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I need help sooo badly!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone:
A month ago, I dropped an application and resume into a chain sporting goods store that sells everything from golf balls to ski bindings. Assuming there were people well over qualified than me to work in the ski department, I was flabberghasted when towards the end of my interveiw the manager said "I could see you as our head ski technician."
Problem 1: he thought I was well over 18, and so technically I can't really do that because you have to be 18 at that company

Problem 2: I told the manager: "I'm not an all knowing ski guru, I'm just a ski bum looking for work--" and his response was "Well, I don't think a lot of people in this superstore even know how to ski, so you're really our only option."

ANY IDEAS!!!????!!! I'm supposed to come in for work when I get back from Hawaii, which would be the 2nd week in August, and I have no idea what to do-- I've never had a job before-- I'm only freaking 16!!!

"When hell freezes over, I'll ski there too"
post #2 of 32
Congrats and pray like heck?

Kidding aside, I'm sure there are plenty of guys here that can help you out. If you really are serious about the job, I find out what equipment this chain sells and start calling the rep's of the equipment. Unless there is a legal reason you can't work there as an underage person (state labor law may limit hours...) and the store really want's you then the route to go is to see if the MFG's have trainings/classes that you can take. If they are free or the chain is willing to pay for these courses even better.

There are a lot of books on ski tuning that you can read but a tech training on bindings is in order for mounting and checking bindings. There may be some legal things that will require the age thing too. (signing off on rental settings for one) that you might want to point out to the hiring manager. They probably should run this by their legal dept.

If you get cleared for all this, then Congrats and welcome to the working world
What a great opportunity for someone who sounds so motivated and mature. Only 16, really? Your posts show maturity way beyond your years.. There's hope for our youth yet..
post #3 of 32
Most of the time the store will require that your 18 but if they have your application and can count they should already know that your 16, as for tech training, shops will typically send their techs to ski mechanic workshops, basically these classes teach you to do about anything you want to do. The calsses are pretty cool, usually taught by vermont ski mechanics... or something to that name I can't remember... back on the subject, I too work for one of these chain stores, this last season they sent me to Chicago to get recertified... I coulda drove 50 miles to the cert here but whatever.

Goodluck have fun, free shop access kicks ass.
post #4 of 32
I used to work part time in the back room of a shop when I was 16 and did it part time until I graduated from college. It's not rocket science to mount bindings, tune skis, or fit never-nevers with rental equipment. Pro form, shop discount, and comp lift tickets for shop employees really cuts your skiing costs down.
post #5 of 32
Having just moved from Oregon I have a pretty good idea which store you are talking about. If it is the chain I am thinking of they will send you to Portland for training on mounting skis and such so don't worry about that. There is no way a major chain is going to let uncertified people mount skis and adjust bindings due to liability.

They won't teach you much about sales though. You will have to learn what equipment you have for sell and which skiers they are for. I worked at a ski shop in college. I was young, opinionated and knew how everyone should ski. So, right off the bat I kept trying to put people on the skis I would ski on. That was a mistake. It took me a while to learn to sell the appropriate equipment for the person. Another lesson is sometimes what the person should be on is not what they want and will be happy with (which is why Volant is still in business).

Good luck and make sure to take advantage of the pro-deals.
post #6 of 32
Good points. Don't let your opinions or pressure to sell certain lines cloud your thinking too much. read as much as you can as far as "unbiased" opinions. Read them all. ski mag, skiing, peter keelty, Epic ski. ... more info can only help you in your new job..
post #7 of 32
You most likley will want to get to know the reps from the skis and binding manUfactors. They will help a sales person a long ways.
Read up on all the new gear out there, skis, poles, boots,bindings.
post #8 of 32
Rio sez: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Another lesson is sometimes what the person should be on is not what they want and will be happy with<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>This brings back memories of working in a few shops back in the mid-1970's in New England. People would walk in and demand to buy the Olin Mark IV and IV Comp. That was the worst piece of garbage ski ever made... zero edge hold, unstable at speed, not very quick... Totally unsuited to New England conditions. Whenever somebody asked me, I'd say "Mark IV? That's a well marketed product." We always tried to ask the 20 questions to match customers to a more suitable ski and do a low pressure "I'd be happy to sell you a Mark IV Comp but I think you'd like xxxx better." At least half the time, they'd just do the ego decision and buy the snazzy orange graphics.
post #9 of 32
Olin Mark IV might have been horrible for you but here in CA it was a great ski. well suited for the soft crud we had most of the time. (no good grooming back then) Different Market meant different needs. Most of the people skiing them out here were using them as soft bump skis or ballet skis. Perfect ski for the time. So if your point was "know your market" I agree.
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot guys!
It was just so random, I mean, I even told the hireing manager "I'm just a ski bum, really, I like to wear sweatpants and hang with my friends..."

dchan: Thanks for the compliment, I really AM 16... the manager thought I was WELL over 18 (hmmmm, maybe 21--heeehee) and don't worry, I CAN act like a teenage brat

Rio: I don't think I'd have a problem SELLING skiis, I've read more reveiws than you can shake a stick at and, I'm pretty chill with the sking community in Oregon (where did you move from?) I know the Bergs, my best friend of 10 years owns Hoodoo ski mountain.... I just feel kind of creeped out knowing that I'M responsible for other peoples skiing and stuff, I mean, when I was little I always thought ski techies had some magical power that made them so incredibly cool enough to mount bindings-- they just seemed like they knew EVERYTHING!-- sheesh now I"M one of them!

thanks again everyone

p.s. but I am looking forward to some well, you know, "perks" in working there (free stuff, more free stuff)

"When hell freezes over, I'll ski there too"
post #11 of 32
SkiBunnyK2 -

I moved from Ashland,OR to Bozeman,MT last August. I lived most of my life in the Ashland area skiing mainly at Mt. Ashland. We would always spend Spring Break at Eagle Crest skiing Mt. Bachelor. My sister lived in Eugene until recently and niece & nephew still live there (the nephew is attending Churchill) so we would go visit them and ski Willamette Pass. I skied some at Hoodoo while attending Oregon State and the word 'wet' always comes to mind when I think of that area (I haven't been back since college).
post #12 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm from Eugene, and no doubt, we had a YUCKY season this winter... Even @ Bachelor, which usually has decent snow, this year closed earlier than normal--- when I hicked the cindercone in Feb., my poles sunk half way down. Oh, and by the way, what was the store you thought I was going to work for???
oh, and another crazy by-the-way, I'm going to go to OSU too, what did you major in???

"When hell freezes over, I'll ski there too"
post #13 of 32
I heard from my kids & nephew that the ski season back there sucked. As for stores, I am guessing you are working at GI Joe's. As for OSU, I had this crazy idea I wanted to be a chemical engineer and went there two years. I finished up in mathematics at SOU where the skiing is only 30 minutes away. I am still a loyal Beaver fan always irking my sister's friends at the Civil War game.
post #14 of 32
If it is GI Joe's, which store? If it is Gart, which store? Either way I might be able to help. I'm at Gart in Beaverton. As others here said, there are seminars they will send you to for testing and training.
Try my wife's and my URL below for some ideas and feel free to email me. Dchan and others here have given you some great advice. You will learn and do well.


Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
jyarddog: cute home page- you really went into a TON of detail about waxing!

Rio: no, I'm not working at GI Joes, but a store called "Copelands"- its not as broad as Joes is, but a lot of the people are clueless-- I talked to the magager about heated footbeds and he replied "oh, I think we have the stuff for that, but nobody knows how to use it!" HILARIOUS. (I think so) I'll be going to OSU when I graduate from high school (yes, go ahead, laugh @ me for being so young!) for a Bachelors in Biomechanics or something like that and then go get my masters @ UW in Physical Therapy, then I'll move to some ski town and work on all the injured people, and ski for the rest of my life- oh AND marry Johnny Mosely (hooray!)

Thanks again guys for all your input-- I think I'll be able to handle myself 1st day on the job now!


"When hell freezes over, I'll ski there too"
post #16 of 32
I keep forgetting about Copelands (shows you how much I shopped there). Ever thought about going to school in Bozeman at MSU....great little college with awesome skiing around.
post #17 of 32

Welcome to the ski industry. I'm sure you will do well. It sounds like you have an opportunity to put your personal brand on your employer's product.

I do have just a bit of career counseling for you. You will find that the industry is pretty small, really. The longer you are around, the more you will see of the same faces. You will find that seasoned reps are careful not to say anything too negative about competing products because they know that next year they might be representing that product. It seems that reps eventually get to know all store owners and operators. They sometimes form bonds and loyalties that go way back.

You have said a couple of things that don’t represent your new employer in the best light. I’m sure that you didn’t intend denigrate their efforts or ownership but it could be viewed as otherwise by some. With nearly 30 years in this industry I am guilty of learning some things the hard way. This lesson fits that category. You never know when or from where something that you said or did will come back to haunt you and perhaps limit your potential.

jd’s rules of hard knocks:
Never speak ill of the person who signs your check
Never speak ill your competitors
Never speak ill of another product
Never speak ill of a co-worker
Never speak ill of one rep to another

post #18 of 32
jd speaks the truth.
Applicable in the hotel industry as well (most industries I imagine).
Also beware things even said in jest. Some people have no grasp of sarcasm or like to pretend they dont when they can use it to their advantage.
I wish I would have had this advice @ your age.
post #19 of 32
Which Coplands? If it's in Beaverton, drop over Sat. eve. at Gart. I'm there 4:30 to 9. Any questions call or visit. Ask for me- Bob or Steffan. We tech there.
skibunnyk2- Thanx for looking at our website. We're still working on it. Micro Frontpage helps us out a lot. if anyone here knows that program, can you give me some hints as to how to get the hit counter to work and also the guest book to work? Do you load these on your home page then link each of them to a separate page?
Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by jyarddog (edited July 21, 2001).]</FONT>
post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 
jd: I know I probably sounded not soo cool. Thanks for the advice... I guess I just expected him to know more-- hes the hiring manager- not the outdoor manager, if I was 18 then that would me me... I never knew that the ski industry was so small.. To be honest I'm a bit nervous! thanks again, and I'll try not to be so sarcastic.

jyarddog: It's the Copelands in Eugene... But I'm up around that area often, so maybe I'll drop in and say "hey" sometime, y'know swap "ski techie" notes (I can't beleive I'm actually a ski techie!)

well, see y'all later
post #21 of 32
SkibunnyK2- You'll do just fine. You'll be scared to death the first set of skis you drill. Hopefully Your boss will send you to a clinic this fall. There's one at Timberline I believe. mention this over and over again to your boss. You'll learn a bunch of stuff and get certified in Mrker bindings and perhaps others as well. Just one thing... if youi get a set of Volants in, ask your boss for some carbide bits or stainless steel bits. not only are the tops metal but there's metal underneath as well, and it's a pain to drill through all that. if you use the regular 4.1 bit you'll throw it away after one set of Volants. That metal tears them up! Anyway, Staffan and I should be at T-line. Hope to see you there.

Life's a pain... then you nap. Cat philosphy
post #22 of 32

No worries. Ski wrenching (my term) is great work. Some of the my most enjoyable work was done at my bench. I loved it. You have a huge advantage in that this list is populated with many who are currently employed at that profession or who have done it in the past. Lot’s of answers, advice and inspiration at your beck and call. Use it.

It’s been suggested that the Ski Mechanics Workshop would be a good thing. I agree. Ask you employer if they will send you to it. If they hedge ask them for the time off to attend and tell them that you will pay your own way. That’s how I got to my first one and it was worth the money. If they see what you are willing to do to go they will probably figure out that it is worth their money. If not, this list will make it easier for you to find other work.

Some time back there was a magazine called Ski Tech. It was a glossy mag that was aimed at the ski industry professional. It had lots of great info in it and was around 2 or 3 years. I never saw it on the newsstand, it was available through subscription but it was always sent to me for free. Maybe everyone who was a ski tech got it free, I don’t know. It went away, probably because it had such a limited market and distribution but it was a good piece. I wonder if a heading for “Techs Only” or something of that ilk at the Barking Bear Forum would be a valued service on the internet? Would it help fill the knowledge gap? Is anybody already doing this?


BTW, that tip on carbide bits for Volants is good. You'll only have to do one once with regular bits before the stink and burned out drill motors will make the point.
post #23 of 32
My company sends me to the Ski Mechanics Workshop each year to get recertified and check out all the new cool things that they have come up with to fix skis. In WA it is usually held at snoqualmi pass, but for some strange reason they are sending me to Chicago... who knows why but hey the trip is fun.

at this workshop you will get a BMB (bimding mechanic basic) class for first timers this class covers everything, you even drill up a few pair of practice skis and test em up, pretty easy stuff, tho as mentioned above your first pair alone will be nerve wracking, took me 45min of checking and rechecking, but as you get a routine down it will shorten the time taken to mount em up, on rush jobs I have gotten down to 15 min but never less than that. Also make shure your employer has a screw shooter calibrated to 3-5 nm it will make your life alot easier, I use a DeWalt cordless, hand tightening each screw is brutal. Tho you still need to give the screws a 1/2 turn, after using the screw shooter.
Have fun, ski shops are fun.
post #24 of 32
Yo, Spyder-Man, who do you teach for up at the pass?
post #25 of 32
I teach at Stevens Pass, for EDSS
Who do you teach for? I see your at Stevens Also.

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Spyder (edited July 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #26 of 32
Stevens Pass (resident school)

ED?? Edmonds?

The (Real) Pass is a good place...<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Roto (edited July 22, 2001).]</FONT>
post #27 of 32
Yea, Edmonds. whaddya me "real" pass, I know your not talkin snoqualmi!!!! hehe

so your teaching for the resident snow sport god, chad seems pretty cool must be a easy place to work.
post #28 of 32
Chad is about as cool as they get. His learning curve about the industry got steeper last year I think. It was easier when it was a smaller, low turnover operation. Lots of new faces last year. Some people refuse to let life be good.
Andre ran quite a show. I don't know how he did it, but it was organized in the most unorganized manner...
post #29 of 32
I wasn't "in the biz" so to speak when Andre ran things, more kinda just taught and skied, more fun now as I have made a FEW more connections on the hill, find out what is going on there.
post #30 of 32
skibunny, you are sharp perceptive, personable and a fast learner. You will do fine! Good luck!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
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