It was August 2011 and Martin Cartier, senior board member of Drowling Mountain, was beginning to feel the pressure of Drowling Mountain Ski Resort’s 2010 general meeting that was coming up in two months. Drowling Mountain had historically been the ski resort of choice for the local residents of Syracuse, New York. However, the company had recorded losses for the past two years. At last year’s annual general meeting, Cartier explicitly stated that he would bring the company to sustainable operations. He felt personally responsible for the company’s struggles, since he was the longest-serving member on the board. Management had been keen on developing a new marketing plan focused on new pricing schemes and increasing sales, but Cartier thought an advance meeting to discuss the plan with select board members would be advantageous. He held significant influence in the forthcoming meeting in October, and any recommendations that he made were likely to determine the future success of the company.
The case describes a ski resort that has experienced declining revenue, high levels of debt, and increasing losses. The board and management do not have a good understanding of the issues, or even if there are issues. Every business would be better off if they simply had more customers, but the solution is rarely that easy. Students will have to analyze the situation to determine the source of these losses and to determine how this situation can be addressed. This case deals with the following issues:
- How does one determine when a business is troubled and whether it can become viable?
- When is creditor protection a reasonable option?
- What skills/experiences are needed to lead a company through a turnaround?
- What is the role of management and a board in a troubled situation?
Board Governance; Turnaround; Break-even Analysis; Ski Resort; United States
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
United States, Small, 2010
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