The situation at Gunstock Mountain Resort in New Hampshire continues to deteriorate. After the management team at the mountain resigned last week, the Gunstock Area Commission has tried to reopen everything without a senior management team. Currently, the only things operating are the campground and the Ford Bronco Off-Rodeo, which is run by a third party.
Over the weekend, the remaining department managers released a statement, detailing their concerns with resuming operations at their Adventure Park and other summer activities, along with how the Commission has handled the situation. They do not plan on running the lift and other attractions until a new senior leadership team is in place, and they want to be part of that hiring process. Since the statement was released, three more department managers have resigned. You can read the statement below:
“The GAC asks when Gunstock will return to business as usual. Due to our concerns for the safety of our Guests, Gunstock’s reputation to deliver high-quality products and services, and the continued success of the organization, it is our assertion that the Adventure Park operations cannot resume until we have a qualified, competent senior management team in place. These leaders need to be able to take urgent and decisive action when situations arise. They need to be able to facilitate communication, planning, and decision-making between Managers, Vendors, and Federal and Local Agencies as needed.
The department managers of Gunstock acknowledge the importance of having a senior leadership structure in place. While this team is highly experienced and knowledgeable in our own individual operations, we recognize the importance of having a senior leadership structure to provide support and confirm that we are making correct decisions when operating the mountain resort.
Gunstock operates state-certified attractions. While Gunstock has processes and procedures in place to minimize risks, including extensive training of employees and daily inspections, incidents do occur. It is the senior team that has the expertise to manage these situations, including contacting state and local authorities, insurance inspectors, manufacturers, legal counsel, media outlets, and other organizations that we cannot even begin to identify.
In order to operate the ZipTour, the manufacturer requires that we have certified Ride Supervisors on property. There is currently just one employee who is certified; the other resigned due to the current turmoil at the mountain. This certification is specific to an individual and cannot be transferred to another person at the resort. This requirement is mandated in order for the manufacturer to stand with Gunstock should a situation arise that needs to be defended in a court of law. Further, the State of New Hampshire requires the operator to follow all policies put forth by the manufacturer to be in compliance with ASTM code. In conversations with the manufacturer, they are contemplating withdrawing support of Gunstock operations without a senior management team in place.
The Aerial Treetop Adventure course is certified by the State of New Hampshire and is required to have an experienced course operator on property at all times.
New Hampshire Tramway and Amusement Ride Safety oversees compliance with the laws and safe operating procedures for mechanical ski lifts and amusement rides. For Summer operations this includes the Panorama Chairlift and Mountain Coaster. The ANSI code references that the area operator or owner of the lift is responsible for safe operations. Commonly that person is the resort General Manager. Without a GM in place, there is a concern as to who is the responsible party for the operation of the lift and insuring that we are in compliance with the state code.
Asking Gunstock staff to continue operating without a senior management team in place, leaves the resort in a vulnerable position should an incident occur. The managers are also concerned but do not have the benefit of knowledge, that our insurance carrier could drop coverage if we were to continue operating without a senior management team in place.
The staff will continue to:
-Operate the Campground and Camp Store;
– Provide Food and Beverage service to the Ford Bronco Off-Roadeo;
-Host private functions, excluding Adventure Park and Lift services;
-And Support the SoulFest event, excluding Lift service. By contract, Gunstock will operate Food and Beverage services and Retail operations during the 3 days of the festival.
For the days that the Adventure Park is closed, without the benefit of guest traffic, it does not seem fiscally responsible to open the Patio Restaurant, Food Shack, or Gunstock Ski & Sport.
Internally to this organization, it would be remiss to not acknowledge the strong amount of discontent among both summer and winter staff regarding the actions of last week. Given the conditions of the existing labor market, we already knew as department managers that even without last week’s events, building our teams for the winter season was going to be quite challenging. In order to demonstrate that we are listening and engaging with our employees, we feel that it is critical that representatives from the department managers be included as part of the process of hiring a new general manager.”Image Credits: Gunstock Mountain Resort