Diamond Peak Master Plan about to hit next gear | IVGID GM’s Corner | SierraSun.com

Diamond Peak Master Plan about to hit next gear | IVGID GM’s Corner

Steve Pinkerton

After 10 highly productive meetings, the Diamond Peak Master Plan Steering Committee will be presenting their findings to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, July 15.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Chateau. I encourage all of you to attend. If you would like to read a copy of their report in advance of the meeting, it is available at bit.ly/1T7xerY.

In earlier columns I stated that the Steering Committee would conduct a very detailed, deliberate analysis of the proposed Master Plan.

I'm sure if you review the report, you will see that the Steering Committee exceeded our expectations for detailed, deliberate analysis.

“(Committee) members have varied backgrounds including corporate finance, education, medicine, strategic planning, counter-terrorism, neuroscience, hospitality, and entrepreneurship. It is emblematic of the incredible diversity of talents we have in our small community.”

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The 28-page report prepared by the Committee delves into the details of both the proposed summer activities and the potential winter improvements as well.

The report also reflects the committee's desire to ensure that the document accurately depicts the diversity of views represented by committee members.

While there were many areas of consensus, the report also includes a section dedicated to dissenting opinions as well.

I have to give kudos to the Committee and facilitator Deborah Prout for the inclusive manner in which the Committee meetings were conducted and their insistence that the report itself be inclusive as well.

Deborah's goal in volunteering to facilitate the meetings was to establish an inclusive, civilized model for how we deal with complex issues here in Incline Village/Crystal Bay.

It was her hope that if we can establish this model, it will be a turning point for how the community crafts public policy in the future. Mission Accomplished, Deborah!

DIVERSE REPRESENTATION

The Report includes an appendix that lists a short bio for each committee member. I would encourage all of you to read that section.

It is quite an impressive group both in breadth and scope. The group includes new and long-term members of our community. Some are retirees, while others are here to conduct business and/or raise their family.

Several members live close to Diamond Peak, including the presidents of the adjacent Homeowners Associations, while others live elsewhere but frequently visit Diamond Peak.

Members have varied backgrounds including corporate finance, education, medicine, strategic planning, counter-terrorism, neuroscience, hospitality, and entrepreneurship.

It is emblematic of the incredible diversity of talents we have in our small community.

As noted above, the committee held 10 meetings, two more than originally scheduled. Much of the last two meetings focused on putting together their findings and preparing the written report.

At the majority of the meetings, the Committee received detailed presentations on key elements of the Master Plan. The Committee discussed the following broad topics:

Key Drivers for the Master Plan

Value of Diamond Peak to the Community

Financials for Diamond Peak and IVGID

State of the ski industry and potential implications for Diamond Peak

Proposed Plan for summer

Proposed Plan for winter

Synergies between winter and summer

Future of Snowflake Lodge

Key findings in the report:

Diamond Peak is a valuable resource for our community that cannot be sustained by local business alone.

Diamond Peak has excess capacity and can potentially benefit from better year round utilization.

Diamond Peak is in a strong competitive position as a summer attraction due to our lake proximity.

Most summer business is local, it's an activity "you do" when you "are there" versus a destination business.

Specific recommendations:

IVGID should utilize Diamond Peak for a variety of Summer Activities — but Phase I of the Master Plan should be split into two phases. This will lower financial risk by significantly reducing Phase I's capital costs and allow an evaluation of Phase I before proceeding with additional investments.

The Alpine Coaster should be moved to a less visible location adjacent to the Lodgepole Lift.

Snowflake Lodge should be renovated or replaced.

The existing Lakeview Lift should not be replaced, just upgraded.

The snowmaking and ski trail improvements in the Plan should be implemented.

A new (or used) novice lift for the Spillway trail should be included as a medium term option.

The Backside Lift should be in the plan as a long-range option, but requires additional study.

Financially, the Committee's recommendation reduces the total capital outlay by 20%, reduces initial debt by 40% and lowers total project debt by 35%. The Committee also did extensive financial modeling of the operating cash flow and found the project would be viable even if revenues came in 25 percent below projections.

While the summary above provides a good overview of the Committee findings, far more detailed information is included in the Committee Report, including the dissenting opinion.

I hope all of you are able to view the report and come to the meeting on July 15th!

"GM's Corner" is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters.