Q Burke Mountain and Kingdom Trails Association will return to the negotiating table regarding mountain biking and Nordic skiing operations at the ski area.
Bill Stenger, part-owner of Jay Peak ski resort and a business partner at Q Burke, says the company values Kingdom Trails and wants to stay connected. Q Burke CEO Ary Quiros had stated previously that Q Burke had cut ties with the nonprofit after three years of coordinated operations on the mountain.
That news ruffled feathers locally and in the mountain biking and ski communities. A subsequent email Quiros sent to a concerned mountain biker further inflamed relations.
“you have neglected a great product here and the hard working employees that make Burke work,” Quiros wrote. “this is an exciting place here and believe me, it’s not because of kingdom trails.”
Stenger has since back-pedaled from Quiros’ stance.
In an email exchange Dec. 20, Stenger credited the Kingdom Trails for helping establish East Burke as a mountain biking “Mecca.”
“I can say that we still have the highest regard for KT and wish to find the proper working relationship that benefits KT and Burke Mt’s operations,” Stenger wrote. “We will reach out to KT to continue to work on a formula that is healthy and successful for all.”
Quiros declined to comment on the change of direction.
KTA executive director Tim Tierney said he’s encouraged by Stenger’s statements.
“We also are looking to move forward with this relationship because we know it makes sense for our community and for their company,” Tierney said.
In a statement, Tierney urged KT supporters to not boycott Q Burke, as many on social media had suggested they would. He said it would harm everyone in the community, including Kingdom Trails and the community members who still work at the ski area.
Stenger and Tierney both expressed wishes for a mutually beneficial solution.
Stenger also noted that the mountain has operated “in the red” through a succession of owners over the past few decades.
“Prudent operational efforts need to be made. I think we are doing many of the right things to be efficient but acknowledge we need to better communicate the reasoning,” Stenger said. “I know we will succeed in reestablishing a quality working relationship with KT.”
The Kingdom Trails Nordic Center, previously located on Dashney Road in conjunction with the ski resort, has been relocated for the winter to nearby Darling Hill.
CORRECTION: This article was corrected on Jan. 11, 2014, to reflect Bill Stenger’s role at Q Burke as a business partner.