14 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT Submitted by Cindy Locke Greetings VAST Membership! The summer is hot and all I am thinking about is the winter ahead. But before I get ahead of myself let me tell you about some things that happened this past year at VAST. As some of you are busy volunteering for VAST, working on trails, holding fundraisers and getting landowner permission forms, the staff at VAST is working hard partnering with you to make sure you have the tools you need and running this large and very important organization. This past winter was just a so-so one for overall snowfall. We have some regions that for the most part consistently had snow (most in higher elevations) and some clubs that had trails that never had a chance to open. What is interesting (not in a good way), is that we had more snow is some areas than we did two years ago in the winter of 2014/15. Mostly, this was due to the temperatures. This past winter was by far warmer and we had snow fall followed by snow melt. Now not being a pessimistic person myself, it still was a darn better winter than the winter of 2015/16! I rode every single weekend this past winter to visit with clubs, enjoy the trails and attend support VAST events. I hope you had a chance to take advantage of the areas with snow too. As I get ready for the 50th anniversary of VAST, I have spent a lot of time looking back in order to recommend direction for our future. I have spent time looking at old newsletters, annual reports, statistics and just chatted with folks that have been a part of VAST for a while. So much that we do here at VAST is tried and true and going back 20, 30, 40 and 50 years so much is the same. The need for hands on volunteers, volunteers getting older and the need for younger ones to step up, bad snow years and great snow years, clubs following state and federal filing laws, declining memberships and why, are still very relevant topics. So let me tackle the membership one first. There are a few reasons that we all know about like the mandatory liability insurance laws in Vermont (2008), the economic down turn (2008), the cost of snowmobiling (machines, gear, gas) which has out-priced some that use to enjoy this sport. While we can always look at the cost to ride in Vermont regarding registering a sled and buying a TMA, it is still by far not why most don’t ride any more. The ones who have left this sport sadly are Vermonters themselves. Vermont is well known for low paying jobs and a very high cost of living, and when the economy went south, folks had to make some tough choices on where to spend their extra money. Sometimes I do get the comment in an email, in person or on Facebook that we are pricing folks out of riding in Vermont. In actuality, VAST has not raised Early Bird rates in three years and if you really want a free TMA, volunteering for a club is a great way to get one. I look at the cost to downhill ski for a season at Vermont ski areas like Killington ($1,289), Magic ($858), Okemo ($1,359) and Stowe ($859) and think, wow now that is an expensive sport. So, I guess it’s all how you look at it. I happen to think, like many of you do, that our TMA