O.K. I sort of baited you guys. Those who know me can attest to my giving attitude and my commitment to the greater good of the ski community and my off the snow communities as well. Whether that is a newbie skier, patroller, or instructor. I've helped over a thousand folks as a patroller, taught and trained a few hundred patrollers (paid and volunteer), trained and mentored probably as many instructors, mentored at risk inner city youth who otherwise would be heading down the wrong path, served on the board of directors for a church, been an ambassador for three different chambers of commerce, did two decades of SAR and med evac work without a thought about remuneration. As I feel it should be when it comes to helping develop the pay it forward attitude in those I come in contact with. What I did and continue to do has a price tag, the circle needs to continue uninterrupted. So even though in some instances I paid a lot of money for things like my library, clinics, certs and coaching credentials, like my mentors (who refused to accept even as much as a beer as a thank you), I pay it forward in the same way that they did. In many ways that cost is so much higher than any tip I could have given them. But I pay it out of respect for their efforts to raise my game.
But there are those folks who are always looking for deals and for some reason think it ends with them. They are proud of how they got something for less than it's market price and never get the idea that the person gifting them that information, service, etc, did so out of kindness and with the hope that they too would join the "giving club" that used to permeate the ski industry. It might be as simple as giving directions to a lost guest, or stopping to assist a down skier, or even just contacting the appropriate help that person needs before skiing away. Or maybe it is as complex as helping at an accident. I do all of that regularly and even though I retired from emergency med work I still ended up involved in helping with two life threatening ski accidents this past season. By the grace of God both incidents occurred near the class I was teaching and the students were MD's, and emergency room nurses. As a team we managed to save two lives and I personally made up for the lost lesson time by comping everyone of those students with private one on one all day lessons as a thank you for their heroic efforts. We also paid for their lunches thanks to the patrol department, and I was proud to introduce those folks to our entire ski school staff as a shining example of what we all should be willing to do for others. Mind you they didn't ask for anything, nor did I. It was what simply needed to be done and we did so without hesitation, or any suggestions from me that we needed to act.
So like I said, I sort of baited you guys but not to tell all these stories. I want to comment on how ski culture has changed and sadly that pay it forward mantra is hardly as prevalent as it once was. People just don't seem to share that common thread some might call kinship. We are all part of a huge fabric and what that fabric becomes depends on what we all do to keep that spirit of kinship alive. So when I see all of this negativity about ski area operators being heartless bean counters I see it as a load of crap. Honestly, they have to turn a profit to reinvest in things like high speed lifts, amenities in the day lodges, on mountain facilities, top notch first aid facilities, and nice hotels for you, their guest. If you skied in the sixties and seventies you know how Spartan area facilities were compared to today. Not to mention the folks investing the hundreds of millions of dollars it takes to pay for all these improvements expect and deserve a decent ROI. Profit is not a dirty word, without it areas close and never re-open. Sustainability goes well beyond environmental practices, it must include financial sustainability.
That article sadly paints an incomplete picture of what a ski area is and what it takes to operate one. It's even sillier to say ski school generated revenue is more than a very small part of that bigger picture. BTW all the discounts like the buddy pass, came about from real estate marketing money. It's really no different than the "free weekend" at a resort that was only free as long as you attended a meeting where they pitched time share condos. Resetting the perceived value of a season pass didn't make the operating costs go down either and it was only through that marketing money supplementing the sale of these discounted lift tickets that the area could pay it's bills. So even though deals exist where lessons costs are less, the remainder of operating costs for that department must be supplemented with monies from somewhere. When that runs out that department needs to go back to charging more, or cease to operate. Thus what will occur Fifty years from now doesn't matter much if the business in question is out of business in two.
Finally, my comments about not missing work to provide freebies to folks I have never met in person doesn't mean my family and friends haven't received ski improvement advice. I just have a really full schedule and I simply don't have much free time. If I offer that time to anyone I don't really expect tips but c'mon at least offer one so I can refuse to accept it. At least then I am left with the impression that you appreciate what I've done for you. Otherwise I walk away feeling used. As I am sure most of you would feel if the roles were reversed and I asked you to do your job on your time off without as much as a thank you.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 8/18/13 at 6:01pm