We hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the warm weather. As summer nears its end, we’d like to provide you an update on past and present skiing developments at the Leo J. Martin (LJM). Last year’s developments were significant but manageable thanks in large part to the support of all our Friends. Much larger ones lay ahead.
Last year, Leo J. Martin, under the management of the Weston Ski Track and with the support of the Friends of Leo J. Martin Skiing (FOLJMS), enjoyed another successful ski season, with some 42,000 paid skier days. Although work on the golf course resulted in a 30 percent reduction in skiable terrain, the impact of this reduction was partially mitigated by FOLJMS working with the DCR to soften a few critical restrictions and, more importantly, the vast amount of natural snow. Thanks to the efforts and generosity of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) and FOLJMS members, the Boston Boys and Girls Club and inner city youth were among the many recreational, youth, veteran, adaptive, and competitive skiers who enjoyed the facility. And, one of the CSU skiers, Julia Kern, is now racing for the US Ski Team!
Just over two weeks ago, the Commonwealth of MA body that manages the LJM – the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) – informed FOLJMS that it intends to take over the winter ski management and operations at the Leo J. Martin. To that end, the DCR is seeking the purchase of snowmaking and grooming equipment. Under this plan, DCR would operate the snowmaking and grooming itself and would outsource ski rental operation and instruction.
Upon learning of these plans, FOLJMS requested a meeting with the DCR, and FOLJMS met with the DCR Deputy Commissioner Sisk and his staff. At that meeting, Deputy Commissioner Sisk stressed the DCR’s strong commitment – and his personal commitment – to supporting skiing at the Leo J. Martin and its intention to improve and enhance the skiing operation. To that end, FOLJMS is currently working with the DCR to explore how our nonprofit might best support the DCR to ensure long-term high-quality skiing at LJM.
Specifically, FOLJMS has proposed an alternative plan in which FOLJMS enters into a long-term lease with the DCR to manage and operate the ski operations beginning in the 2016-2017 season, allowing the DCR to achieve its twin goals of improving skiing and enhancing revenues, without the DCR needing to take on the responsibilities, organizational challenges, and risks associated with running the skiing operations. Given the short time period before the start of the upcoming ski season, we also are proposing to DCR that the Weston Ski Track continue operation of the ski facility for the upcoming year. We believe our proposed public-private partnership is a win-win proposition for the users, the DCR, and the taxpayer.
The DCR Board and Advisory Committee are actively communicating with the DCR concerning plans for LJM skiing going forward, and we will keep you posted as events develop.
Now, we are writing you, as a Friend, not only to apprise you of these latest developments but also to invite your support. We are currently setting up our web site to take online donations, but in the interim, if you would like to make a tax free-donation to FOLJMS (we now have 501(c)3 status), we would welcome it. You can send your donation, made out to FOLJMS, to:
16 Sterling Rd
Wellesley, MA 02482
Second, if you would like to volunteer your time to help our efforts, please contact Elizabeth Wilcox at Elizabeth@wilcommunications.com. In your email, please tell us how you can help. At this point, we are primarily looking for help in fundraising, lobbying, and volunteer coordination.
Thank you for all your interest and your continued support.
We hope to hear from you soon!