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REPORTING · 27th August 2010
Merv Ritchie
“Mountain Rider’s Alliance launches new website in response to global demand for rider-owned ski area”

The founders of the Shames Mountain Co-op cooperative business idea, Jamie Schectman and Shanie Matthews, have recently launched a new website, www.MountainRidersAlliance.com. As readers of the Terrace Daily may recall, Jamie Schectman first brought international attention to Shames Mountain last year with the idea to purchase the local ski hill through a for profit co-op model.


After Schectman arrived a local group was formed called Friends of Shames. A conflict arose after Schectman returned to Argentina and the Shames Mountain Co-Op movement was stalled. Details, including many comments from the local community, can be read here:

“Friends of Shames pursues ski area options”, “Clarity required between friends” and “With friends like this, who needs enemies”.

Friends of Shames decided, after months of consideration, to pursue a different cooperative model: the community-service, not the for profit Co-op plan. As stated in their December 4th, 2009 Facebook Fan Page press release;

“Friends of Shames Choose Community Service Co-operative Model: Following town hall meetings in Terrace and Prince Rupert, months of gathering information and researching options, several meetings with lawyers, business consultants, and current shareholders, the Friends of Shames (FoS) is confident that due diligence has been done and that the Community Service Co-operative is the legal structure to move forward with.”

When asked why he decided to move in another direction, Schectman responded, “While some members of the local community prefer to keep their ski hill local and may not want international investment and visitors, we have been shown the global ski community is very enthusiastic about this business model. The sheer number of responses received from the ski industry was overwhelming. We believe we have an exciting and forward thinking concept. By pooling together our money, us snow lovers can have our own ski area to enjoy…one that is based on values, not turning a quick profit!”

But MRA is taking things a bit further. “The Mountain Rider’s Alliance business model intends to develop renewable energy at the ski centers. We believe that this will assist in developing ski areas that will create more energy then they consume, making them sustainable, and help reduce their carbon footprint.” Schectman explained. “Incorporating green energy creation, will assist in helping reverse climate change, as well as create an additional revenue stream for the ski area. As skiers and snowboarders, our sport has the most to lose by global warming. We intend to lead by example and hopefully change the industry standard of how a ski area should coexist with its natural surroundings.”

When asked if the Mountain Rider’s Alliance is interested in purchasing Shames Mountain, Schectman responded “Our position remains the same. We do not want to compete with another entity. We think the Skeena Valley is ready to think globally and ski locally, it may just take more time to work with the various personalities. We are taking a wait and see approach. It may be the Friends of Shames are able to raise enough capital through grants, private donations and government bailouts. If not and another buyer has not stepped in, we will revisit the Shames project. We wish the town of Terrace and the surrounding community the very best and we look forward to skiing on the fabulous snow soon again.”

According to the website, each Mountain Rider’s Alliance project will be set up as a Limited Liability Corporation. When asked on the difference between a Co-op and a LLC, Schectman replied, “As an LLC, some individuals will be using their own seed money and time to get the project started. It will be similar to a for-profit co-op in that $500 investment shares will be sold to the global ski community. By purchasing a share, members will receive benefits at the ski-energy center, such as discounts on all services, as well as receiving dividends on profits, otherwise known as linked prosperity.”

You can find more information at www.MountainRidersAlliance.com
clarification
Comment by Jamie Schectman on 28th August 2010
Hello,

For the record, my wife and I are from the United States and have lived in Argentina for the last 5 years, but are not Argentinians. We consider ourselves citizens of the world.

Thank you, Jamie