Black Jack getting close to funding new groomer!

Black Jack
By Black Jack
August 11th, 2010

A big thank-you to two more generous business sponsors, Hil-tech Contracting and Kootenay Nordic Ventures (Andy Morel), as well as some more generous member donations. A big thank you to another business sponsor, Bear Country Kitchen.

  • The opportunity:  We are fundraising for a new cat that will serve the club for 10+ years.  We are asking you for help, as well as local businesses & organizations. 
  • Good money after bad:  Although the current cat has served us well the past few years (with extremely little downtime), it is now approaching 10,000 hours.  (It was bought well-used with the funds we had at the time).  Larger components can be expected to fail at 10,000+ hrs, resulting in significant costs and downtime.  It no longer makes sense for us to sink substantial $ into it, either preemtively or after failures. 
  • Reactive approach:  We do have 40k in the Big Cat Kitty (our equipment reserve fund), but we don’t want to spend it prematurely on buying a cheaper machine that’s too old – we would end up in the exact same situation in a couple of years from now.  
  • Proactive approach:  Raise additional money now and buy a significantly newer cat that will serve the club 10+ years.  
  • Leveraging the $$:  We have applied for a grant that will potentially match us dollar-for-dollar, so the onus is on us to come up with our half.  The best part is that donations are tax-deductible (via Cross Country Canada).  So, after your tax rebate and the matching money, every “net” dollar you donate could be multiplied by up to 4 times (depending on tax bracket).
  • Deadline:  The sooner we have our own funds confirmed, the greater the success we’ll have with the matching grant.  As such, we’d like to confirm funding by July 10, 2010 if possible.
  • How much:  For a cat that will serve the club for 10+ years, we are attempting to raise $130k.  We have $40k in the Big Cat Kitty, meaning $90k to go.  Seems like a lot, but we have a lot of members and supporters and every little bit counts.
  • Recognition:  If you’re interested in recognition (e.g. for a business), please contact me for more info.  The club is able to offer a variety of recognition opportunities, right up to event naming rights and having your business logo placed on the new cat.
  • How:  For a tax-deductible donation, review the attached guideline and then fill out the attached form.  Alternatively, if you do not want a tax receipt, cheques can be made out to Black Jack Ski Club, Box 1754, Rossland BC, V0G1Y0.  Any question, feel free to email me.

For additional detail, see below.  

  • The club does an average of about 500 hours of grooming with the cat per winter.  
  • A cat with 10,000 hours is considered to be at the end of its reliable life, with major component failure (>$10k) and associated downtime expected (1-2 weeks).  Attempting to extend its life by investing in preventative maintenance (e.g. preemptively replacing pumps, drives, motor, etc…) is not seen as good value at this point.  Fixing expensive failures during the season is “money lost”.
  • Our current cat has mechanical issues that have affected both skate grooming and classic grooming.  A groove down the middle of the skate lane has been apparent and classic track quality is problematic during harder snow conditions.  These issues were also voiced in our recent membership survey: 22% of skate skiers said the skate lane was below expectation and 26% of classic skiers said the classic tracks were below expectations.  Fixing these issues will take time and money, but significant expenditure is difficult to justify on a cat of this age.
  • We would like to purchase a cat that will reliably serve the club for at least 10 years.  Given that a brand-new cat is $300k+, the club must realistically look at purchasing a used cat.  At 500 hours of use per year, this means the club needs to purchase a cat that has a maximum of 5,000 hours.
  • A 5,000 hour or less cat is estimated to cost upwards of $130k.   
  • The club is currently looking at used cats on the market.  With the economic slowdown, the high Canadian dollar, and the Olympic cats that have been sold into the market (i.e. ripple effect), good deals may be found. 
  • The more successful the club is at raising funds, the newer the cat it will be able to purchase, resulting in a longer lifespan.


Wannes Luppens, club president

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