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Is it Boyne USA, Crystal Mountain, or is it me?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Long story not-so-short: Two colleagues and I took a Thursday off and went to Crystal Mountain (WA) after much urging by me (they were leaning towards Stevens Pass). We checked the website multiple times that morning and once more right as we left the house. We even called the snow info line. Not a single mention of weather issues or closures, etc. We arrived at the ticket counter and were charged full price and notified that the top was on wind hold but they hoped it would open by midday. Oddly enough none of the chairs at the top were swaying and com lines appeared stationary.

With the top closed there were only two chairs running on the entire mountain - Chinook and Forest Queen. By midday the wind had died down even further but a sign at the bottom of Rainier Express said "Sorry, top closed for the day". We got to watch some adventure fellas ski off the top of the King despite the closure - oh to have skins!

So we skied the rest of the day on one lift and on the way out stopped at Guest Relations for an explanation. They didn't have one and simply asked if I'd like to fill out a comment card. I wrote a simple and friendly note explaining why we felt a bit slighted and asked that we simply be given a token discount on our NEXT visit.

Weeks went by and I didn't hear a word from Crystal Mountain. No email to say sorry, no phone call, no voucher in the mail. So I emailed Crystal at info@, guestrelations@, etc and still no acknowledgement. At this point I was getting a bit disenchanted with my favorite ski area so I decided to email Boyne USA.

The Boyne website is configured to accept short comments and seems to choke on anything substantial. I attempted to submit my comments through the website, then used the info@ and related email addresses approach. Again, zero acknowledgement of my email.

Is it me or does Boyne USA (and subsequently Crystal Mountain) simply not care about their customers? I would have been happy with a half-assed excuse about <insert something inane here> but they didn't even have the common courtesy to do that! The sad part if that they have arguably the best terrain in the state and they know I can't stay away. As much as I loathe their deplorable customer service I can't resist the mountain. However, I didn't return to Crystal again this year even though I was disappointed with Stevens on a couple occasions.

Has anyone else experienced this type of complacency? Is there some reasonable explanation that's I'm missing?
post #2 of 16
We call that the Boyne attitude here in Michigan. They never really seem interested in customer satisfaction. But the snowflake Bar at Boyne Mountain makes one of the best bloody Mary,s I have ever had!!
post #3 of 16
If you havent figured it out yet, this is the PNW and the weather seems to change every 5 minutes esspecially in the mountians. Chances are, that the wind was very strong at the ridge tops, so only the top chairs may have been affected, and this would have been very difficult if not imposible for you to see from the base area. Secondly even if the wind did die down, do you think that it just might be a need for a significant amount of avy control? Something that can not always be done with even a portion of the lower mountian open.

Come one dude, its the mountians, and you shouldnt expect everything to be 100% all of the time. Shit changes and is unpredictable. Afterall its not exactly down town seattle up there.
post #4 of 16
If I were you, I would take your message you posted here and put it on every public board you can. I would guess someone might send you a PM or find some way to contact you and rectify the situation. I don't think I would blame Boyne. Surely Crystal has the horsepower locally to issue a couple of comp or discount tickets for situations like yours.
post #5 of 16
It's not you, it's Boyne USA. Precisely the reason we very rarely ski at any of their areas.

However, at Crystal Mountain, MI, you would have gotten a response, usually within 24hrs.
post #6 of 16
I skied annually at Boyne in MI for 10 years, and Crystal Mtn is where I have skied regularly for the last 6, and while I have had a few instances where I think they don't quite get it when it comes to customer service (and I let them know it, just as you did), overall I think they know how to run the resorts pretty well. When I have complained, I have receieved responses a few times, and not a few others. I really got into it with some dude in guest services a while back, I e-mailed to complain about his attitued but never heard back. This year was much better in the customer service than past years for me, and we had a lot of snow (which helps).

With the weather changes here in the PNW, as indicated by another poster, I always check the avalanche weather page for winds for just this reason. If its gusting to over 40mph, chances are good they may shut down the upper mountain. I wouldn't need an apology or explanation for that.

When I compare my experiences at Crystal to other resorts, I am happy skiing at Crystal. I haven't skied Stevens, so I have no comment on that mountain. So many mountains have jaded locals running the lifts or whatever, thats the attitude that gets to me the most (I was a jaded local in CO once myself).

One thing I like about Boyne USA is that they invest in good, fast lifts, and good facilties.
post #7 of 16
Come one dude, its the mountians, and you shouldnt expect everything to be 100% all of the time. Shit changes and is unpredictable. Afterall its not exactly down town seattle up there.

No doubt this may be the case in terms of weather, it is uncontrollable.

Good guest service is completely controllable. Boyne flails at that concept time and time again.
post #8 of 16
You might try Stevens, even though it's a longer drive. I ski at Schweitzer who was, until this year, a sister resort to Stevens so I would think they have similar policies and practices. At Schweitzer, if you ski for an hour and are unhappy with the conditions for any reason, they will issue you a 'weather check' to use on another day. Also, if there are chair closures due to wind or, whatever, they have discounted ticket prices for the day. You could either ski at Stevens or, at least, check with them to see what their policies are and put that in front of Crystal and ask them to step up to what their competitors are doing. In my opinion, they owed you at least a partial ticket credit for your next trip up (and everyone else on the hill that day). For full price, you should get full mountain access. If it's not available, ticket prices should reflect it.
post #9 of 16
Hmmm, am I being impersonated here or have I just gone schizo? In any event, I think Crystal, WA for the most part is a well run ski area. I've only spoken to Guest Relations once before and was satisfied with their response. Someone else posted that Boyne invests in their ski areas and I know that Crystal would like to do a lot more with Crystal than they have been allowed by Forest Service and Environmental restrictions put on them.

http://www.skicrystal.com/1604.html?...02e90df53c&s=0
post #10 of 16
Standing at the bottom of Ranier Express at Crystal you can't very accurately judge what the conditions are like on top. The highest winds are usually just at the last little section at the ridge line. Since this is over the breakover you can't see it from the bottom. Opening the chair is also dependant on which direction the wind is blowing. If the wind is blowing parallel to the chair you can run in higher winds then if there is a cross-wind to the chair.

As mtbakerskier mentioned depending on what new snow and wind loading is going on the avalanche hazard in the upper mountain could be high. I know of at least one person killed at Crystal who hiked up Ranier Express during a wind closure and was killed in an avalanche when he came down.

The weather forecast at NOAA for the cascades is usually pretty accurate and will predict the winds for the day. The NWAC site will give real time telementry data for the cascades and is updated hourly. Depending on how early you leave in the morning the area may not have made the go/no-go decision yet for lifts so checking the weather data can help you figure out what that decision is likely to be.
post #11 of 16
While I would agree that you should have at least gotten a response from Crystal, I very much disagree that you are eligible for a discount or other consideration. It ain't Disneyland. You were told there was wind, and they did not guarantee you a certain level of satisfaction, open lifts or open terrain.
post #12 of 16
Big Sky (which is owned by Boyne) showed its best and worst to me this season. The good was the day two friends collided and one lost consciousness. As I was skiing down to get help I saw a group of patrollers bringing in another injured skier. Even with that group busy they had enough staff in position to get assistance to my friend in a couple minutes with a full crew. I was impressed.

Now the bad. Most days the ticket windows had huge lines at them especially towards the end of the season. The lifts were constantly stopping, running slow and breaking down. Lastly, I have never seen a parking lot in as bad of shape as the one at Big Sky. It was full of massive pot holes and mud puddles. You couldn't avoid parking in a few inches of mud causing you to get mud on everything. I don't know what they were thinking but the parking lot was disgusting.
post #13 of 16
I regularly ski Crystal - Washington. I don't think management has a whole lot to brag about, but they do an adequate job.

- They were stingy in dealing with season pass holders regarding the last bad snow year, veeerrrrry Stingy compared to Stevens and The Summit. Their attitude was take the money and run.

- The wind condition can be tricky, depending which way the wind is blowing and I have been just about been blown off the rim after riding up on a calm chair (that includes face stinging ice).

- They are inconsistant with giving price breaks, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. If they do and you use a pre-paid lift voucher, yer outa luck! Similar problem at Park City... bought a ticket from a machine that didn't tell me the upper mountain was closed and charged me full price.

- This whole thing is a game of averages.

- Crystal can't be compared to a full scale resort for customer service... it is more like a local stash. I am just glad when the lifts work.

- It is effing unbelievable, the lock that the environmentalist and about three indian tribes have on any development there. Spring skiing is limited because of elk calving and the indians believe that Crystal is death to their fish runs... Just insane when you look at all the rest of wilderness around there, not to mention the very large and protected Mt. Rainier National Park that borders the ski area.
post #14 of 16
It is effing unbelievable, the lock that the environmentalist and about three indian tribes have on any development there. Spring skiing is limited because of elk calving and the indians believe that Crystal is death to their fish runs... Just insane when you look at all the rest of wilderness around there, not to mention the very large and protected Mt. Rainier National Park that borders the ski area.

Yeah well, thats just how it goes, not every little acre of this planet needs to be developed
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan
...I very much disagree that you are eligible for a discount or other consideration. It ain't Disneyland. You were told there was wind, and they did not guarantee you a certain level of satisfaction, open lifts or open terrain.
It ain't Disneyland, huh? That's weird because I saw Goofy working in the management office up there.

I conceed that REX can get incredibly windy from the last post to the unload station so evaluating from the bottom isn't always fair. On the other hand, one can see the top of chair 6 from the bottom of the hill and, once again, zero movement. Further, help me understand how Mt Bachelor runs their lifts in wind that almost blows me uphill yet Crystal can't? It can't all be about wind direction. Mid-week and moderate to low ticket sales MUST play a role in their decision to keep the top closed all day. My point is that to the customer the decision is not always made based on weather and in skier's best interest. Money is king above all else, including the customer's experience.

And tell me there's wind BEFORE I leave Seattle not when I show up. Don't lure me up there and make me decide to ski a fraction of the mountain for full price or bail on it for the day. Either way I end up ticked.
post #16 of 16
The two most expensive ski ares in WA are Stevens and Crystal. The 2 areas least responsive to their customers are Stevens and Crystal. Both of these areas closed weeks before Baker, Snoqualmie and White Pass even though they had enough snow to run, and it was NOT due to forest service regs.

I have not been to Stevens since 1999 or Crystal since 2002. Baker, White Pass and Snoqulamie (Alpental-Hyak) get my business because they give a cr@p.
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