Join us once a month for our Red Bench Speaker's Series. Each month will feature a new subject and speaker or panel of speakers.
For decades the Red Bench drew skiers together around the fireplace in the Octagon at the top of Mount Mansfield. The tradition continues today with the Red Bench Speaker's Series that focuses on topics currently relevant to skiing and snowboarding.
Doors to the museum open at 6pm. Lively discussions begin at 6:30pm. Beverages available. Entrance donation $10. Thank you to our Red Bench Sponsors: Sisler Builders, VT Ski+Ride, von Trapp Brewing, and FireTower Marketing & Media.
How Vermont’s Small Indie Ski Areas are Bucking the Merger Trend
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
On Thursday, September 19th we'll be kicking off our monthly Red Bench Series with a discussion with Vermont's small independent ski area owners about how they've stood tall among the merging of resort giants.
Longtime ski industry insider and museum board member Parker Riehle will moderate a panel of the personalities behind some of Vermont's most iconic ski areas, with Cochran's Ski Area's Barbara Ann Cochran, Mad River Glen's Matt Lillard, Bolton Valley Resort's Lindsay DesLauriers and Magic Mountain's Geoff Hatheway. We'll discuss how they've survived and thrived through good times and bad and what they've done to set themselves apart with fiercely loyal skiers and riders amidst stiff competition with Vermont's largest ski resorts. We'll explore their profiles, programs, market base and what makes them tick as an essential part of Vermont's ski industry fabric that positions our small state as the top winter destination in the east and the number four ski state in the country behind only Colorado, California and Utah.
Barbara Ann is part of the famous "Skiing Cochrans" family of world class champions who have operated Cochran's Ski Area since her parents Mickey and Ginny Cochran started their backyard ski area in Richmond in 1961. Barbara Ann was a two-time U.S. national champion with three World Cup victories in slalom and giant slalom (with 18 podiums), a silver medal in slalom at the 1970 World Championships and a gold medal in slalom at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan - becoming the first American skier in 20 years to strike gold at the Olympics since the lone previous winner Andrea Mead Lawrence in 1952.
Geoff Hatheway is the former Marketing and Sales Director at Magic Mountain and founder and President of SKI MAGIC, LLC which purchased Magic Mountain three years ago with a group of 16 investors committed to bringing the "magic" back to this classic southern Vermont ski area. Under Geoff's leadership, Magic is in the midst of an expansive 5-year plan to improve the snowmaking, lift and lodge infrastructure to create a more accessible, reliable and quality skier experience while sustaining Magic's soulful community vibe, nearly doubling their skier visits in the last three seasons.
Lindsay DesLauriers is President and one of the co-owners of Bolton Valley Resort as well as a co-owner and Managing Partner of Bolton Valley Community Water and Sewer, LLC. In her current role, with the DesLauriers family back in charge of Bolton Valley, Lindsay is spearheading a multi-year strategy to refresh, modernize, and improve the resort's existing amenities and infrastructure as well as revive and develop summer operations.
Matt Lillard is the General Manager of Mad River Glen where he has served since 2017 after moving back to Vermont from Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska where he was general manager for five years. Prior to his stint at Eaglecrest, he was the assistant general manager at Magic Mountain. Matt began his ski industry career over 17 years ago in marketing at Okemo Mountain Resort before moving over to Magic Mountain where he developed his passion for smaller community areas and gained an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of ski area operations.