"We don't spend money on anything," Mad River's Eric Friedman said the other day. "We just go year to year, with a 20-year capital plan and maintenance program, where we just keep the place up as best we can. One thing we've been putting off is painting of the base lodge. We needed to replace siding, and just did other things instead. The shareholders were telling us how shoddy it looked, and they were right, but we hadn't done anything. They got tired of that, so Fritz and Vivian Branschofsky, two shareholders, a husband and wife, organized an entire work crew to paint the base box.
"Our crew did siding and carpentry, the shareholders had eight work days over the summer and painted the whole thing. You know how big a base lodge is? It's like painting five houses.
"Fritz and Vivian are longtime skiers. They live in Roxbury, he was on our volunteer ski patrol for a long time, and she has a perennial farm, Little Siberia," Friedman said.
Mad River Cooperative is owned by 1,900 members, who hold 2,300 shares, at $2,000 a share. The coop rules limit maximum ownership by any individual to four shares, to prevent anyone from gaining too much influence in determining how the area will be run.
Mad River also replaced the beams under the main office, which is built over a stream.
Friedman said the resort is marketing itself to various demographic groups not normally seen on its slope, including Hispanics, the French, Italians, Chinese, even Afghans.
"When you go to industry meetings, there's a lot of very serious talk about the future of our sport, that we're in a desperate struggle to survive. Well, Mad River Glen is going to lead the industry into the future," Friedman said.
"We translated our bumper sticker - Ski It If You Can - into Spanish. Then it grew legs, and all the shareholders are getting involved in getting translations right into other languages," he said.
"This summer a gentleman walks through the door, Jonathan I. Hoffman, who used to be a ticket seller here, and who now has his own nonprofit, Direct Aid International, that goes to Afghanistan each year and builds schools, and libraries, and wells.
"We're putting info about his organization on the back of the bumper sticker, to help," Friedman said.