In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, Juneau residents participate in the World’s Largest Lesson at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this Jan. 6, 2017 photo, Juneau residents participate in the World’s Largest Lesson at Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Live: Prospective Eaglecrest board members interview with the Assembly

Three seats open after June

Summary: After seven interviews and an executive session, Stephanie Hoag and Jonathan Dale were reappointed to the Eaglecrest Board of Directors, and Shawn Eisele was appointed for the first time. Strategies for keeping Eaglecrest affordable and managing proposed summer activity expansion factored heavily into the night’s discussions.

7:10 p.m.

The Human Resources Committee recommended the re-appointment of Hoag and Dale and the appointment of Eisele after a brief executive session.

6:55 p.m.

Gregory asked the Assembly if “they see the potential on that mountain” where summer activities are concerned.

Edwardson said there isn’t really a sense from the body yet.

“There’s a lot of steps in the future,” Edwardson. “I don’t like to solidify my position without hearing from the public first.”

6:45 p.m.

Next up is former Assembly member Norton Gregory.

He had some praise for Scanlan, the general manager for Eaglecrest.

“I think we have a ski area manager that has the skill, the vision and the desire to enact some awesome changes up there,” Gregory said.

He previously served as the Assembly liaison for Eaglecrest.

“It would be great for summertime programs to fill that gap,” Gregory said of summer activities making up for city subsidization.

6:40 p.m.

Hale asked Krein how he would encourage diversity and access to Eaglecrest.

“This is an issue in pretty much all winter sports,” Krein said. “Eaglecrest should consider, and is I understand is considering, more revenue streams in the summer.”

Krein said that can keep ticket prices low.

Bryson asked Krein what his thoughts are on balancing those summer activities with activities like berry picking.

“If plans are developed to increase infrastructure, we have to be really careful to be sure there are spaces that are still available for people,” Krein said. “If you have mountain biking in a specific area and an area that’s more developed for a hiking area and berry picking, that’s one way to keep people moving. Given the space that Eaglecrest has, if things are thoughtfully done, there shouldn’t be any conflicts that aren’t sort of easily solved.”

6:35 p.m.

Kevin Krein, who is a philosophy professor at University of Alaska Southeast, is now interviewing.

He said serving on the Eaglecrest board has been a longtime goal.

“Eaglecrest is really central to Juneau, it’s really special place,” Krein said. “The idea of a municipally owned ski area is really cool.”

6:30 p.m.

There’s a brief break in the interviews.

After these interviews, there will be a closed session meeting followed by a special Assembly meeting. An appointment should come at that meeting.

That’s expected to happen by 7:30 p.m., but we’ll see.

6:25 p.m.

Eisele said tourism has been a stable source of revenue for Discovery Southeast, and it could make sense for Eaglecrest’s summer plans.

He also said he enjoys picking berries at Eaglecrest in the summer season, but he said it may be possible to balance increased summer activity with community concerns.

“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.

6:20 p.m.

Shawn Eisele is the next interviewee.

Things are moving more or less on time and are expected to conclude at 6:50 p.m.

Eisele has been a Juneau resident for a decade and said he’s enjoyed his time spent at Eaglecrest over the years.

“I’ve loved being there the last 10 years,” Eisele said.

He is executive director for the nonprofit Discovery Southeast and said the money made by the retail side of Discovery Southeast is close to Eaglecrest’s revenue.

Eisele praised the qualifications of other candidates to be interviewed today.

“No matter what, you all have some good decisions to make,” Eisele said.

6:15 p.m.

Now, Sandon Fisher is interviewing.

Fisher said he grew up in Juneau and is happy to be back after practicing law in Anchorage.

He said Eaglecrest needs to continue to be a community draw and accessible to people.

“On the affordable side, I think a cool program would be parents come up and get a ticket and kids ski free,” Fisher said.

He also said Eaglecrest is the “best kept secret in the Northwest,” and more marketing could help keep Eaglecrest from needing more city money.

It currently receives just shy of $1 million in city money — $700,000 annually for operation and usually another $225,000-$250,000 for deferred maintenance and other things — said general manager Dave Scanlan.

6:05 p.m.

The next interviewee is the first non-board member.

“I’m interested in serving on the board because it was an important part of my childhood, and I want to make sure that type of accessibility and affordability is available in Juneau’s future,” said Kevin Elliott.

He said he’s especially partial to snowboarding.

Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale asked if Elliott has ideas for increasing accessibility and diversity.

Elliott said partnering with Juneau School District for an outdoors classroom or offering a field trip to study snow science could be an option among other ideas.

“There’s a program in Oregon where they gather donated gear from local vendors and shops,” Elliott said.

Assembly member Wade Bryson asked Elliott for his thoughts on summer expansion.

“I’m open to learning more about it and reconsidering my initial opinions,” Elliott said. “My off the cuff reaction to that proposal is I feel high-volume cruise ship tourism changes the nature of a place. I have some concerns about how we manage that change going forward.”

He said if summer expansion is the way the rest of the Eaglecrest board and Assembly wants to proceed, he may night be the right person for the job.

“No harm, no foul,” Elliott said.

6 p.m.

Assembly member Rob Edwardson asked Dale what the biggest surprise was during his first year on the job.

“I think just the first two to three months, you’re just trying to figure out how everything works,” Dale said.

5:50 p.m.

Next is Jonathan Dale, who is also a current board member. He said he’s also excited about the possibility of diversifying the activities available at Eaglecrest. He phoned in from Nome.

Dale said the accomplishment he’s most proud of is chairing the board’s finance committee in his first year on the board.

5:45 p.m.

First up was Stephanie Hoag who is a current board member. Hoag said she was interested in another term on the board because continuity is important. She said she is interested in seeing how the proposed summer activities expansion plays out, and thinks Eaglecrest can be shared by locals and tourists.

“If there’s one thing in Juneau there’s plenty of, it’s land,” Hoag said.

However, she was apprehensive about the idea of welcoming motorized vehicles, such as snowmobiles at Eaglecrest.

5:40 p.m.

Potential Eaglecrest Ski Area board members are interviewing with City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Human Resources Committee tonight.

Three Eaglecrest board seats are set to open after June 30 and eight interviews are expected tonight.

Recently, Eaglecrest announced an interest in expanding the summer activities available, including zip lines, mountain bikes, a new gondola, a mountain coaster and more.

It’s likely to factor into tonight’s meeting.

[Not just a ski area?]


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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