Gunstock Shuts Down Following Management Resignations

New Hampshire ski area Gunstock ceased most operations today following a contentious public meeting last night. The county-owned resort’s management resigned en masse, citing treatment by a group of citizens appointed to oversee the ski area. Tom Day, Gunstock’s President and General Manager, tendered his resignation along with other managers including the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Human Resources, Director of Marketing, Director of Resort Services, Director of Snow Sports and Director of Facilities. One of five Gunstock Area Commissioners also resigned. The Laconia Daily Sun reported employees’ exits from the property were overseen by the Belknap County Sheriff’s Department this morning.

The five Gunstock Area Commissioners are appointed by Belknap County’s State Representatives. The Commission has become increasingly involved in day-to-day operations of the ski area in recent years. “Obviously there’s been a lot of change and a lot of you think you can do the job to be able to run the resort,” said Day at the beginning of the meeting. “I know there’s been some discussion about what my role is as far as who runs the ski area and who doesn’t. I feel that my role here is diminished and you probably don’t need me,” he said, offering to stay for two weeks to facilitate a transition.

The ski area, which features five chairlifts and a 1,600 foot vertical drop, has not required taxpayer funds for operations the last 12 years and remits 1.75 percent of its revenue to the county. Just last year Gunstock reported record revenue and season pass sales and announced a major expansion project including new terrain and lifts.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, himself a former ski resort general manager, criticized the commission and offered support to employees. “Gunstock is truly one of the jewels of the lakes region, but what has been happening over the last year surrounding the Gunstock Area Commission’s inability and unwillingness to work collaboratively with the management team at Gunstock is deeply concerning,” the Governor wrote. He went on to offer employees jobs at state-owned Cannon Mountain or the Parks Department should a resolution not be reached at Gunstock.

The mountain’s summer activities, which include lift rides on the Panorama Express, a mountain coaster and zip line, are closed until further notice. “We truly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our guests,” said a notice posted on Gunstock’s social channels and signed by Gunstock Mountain Resort Employees.

Update: Thursday afternoon the Gunstock Area Commission issued a statement condemning staff members for resigning and pledging to reopen as soon as possible. “At the Gunstock Area Commission’s monthly meeting last night, the GAC planned discussions with management about ongoing expansion plans. Instead of discussing those plans, the GAC was met with an unsolicited and spontaneous resignation by senior managers and a commissioner,” the statement read. “In light of last night’s unprecedented actions, the GAC is developing plans to ensure Gunstock’s continued operations as seamlessly as possible. Gunstock has an important legacy in the ski industry’s history and the GAC intends to maintain that legacy,” the Commission wrote.

10 thoughts on “Gunstock Shuts Down Following Management Resignations

  1. skitheeast July 21, 2022 / 3:17 pm

    This is extremely unfortunate, but the entire operation has become so politicized that it is frankly beyond saving in its current form of ownership. Ironically, this leads me to believe that the best course of action would be for Sununu to step in and facilitate the sale of the ski resort to a consortium of local residents including Tom Day, as he has done a fantastic job managing the resort. Having a mountain’s president purchase the resort would not be unprecedented (John Kirscher at Crystal, Les Otten at Sunday River, etc.) and Sununu was a part of a similar consortium that purchased Waterville Valley from Booth Creek.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kiroro July 21, 2022 / 3:39 pm

      will this be the second resort in America to close down with a high speed lift just like Ascutney Mountain?

      Like

      • skitheeast July 22, 2022 / 9:08 pm

        Hermitage/Haystack shut down with a detachable (Barnstormer). Although it is back open now, the resort and lift sat idle for a couple of years. The same happened to Spanish Peaks (Lewis & Clark).

        Like

  2. pbropetech July 21, 2022 / 8:19 pm

    Quite an ugly situation. I agree with skitheeast; it really seems like the current leadership and ‘board of directors’ model is untenable. I hope the area is able to operate again. I can’t imagine working for an area with these sorts of issues.

    Like

  3. Ryan July 22, 2022 / 5:54 am

    I am fairly confident we’ll see this place running again in the not too distant future. May not be in a way that pleases everyone, but a place like this won’t sit idle long.

    Like

  4. Anthony July 22, 2022 / 11:53 am

    This isn’t, as some people in ski media have said, a case of “the politicization of everything.” Skiing is political, and always has been—it’s about land and resources, the natural environment, public access, and haves-versus-have-nots.

    No, this is a case of the QAnon-ization of everything. And that makes this situation far, far, far more terrifying.

    Like

    • Michael July 22, 2022 / 3:06 pm

      “No, this is a case of the QAnon-ization of everything. And that makes this situation far, far, far more terrifying.”

      Do you mean they are going to lease it to a Pig Farmer from Indonesia??

      Like

    • Ryan Murphy July 23, 2022 / 10:06 am

      I don’t want to assign blame here, this is the internet and I’m likely not going to change anyone’s mind about anything political. Read this with your own lens.

      Local politics has gotten a lot more ugly recently, and that was accelerated by Covid. Historically, local politics has been set aside from national issues, and good governance, whatever that looks like, won out in the end. Now, people are feeling like one of the only ways to have their voices heard is through local politics, and it’s bringing in ideologues who aren’t interested in compromise, civility or making the area work. Think about how brutal school board meetings have become, because it’s no longer about solving local educational issues, it’s about expressing your position on Covid policies, since people are assuming they can’t change their governor’s mind about anything. We’ve had bullhorns blared outside local officials houses in the middle of the night where I live. These are people who have a 40 hr/wk job in our community, not career politicians.

      As a ski area owned by the community, Gunstock lands right in the middle of that. As you said, skiing has always involved politics, but there was compromise to be had between development, access, and preservation.

      Like

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