August 2, 2002 will mark a very special anniversary for Tim and Diane Mueller, owners of Okemo Mountain Resort. An anniversary that will commemorate 20 years of ownership, vision, planning, implementation and growth – a true success story in the snowsports industry.Okemo first began operating in 1955, but the ski area’s greatest growth and success came about in 1982 under the ownership and management of Tim and Diane Mueller. Over the past 20 years, the Mueller’s have invested over $100 million dollars in the mountain to create a successful and award-winning mountain resort. Entrepreneurial spirit, paired with sensible hands-on management and a commitment to deliver the finest quality experience in an atmosphere of guest service and satisfaction, are key factors in Okemo’s incredible success story.While the Mueller’s were no strangers to resort development and operations, operating a ski area was completely new territory for them. Tim’s introduction to construction and development began in 1972, where he worked building roads, houses and other facilities for Powder Mill, a second home development in Londonderry, Vermont. From 1975 through 1982, Tim and Diane built and operated Point Pleasant, a destination resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands that Diane’s parents owned. But, in the spring of 1982, Tim and Diane were eager to return to Vermont to raise their two children, Ethan and Erica and were looking for an Inn business or lodge in the recreation/tourism industry –one that would have good growth potential. The Mueller’s knew from the beginning that Okemo had what they were looking for.On August 2, 1982, Tim and Diane took over the controlling interest of Okemo Ski Area and changed its appearance dramatically with the redesign and restructuring of the mountain facilities. Utilizing their skills and background in construction and development, Tim and Diane surrounded themselves with a management team of solid professionals and created a master plan that called for upgrading and expanding the facilities and constructing slopeside residences. Since 1982, they have added 70 new trails (complete with one of the largest snowmaking operations in the east), a modern and efficient lift system, award-winning children’s and ski school programs, first-class slopeside and mountainside residential units and an 18-hole championship golf course and facility. Skier/rider visits increased dramatically from 95,000 to 600,000. But the Mueller’s didn’t stop there. By combining the very same quality service and quality mountain product (a trend in the industry they are known for), they replicated their recipe for success at Mount Sunapee (NH) when they took over the operation of the mountain from the State of New Hampshire in 1988. With the addition of Okemo Valley Golf Club, Okemo’s vision for the future was realized. As a four-season destination, Okemo would promote economic growth and vitality in a manner that would also support sound environmental protection.Okemo’s success is not based solely on new lifts, trails, lodging and snowmaking, it takes competent management skills and employees who are dedicated to provide outstanding customer service and products for our guests, as well as willingness to work with the local community and local and state government officials. Tim and Diane have always credited their staff as their inspiration and for helping to set a standard of excellence in the operation of a first-class resort. It truly spells the difference between Okemo and other eastern ski resorts.The Mueller’s vision for the future is to create a four-season recreational facility that will promote economic growth and vitality in a manner that supports sound environmental protection — Okemo’s Jackson Gore expansion is an integral part of their overall vision. As Okemo continues to evolve, the Muellers stay focused on meeting the needs of their guests and to utilize the technology and facilities to do so. But, the expectations for perfection on the slopes comes with a high price tag as the industry has moved closer to 100% snowmaking coverage and increased services and amenities. Visitors to the region are searching for more diverse experiences and more year-round opportunities. Because people’s lives are hectic they seek more solitude, so the season is no longer just winter, it has become year-round which forces resorts to increase their summer offerings. Tim and Diane realized that Okemo’s overall success and identity, as a tourist destination was dependent upon an increase in its offerings and services and amenities.After 4 years in the permitting process, Okemo is finally launching its Jackson Gore expansion for the 2002/2003-winter season, with the addition of 6 new trails (complete with snowmaking) and a new highspeed detachable quad chairlift. Plus, the Jackson Gore residential units and new base area is expected to be complete during of fall of 2003. Upon completion, Okemo’s Jackson Gore will not only offer a tremendous amount of recreational opportunities, it will help the Okemo/Ludlow region to maintain a vibrant economy.As for Tim and Diane, they aren’t going anywhere else soon. They are looking forward to many more years of enjoyment and success in the Okemo/Ludlow region.
Winn said the old policy served as a model for other districts and did not need to be changed. “I like that waiting period. It seemed to weed out the serious petitioners and gave petitioners time to get the many zillion things in order,” Winn said. “Other districts have called us to use our policy. It works for us as is.” Trustees said the University of Phoenix is proposing the charter school, and staff members are reviewing it. Teachers union President Gene Smith was critical of the policy change. “We feel the regulation is being changed for this school to come in without following the guidelines that were in place that would have required them to wait another year,” said Smith, president of the Antelope Valley Teachers Association. “I feel it’s being put on the fast track.” With the district already offering some courses online, Smith said the district should establish its own online charter school rather than let somebody else do it. “Our concern is we could do a better job and keep funds in the district. There would be a better opportunity for our counselors to talk with students to let them know of the problems and pitfalls of an online school,” Smith said. “I’m also concerned that people who would be considered at-risk youth would opt to take this kind of thing instead of staying in school, which would be the opposite of what the community and law enforcement want.” Trustee Al Beattie said the online charter school can sign up students from any adjoining county. “This charter will get approved someplace and will take our students,” Beattie said. “If a charter is going to occur and it’s going to take my students from my district, then I want to have control over it. I don’t want someone in Riverside or Kern County or Gorman having that supervision.” Beattie proposed a review of the charter policy to see whether revisions were needed to conform with changes in state charter rules and because he was aware of the online school proposal. email@example.com (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A divided Antelope Valley Union High School District board has approved changes to its charter-school policy that teachers union officials said was done to fast-track a proposed online charter campus. The charter school, which likely would allow students to stay at home and take classes via computer, wants to start operation next school year, but missed the November deadline to submit a charter petition, trustees said. The policy was changed in a 3-2 vote Wednesday, with trustees Ira Simonds and Donita Winn dissenting, to allow the board under “special circumstances” to consider late applications. “This provides the district with the latitude to deal with consideration of charters and handling of applications,” board President Tom Pigott said. “They (the online school) would have gone to another district in L.A. County, and we would have simply lost those students to that district.”