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Skier Retention - Page 3

post #61 of 78
What's the percentage of today's core skiers who started as kids? I know that EpicSki polls have shown that most of us started as kids and a good percentage of us come from families that ski. Attracting and keeping families sets in motion a great virtuous cycle. In the '90s when snowboarding started to heat up, the industry went after Youth in a big way, but one negative consequence of more teenagers on the slopes is more foul language, smoking, and other anti-social stuff that families prefer to keep their younger kids far away from.

That's something I hear anyway. My own kids are foul-mouthed teenagers, so I don't really notice myself.
post #62 of 78
Rusty,

I'd be real interested to see how those plans work out over the course of the season. 2 instructors helping out may be a bit slim, but it's a start although I know during busy times those 2 instructors will be missed badly in lessons. My guess is it will increase the ski school's business in the end as well as help provide a more positive experience to the guests.
post #63 of 78
Quote:
Why? Because ski resorts here in the East are closing. They can't make it work against the few mega resorts. In turn, the mega resorts are packed with people. They won't expand terrain and acreage because the NSAA tells them there's no growth, their pockets aren't yet fat enough.
uh, remember the 90s buzzphrase, "paradigm shift"?

that is what the "ski industry" needs. when the expenses get too high, people SHOULD stop going. that's how our F*&ked up system works. supply and demand. when the demand for the service drops, the supplier need to re-evaluate.

the reason resorts are CLOSING? costs are too high for skiing and lodging. why is that? because the folks running ski areas are running them like for-profit corporate businesses, always trying to GROW their profits instead of focusing on the SERVICE they are supposed to be providing.

it's that simple, even though there may be technical clarifications offered by those who are "inside" this so-called ski "industry."

if you'd like, I'll explain further, but the point seems so danged obvious to me I won't say more now.

[ November 04, 2003, 05:57 PM: Message edited by: gonzostrike ]
post #64 of 78
Something which is very basic in terms of retention of beginning skiers ought to be communicated. This is something people really don't talk about openly as it is a sub-conscious expectation that participants take for granted as some kind of mysterious pleasure that they simply need to go out and do to understand. [Gee all these people seem to enjoy skiing and are having fun. I'd like to experience it too.] For some that may be true but I suspect not so easily attained or obvious for others.

An individual's on their first day skiing wherever they are coming from, needs to have something enjoyable experienced about the sliding sensation and experience of skiing. All the other peripheral activities, as the travel, lodging, food, rentals, learning ski school class accomplishments, communication with others, etc regardless of how positive they are may not be enough unless that person also senses or experiences something enjoyable enough about the basic experience that skiing is. I've heard comments from people I've worked with that tried skiing once and later commented they'd rather feel acceleration and movement driving a sports car or sitting on an amusement ride.

Thus those teaching right from that first day ought to help new skiers understand how skiing is unique versus other kinds of movement and how they just might get to acknowledge that. Of course skiing gives one a unique freedom of movement on an incredible medium in nature. Much can be said about it. The key is beyond the packaged lesson and such someone needs to give those people some small ideas of what they can do on the novice lifts at whatever resort they are at which will provide the magic. -dave
post #65 of 78
Any way you cut it you're talking growth. Growth is necessary because of inflation. The quality of service and pricing is an indirect factor. You would improve it in order to gain skier visits. This, of course, would increase profits.

The whole notion of the shareholder coming before the customer is going to fall by the wayside when it bites everyone in the a$$.

Probably the biggest thing a ski area needs is a change in society. It takes work to ski and people aren't willing to do that. You have to drive or fly and drive; go through lines; get crammed into a lodge, and it's cold. People don't seem to be as interested in working for fun anymore. Lots of people seem to have a complete lack of desire for adventure, which skiing obviously brings.

It could use an image lift too. It seems like skiing doesn't have that image attached to it that it did in the 80's and previous decades. Snowboarding's plateaued too. These are shallow, unncecessary things for people who actually love the sport, but they do bring in people.
post #66 of 78
oh boy... "image"

you are living in the Matrix, my friend.

oh boy... "growth"

you apparently think "economics" is a legitimate science

rethink your parameters

discover new possibilities

"growth" is not necessary
"image" is irrelevant

snow will fall, always. some of us will ski it no matter what, and most of that "us" doesn't care about "growth" or "image" or anything else except sliding on snow, with fun and fear and fast and falling.

the middle class - lost, deluded, and striving for "image" and "growth" and "progress" ...all the while not even thinking about focusing on the SUBSTANCE.

get reborn.
post #67 of 78
Frankly, I like snowmaking, high speed quads, and grooming. I don't like that it costs me $60/day for this and that we need retards in fur coats that pay for $500/night condos, but I like it better than having to pay $120/day, which is what it would cost if the industry remained stagnant.

If your idealistic no growth industry forces us to ride tow ropes or having to hike for all of our turns, so be it. I'll still ski; but like I said I like it the way it is.
post #68 of 78
amen brother Gonz!
post #69 of 78
Quote:
Originally posted by West Virginia Skier:
Sugar ROCKS! But no beginner should go near the upper mountain!

My Visit to Sugar
The summit of Sugar is currently served by two slow doubles, and there are no plans in the immediate future to install any new, high-speed lifts.

The above quote is taken from the article. As to the slow part I say. B-Freakin S. Those lifts are run at high speeds for the sole fact nobody will take the time and expense to replace them with quads. Solution: Run 'em faster! As for the loading and unloading areas, where to begin? The unloading ramps are just wide enough for a GOOD skier and boarder to get off the lift, so as soon as you get stuck with some idiot who got lost and "found his way" to the summitt, you get taken out in the unloading process. All the upper trails are extremely narrow and thus, are tracked into nothingness within 2 hours of opening, even the lower mountain is a field of random bumps within 2 hours of grooming (which by the way, cuts the evening in half, thus reducing your on snow time even more). As for the snow conditions, they're what most would expect in the east: no pow and large sections of solid boilerplate. As for the service, I found people to be overbearing and quite rude (same as my local hill in TN, only there they can't curse you in English). I skied to the head of the terrain park to watch a snowboarder friend rip up the park, and was promptly informed that if I didn't leave, I would have my ticket clipped, despite the fact that I was doing nothing but watching my friend! I was informed that I was within the bounds of the snowboard park and was therefore in violation of the no skiers policy. Never mind the fact that there's absolutely no boundry to show where the park begins and the regular slope ends. In short, in the realm of suckiness that is the southeast, sugar is pretty low on my list. In the interests of Skier Retention, I must say I'm glad I didn't learn to ski there, or I'd be nothing more than another statistic.
That is all.
post #70 of 78
Quote:
Originally posted by gonzostrike:
oh boy... "image"

you are living in the Matrix, my friend.

oh boy... "growth"

you apparently think "economics" is a legitimate science

rethink your parameters

discover new possibilities

"growth" is not necessary
"image" is irrelevant

snow will fall, always. some of us will ski it no matter what, and most of that "us" doesn't care about "growth" or "image" or anything else except sliding on snow, with fun and fear and fast and falling.

the middle class - lost, deluded, and striving for "image" and "growth" and "progress" ...all the while not even thinking about focusing on the SUBSTANCE.

get reborn.
Then we must convince people to stop investining in the stock market and be happy with the 2.5% return of a savings account. [img]smile.gif[/img]

For Wall Street business is business. They don't care if you are peddling product or service. You must grow revenue and profit or the investors will move elsewhere. The ski industry went IPO crazy like everyone else, and now, as public companies, they must "sing" the Wall Street tune. They must please investors. The only way to keep the investors is to show them that their investment is growing.

How do you convince the pubic to stop investing? :

[ November 09, 2003, 04:55 AM: Message edited by: TomB ]
post #71 of 78
Tom,

The answer to your question is coming, but it sure doesn't have a one line explanation!!

I am willing to wager that the same problems will exist in the ski industry after a business shakeout. It has a lot to do with the value the general public puts on the activity. We have to all face it that what we see here on this board is an athletic version of 'Nerds' to the general public. ...People starting to realize that the image is where you start to change the problems in this business, is where you start to see a new business paradigm.

This forum and core group has the capacity to make a distinct mark in that transition, and that is why all the 'talk' is worth the time to 'listen'.
post #72 of 78
feal,

It gets even worse. Even if you remove the "public company" factor, you are left with ski resorts that have to compete for your dollars. They do that by constantly "adding value", which requires cash/investment, which generally requires an increase in skier visits. That is because too many resorts are forced to operate with marginal profits, which leave no room for re-investment.

But in the end gonz is absolutly right about supply and demand. That part of economics is still pretty valid [img]smile.gif[/img] .
post #73 of 78
TomB, feal...

The ONLY true things about the study of "economics" are (1) that supply and demand are the controlling factors; (2) that demand is as whimsical as the human character; and (3) therefore the supplier must be FLEXIBLE to accommodate the whimsy.

Other than that, our culture has hyperglorified "economics," as one more level of the Matrix. By dignifying this unbelievably unscientific "science" (that's right, some schools give a BS and not a BA for "economics"), sociological prognosticators (crystal ball gazers, soothsayers, guessers and charlatans... otherwise known as "economists") now have an esteemed place in our society, for reasons that continually escape me.

running a ski hill should NOT be seen as a for-profit business, because the operation is an ACCOMMODATION, not an opportunity to get rich. of course, this "for-profit"-ization of much of our culture's activities delights the GOP and the Dems, because both parties have much vested in the status quo ante of making everything capitalistic/materialistic, including recreation and serious sports participation.

I refuse to play that game, and devote most of my skiing time and money to areas that are not in it for the profit, but rather, for the pleasure of the skier who cares about skiing. "Resorts" can kiss my coprolitic behind. Now and forever.

How do we stop "investment", you ask? Well, if the truth about our economic systems ever were revealed, very few people would invest in the stock market. There is potential for reversion here, with "investment" becoming again the way a company can expand its resources WHEN NEEDED. Again, key to ACTUAL demand, not to increased supply and a fabricated demand.
post #74 of 78
Non-profit ski areas. You think WE are stuck in the matrix. The closest thing we have to a non-profit ski area are Whiteface and Mad River Glen. At NY owned Whiteface, for $63 a day you get a gondola that goes only halfway up the mountain, and marginal snowmmaking on a mountain that needs it. The service there is no better than any "corporate" area.

MRG, a co-op is only successful because it's MRG. The lift ticket price is kinda expensive if you consider the lifts and lack of snowmmaking. People will pay it because it's MRG. Supply and demand like everyone's been saying. The share holders invested in it only to save it, not because it's a good investment. This certainly fits with your principles and it's quite laudable I must say. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find enough people to dump their money to save a ski resort and enough people to pay inflated lift ticket prices at resorts across the country.

So how about a ski area as a non-profit organization: Who's going to volunteer their time to run one? You can't exactly recruit the sierra club and peta types.
post #75 of 78
naysayer, doom merchant, grumpy geezer...

We have two ski cooperatives in Montana. We also have a private club that is the antithesis of a cooperative, even though they are organized as a coop - the entry "coop fee" is mighty steep, thus weeding out the more plebian among skiers.

Don't be so closed-minded, shmendrick or whatever that handle is... sorry, I can't get it right, is it Shmerham? Mushroom? c'mon. lay it out there.

you might think I'm speaking toward a communistic state. if so, you are guilty of misreading and exaggeration. I've been a member of a record co-op and a food co-op, and neither one was a secret cell for helping Communists take over the world.

of course, paranoia can lead to some startling assumptions.
post #76 of 78
Well, I finally got around to this thread, and was a bit surprised at what I found. My perspective is that I'd like to share the joy and thrill of sliding down a mountainside with others so that they can escape from the regular world if even for a while. To do this, I would like newcomers to have the best possible experience. Not to create growth for the sake of growth, but in order to share with other humans the wonder of "la glisse".

I am sure that there are some who would like to keep it to themselves, but I find that attitude immoral. If I can help another human to find joy in life in one of the most astonishing ways that I know, I intend to do that.

...and I am grateful to those who went before who share(d) it with me!

[ November 09, 2003, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: ssh ]
post #77 of 78
Whose paranoia are we talking about? Did I insuate that you were a communist? I apologize if I did.

I take the closed-minded comment to heart. I pride myself on being open-minded. I have nothing against non-profit businesses. I would love to be proven wrong that the model could work on a larger scale than is currently present. Furthermore, I don't believe that corporations are evil. Making a blanket statement like this is what I consider closed-minded. American Skiing Company for instance helps support the Maine Handicap Skiing Association that I volunteer for. It's quite simple really. If I don't like a business' service or value, I'm not going to support their business. If the industry wants to promote an image that I could care less about to get more skiers, and as a result I get better service or value, than great. Likewise if what it takes to stay in business is to get more skiers, that's awesome. Skiing is an amazing sport and the more people out there enjoying it, the better.

In summary, I don't care whether someone's profiting off the sport or not and I don't care what it takes to make that money as long as it doesn't hurt others or the environment. All that matters to me is that I have fun at a reasonable value without it being at the expense of others.

I think it's great that you have 2 co-ops in Montana. I would probably ski at them if they were a good value. Have you ever skied in the east? Mother nature doesn't cooperate (no pun intended) with us all that often. Thus snowmaking and grooming are pretty important unless you want to ski on ice 25 days and powder 4 or 5 days if you're lucky. Additionally land is quite expensive. These are tremendous barriers of entry for a co-op.

By the way, unless you're significantly younger than 23, I don't think I could be considered a geezer.

My suggestion: get out there and enjoy the sport. It's too fun to worry about whether some "evil" corporation is making profits or not. Get a friend into it. A huge smile at the expense of a longer lift line is a worthwhile trade in my opinion.

Sorry for beating a dead horse.
post #78 of 78
Quote:
Originally posted by shmerham:
I think it's great that you have 2 co-ops in Montana. I would probably ski at them if they were a good value. Have you ever skied in the east? Mother nature doesn't cooperate (no pun intended) with us all that often. Thus snowmaking and grooming are pretty important unless you want to ski on ice 25 days and powder 4 or 5 days if you're lucky. Additionally land is quite expensive. These are tremendous barriers of entry for a co-op.
Shmerham,

I know that Bridger Bowl is a non-profit, and the lift ticket prices are bargains. Interestingly, the season pass prices are quite a bit more than the resort passes around here (typically $250-$350 for multi-area passes).

It's all a value proposition. Many people don't get that, but that's really all there is. The only money that can be spent on supporting an area is the money that comes in from the patrons. If there's sufficient value, enough people will recognize it and be willing to exchange money or labor to partake.

ssh
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