The short answer is that the program was probably just not useful enough. There are a few different ways of looking at this.
Without access to the stats at Vail, there is no way to know for sure whether the program was worth it or not. We do know that Vail is intently focused on increasing ski school profitability, presumably over the short term. We don't know what the cost of the program was and we don't know how the benefits of the program were measured. What is the cost of an injury to an instructor? Is it just the workman's comp cost or is there some cost associated with not having an instructor available to teach? What about the costs for the paperwork involved? Are there any legal costs associated with employee injuries (sometimes there are lawsuits related to employee accidents, especially if a guest is also involved)? While it is easy to look at total numbers in a year vs year comparison, it is impossible to imply specific savings due to an injury that did not happen because of the program.
In my 20 years of teaching experience, I've noticed a higher injury rate among instructors who apparently did not work on fitness before the season started. I've seen overweight pros who trained and "fit" people who did not. It's not just knee injuries. What I've noticed is some people who consistently look noticeably more worn out at the end of the day than everybody else. These people seem to experience injuries more often than the rest of the staff. I have no idea whether this perception is accurate or not. I do know that an awful lot of people who I've had the "I missed you, where have you been?" conversation with fall into this category. Since I began to notice this I started looking at specific people at the beginning of the season and watching them to see if they have an injury. Some of these people get injured every year. A little morbid and definitely unscientific, but I'd go to Vegas with this system if I could. To me, this kind of initiative seems like one that falls into the "obvious" category.
Maybe the reason the program was cancelled was because it worked and the job was finished? If the injury rate was reduced so significantly that further progress was unlikely, you could argue that you did not need to repeat the message any more. Ok, you can stop laughing now. But maybe a better place for this message to be communicated is new hire training?
Another way to look at this is that the fitness requirements were so low that they did not have an impact. It's hard to relate a specific number of push ups to being in ski shape. I know that the fitness requirements that my resort implemented were so minimal that they had no impact on my training regimen. My resort told us that they were starting low and were going to work on tweaking the requirements based on experience. In reality the biggest use of the fitness requirement rule has been to go after specific people who continue to work despite obvious pain "getting around" (i.e. they can work, but they shouldn't be"). You don't need a program to do that.
These kinds of programs tend to develop a life of their own. One of the things new executive management is really good at doing is killing these kinds of things to save money by either by focusing entirely on costs or by correcting "fixing" the amount of benefits produced.
In all of my years in the corporate world I've seen study after study that shows that most corporate plans to improve employee fitness pay off handsomely in the long run. Although it seems obvious that the physical nature of the instruction job would make a fitness program even more beneficial, the seasonal nature of the job, the fact that pros don't get paid time off for being sick and the ease with which an injured instructor can be replaced work to reduce the benefits of a fitness program. Like any corporate initiative, it's also easy for a good idea to get implemented poorly and be easier to kill than to fix. Most people don't understand that there are a ton of good ideas that don't survive the competition for funds in the ski business. The Fit to Ride program could have been successful, but not profitable enough to win the competition against a new lift or improved snowmaking. It may be hard to understand how a program that pays for itself (if it did) could lose out, but every year there are tons of things that pay for themselves that don't make the budget because there are other things that have a better return on investment.
The deal Vail made with Talisker shows that they are not afraid of making investments that take a long time to pay off. But a few years later they've also shown that they are very shrewd about accelerating the pay off of long term investments. Maybe the fit to ride program was a long term play that they decided they could not accelerate?
Finally, for the conspiracy theorists, this is just more proof that Vail does not care about their instructors.
Wow, even more perspectives than I initially thought. Take your pick or mix and match.