GILFORD — For the past 21 years, Greg Goddard’s life has revolved around the weather. As the general manager at Belknap County-owned Gunstock Mountain Resort, he checks the daily forecast up to six times a day, hoping for sun during the summer and cold weather or snow during the winter.
When the weather cooperates, revenues spike. But when Mother Nature delivers rain, ticket sales slacken and Goddard faces the slings and arrows of the Belknap County Commission, who annually must vote to authorize the borrowing of a bridge loan to fund the resort’s fall operations until ski season revenue starts rolling in.
After 21 years at the helm of Gunstock, Goddard has announced that he will retire in August 2020. Under Goddard’s leadership, the recreation area has transitioned into a four-season attraction, and the net worth of the facility has increased by more than $9 million.
Goddard, who has worked at the resort for 39 years, formally notified the Gunstock Area Commission in July with the intent that his successor could be recruited and selected during the coming year.
“I’d love to be able to continue to help in the ski or tourism industries in some capacity, but without the stress of daily resort operations. It will be nice to cut back from six weather reports every day to just one,” Goddard said.
Bob Durfee, who has served 15 years on the commission and is its current chair, had high praise for the manager and his business acumen.
“Greg has been a steady hand over many years in a business that can be extremely volatile and unpredictable. He possesses a keen understanding of finance and a deep knowledge of every aspect of resort operations. He’s willing to get his hands dirty, if necessary, and he’s proven unafraid to make difficult decisions when required to manage the resort effectively and responsibly,” Durfee said.
Just a year after becoming general manager, Goddard negotiated the purchase of the Alpine Ridge property adjacent to Gunstock. In 2003, he shepherded the resort through a $3.8 million expansion that including a new, extensive snow-making infrastructure, installation of the resort’s first high-speed lift, and revitalization of the Pistol Lift complex.
In 2009, he proposed the expansion of beginner terrain including a new four-passenger chairlift, expansion of night skiing terrain from 15 to 22 trails, and laid the foundation for the creation of a more efficient snow-making system.
Starting in 2011, he led the transition of the resort into a four-season attraction, installing some of the nation’s longest and fastest zip lines and New England’s largest aerial tree obstacle course. A $2.8 million mountain coaster was added in 2016.
To make the transition to new leadership as smooth as possible, the commission has asked Goddard to be part of the recruitment and selection process. The timeline will allow Goddard to stay through the coming winter season and assist with the planning process for 2020-21.
Goddard’s long association with the ski area began during the 1981-82 winter season, when he was hired to tend bar at the Powder Keg Pub. He became a year-round employee in 1982 and steadily advanced through the ranks. He was named director of finance and administration in 1988, and 10 years later became general manager. With 21 years in the front office, Goddard is Gunstock’s longest-tenured general manager, eclipsing Warren Warner, who ran the resort from November 1959 to May 1975.
“We appreciate Greg’s steadfast loyalty and dedication to Gunstock over the past four decades,” Durfee said.
Goddard has no immediate plans after retiring, but intends to remain active in the community. He is a commissioner for the Lakes Region Business Park in Laconia, sits on the Loan Review Committee for the Belknap County Economic Development Council, and is active in a variety of tourism-related organizations.