MAY 29, 2012

Present: Cara Jablon, Richard Laeser, Melissa Fitzgerald, Janet Marx, Elizabeth Warren Boulton, Carolyn DeVilbiss, Bob Knopes, Reg Heitchue, John Holt, Marvin Hass, Ellie Thayer

Others: Rosemary Schwartzbard, Chair, Ski Committee, Richard Schwartzbard, Bob Jablon, Secretary.

Minutes: Committee members suggested a number of additions and corrections to the April 24, 2012, minutes, including adding Kal Nossuli as the 6th Applicant Member on page 1, adding Bob Knopes to the attendance list and correcting some name spellings. (Secretary’s note: The number of names that were spelled correctly was not mentioned.) As corrected, the minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Dick Laeser gave a Treasurer’s Report. A corrected report is Attachment A hereto. PVS’ bank balance is slightly up, but we have four checks outstanding. The Blue Ridge Ski Council dues have been paid. These are small, amounting to approximately fifteen cents per person. We received a dues payment and a small amount of interest.

Events: Ray McKinley sent an e-mail covering future events. On June 2nd participating club members attended the Music Man at the Arena Stage (under the auspices of Dick Laeser). The June 19th monthly club meeting will be at the Mahallatis. The June 26th EXCom meeting will be by conference call. The July 15th Summer fest will be at the Jablons’ from 2:00 – 5:00 P.M. Attendees should bring an appetizer or dessert. People may want to use their (our) pool. There will be no meeting in August. At the suggestion of Jan Marx, it was agreed that the Committee will decide in July whether an August EXCom meeting is needed. A June 22nd bicycle ride is scheduled. (See below.) Event listings will be in the TOOT.

Bike trip: Rosemary Schwartzbard is leading a bike trip to National Harbor from the Key Bridge, although there can be intermediate meeting points. People can meet at the Key Bridge, but also at Roosevelt Island. One can park at Daingerfield Island.

August steak fest: Carolyn raised the previously discussed possibility of an August steak event, potentially hosted by Kerry Hines.

Ski trips: As Chair of the Ski Committee, Rosemary said that we need approval for three ski trips. She reported that there is a wonderful selection of trips. The trips were each unanimously approved.

Steamboat Springs: Steamboat is scheduled from February 2nd to 9th. John Holt and John Lyon will lead the trip. Steamboat is a BRSC trip.

Rosemary reported that BRSC had intended to go to Big Sky, but it could not get appropriate air transportation to Bozeman.

We shall stay at the Grand Hotel. The hotel is across the street from the main Steamboat Ski Area and gondola entrance to the slopes. We have stayed at the Grand before. It has excellent facilities. We have asked to reserve fifteen rooms. Rosemary reported that the Grand is a beautiful hotel and less expensive than the Sheraton, which is at the base of the Gondola.

The trip cost will be slightly under $2,000, which price includes air fare, breakfasts, some dinners, lift tickets and, John Holt promises, John’s personal dancing with all female attendees. (Secretary’s note: The minutes quote that which is represented. It is assumed that he meant willing attendees.)

John said that the trip is during the beginning of the celebration of the 100th year founding of the City of Steamboat Springs. Therefore, beginning on February 6th, there will be significant celebratory activities.

Rosemary said that Steamboat has wide blue runs. You can ski with Billy Kidd (the first American Olympic ski champion and longtime head of the Steamboat Ski School).

Cara recommended that skiers participate in the Over the Hill Gang. At 9:A.M. local guides give free mountain ski tours. The guides are nice. She also recommended getting an advanced group lesson with a very good ski instructor whom she knows. She will communicate the information to John.

Rosemary said that we want to talk up the trip. “Steamboat has everything.” She said that we want to diffuse anti-BRSC sentiment. BRSC saves us from having to do everything from scratch. There was some discussion about objections to Judy Miller, a ski trip organizer whom BRSC uses. Rosemary noted criticisms of Judy’s people skills, but said she puts together good trips at favorable prices. (She noted that she sent club comments about Judy to and was thanked by BRSC.) Cara said that any problems vis-à-vis Judy are irrelevant for the Steamboat trip because the John’s will be leading the trip. One can leave one’s skis at the slopes. Breakfasts are good. One cannot go wrong. Assuming that Judy doesn’t go belly up, BRSC is offering a good deal. Rosemary agreed that John and John will be leading the trip. Judy won’t be leading. Dick Laeser echoed this same sentiment.

Cara pointed out that we need to get an adjacent room to the trip leaders’ or space for PVS parties. When she led a trip, the Grand would not make them available. However, Doug Horstman arranged for an inexpensive room.

Carolyn made a motion to approve the trip. John Holt seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Rosemary reported on and recommended approval of the proposed Chamonix trip. The trip is from February 23rd through March 2nd or 3rd. Dick Commerford will be leading the trip. He has led many trips and many European trips successfully. The trip will be a BRSC trip through Judy Miller. Included will be air fare, dinners, breakfasts, and parties. We do not yet have the ski pass prices, which are not included, but these tend to be lower for European than American skiing (possibly about 50 percent and lower for seniors). We are also looking into guides. Although Chamonix is not ski in and ski out, city buses leave from the hotel every five minutes. We also will likely be able to visit nearby ski areas such as Vallorcine and Brévent/Flégère. Rosemary stressed that Dick is a good person to lead such a trip.

John Holt moved for trip approval. Carolyn seconded. Approval was unanimous.

Canyons: Rosemary introduced the proposed March 17th to 24th Canyons trip, making a positive comment about Spring skiing. She said the skiing should be “over the top.”

Liz and Reg will be trip leaders. The trip will be slightly under $2,000 per person without lift tickets. We shall stay at the Grand Summit hotel, whose location is “just right.” The gondola and heated chairs are straight up from the hotel.

The Canyons has been much expanded. Liz reports that it has terrain that everybody should like. It has developed a small, but good village area.

There are regular city buses to the Park City and Deer Valley ski areas and to Park City for day trips.

Air fare is expensive (Reg reported $590 per person). We have booked on United, but we may be able to get lower fares on Southwest. Gas prices are going down. Our trip travel agent, Doug Horstman, is “cooperative and helpful.”

Reg said that they (the trip leaders) are trying to keep prices down. Dinners may not be included because of price, but there will be common, optional dinners. There are good Park City restaurant options.

There was a discussion of opening the trip and other trips to non-PVS members. Reg said that the trip can be opened up. There was strong agreement that all of the trips should be open. Rosemary said that we need to be inclusive. Carolyn recommended outreach to Capitol Golden Skiers. Reg added that we should include Slopedusters. Liz said that it is a bad date for them, but we should invite them. (Secretary’s Note: since the meeting, PVS members have been invited on Slopedusters’ trip.) Reg raised the difficulty with competing with BRSC, which has far more skiers. Liz said that we will be 20-24 people.

Carolyn said that we should arrange for Après Ski place. Liz said that she would talk to Doug. Rosemary suggested trying to get a suite.

Carolyn moved approval of the trip. John Holt seconded. It passed unanimously.

Ski statistics: With reference, in part, to the above discussion, Rosemary went over statistics of the reducing number of PVS members who ski on our trips or who ski on them frequently. These reducing numbers make it more difficult to organize trips and are limiting in other ways. In 2012 we had 69 people who ski and 12 who went on more than one trip, including seven guests. 57 total people went on trips, but many were non-skiers.

52 members who skied went on trips in each of 2011 and 2010. For 2011, 59 who skied went on two trips.

Not that many members who ski go on more than one trip. Therefore, we estimate that we shall have about 20 members for Steamboat, 20 for the Canyons and few for Chamonix.

Carolyn did point out that we have had a number of new skiers who have joined. Members are pulling new skiers into the club and activities/

Rosemary commented that she hopes that they will go on trips. However, the statistics are dire. All clubs are aging. Younger people use Facebook, Meet and Greet, etc.

Andorra Evaluation: Rosemary reported on the Andorra trip evaluation forms. Hotel rankings were quite good. It was a very complicated sixteen days due to the itineries, illnesses, etc. Judy Miller was sick and cranky. However, Rosemary iterated that BRSC appreciated our comments. She commented that things happen to us because we are older. However, Ray got well, people got home, most people had a good time, it was a fabulous trip. The biggest complaint was that the buses did not go to the hotel doors.

The hotel in Andorra had big rooms. The hotel staff and food were very good. The hotel in Barcelona was very good. The one in Madrid had the least favorable reviews.

Rosemary mentioned comments on the lack of rest room facilities on the buses.

There were suggestions of having ski guides. However, in Europe this would have to be arranged in advance.

All agreed that Ray and Nancy did a great job and that we all are glad that Ray got well, Rosemary said that in spite of difficulties, we would do the trip again in a nano-second.

Dick Laeser said that the ski committee did a great job.

Toot: Ellie reported on the rule that ski trip fliers should be ½ page. There is no way to adhere to this rule. It has become 2/3 of a page. Cara, Ellie, Jan and Carolyn agreed that with e-mail, we can make flier-type material a page, although Carolyn pointed out that equity in the space given to individual trips is important. Jan said that using greater space allows for easier reading.

Potential trip agent defaults: Melissa received a communication from Charlie Huggins expressing concern about the potential consequences of trip agent defaults. Other clubs had faced this problem. Charlie suggested paying with credit cards to allow for reimbursement in the event of non-payment. We shall report to Charlie that the matter was discussed and we are considering them. We shall come up with solutions.

A number of issues were considered. First, credit card companies may not reimburse beyond a time limit or for club activities. Second, a change needs to be worked through Doug Horstman, Judy Miller or other agents and through BRSC, if payment is made through them. Third, agents that now pay providers (airlines, hotels, etc.) and are paid commissions directly must be assured of payments.

Reg said that Charlie was raising an issue that occurred two or three years ago, but presents a real problem. If we pay with a credit card we could be reimbursed in the event of a default. However, credit cards have a service charge that would have to be reimbursed. If individuals’ cards were used, service providers would have to agree and commissions assured.

John raised the question of insurance.

Dick Leaser pointed out that ski trip payments are independent of the club treasurer.

Carolyn had discussed the default matter with Doug. Doug had given assurance in various ways, including his membership in the Better Business Association. As ski leader she checked with the Mountain Chalet and other vendors how things were going so that she would be alerted to problems. These practices can continue.

Rosemary raised BRSC’s role. We do not only depend upon vendor statements. Carolyn said checking is the most important thing.

Comments were that we could look into giving activity participants the option of paying the credit card 3 percent surcharge to all payments that are made using private credit cards.

Bob Knopes pointed out that such actions would add to trip leader burdens.

Caroline pointed to the practice or potential practice of having three way e-mails between the club leader, agent and vender to ensure that all know when and how payments are made and to having co-signatures on checks.

John pointed to that he had lost money on a trip with another club due to a default.

Secretary’s note: Bankruptcy is federal law, but contract law varies by state. Various actions can be taken to protect against bankruptcy. If the Board desires, I can provide some information.

The meeting adjourned.