CONWAY — Granite Backcountry Alliance announced changes to its board of directors last week as Tyler Ray stepped down as president of alliance and his new company, Backyard Concept, took over day-to-day operations for the non-profit backcountry skiing organization.

Fellow Granite Backcountry Alliance founding board member Jake Risch said: “We’re pleased to announce that Tyler Ray, founder of GBA and now principal of Backyard Concept, will remain on as Granite Chief to manage the organization. Tyler’s ability to grow GBA from scratch and his energy to expand the organization into what it is today, will be valued as we move forward into our next phase as a successful and respected outdoor recreation organization.”

Ray said: “I look forward to continuing my role leading GBA. The grassroots evolution of the organization is very authentic and it’s important we retain that flavor in our strategic planning.

“We are now positioned for growth into new communities in New Hampshire and western Maine. The future of backcountry skiing is bright.”

The alliance has reorganized its board, electing founding board member Rick Jenkinson as the new president and adding two new members, Alison Harris and Sara Thomson.

In addition to being a founding member, Jenkinson is also the Maple Villa Glade Chief, overseeing work to develop that area for skiing.

“Rick provides invaluable leadership with a steady hand on the tiller as the organization transitions to this new operating model,” said GBA Vice President Drew Zimber.

Alison “Ali” Harris is employed by North Conway-based HEB Engineers as office manager and technical coordinator.

She was born and raised in the Mount Washington Valley and learned to ski through the Eastern Slope Ski Club in elementary school. She is a 14-year veteran of Cranmore Mountain Resort, working at both the ski school and ski patrol.

She first discovered backcountry skiing out west and is passionate about advocating for more terrain in New Hampshire and Maine.

Harris will focus on glade management, field review and safety initiatives for the alliance.

HEB was integral to the development of the Maple Villa Glade in Intervale and hosted a company ski outing this past season in the Glade.

The alliance also welcomes Sara Thomson, a resident of Franconia, who also shares a love for outdoor recreation and the winter snow season.

Thomson works at Pete & Gerry's Organic Eggs and is working toward opening her own sports shop in the area.

She will serve as GBA representative for a new glade project in Franconia in the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest which is managed by the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust. Thomson is a town representative on the trust’s Cooley-Jericho Stewardship Committee.

Granite Backcountry Alliance was founded to advance the sport of backcountry skiing in New Hampshire and western Maine by providing low-impact human-powered backcountry skiing opportunities to the public through the creation, improvement and maintenance of ski glades.

The 400-plus member organization has organized over 2,000 volunteers donating 15,000 hours to develop or maintain more than 30,000 vertical feet of skiable terrain.

The alliance will soon be announcing its fall glade project volunteer work schedule at their current and new zones. Also this fall, GBA is again presenting the Backcountry Film Festival at venues around the region. Go to or find GBA on Facebook and Instagram for details.

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