CBMR accounting department takes a big hit; five of six laid off

“We held off as long as
we could…”

In an effort to find “efficiencies” within its business, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) last week laid off five of the six people in its accounting department. Jim Ruthven, Ty Minnick, Andrea Minnick, Deborah Casey and Nancy Omasta were informed of the layoff last Thursday. Their job responsibilities will be transferred to a centralized Triple Peaks Resort department in Okemo, Vermont, another Triple Peaks ski resort..




“Like most businesses in these difficult economic times, we are looking for efficiencies,” explained Triple Peaks and CBMR president Tim Mueller. “It was a difficult decision and we all felt very badly. It’s not easy to do but the business was able to consolidate some positions.”
Daily cash handling and budget management will continue to be managed at CBMR but it will be done with far fewer people. “While there will still be some accounting functions here, the main thrust will be based back east,” Mueller said.
Last month, CBMR announced that it had had a rebound ski season. “We’re up about 6 percent, or 21,000 skier days,” CBMR vice president of sales and marketing Daren Cole announced in May. He credited the increase in skier numbers to good snow, “value packaging” and the family fly free program.
“It was good to see skier numbers up last season but our expenses have skyrocketed in the last few years,” said Mueller. “The RTA [Rural Transportation Authority] contribution has gone from where we weren’t contributing anything to $800,000 last year and maybe more this coming year in order to guarantee jets flying into the valley. Our energy costs are another place the expenses have seen a big jump.
“Bringing in more skiers doesn’t necessarily mean more profitability,” continued Mueller, “and even if we were seeing a good profit, we would still look for places to consolidate. We are always looking at adjustments in terms of people and operations. We look at expanding some things and cutting other things. We’ll be constantly scrutinizing the company.”
Mueller said that when the recession hit about three years ago slowing down skier visits and real estate sales, the company cash flow was impacted. “We really hoped we didn’t have to consolidate positions and we held off as long as we could,” he said. “But it’s never a good time to do something like this. Frankly, if we can find other ways to run the company more efficiently, we’ll do it.”
The company doesn’t have any plans to cut back on guest services, however. “We don’t want to cut back significantly on the mountain,” Mueller said. “We’re trying to keep our operations and guest services at a high level. We are putting in the zip line this summer, for example.
“We are doing what a lot of companies are doing,” Mueller explained. “It’s not just here, and while it isn’t something anyone wants to do, sometimes it’s a necessity. Just look at the headlines around the country.”

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