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What was Mad River thinking???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Closed Easter Sunday for the season, 4-5 feet of snow since then and there sits MRG, blanketed in snow, closed for the year... it didn't have to be this way (say the many MRG skiers I found this weekend at Sugarbush). They can't work on the single in this weather and they could have pushed the schedule back a couple weeks and had the chair ready a couple weeks later in the fall. Who cares about Green & Gold weekend, MRG denied its season pass holders 3 weeks of fantastic "spring" skiing.

Several people said they could have kept the double running, or stayed open at least until the 22nd.....

If you bought a season pass, I feel your pain!
post #2 of 21
I agree, but no one saw this coming.
post #3 of 21
This is not the norm and the amount of time is limited. They do tend to thing things through. But the Double?
post #4 of 21
I guess the question many feel like asking is, if Okemo and Stowe are able to extend their season for another week or two, why can't MRG?

It's not just the season pass holders. There're others who would have prefer MRG but ended up going to Stowe, Okemo or Sugarbush.
post #5 of 21
I asked the same question of Nubs Nob, here in Michigan. Its the preferred ski area for most people in our neck of the woods.
Nubs takes really good care of their snow, have north facing slopes, for the most part, and were able to stay open longer than every other ski area around here. They had a closing date of April 8th. Closed on April 8th.
We had another big storm here which blanketed slopes that were GREEN a few weeks ago, which is why Boyne Highlands opened up for the weekend. Boyne had marginal snow and south facing slopes, but it was skiing, so we went.

The entire day we were looking accross to Nubs beautiful slopes with a sigh, saying, "why?"
Someone who works for Nubs happened to hear us and answered.
Because they have an insurance policy that has an end date of April 8th. Nubs is not a part of a big corp, standing on their own, and it would have cost them more insurance premium to stay open one more week than they could make back in lift ticket sales.
Boyne Highlands is a part of a huge corp, with a blanket policy over their entire holdings, which allowed them to open on a whim, even if for one short weekend.

Don't know if MRG's reasoning is anything like Nubs, but that is why were skiing on marginal snow at Boyne instead of beautiful slopes at Nubs.
This is the view of Nubs from atop Boyne Highlands:
post #6 of 21
MRG cannot be compared to other resorts mainly cause they have little snowmaking, 2 fan guns down on the bunny slope. Despite all the snow today the lower mountain will be devoid of snow in a very short time. It is a well run mountain that HAS NO DEBT. They want to keep it that way. Not too many resorts/ski hills can say that.

You can come up with all the armchair-resort-manager reasons on why they should be open you want but I'll go with the premise that they know how to run MRG very well.
post #7 of 21
From what I hear all of the chairs have already been removed from the single anyhow...

Not to mention the type of folks who ski MRG aren't then type to whine about the area closing. If you want to ski it, skin it or hike it. I'd also imagine that these conditions would be ideal for the snowboarder who has always wanted to ride MRG, but never been able. Hike up and let 'er rip
post #8 of 21
the Colo based resorts operate the same way. they have firm (except for Loveland and A-Basin) closing dates in early-to-mid-April.

a couple of seasons ago when my dad and i were there on closing weekend (April 15th) we wondered aloud why they were closing with so much snow (some Tahoe resorts will stay open well into May and even June if there's snow and Mammoth and Squaw have stayed open until July 4th in banner years).

what we were told is that many of the Colo resorts (Summit and Eagle counties, mind you) have leases with the BLM. In order to extend the lease they would have to apply for an extension sometime in December to get all the paperwork filled out for an April/May/June extension. What happens if no snow falls February, March, and April? Then the resort is stuck with all the hired help they had to extend the contracts of and no people on the slopes. It's a game of numbers. They have decided that it's better all around to just close in April rather than roll the dice and hope for a late spring storm. Most years they hit the jackpot (i.e. the snow runs out). Some years, like this one, there's a flurry of late April storms leaving a nice dusting of fresh snow for the hardcore to lament over losing.

I'm not sure what the deal with Tahoe is, as a few resorts will continually fluctuate their closing dates depending on weather and snow levels. Others will denote firm closing dates and stick to them regardless of how much snow is still on the mountain.

I think the Utah resorts, for the most part, operate the same way.

Of course if you're truly hardcore, you can bootpack into these resorts (some of them allow this, others it would be poaching) and enjoy the spring corn of your own volition. But then there's no amenities or ski patrol/rescue services available.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
the Colo based resorts operate the same way. they have firm (except for Loveland and A-Basin) closing dates in early-to-mid-April.

a couple of seasons ago when my dad and i were there on closing weekend (April 15th) we wondered aloud why they were closing with so much snow (some Tahoe resorts will stay open well into May and even June if there's snow and Mammoth and Squaw have stayed open until July 4th in banner years).

what we were told is that many of the Colo resorts (Summit and Eagle counties, mind you) have leases with the BLM.
Grand County too.

Chris
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Mrg

MRG normally stays open as long as the season carries them and they can operate without losing money. IOW, so long as skiers keep coming they would keep operating. This year was unique in that they had to start worked on the single chair by a certain date- for both work permits and to finish the restoration in time for green & gold weekend in October. My point was when they saw the weather for the next few weeks, they could have changed course, delayed the work a couple weeks and allowed it season pass holders and member clubs to keep skiing.

MRG does not operate like a business in terms of customer satisfaction- last year they closed early and did NOTHING for those of us stuck with worthless mad cards. They've charged full price on days when only one chair is running or on days when 2/3 of the trails were closed. The charge twice what Killington charges for a seasons pass and their season is way shorter on both ends!!






Quote:
Originally Posted by jgb View Post
From what I hear all of the chairs have already been removed from the single anyhow...

Not to mention the type of folks who ski MRG aren't then type to whine about the area closing. If you want to ski it, skin it or hike it. I'd also imagine that these conditions would be ideal for the snowboarder who has always wanted to ride MRG, but never been able. Hike up and let 'er rip
post #11 of 21
For CO resorts, I can understand. Their clientel are often from out of town. So the last minute snow fall isn't going to attract anyone from Virginia, who needs to get on a plane to get there.

MRG and most of VT resorts cater to mostly "local" skiers who can indeed come at a moments whimp. That's why many other VT resorts are staying open this week.

Now, there may indeed be a reason why MRG can not possibly re-open. Then, there's nothing they could have done. But if in case they could but choose not to, they're hurting their most devoted fans.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
My point was when they saw the weather for the next few weeks, they could have changed course, delayed the work a couple weeks and allowed it season pass holders and member clubs to keep skiing.

MRG does not operate like a business in terms of customer satisfaction- last year they closed early and did NOTHING for those of us stuck with worthless mad cards. They've charged full price on days when only one chair is running or on days when 2/3 of the trails were closed. The charge twice what Killington charges for a seasons pass and their season is way shorter on both ends!!
Again, in defense of them, This storm, 10 days out was rain. Even at full price MRG is less than any major resort. With MRG, we have to take the bad with the good. I am sure they could have made a dozen phone calls and gotten a skeleton staff back to open the double. But I am sure there are insurance issues and other variable costs that you and I are not taking into account with the running of a ski area.

As far as the Mad cards, you are buying "futures", it is not their fault that you couldn't make it up. Would I like to see unused Mad cards being able to be upgraded for the next season? Sure. Just as share holders would like their Mad Money to be honored the next year.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Mrg

They decided a long time ago that Easter weekend would be the end- snow or no snow. Personally, I see lots of problems and lots that could be done differently. Lets start with New Jersey Ski Council Tickets- a few years ago MRG sold tickets to all NJSC member clubs at a significant discount over window price. Then they discontinued that and went to the mad card. But in the past 3 years, I've seen the Mad Card go from $99 to $119, a 20% increase. What's next $129? I don't see other resorts raising their prices by 20% in two years. Furthermore, the other areas offer NJSC a much steeper discount. Sugarbush sells tickets at the mountain for $68, but NJSC is $42. That's approx 40% off. Similar for Killington and Jay Peak.

Mad River doesn't offer NJSC any break any more, yet NJSC makes up the majority of the ski clubs at the base of the mountain on loop road. With each club having a capacity of 30-40 skiers, who do you think is supporting this mountain as shareholders and season pass holders?? The other resorts will also let you return unused tickets (with an upgrade fee) for the next year! With MRG you are stuck with worthless paper, as many of us were last season. That's just not right.

MRG also whittled down the Mad Card benefits, now the 10% discount on lessons is gone. And they keep raising the price. Think the $54 lift ticket is such a bargain? How many runs can you get in on the single chair on a busy weekend, when the lines are 30 minutes or more? So, as a NJSC member, I could ski Sugarbush for $12 less, get 2 mountains, Castlerock and high speed quads from the base with shorter lines.

The other issue is the single chair. There really was no reason to replace the single with another single. A double chair would have been safer, better for families and cost less! The chairs could have been spaced further apart-ala Castlerock. If Betsy ever decides to sell her land between MR Barn and the mountain, a double chair;s capacity could have been increased to lift-serve the extra terrain. With a single there is no such option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Again, in defense of them, This storm, 10 days out was rain. Even at full price MRG is less than any major resort. With MRG, we have to take the bad with the good. I am sure they could have made a dozen phone calls and gotten a skeleton staff back to open the double. But I am sure there are insurance issues and other variable costs that you and I are not taking into account with the running of a ski area.

As far as the Mad cards, you are buying "futures", it is not their fault that you couldn't make it up. Would I like to see unused Mad cards being able to be upgraded for the next season? Sure. Just as share holders would like their Mad Money to be honored the next year.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
How many runs can you get in on the single chair on a busy weekend, when the lines are 30 minutes or more?
You're not tired after a day of skiing at MRG, even with 30 minute lines? You don't enjoy runs that can last over 45 minutes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
There really was no reason to replace the single with another single. A double chair would have been safer, better for families and cost less!
You are the first person I've heard of who doesn't love the single. Everyone I know loves the mountain exactly as it is. Maybe MRG isn't for you.
post #15 of 21
I understand your point, but they need to keep close tabs on the bottom line. They run real close to the bone and they try to keep the numbers on the hill down. They also realize that they need to charge more and that they can charge more. With no snow making they can suffer down time that other mountains might not.

I think the place is well managed and they deserve credit. I would, however, have liked to see them stay open until the bitter end.
post #16 of 21
As an MRG season pass holder the only pain I felt on closing day was from clipping a tree off Beaver. It was a great year. Had many outstanding days! If I could've skied after closing, I'd have skinned up for some turns.

Yes, MRG is quirky, but so what? It's a unique experience. Thank God they're not like everyone else. There's plenty of hills out there for every temperament and ability...Don't bag on MRG. If you don't like it, find a hill that you do like.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
They decided a long time ago that Easter weekend would be the end- snow or no snow. Personally, I see lots of problems and lots that could be done differently. Lets start with New Jersey Ski Council Tickets- a few years ago MRG sold tickets to all NJSC member clubs at a significant discount over window price. Then they discontinued that and went to the mad card. But in the past 3 years, I've seen the Mad Card go from $99 to $119, a 20% increase. What's next $129? I don't see other resorts raising their prices by 20% in two years. Furthermore, the other areas offer NJSC a much steeper discount. Sugarbush sells tickets at the mountain for $68, but NJSC is $42. That's approx 40% off. Similar for Killington and Jay Peak.

Mad River doesn't offer NJSC any break any more, yet NJSC makes up the majority of the ski clubs at the base of the mountain on loop road. With each club having a capacity of 30-40 skiers, who do you think is supporting this mountain as shareholders and season pass holders?? The other resorts will also let you return unused tickets (with an upgrade fee) for the next year! With MRG you are stuck with worthless paper, as many of us were last season. That's just not right.

MRG also whittled down the Mad Card benefits, now the 10% discount on lessons is gone. And they keep raising the price. Think the $54 lift ticket is such a bargain? How many runs can you get in on the single chair on a busy weekend, when the lines are 30 minutes or more? So, as a NJSC member, I could ski Sugarbush for $12 less, get 2 mountains, Castlerock and high speed quads from the base with shorter lines.

The other issue is the single chair. There really was no reason to replace the single with another single. A double chair would have been safer, better for families and cost less! The chairs could have been spaced further apart-ala Castlerock. If Betsy ever decides to sell her land between MR Barn and the mountain, a double chair;s capacity could have been increased to lift-serve the extra terrain. With a single there is no such option.
Here's a tip, MRG does what is best for MRG, not the NJSC. The reason why they are replacing the single with another single is pretty simple...that's what the co-op members voted to do. End of story, deal with it.

I don't think you get it....they don't want to increase capacity and Betsy would never sell her land. If you want a voice in what happens at MRG that's simple too. Get out the old check book and become a member.
post #18 of 21
dantelman:

As a fellow NJ-ite, I'm going to ask you politely to stop whining.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantelman View Post
......How many runs can you get in on the single chair on a busy weekend, when the lines are 30 minutes or more? ....
The other issue is the single chair. There really was no reason to replace the single with another single.......
dantelman,

You're right. Long lift lines, expensive lift tickets, no grooming, slow single chair. MRG does suck. You should stay away. :

At least with the single, I wouldn't have to hear you whin and complain on the long slow ride up to the top. I guess there is a benefit to riding the single.
post #20 of 21
I agree. Show your displeasure by voting with your skis and taking your business elsewhere. It'll leave that much more pow for the rest of us who truly appreciate the greatness of MRG.

Speaking of appreciating the mtn, does anyone know if any formal work days are scheduled for this summer yet? I'd like to get up there a few times this summer and do my part clearing out/maintaining some lines. Not to mention the opportunity to scout new ones
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgb View Post
I agree. Show your displeasure by voting with your skis and taking your business elsewhere...
I for one will boycott the MRG single chair until it's running again and I urge everyone else to do the same.
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