My long-running, hands-down major ski area pet peeve is the "check-in at 4:00pm, check-out at 10:00am" standard at most ski resort lodging.
I used to travel extensively for both work and pleasure before I had a child, and I was lucky enough to stay in some pretty fabulous places all over the world (happily, usually on the work wallet). Now why is it that a five-star hotel in Milan or a beach resort in Hawaii can let you check in at 2:00pm (or earlier) depending on your needs, and provide late check-out, even as late as 2:00pm, but every ski condo needs an entire five hours to turn the room? (And this when many of them are beaten to s**t after years of hard use and don't seem to be getting cleaned all that well anyway.)
I have almost never succeeded in getting ski-area lodging to provide me with an early check-in (even on one occasion when I managed to verify that no one had been staying in my designated condo for at least two days and it was ready to go, no cleaning or service needed) or a late check-out.
Now, I understand that the cycle of the ski resort day means that most people are on the slopes well before 10:00 and that they're just getting down by 4:00pm. So it's easy to pick these hours and mostly stick to them. However, there are families with non-skiing members and people who need more flexibility. Why is every lodging company, everywhere in the world, more flexible than ski area condo/hotel owners? And considering the premium that many conveniently located, in-resort or slopeside lodging operators are charging these days, shouldn't customers expect a *little* flexibility and customer service? I think so!
1. Disgusting, gelatinous *cream of cheesy mysterious something or other* soup that seems to be served in ski lodges with alarming frequency. When I want soup, I want something marginally nutritious and edible. What happened to plain old chicken noodle with clear broth or simple tomato vegetable?
2. People who insist on jumping right next to "no-blind-jumping" signs on green beginner slopes. I mean, I am all for air, but there are lots of other places to get it, and if you are capable of some sort of 360+ mute grab kind of thing, what are you doing on the "easiest way down" anyway? Poor, terrified beginners!
3. Ski schools that incent their supervisors on profit margins, so the supervisors try to book lessons with their least experienced, cheapest instructors and make more money for the ski school, instead of booking lessons with the most appropriate or most qualified instructors. Given the high cost of private and semi-private lessons at Colorado resorts these days, students should be able to have access to highly qualified, well-matched instructors. . . and the end, it's better business for the ski resorts to book with their better instructors, because students who have a great experience will be back and bring friends and family. Students who feel ripped off will never book a lesson again.
What makes a great vacation for me? Fresh snow. Beautiful scenery. Great, enthusiastic customer service, from the lift op to the concierge. I love meeting people on the lift who are interesting and friendly and who are just happy to be where they are. I like resorts that are well enough laid out that you can ski most of the advanced-->expert terrain without having to go back to the bottom of the mountain to stand in the big lines. Basically I just love to ski, though, so as long as I can slide downhill on a nice mountain I manage to overlook some of the gaps in resort customer service!