Eight applicants for three open Eaglecrest board seats led to two reappointments and one first-time appointment.
Stephanie Hoag and Jonathan Dale were both approved by the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly for reappointments to the Eaglecrest Ski Area Board of Directors Wednesday night during a special Assembly meeting. Shawn Eisele was tabbed to fill the last vacancy.
Their terms begin July 1 and end June 30, 2022.
The approvals came after a recommendation from the City and Borough of Juneau Human Resources Committee following seven interviews conducted Wednesday evening. All candidates and Eaglecrest general manager Dave Scanlan had already left the meeting when the Assembly made its unanimous decision.
However, prior to leaving Scanlan said he was impressed with the people who had thrown their hats in the ring for consideration.
“I’m always extremely honored that there’s so much interest in applying for our empty board seats,” Scanlan said.
Throughout the evening, proposed expanded summer activity at Eaglecrest was a major point of discussion, and all newly appointed members were at least cautiously optimistic about the idea.
“I’d really like to see how the plans for summer development at Eaglecrest play out,” Hoag said. “It’s an important thing. I’m excited about it with some caution.”
At a Monday, June 11, Committee of the Whole meeting, Scanlan and board member Mike Satre presented an idea to the Assembly that would expand Eaglecrest’s zip lines, add mountain bike trails, a rope course, mountain coaster and a new gondola lift.
Candidates for the board seats were asked what they thought of the proposal and whether intentionally appealing to summer tourists could work in a space that is often used by locals in the summer for hiking and berry picking.
On her application, Hoag mentioned the necessity of reserving space for such activities, but she said there’s enough room for them to happen alongside the new developments.
Dale, who telephoned into the meeting from Nome, said summer expansion offered an opportunity for Eaglecrest to gain some “financial independence.”
Scanlan said Eaglecrest annually receives $700,000 for operation from the city and usually another $225,000-$250,000 for deferred maintenance and other things.
Eisele, who is executive director for the nonprofit Discovery Southeast, said tourism has been a stable source of revenue for Discovery Southeast, and it would make sense to tap into it for Eaglecrest.
“I think what you want to do, and instead of responding to what happening, it’s thinking about what we actually want to be,” Eisele said.
Another question asked that all candidates fielded was what can be done to make Eaglecrest more affordable.
“Skiing, it’s an expensive sport, and I think about it a lot, how do we make it more equitable,” Hoag said.
She said some existing programs are a good start — specifically the 5th Grade Passport and Books 2 Boards. The passport offers all fifth-graders a free lesson, one free equipment rental and free lift tickets. Books 2 Boards program, which provides students selected by teachers with free lift tickets, ski or snowboard rentals, bus transportation and access to cold-weather gear.
Dale and additional summer revenue would have a positive impact on Eaglecrest’s winter programs.
After the meeting, Scanlan said more money could definitely lead to a more accessible ski area.
“If we’re able to do this, and it’s successful, I think the opportunity is there for us to expand those programs,” Scanlan said.
• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.