet of income and expenses.  The current total BRSC checking plus savings amount balance is $19,615.43.

A motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report was made by Frank Peñaranda, seconded by Bill Schrodel and approved unanimously. The Treasurers Report is available on this link.


Elections for Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary:

Elections Committee Chairperson Molly Hochman reported no new nominations and that the current officers would like to continue serving:  Peter Porton (Vice President); Steve Peirce (Treasurer); and Inge Lesjak (Secretary).  There were no nominations from the floor.  Livingston Johnson made a motion to approve the three current officers by acclamation.  Jerry Poley seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Standing Committee Reports


Trip Sanctioning:

Is working well.  According to Wayne, most clubs sanction all of their scheduled trips.  One benefit of being part of the BRSC is that club members can go on any sanctioned trip.  Each individual club member is a member of BRSC!



Frank Peñaranda reported that there were 62 ski and 8 non-ski trips sanctioned since the fall meeting, and informed the group that there are no plans at this time to make any major improvements to the website.  Compliments went to Frank for keeping information on the website current and accurate. View Webmasters Report


Trips Committee:

Wayne asked that the position of Vice President be given the task to lead a new Trips Committee in order to develop a plan for the next couple of years.  The Committee should also take the lead in developing a document establishing BRSC Trip Coordinator duties and responsibilities. Vice President Peter Porton agreed to assume this responsibility.


Old Business


2009 Trips


Eurofest - Davos, Switzerland - March 6-13:

Judy Miller of Group Trips Unlimited reported for the Davos Trip Coordinator Kitty Imdahl.  Four clubs with 88 travelers participated.  Lodging options at the 4-star hotels with easy access to events and ski slopes were well received.  Everybody was satisfied with hotel rooms.  Pre and post add-on trips, especially to Paris and Munich, were a success.  Kitty had an extra surprise for everyone:  a large box of Swiss Chocolates, a gift from the Swiss Tourist Office.


Western CarnivalKeystone, Colorado – Feb 7-14:

Christopher Pukalski reported that 10 clubs were included with 307 participants.  Benefits included proportionate complimentary discounts for clubs, excellent baggage handling, a huge conference center and outstanding events at Keystone Lodge with plenty of quality food and drinks.  The shuttle buses hired by GTU for clubs to get to the other resorts worked out well.  Skiers enjoyed the door-to-door service to Vail, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain.  On the negative side:  Keystone does not assign room numbers or condo numbers in advance, which created a lot of confusion.  Also, friends that would have liked to stay door to door were in distanced separate condo units or even separate condo properties.


Racing Results -  Keystone:

Dave Olsen, Racing Coordinator, reported that overall, 60% of members raced on the NASTAR race course, with Richmond achieving the highest participation award with 87.5%.  In the club team competition, Baltimore reached 1st place, followed by Pentagon Ski Club at 2nd place, and Columbia 3rd.  The complete results are available on this link.


2010 Trips


Eurofest - Bormio, Italy March 6 – 14, 2010:

Tour Operator: Judy Miller

Trip Coordinator:  Peter Porton 

Trip Extension: Italian Riviera

As of this date the following ski clubs are participating:  Baltimore, Capital Golden Skiers, Columbia, Fredericksburg, Pentagon, Potomac Valley and SCWDC.


Western Carnival - Lake Tahoe, February 20 – 28, 2010:

Tour Operator:  Judy Miller

Trip Coordinator: Pat Crowley

Features 3 days of skiing at Heavenly, 1 day Kirkwood, 1 day Sierra at Tahoe.

As of this date the following ski clubs are participating:  Baltimore, Capital Golden Skiers, Columbia, Moguls, Fredericksburg, Pentagon, Richmond, SCWDC, and Sun Snow and Surf.

Re-Selection of 2011 Western Carnival Destination


After comparing the original and revised minutes of the Fall 2008 Council meeting, it was agreed that Snowbird and Snowmass remained the Council’s first choices for destinations, and that Park City had been approved as a replacement if neither of those resorts worked out.  Dave Olsen made a motion to accept the revised minutes as discussed.  Rob Foard seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Afterwards; Wayne explained that it would be impossible for a group of up to 400 people to find adequate restaurant space and service in Snowbird, although the Cliff Lodge could accommodate the crowd for lodging and Council parties.  He suggested that we drop consideration of Snowbird as a destination, and invited the tour operators to comment on the selection of a destination.


Judy Miller (Group Trips Unlimited) supported the idea of providing bids for two different destinations, offering different weeks for Park City or Snowmass.  Judy said that Big Sky would also be an excellent destination for a Council trip.  Effie Rubinstein (Sportours) agreed to offer two proposals, and suggested that the losing resort be considered as a strong contender for the following year’s trip (2012).  Dan Ellis (Winter Ski and Sport) does not have a problem preparing two bids.  He suspects that Snowbird would have lower participation based on fewer amenities. Steve Peirce made a motion to remove Snowbird from consideration for the 2011 Western Carnival and replace it with Park City.  Peter Porton seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Request for Proposal Process


Further discussion ensued on this topic. Trip Coordinators need to request that multiple dates be submitted by the tour operators during the bid process.  The tour operators are requested to bid on the designated date but may also provide bids with alternate dates.  BRSC will entertain alternate dates and make a selection from the submitted bid proposals.


Tour Operator Default

Sue Miller reported on the difficult situation in which  SCWDC found itself when JTM Tours did not pay vendors for 3 ski trips in 2009.  SCWDC had to pay vendors again so that trips could be completed on schedule.  According to their attorney, proving fraud or criminal intent is very difficult.  It is a very large loss that no other BRSC club could have absorbed.

How can a fiasco like this be prevented?

Several suggestions were made:  pay with credit card – was found too expensive; clubs communicate with resort vendors to make sure bills have been paid; include stipulations about ‘receipt of payments’ in contracts.


VP Peter Porton expressed concern about how a club can force the Tour Operator to pay?  Does the trip get cancelled?  What about trip participants?  Peter recommended credit checks on tour operators especially now in a bad economy, and more frequent consolidations of tour operators.  He cautioned that more research needs to be done on this subject before BRSC can publish guidelines.  All disputes would be handled by an arbitrator.

New Business

Selection of Future Destinations

A discussion evolved on how to best plan for future years.  Whether or not to compete destinations for a better price, which is often driven by lift tickets.  Bill Schrodel reminded everybody that the BRSC philosophy is to have a long range plan – up to 5 years – so that individual clubs can consider BRSC trip destinations in their own trip planning schedule.  Also, it was determined more important to compare all bid categories (airfare, lodging proximity, meeting/conference place etc.) rather then look at the lift ticket price as the driving factor for choosing a resort. 

Wayne invited the tour operators to offer their ideas.  Judy Miller urged member clubs to obtain a credit report on tour operators, and to also obtain their "Paydex" score, which shows how quickly a business pays its suppliers.  Dan Ellis suggested checking out a person’s character; getting the credit report at the BRSC level so that each club wouldn’t incur the expense; and doing further background checks on businesses through the Better Business Bureau.  Effie Rubinstein suggested checking with lodging companies about their relationship with a vendor, communicating with a vendor to avoid penalties, and obtaining confirmation of payments made to the air and lodging suppliers.

Wayne recommended including “Choice of law is Virginia” (home state) in all contracts.  Leo Boelhouwer made the motion: BRSC will obtain personal and business credit reports on all tour operators requested by BRSC member clubs.  Noble McClellan seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.  Requests should be submitted to Wayne. Wayne will establish an account with a credit-reporting agency to fulfill requests submitted by the clubs.

Selection of 2011 Trip Coordinators


Dave Olsen moved to afford each candidate that was able to attend the meeting two minutes to introduce themselves.  The motion was seconded by Livingston Johnson and approved unanimously.


Eurofest:  Candidates were Noble McClellan, Cathy Homens and Jerry Poley.  Since Cathy was unable to attend the meeting, Bill Schrodel offered a few remarks supporting her qualifications.  After tabulating the ballots, Molly Hochman announced that Jerry had been selected.

Western Carnival
  Candidates were Cathy Homens, Noble McClellan, and Steve Peirce; Christopher Pukalski had withdrawn from consideration.  After tabulating the ballots, Molly announced that Noble had been selected.

2011 Trip Vendors


A motion to request proposals for the 2011 Western Carnival from all three vendors that attended today was made by Livingston Johnson, to include Judy Miller as tour operator for the 2011 Eurofest in Courmayeur, Italy.  The motion was seconded by Noble McClellan and approved unanimously.  [Note:  The newly formed Trips Committee met briefly after adjournment of the meeting, together with the 2011 trip coordinators and the Executive Council, and agreed to also request Eurofest proposals from Alphorn Tours and Ski Europe.]


Other Issues


Peter Porton suggested that the Council consider donating $500 to the National Ski Patrol.  Wayne Homens suggested that the Council consider subsidizing the BRSC Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer $500 each for going on one of the two BRSC trips.  After discussion, it was agreed to postpone consideration of a ski patrol donation and that the BRSC is a volunteer organization and its officers should not receive trip subsidies.   




In his closing remarks, Wayne thanked everybody for attending the meeting and hoped it has sparked interest in trip participation.


Frank Peñaranda moved to adjourn at 3:36 pm; all concurred.

Decisions Summary

  • Fall meeting set for October 17, 2009.  Host SCWDC.
  • Approved revised Fall 2008 meeting minutes.
  • Approved Treasurer’s report.
  • Current Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary elected for two more years.
  • Snowmass and Park City selected for Western Carnival 2011.
  • Courmayeur reconfirmed as selection for EuroFest 2011.
  • In addition to designated trip date, tour operators can also provide alternate trip dates in their bids.
  • Trips Committee formed, with Peter Porton as chair.  Members interested in serving on the committee should contact Peter as soon as possible at
  • BRSC will obtain personal and business credit checks on all tour operators requested by member clubs.  Submit requests to Wayne at
  • 2011 Trip Coordinators:  EuroFest:  Jerry Poley ;  Western Carnival:  Noble McClellan
  • GTU, Winter Ski and Sport, and Sportours of New Jersey  were selected for the 2011 Western Carnival bid process.
  • GTU, Alphorn Tours and Ski Europe were selected for the 2011 EuroFest bid process.

Respectfully Submitted:

Inge Lesjak 

Blue Ridge Ski Council
May 9, 2009