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ESA 2012-13?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Any chance this year? Stowe maybe?
post #2 of 14
Hi Evan--unfortunately, there are no plans for ESA events for the coming season. I can tell you that the entire crew--coaches, administrators, and participants--sorely miss the EpicSki Academy, but in these busy times, it has just become too much for our mostly-volunteer group to undertake.

Here's the thing. We have experienced tremendous success with the EpicSki Academy in the past by pretty much any measure. We've had lots of fun, made new friends, and stimulated dramatic improvements in many people's skiing. We are justifiably thrilled and proud of the EpicSki Academy. But now we find that the ever-increasing complexities and costs of putting on the event, combined with a few other factors, have forced us to put it on hold for the time being. A very large part of the challenge, to be frank, has been the dramatically climbing up-front costs the organizers have had to cover, combined with the uncertainty of the number of participants to expect. Since the entire event has been self-funded and we have no existing source of "seed money" to cover the advance costs, we have had to rely on participant fees and generous donations from organizers. Exacerbating the problem, it seems that there has been a strong trend (industry-wide) of participants waiting to sign up until the last moment. That makes planning and financing the events extremely difficult--and expensive. It's become just too much to ask of our unpaid staff of dedicated organizers and volunteers--especially when it comes to actually fronting and risking large sums of money out-of-pocket.

So we sit in limbo. We have a great thing going, but because the current business model still stems from the original concept of just a friendly get-together at minimal cost, albeit bringing in some of the top pros from across North America, with unpaid volunteers doing all the background work to pull it off, it really doesn't work anymore.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that we would love to hear some new ideas about how we might re-invent EpicSki Academy and bring it back to life. The ESA arose and grew directly from the inspiration and ideas of the EpicSki community. We need that same creativity and initiative again to invent EpicSki Academy 2.0.

Let's hear it!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 14

reduce time to 3 day clinics. Locate them in easy to access resorts, Utah and summit cant be easier; Summit provides not only easy access but a very large demographic as well.   Run them Concurrent to the gatherings. I think that it would be a great addition to the gatherings. it permits people the ability to meet and socialize with other epic members and still get the clinic in. It's almost like a "2-for"

post #4 of 14

I'm not sure if the two day clinic Bud and Bob ran at the beginning of the Tahoe gathering last season was an official ESA event, but I found it a great clinic and I'd say running the clinics concurrent  with the gatherings as Finndog suggests makes a lot of sense.

Edited by MephitBlue - 7/30/12 at 10:45am
post #5 of 14

The Synergy Camp was not an official ESA, but it had some of the spirit of ESA.   


I doubt anyone is sadder to see ESA on hold.  The impact ESA has had on my skiing, and my life, are unimaginable. 

post #6 of 14
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

Hi Evan--unfortunately, there are no plans for ESA events for the coming season. 



Almost didn't know what to do with myself last year without ESA Stowe!  Was really hoping to see a comeback this year and was even thinking about working a trip out west if there was only 1 ESA event.


Looks like I'll need to go buy a beer to cry into ....

post #7 of 14

Perhaps we could do something "unoffically" at Big Sky gathering?....if there is enough interest?

post #8 of 14

I did the two day camp/clinic at Mt. Rose with both the Bs (Bud and Mr. Barnes) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  If I were to make it to Big Sky would certainly consider it again. 

post #9 of 14

Hmmm.   Have the ski resorts been friendly to the idea of ESA?  Or do they see ESA as competing with their own on-mountain ski instructors?  I'm wondering if Ski Utah (a trade assn promoting the Utah brand, funded by all the Utah ski resorts) might be willing to sponsor such an event ... or one of the resorts...  I'm just thinking out loud here...   or perhaps a specific mountain might consider sponsoring it somehow.


What are the major advance costs involved?  How much "seed money" would be needed? 

post #10 of 14
Have the ski resorts been friendly to the idea of ESA?

Hi SportyandMisty--a very good question, and the simple answer is an emphatic yes! You bring back fond memories for me as I reminisce about the origin of what was (and is) truly a groundbreaking program.

From the very beginning, from when ESA was just an idea being tossed around in the forums here, your concern was probably the single most critical question we asked, and the foremost consideration we, as organizers, addressed. We were not even going to consider an event where we were not welcomed by the resort, and we went to great lengths to create good relationships with the local ski schools. One of our first contacts at any resort we considered was the Ski School Director, and we would not proceed without his or her blessing.

Not every resort welcomed the idea, and we did not go to those that had concerns. But for those that embraced the idea, I believe EpicSki Academy brought mutual benefits all around. We brought groups of people to their resort, few of whom would have been there otherwise, and usually in a slow time of the season. Our groups bought lift tickets, lodging, food, meeting space, banquet service, and so on. Host resorts enjoyed goodwill with wide and favorable exposure on

But most importantly, our intent has always been to generate excitement for great skiing and learning, and great ski lessons. Rather than competing with the local ski school, my biggest hope was that EpicSki Academy participants would be so jazzed about their learning and potential that they would go back to their home area hungry for more lessons wherever they skied. When skiers at our host resorts inquired about us, I would proudly refer them to the local ski school.

We also utilized the resources of the local ski schools as much as possible. Usually their director or a top instructor guided our ESA coaches around for a mountain orientation before the event, and on many occasions one or more of their top instructors--often the director--served as ESA coaches. Other local instructors often attended as participants as well, and some received PSIA clinic credit. Sometimes an ESA coach or two arrived early or stayed on for a few days after the event as a guest clinician for the ski school.

In short, cooperation and close integration with the local ski school is integral to ESA's success. We need their support, and we are enthusiastic about making it a great success for them as well. We've always been invited back, and some have overtly insisted that we return. This synergy with the host resort, all in the shared interest of celebrating great skiing and learning, has been most gratifying for me. Personally, I have very much enjoyed working with and getting to know instructors where we've held our events. I've made friends and learned a great deal, and I hope I've helped to share ideas and learning with them. It's one of many things I miss about EpicSki Academy.


To your last question about the major costs involved, it seems to me that the actual costs are not as much the concern as the timing and unpredictability of those costs. While some costs are fixed, most vary with the size of the event--the number of participants. As we negotiate rates for services, lodging, lift tickets, meeting rooms, and such with the host resort, we usually need to give them numbers. Lodges need numbers and commitments to hold blocks of rooms. We need numbers to commit to coaches, who need to commit valuable time on their own schedules. Since so many participants these days (industry-wide--not just for EpicSki Academy) tend to wait until the last moment to sign up, it is almost impossible to predict accurate numbers for our little events. "Seed money," as you suggest, might help, since "the company" could perhaps then afford to absorb the loss from an occasional miscalculation. ESA has historically "bootstrapped" itself, relying on each event paying for itself from its own revenues. That put individual volunteer organizers at risk if the revenues did not come in as planned--clearly not an acceptable situation in the long term. You know how expensive a room in a hotel at Aspen/Snowmass can be--now imagine committing to pay for a whole block of them, for a week, without knowing whether they'll be filled! Such are the challenges of "simple little events" like EpicSki Academy. It's things like that that we must resolve if we are to continue.

So keep thinking!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #11 of 14

I was very interested in whether the ski areas were part of it, especially as I read the latest issue of 32 Degrees and the scathing reprimand of independent ski instructors.  I'm glad to see it was all above board.


I'm disappointed too.  Now that I am back from my knee replacement it was on my agenda.


For those PSIA types, how about a group of EpicSkiers gathering around the PSIA National Academy?

post #12 of 14

Bob, having ran for 23yrs a 5 day ski event the uncertainty and monetary problems are huge.   Seed money as you state may help the planning stage.  Last minute signups are an organizers worst enemy.  


Would it be possible to obtain seed money from the participants?  Example in Sept/Oct announce the ESA sites, dates etc., 


Participants must pay a $100.00 deposit to secure their spot.  This deposit will be refunded ONLY if the actual ESA is not conducted because of too small of an attendance.  Whether the clinic happends is up to Epic Ski members.  The ESA board will make a decision on conducting the clinic on _____________________ date.  Many members have expressed a sincere desire to have ESA  clinics.  It is up to you, pay the deposit now and if enough members committ we will have..........................................................................................................


If $100 isn't enough make it more etc.


Some people won't understand this however most will and better yet ESA could be reborn.  Maybe start with a 3 day prior to the gathering.  I know Tahoe resorts will welcome Epic especially mid week non holiday.

post #13 of 14
Ahh--Pete--you have no idea how much I'd like to do something like that to revive the on-snow EpicSki Academy. It's too late for this season, I'm sure, but if there's something that makes sense for the future, I'd be first in line!

I can say that, because we must cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with the host ski area, the organizing needs to start far earlier than many might think. And the volunteer efforts to get it rolling are immense, right from the start. Your idea certainly has merit, but the cut-off decision date might need to be so early that many potential participants simply couldn't commit that far in advance. Of course, there still might be enough....

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by WVSkier View Post


For those PSIA types, how about a group of EpicSkiers gathering around the PSIA National Academy?


April 14-18 is on my radar.

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