Mount Sunapee master plan deserves our support

Despite the cry from a few critics, this is about improving the area’s ski amenities

As an avid skier, a longtime business owner in the Sunapee region and a lifelong resident who loves the natural and scenic beauty of the mountains, I wholeheartedly support the master plan to improve the Mount Sunapee ski area.

I am a native of the Sunapee area and have skied Mount Sunapee for nearly 55 years. When I am not on the slopes, my wife and I run our construction and design business, which has been in operation for 38 years. As a lifelong resident, I want to protect our scenic and natural beauty we have here, but we cannot look away from the obvious opportunity we have before us.

Without question, Mount Sunapee is the economic engine for this area. Many of our clients cite the ski area as the leading factor in their decision to move here or to establish their vacation or retirement home here. Without the mountain and its outdoor recreational activities, we would not have the quality of people living in this area that we have today.

As we look toward the future of Mount Sunapee, it is really important we remember the past. This land was given to the state in the 1940s for the purpose of creating a ski area. Since that time, we have seen numerous expansions and improvements. But we have also witnessed stagnation and poor management.

Under state ownership, Mount Sunapee struggled. In fact, my wife and I began to spend more time on the slopes on other mountains because the “Sunapee Experience” had lost its luster.

When Tim and Diane Mueller took over the lease from the state, my family, friends, neighbors and I all had high expectations. Since 1998, the Muellers have exceeded our hopes. And it was a quick turnaround. They have improved every aspect of the mountain.

That is why I am baffled by the opposition bent on destroying the good name and good stewardship of Mount Sunapee’s leaseholders. This company literally saved Sunapee from poor state management.

Now they are offering an improvement plan to keep the ski resort competitive and attractive while protecting natural resources.

If you need proof of their willingness to balance activities and the environment, remember the plans to develop the opposite side of the mountain. This was a state-developed plan. But when the Muellers were asked to follow through, an environmental review found old growth that need to be protected. All agreed to leave the area undeveloped. That is good stewardship.

Despite the cry from a few critics, this is about improving Sunapee ski amenities. There are no condos in this plan, nor will there be. Keeping Mount Sunapee attractive and competitive should be a priority for all of us. This master plan will accomplish that.

An improved ski experience means more visitors, and that could mean more services for residents, more restaurants and providing a boost to businesses here today. When responsible people do the right thing, it is a win for everyone. I strongly support the Mount Sunapee master plan and urge the governor and the Executive Council to do the same.

Everett Pollard runs Northcape Design, a construction and design business in Sunapee.

Categories: Opinion