Took a long hiatus from the boards this summer and came back to find ESA cancelled for the season ...
To say I'm disappointed is a woeful understatement! Although I only managed 2 ESAs at Stowe, both clinics were among the highlites of my skiing career. I learned more, skied better and met more cool, fun people during those 4 days than I ever could have imagined. I was certainly looking forward to #3 this year ... and really regret that won't be able to happen.
I'll certainly offer my $0.02 on why I attended and a couple of thoughts for attracting more skiers
First, Stowe was an easy call for me. It was local (no airfare to worry about). It was on the weekend (no work to miss). It was early season (proper time to tune up the skills). 2 days was perfect for me ... enough concentrated time to build some skills, but short enough to make the cost "reasonable".
I could never justify Snowmass or the other western ESAs. Those events would have required 4-5 days away from work, home and family during the middle of the week. Had it been during school vacation week, I could have made it a family trip and taken a day or two for a clinic. After my kids are both in college, the dynamics change but for now it's hard to call for a midweek ski trip out west on my own.
Ironically, a weekend ski clinic out west *might* be in the cards. I know its lousy time for instruction competing with the weekend crowds, but a Sat-Sun clinic at one of the SLC resorts could be done with a late Fri flight in and an early Monday flight out. (One of the best things about Utah for us east-coasters is the travel logistics!)
I think that attendance may have been hurt somewhat by requiring an EpicSki membership. Sure, give (HUGE!) discounts for members, but opening up the event to non-members might draw a larger crowd. (I had a friend, who has never been on EpicSki, interested in this year's Stowe event ... just saying) Promoting the event beyond this site may lead to both increased event attendance and increased site traffic. Creating and promoting the brand value of EpicSki is really important to drawing new members and sparking interest in the clinics.
The best instruction (imho) comes from an instructor who teaches you what you need to know rather than what you want to know. That said, many of us look for clinics that are specific to our own perceived needs - steeps, bumps, trees, etc. I think that offering more targeted workshops would attract more skiers who just don't want a general skills clinic - no matter how good it might be. Further development of "themes" for the event will give it more focus and more perceived value. Bud's Synergy Camp is a good example, where focus on alignment and stance is something that most skiers would value highly and won't likely get at a general clinic.
I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I really do hope to see another ESA in my future. I already miss my friends from ESA Stowe
Edited by OldEasternSkier - 11/7/11 at 7:48pm