- 15,157 Posts. Joined 7/2005
- Location: Whitefish
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Mixup on the Powder Highway Last February, Opinions Requested - Page 2
I have joined the community and unless it was totally lost on you ... .my only argument is with Tony and for all the reasons cited. I'm not arguing with strangers or anyone besides the guy who saw fit to publish this half true account in the first place.
BTW ... I don't depend on folks like you for legitimacy. The majority of the posts here saw through Tony's BS ... Something tells me that you must be one of Tony's buddies and as such ... like Tony you have ZERO clout yourself.
I thought this was pretty much wrapped up. Readers can judge which side the hostility is coming from on this thread.
I have 53 snowcat and 16 heli days with 13 different operators in Canada since 1997. The attitude from Valhalla was unique in my experience, and not in a good way.
Most businesses could live with this level of slander. Anyone who reads this thread in detail might well be more inclined to ski at Valhalla, but perhaps to be vigilant about trying to get satisfactory dates and to dot all the i's and cross all the t's during the booking process.
I've probably said this a few times already in this thread.
Nope. The only long phone conversation was the initial one ~4PM on Feb. 26. I did not "rant" until I found the e-mail, at which point I said something like, "This is your problem and you need to fix it." I never used the words at any time "they would live to regret it."
One hour later I sent this e-mail,
This is Liz' first trip to interior B.C. and we planned to be in this area for the next 4 days. You need to provide us with 2 days of cat or heliskiing during this time, if not with you, then with someone else in the area. We have a car are willing to drive a couple of hours to one of the more remote places if necessary.
As noted in the same Jan 12 e-mail I am one of the snowsports journalists who was hosted here in January 2012 by Red. Mt. and Whitewater. I am an active contributor to the First Tracks and Epic ski forums and occasionally also to TGR. Rest assured that the outcome of this particular mixup will be reported across the online snowsports media, hopefully with a satisfactory resolution.
The last paragraph of that e-mail was the ONLY time during this whole process that I played the "Do You Know Who I Am?" card. I felt under the gun because our reservation was for the NEXT DAY. Was this the right tactic? Probably not, but I see no evidence that it would have changed the outcome.
At 10PM I sent this:
So 6 hours after my "rant" and with no response to previous e-mails, I'm already looking for some kind of compromise. Hopefully giving up my own seat as part of that compromise would be an indication to Valhalla that I was not arguing before out of some sense of overentitlement. And the next evening Feb. 27 I sent this, with much input from Liz:
Maria - nothing I've said is meant as a "threat" - it's a friendly heads up. With regard to my online reporting, I blog reports with pictures of all of my ski days and candidly report the positives and negatives of each day. I posted my itinerary of this trip on First Tracks when I made the arrangements in January and in fact I was influenced in booking with you by a fellow poster who had a great experience with you last season.
So when I post my reports from Wild Horse and Big Red I will surely get the question, "What happened with Valhalla?" In public postings I try to choose my words carefully and will state that I sent an e-mail with my credit card information on Jan. 12 and that you stated you did not receive it even though I found my copy of that e-mail on Feb. 26 and forwarded it to you. I will also state that you said you sent a reminder and that I did not receive that. On that basis readers are free to draw their own conclusions.
It's common courtesy to follow up with your customers and get a confirmed positive or negative response. Don't assume we're dirtbags and give away our seats without explicit notice. From my extensive research and contacts in the ski industry I know you have a great product - if you treat people with respect, it will only enhance your reputation...something to think about;-)
Quote = COSkiingRules:
They told me to look into Wild Horse and Big Red. After skiing Whitewater on Feb. 27, we drove down to Ymir and set up the next day with Wild Horse. That evening I called Big Red and reserved Mar. 2 there. It rained Mar. 1, so Big Red cancelled skiing Mar. 2 and did not charge us. In the course of that conversation with Big Red they thought a 2-for-1 discount for any dates not currently booked would be a reasonable resolution of the situation with Valhalla.
In conclusion I think qcanoe made the best summary of the situation:
No question attitudes were hardened during that first conversation from Lakeside at 4PM on Feb. 26. Do I get Liz on their cat by making that suggestion on the spot rather than 6 hours later by e-mail? Who knows? But after being told that I was negligent for ~5 minutes before finding the e-mail, I succumbed to the impulse to turn it back on them when I did find it. For those who would have handled that situation more diplomatically on the spot, more power to them.
Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/3/13 at 1:29pm
- 947 Posts. Joined 2/2005
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This should speak volumes in Tony's favour, and volumes against Valhalla.
COSkiing is clearly connected to Valhalla, but is misrepresenting themselves as an anonymous poster from Colorado who's ignored the millions of CO related threads on these boards only to speak in fine detail about an incident at a faraway CAT skiing operation.
This should speak volumes in Tony's favour, and volumes against Valhalla
That would be an interesting development, but I would want some proof before making such an allegation. Some grounds for suspicion though:
He was livid at the time and kept on insisting that anything short of him being put on the CAT was unacceptable. ...... At that point, the staff put him in contact with a gentleman who very patiently tried to make things right with Tony.
I was nearby when this staff member called Tony. We watched as the conversation unfolded and at one point it got so bad that this person actually placed his cell phone on speaker so that others could listen to Tony rant and threaten. In doing so, Tony made it clear that "he was a writer and blogger and if they didn't immediately get him on that CAT that they would live to regret it. ...........
Later on that evening, one of the owners of Valhalla even tried to address the situation with Tony and after listening to Tony play his "do you know who I am?" card, he finally decided that there was no way that he'd ever make him happy and he decided to end the discussion --- but not before Tony told him that he would live to regret this.
These are 3 separate phone calls, the last one with some time delay. Valhalla is a day operation. I don't think most customers are hanging around the office into the evening rather than going back to their hotels. There are two separate quotes "would live to regret this" which I never said. If a customer overheard the first call(s) (4PM, plausible) would someone in the office have really given him the details of a later evening call that was none of his concern?
I will say that particularly at the remote lodges the better cat operators have a loyal clientele of long time repeat customers. They made up the majority of clients on my trips to Baldface, Great Northern, Chatter Creek and Mustang. Despite being a day operation, I suspect Valhalla has its cadre of repeat loyalists also. If you've had multiple great experiences somewhere you'll rise to their defense, as I would also. I took COSkiingRules first post in that spirit, along with UGASkiDawg's. Only the last post seemed strident and personal, and I felt necessary to respond in detail because I believe I was misrepresented.
Edited by Tony Crocker - 9/3/13 at 1:15pm
RIght on sibhusky .... it's pretty damn easy and I'd welcome a call to Valhalla from anyone on this thread ... what you'll find out is that I am a customer and I was absolutely there the week this happened. What you'll also find out is that this is part of what Tony threatened to do while playing the "do you know who I am card".
You are right about one thing though Tony ... I'm loyal to a fault and not the least bit afraid to stand up to something that is clearly wrong.
- 19,820 Posts. Joined 10/2003
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FWIW, I see two people who have apparent first-hand knowlege of a ski trip mix-up, and different versions of the events that unfolded. As far as saying "You have zero clout here", I disagree that post count and tenure confer clout or credibility. I would not be too eager to dismiss an opinion merely on the basis of post count. FWIW COSkiRules has been in contact wtih moderation staff and we are comfortable this individual is a customer, not an owner of the affected business. Making assumptions about affiliation in order to discredit an argument is really uncalled for here.
Tony asked for opinions on how he might have done things differently, or how Valhalla should have acted differently in confirming his reservation, and some good ideas have been suggested by members who fairly and objectively looked at the causes for misunderstanding. What I'm seeing here is that:
Thanks for all the feedback. Perhaps I am careless about putting credit card info in an e-mail, but they sent me an e-mail asking for the card info and I responded to that. With regard to a paper trail, I always print something for documentation when I make an online booking. In this case it was the "Receipt," which was really an invoice pending my giving them the credit card info.
They were extremely patient under the circumstances and pointed out that the email he received was an INVOICE (not a receipt) and that they had never received an email from him with any CC information. They also pointed out that they would have sent him a confirmation and receipt if they had ever charged his credit card and that there were no records at all of ever having received this info.
This looks like a form of agreement and is the crux of the problem to me.
I chime in with the people who caution against ever sending CC info by email, and further I am skeptical about doing business with anyone who requests it from me (even a mom and pop). It shouldn't be too costly or difficult for them to pay someone to set up a secure website to accept payments and confirm reservations. Moreover, since Valhalla requested the information and took a reservation, it seems to me that if they didn't receive the requested information they should have followed up with their customer before giving the spot to someone else. There is a lot of sketchiness here on the part of Valhalla, and I think it would have been in their best interests to handle it better. This is not how people who want to stay in business do things.
Having said all that, OP does share in the blame for not following up in the absence of a confirmation after sending in the CC info, and if it is true that Valhalla offered discounts on future dates and OP summarily dismissed this offer then I think he missed an opportunity to reach a reasonable accomodation.
Then your cat/heli options in Canada might be somewhat limited.
Agreed. Too bad Valhalla did not acknowledge their share of the blame.
One specific inflexible date, and for the same price as full price one week earlier. I made several attempts to negotiate that date, including in May after they sent me the erroneous "Thank You for Skiing with Us" e-mail.
The thank you e-mail, while harmless, is another example of the sketchiness in office correspondence.
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Yes, this part bugs me.
- 482 Posts. Joined 12/2005
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Since Tony has consistently acknowledged some fault in the situation the only real disputed fact is how boorish or not boorish his behavior was and when it started. However, I am not really sure how much that really matters. Valhalla did not have a spot on the cat and were unwilling or unable to take more people. Whether that is due to safety reasons, to preserve a quality experience for the other guests, or some other reason I don't know but I will assume they had a good reason for doing so. Regardless, Valhalla really lhad little to lose by turning him away. They didn't have his money and they knew his schedule did not allow him to rebook at a time when they had seats. After the the situation escalated they probably could guess they would not see him in future years.
By contrast, Tony (and people in his situation) have a lot to lose. Most customers of Valhalla will have devoted a lot of time and expense to get to Valhalla and will have limited to no flexibility to reschedule. If the same thing had happened to me it would be many years before I could find a time to return in light of my employment and family situation. Tony apparently has more flexibility than most In this department so it may only fall in the category of major inconvienience. Regardless, for most customers this type of trip falls on the scale between really big deal and once in a lifetime experience. When you are in the business of making dreams come true and are located remotely to most of your clientele I think you need to be a little more careful to not cancel someone's reservation without a little follow-up. You also might want to make sure that your spam filter is working etc. Hopefully Valhalla uses this as a chance to improve their operation. The fact that he had a document that is entitled "receipt" and had apparently followed the instructions for payment could easily make someone think they were good to go. Hindsight obviously proves otherwise.
In sum, this is a situation that that does not lend itself to an easy solution. Moreover, I can cut Tony a little slack if he went a little overboard with his frustration and playing the "do you know who I am card" (not saying he did or didn't). I guess it would similarly be understandable if someone at Valhalla wanted to knock him down a peg (again not saying that is the case). This is the kind of situation that lend itself to frustration. I suspect the dynamic of having his girlfriend there added to the problem and made him want to demonstrate that he could solve the problem and provide a good experience for her.
Too bad life is not a sitcom but this thread could use a little levity in the form of a classic Seinfeld clip:
After skiing Feb. 23 at Castle Mt. I browsed online and found to my surprise that Valhalla Snowcat had one opening for Feb. 27. I was able to sign up online, thus never had to talk in person to anyone in the office who might recall our dispute over a lost reservation in 2013. When I showed up early Monday morning I was dealing with guides and other support people, who were as most cat operations friendly and helpful. I would be surprised if my adversaries from 2013 realize I was there last week. At any rate I skied Valhalla 4 years to the day of the disputed reservation and at a discount price considering the $CDN is 78 cents US now vs. 98 cents in 2013. The 2017 price was $581CDN including taxes.
My opinion about Valhalla's front office behavior in 2013 has not changed in the slightest. However that's in the past and an opportunity to ski there on 4 days notice at my convenience and with reasonable expectations of good snow was too tempting to pass up.