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Minutes of the Spring 2012 Blue Ridge Ski Council Meeting

Location:  Maggiano's Little Italy, Tysons Corner, VA

Date: May 5, 2012

Host: Crabtowne Skiers

Attendees: List

Call to Order

Pat Crowley, President called the meeting to order at 8:48 am


Introduction of Attendees and Officers


Forty-five representatives from 15 member clubs introduced themselves.  The following tour operators were also present: Dan Ellis, Winter Ski and Sport; Judy Miller, Group Trips Unlimited; and Effie Rubinstein, Sportours of New Jersey.


Special guests:  Todd Strickland, Vail Resorts and Ann Cook, Mt. Bachelor ski resort.

Fall 2011 Minutes  

A motion to approve the minutes from the Fall BRSC meeting was made by Frank Peñaranda and passed unanimously. 


Fall 2012 BRSC Meeting


The fall meeting will be hosted by the Richmond Ski Club at Wintergreen Resort on the weekend of September 22/23, 2012.  Noble McClellan reported the following resort offer for member consideration:  With 20 room reservations the meeting room is free; otherwise it will cost $262.50. Continental breakfast is $9.41 inclusive of gratuity and taxes.  Lunch is $19.46 with tip and tax; there are lots of choices.  Studio accommodations are $129 ($153.97 fees and tax) per unit per night. A two-bedroom unit is $229 ($273.32 inclusive of resort fees and taxes); this would be about $135 a couple. There are wineries and three breweries in a 5-mile range. Noble will follow up with an email and take reservations.  The group decided that the main meeting will be on Saturday, September 22.


Executive Committee Reports


Treasurer’s Report:  Steve Peirce presented the balance sheet of income and expenses—a snapshot from the Fall 2011 to the Spring 2012 meeting.  A motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report was made by Peter Porton and passed unanimously.  Additionally, Dave Olsen made a motion to exclude the Treasurer’s Report from public view and no longer link the document to the minutes on the BRSC website. Ron Hamrah seconded this motion and after a short discussion it passed unanimously.


Standing Committee Reports


Website:  Pat Crowley announced that the new and improved BRSC website is online.  Total cost was $725.00.  Dalton West from the Richmond Ski Club will continue to work on updates as needed. Sony Short questioned the possibility of renewing club memberships online.


Molly Hochman asked the council for a vote, reaffirming Frank to continue his position as Webmaster.  Bill Schrodel seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.


Trip Sanctioning:  Frank provided a current status report of all sanctioned trips.   See Report 


Race Report:  Dave Olsen reported that there were 325 eligible racers on the Snowmass Western Carnival trip and about half of them participated in the Nastar race. The Snow Searchers Ski Club won the award for greatest participation, and the Columbia Ski Club won this-year’s award for the team competition.


Presentation on Vail, Colorado – Western Carnival 2014


Todd Strickland from Vail Resorts presented an overview of Vail upgrades and the 50th anniversary celebration, highlighting the convenience and amenities of the Cascade Village Hotel (everybody at one place, adequate event space, only a few hundred yards away from Lionshead, dedicated chairlift right by the hotel).  A new gondola—with WiFi and heated seats!—is being built from Vail Village to Mid-Vail, replacing the Vista Bahn lift.


Steve Peirce informed the council of his research on property availability in Vail and costs.  The Cascade Village Hotel is available for the 2014 Western Carnival during the week January 25 to February 1, 2014 and a deposit of $7,000 to $8,000 is required to reserve space for 350 to 400 people. He made a motion to accept this offer, seconded by Frank Peñaranda. A discussion followed on whether to reserve space for 350 people or 400 people.  The amended motion stated by Bill Schrodel and seconded by Sue Arnold called for locking in the space at the Cascade Village Hotel for 200 rooms at the available week with an $8,000 deposit.  It passed unanimously. 


Old Busines

Western Carnival Snowmass, Colorado, February 11-18, 2012


Gary Prestianni, BRSC Trip Coordinator and Effie Rubinstein, Sportours, had only good things to say about this successful trip.  346 members from nine clubs participated and enjoyed good accommodations, great skiing, plenty of food at the parties and excellent service by resort personnel. Recommendations:  Larger BRSC logo on neck wallets, and club trip leaders should ensure that the wallets are worn by all participants at all BRSC functions.


Eurofest  Andorra, March 2-10, 2012


Judy Burlbaugh, BRSC Trip Coordinator and Judy Miller, GTU, reported that seven clubs and 170 people participated.  All stayed in spacious rooms at the Crown Plaza hotel with daily breakfast and dinner.  At dinner, seating times had to be staggered to accommodate the large group.  Excellent local food and free wine were served at the three parties. Private bus service was provided to and from the ski area gondola, and 324 seats were sold for day tours to Barcelona, Toulouse and Carcassonne with private tour guides, one of them being GTU’s own Lisa, who was friendly, knowledgeable and dependable.  Only one injury was reported during the trip. A discussion ensued on how to retrieve the extra cost paid by the BRSC for an unplanned bus picking up people from a delayed flight.  This can only be pursued by individual travelers filling out the paperwork and filing a claim.  The BRSC, or tour operator, would need to send an invoice to each traveler so they could file their claims and repay BRSC for the cost.


2013 Western Carnival, February 2 – 9, 2013


The destination was changed by the Executive Council, in early April, from Big Sky, Montana to Steamboat, Colorado, because of the limited number of air seats available into Bozeman, Montana.  Noble McClellan, BRSC Trip Coordinator and Judy Miller, GTU, presented details of weekly events at Steamboat which will include local festivities celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the town’s Winter Carnival. So far 10 clubs have reserved lodging at available properties. Airline itineraries are expected to be available in the August/September timeframe.


2013 Eurofest,  February 23 – March 3, 2013

Peter Porton moved to formalize the change of the 2013 Eurofest from Trois Vallees, France to Chamonix, France—the destination selected previously for the 2014 Eurofest. Sony Short seconded the motion.  Discussion revealed that a majority of the clubs that Peter surveyed by Email favored Chamonix as a better choice for a council trip. The resulting vote passed 17:3.  Inge Lesjak, 2013 Eurofest Trip Coordinator, said that seven clubs had already expressed interest to participate in the trip to Chamonix.


Election of BRSC President for 2012-2014


Frank Peñaranda, Election Committee Chair, asked the three candidates to introduce themselves:  Pat Crowley, Jerry Poley, and Bill Schrodel each made a brief presentation highlighting their credentials and their goals for the Council. 


The ensuing ballots, counted by Frank Peñaranda, Judy Burlbaugh and Molly Hochman, resulted in the election of Bill Schrodel as the new BRSC President.  A motion by Frank to destroy the ballots after three days passed unanimously. Ballots and score sheet were turned over to the Secretary.


Bill thanked the club representatives for their votes and acknowledged Pat Crowley for her tenure and accomplishments. 


Washington, DC Ski and Travel Show


Paul Weber appeared to thank all BRSC club representatives and trip leaders for attending his annual travel show on Friday, May 4, 2012 at the Tyson’s Marriott Hotel.




Bill Schrodel and Jerry Poley, Columbia Ski Club, talked about the relationship of tour operators and customers.  They suggested forming a committee to develop formal guidelines on Do’s and Don’ts for the BRSC Trip Coordinators.  Ron Hamrah, Sun, Snow & Surf Ski Club, asked about a policy for back-up trip coordinators.


New Business

Future Destinations for Council Trips


2014 Eurofest


Peter Porton, Trip Committee chair, presented a list of six potential European resorts for the 2014 Eurofest: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Pontresina, Switzerland; Innsbruck, Austria; Les Arcs, France; Bled, Slovenia; and Mayrhofen-Zillertal, Austria. The recommendations resulted from talking with four clubs and three tour operators.


After some discussion and removal of Les Arcs, France from the list (since France will be visited in 2013), Peter called for a vote.  Each club representative could vote for a single destination.  Result: Cortina received 11 votes, Pontresina 0, Innsbruck 11, Bled 4, and Mayrhofen 5.  A motion to send Requests for Proposals (RFP) for Cortina and Innsbruck to the tour operators passed unanimously.


It was decided to wait for the fall meeting to recommend destinations for the 2015 Eurofest.


2014 Western Carnival


Vail, Colorado had been previously selected for the 2014 Western Carnival.  No other destinations were discussed/selected at this time.


Election of BRSC Trip Coordinators for 2014 Eurofest and Western Carnival


2014 Eurofest Coordinator


Pat Crowley and Jerry Poley volunteered for the position as 2014 Eurofest Coordinator.  Both candidates spoke about their previous experience as club trip leaders and BRSC trip coordinators and asked for member support.

After the introduction of the two candidates, members voted and ballots were counted by Frank Peñaranda and Molly Hochman.  Frank announced Jerry Poley as the 2014 Eurofest Coordinator.  Jerry thanked everybody for their support.  He said he would be available to all participating clubs to help promote the trip.

2014 Western Carnival Coordinator


Steve Peirce was elected on a unanimous vote in favor as 2014 BRSC Trip Coordinator for the council’s trip to Vail.


Selection of Tour Operators for 2014 Trips


After some discussion, a motion was made by Peter Porton to select the following tour operators for the 2014 Eurofest bid process: Holidaze, Group Trips Unlimited, and Ski Europe.   The motion also included the following tour operators for the 2014 Western Carnival: Dan Ellis, Winter Ski and Sport; Judy Miller, Group Trips Unlimited; and Effie Rubinstein, Sportours of New Jersey.  Molly Hochman seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Judy Burlbaugh requested the following be added to the RFP:  “Private Tour buses need to have close access to the hotel for loading and unloading baggage.”  Peter Porton seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Other Topics


Membership Roster:  Inge Lesjak, Secretary, asked that all members submit name changes for club delegates as soon as they occur to keep the membership roster current.

Trip Insurance:  Inge proposed to have the Travel Guard icon on the BRSC website for all member clubs to benefit from this Trip Cancellation & Interruption coverage. The cost of the plan to the guest is 5% of the booking amount. Travel Guard provides the link to the website as well as a 24/7 call center.  Guests can purchase online or call Travel Guard.  No decision was made because information was not complete at the time of the meeting.

Presentation on Mt. Bachelor ski resort:  Ann Cook gave an excellent overview of the ski area, lodging and transportation of this resort in Oregon; perhaps a future destination for the BRSC Western Carnival.

Dan Ellis endorsed Mt. Bachelor as being suitable for a council trip. He also announced availability of a 5-day Heliski trip to British Columbia at the end of March 2013.

Breakout Sessions convened at 3:00 pm


During the breakout sessions for Chamonix, Judy Miller distributed posters of the ski areas and answered questions about the trip itinerary. Individual club contracts will be distributed soon and Judy will stay in touch with trip leaders by email and answer any questions and concerns. 




The formal meeting ended when members gathered for the breakout sessions, which finished at 3:25 pm.


Decision Summary


         Fall meeting set for the weekend of September 22/23, 2012, at Wintergreen   Resort, VA hosted by the Richmond Ski Club (meeting will be on Saturday 9/22)

         Approved Fall 2011 meeting minutes

         Approved Treasurer’s report

         Welcomed new BRSC website

         Elected Bill Schrodel for President 2012-2014.

         Confirmed Steamboat for 2013 Western Carnival, February 2-9, 2013

         Selected Chamonix, France for 2013 Eurofest, February 23 – March 3, 2013

         Selected Vail, CO (The Cascades) as 2014 Western Carnival destination, January 25 to February 1, and Steve Peirce as BRSC Trip Coordinator. [Subsequent to the meeting, Vail Resorts confirmed our preferred dates of February 1-8, 2014]

         Selected Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy and Innsbruck, Austria for bid proposals for 2014 Eurofest and Jerry Poley as BRSC Trip Coordinator.

         Selected 2014 Eurofest Tour Operators: Holidaze; Judy Miller, Group Trips Unlimited; and Dorothea Rasser, Ski Europe.

         Selected 2014 Western Carnival Tour Operators:  Dan Ellis, Winter Ski and Sport; Judy Miller, Group Trips Unlimited; and Effie Rubinstein, Sportours of New Jersey.



Inge Lesjak, Secretary

May 11, 2012