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Locked and Loaded for a Fight at Gunstock Mountain?


Bad news out of New Hampshire. “There’s war in them thar hills” as they said back in the old wild west days. Gunstock Mountain, a staple of the New Hampshire repertoire may transfer from public to private hands, and locals, employees, and officials are not happy with the proposal.

First, crediting the Laconia Daily Sun for the scoop, the team over at SnowBrains reported that the entire management team at Gunstock, “quit on Wednesday night at the Gunstock Area Commission meeting, walking out in protest of the potential privatization of New Hampshire’s only county-owned ski area…Staff members including Tom Day, president and general manager; Cathy White, chief financial officer; Becky LaPense, director of human resources; Peter Weber, snow sports director; Robin Rowe, director of resort services; and Patrick McGonangle, facilities operation director, offered two weeks notice for their resignations.”

As Snow Brains noted, Gunstock – operating continuously since 1937 – is owned by Belknap County and grossed $14 million last year.

A second Lawsonia Daily Sun article from this week cast further light on the imbroglio.

“Last week, the Gunstock management team resigned during the GAC meeting in response to what the team has called overreach, micromanaging, and constant bullying from the new commission, particularly from Chair Peter Ness, and David Strang….After giving their two weeks notice, the management team was asked to leave their positions immediately last Thursday morning. As Belknap County Sheriff officials watched the management team clear out their offices, employees came to support their former leadership, effectively shutting down operations for the foreseeable future.”

Locals officials called for Belknap County Delegation Chair Rep. Mike Sylvian to schedule an immediate meeting to address the situation. The closing of Gunstock was a harpoon in the lungs of the region whether summer or winter; income from both seasons is critical to the area. The delegation is responsible for the appointment and removal of Gunstock Area Commissioners. From the vocal outcry of residents and local industry figures, 1,000 screaming locals are waving pitchforks and brandishing torches and they mean business.

Finally, despite burying their lead beneath a gargantuan 11 paragraph non sequitur (Guys, what are you doing?) Storm Skiing Podcast has a good breakdown of the infamous mass resignation as well as video. There is some excellent factual detail, just don’t get drawn into the name-calling and editorializing. Good bird-dogging, fellas; now bring it to the next level with more reporting instead of opinion. A little less Jerry Springer Show, a little more MacNeil-Lehrer Report.

The latest as of this (Sunday) morning is that after initially balking, Commissioner David Strang may have tendered his resignation. Strang, who attended the meeting via Zoom, had initially refused the 5 p.m. deadline to resign Friday set by the two other remaining Commissioners Jade Wood and Doug Lambert. In winter more than 700 people are employed at Gunstock with about 100 full time, year round employees impacted by the closure. Gunstock is the second largest employer in the county.