By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Chip Perfect, owner of Perfect North Slopes and now Timberline Mountain, had a big week planned the week of March 16. A media opportunity, meet and greet, and serving as guest speaker of the Chamber of Commerce meeting was on the agenda, however the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus put a stop to the itinerary. “We didn’t want to come off as insensitive or tone deaf to everything else that is going on so we have decided to delay that,” said Perfect during a phone interview.
While visiting the mountain, the crew took the time to put together a short video that will be coming to public eyes within a week or so, when they feel the time is right. A new website has also launched that will serve as a hub of information at www.timberlinemountain.com where individuals can also sign up for updates via email.
Local contractors along with a team of people from the Perfect North crew have been working for the past couple of months at the slopes, especially on the chairlifts. “It was possible to make them workable but they were still going to be old chairlifts with a bad reputation, so we took a big gulp and said they’re going to have to go,” said Perfect. Three new lifts will be constructed, though more details will be included in their video production to be released in the near future.
A few individuals that have been a part of Perfect North Slopes for a lengthy tenure have relocated to the area to take over on Timberline Mountain. Boonie Neff has been named the General Manager and Tom Price will be serving as Assistant General Manager, both bringing a vast amount of experience to Timberline. “Both them and their families are relocating here and are going to make Timberline Mountain their top priority,” Perfect assured. “We have a couple other folks from our existing organization that are going to relocate here and we’re going on with it. There’s a lot of work to be done here and we’re just now again trying to figure out the progression of the projects,” he continued.
Their first area of concentration will be with the snowmaking equipment to ensure proper operating condition, followed by a lot of deferred maintenance that needs addressed. “Our top priority is going to be the ski experience and to do that we’ve got to have snow consistently and that’s one of the things we do well,” Perfect said. “We’ve been in the ski business, my family and I started Perfect North Slopes on our family farm 40 years ago,” he added. “We are not only bringing our snowmaking expertise to Timberline Mountain, but also our relationships,” he said. With four decades in the business, the Perfect family has made connections with several industry leaders that he feels will only help the revamped Timberline. Perfect also noted that local contractors will be sought out to carry out some projects as well.
Explanation continued with emphasis on needing as much help as manageable to carry on what Perfect’s ski experience offers, which is “exceed people’s expectations.” He stated, “As a business person, that’s the top priority for me and that’s what we’re going to do here.” With so much mention of bringing long time partners and associates along for the move, it was asked what the new management will bring as far as opportunities for locals. “Initially, we have a handful of people that are going to come here and assess the needs to try to get some of our projects going and we’re going to jumpstart this place with a handful of our people,” Perfect responded, “But, once we move forward and certainly once we get up against the winter, you are absolutely right, it takes a pretty good number of folks to make a ski area work.” At Perfect North Slopes in Indiana, they are one of the larger operations in the Midwest employing over a thousand people on their seasonal staff. “We won’t have that many people here at least initially, we will have to add folks as needed so we’re going to have to see that how that plays out, but yes, there’s going to be job opportunities here.”
Perfect went further to say, “We’re certainly working towards building a different culture and our approach is maybe a little different than it’s been in the past and after 40 years in the ski business we have a lot of operational systems that are going to be a little different than what was here in the past that are going to be a little bit more efficient.” “It’s all about good customer service and in our opinion you can’t provide good customer service without good people,” he continued. “We’re going to be rebuilding a team here, the core again from our folks, but we’re going to be adding people over time, and it’s going to take some time to get the right people in place and know what our needs are.” “As newcomers to the area, we are pleasantly surprised at what ultimately is going to be some opportunities in the summer as well, we really didn’t realize frankly that there was this much summer tourism here,” though the winter activities will remain their top priority. Perfect and his team hope to help lead the way to bringing even more tourism to the area to help the county as a whole, not just the ski area. “We’re going to do our best effort to reinvigorate tourism here in the valley and hopefully when we’re on the other side of the challenges that everyone in society is facing there will be a renewed enthusiasm for that,” he added.
Perfect didn’t want to elaborate on any further details at this time due to the current situation. “My concern is because we are in such a unique and topsy-turvy news cycle right now, we just don’t want to come off as inappropriate,” Perfect said. “We’re here, we’re working, we’re trying to make plans and move forward, and we’re going to let those plans out to you and other people when we have them solid and it seems like the appropriate time to do it.”
There are no dates scheduled at this time for another meet and great, however Perfect stated he has fallen in love with the area and told his wife he feels he will be spending a lot of time in Timberline.