Skiers in Canada are forming co-operatives to buy their local slopes – reconnecting with the true spirit of the sport The Guardian recently reported on a new trend in recreational business in Canada: local communities starting cooperatives to buy and run ski resorts.
"'Community ownership of ski areas allows for a certain pride," says Christian Theberge, the general manager of My Mountain Coop, the first not-for-profit ski cooperative in Canada. "People tend to take better care of what's theirs. It also allows members to actively participate in the improvements and really understand what makes the magic happen.'"
My Mountain Co-op's mission statement:
Membership is our strength. Through co-operative practices, working together with our communities, and partnering with like-minded organizations, we can be successful.
The Guardian claims this kind of magic and mission is spreading, with the co-op model generating interest among other mountain communities. The latest is Mount Sima in Yukon, which is run by another not-for-profit organisation, the Great Northern Ski Society (GNSS), that views the project as a huge asset to the community, especially the youngsters.
"Whether it's family-run or member-run, having a local ski area is key for the community," says Steve Carpenter, president of Mystery Mountain Winter Park in Manitoba. "It's extremely welcoming – everyone knows everyone," says Carpenter. "If you can make it up the lift without having a conversation with the person you're riding with, I'd be surprised."
All around us, we're seeing the links between democratic participation in businesses and community building – evidence of the global new thinking that Groundswell is leading.