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Hidden Valley, NJ -- HORRIBLE

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
...customer service.

My wife is a teacher, and just heard in school yesterday that Hidden Valley is running a special offer for teachers this season:


By Bob Niedt on December 30, 2007
No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers paying full price on lift tickets at Hidden Valley.

Members of the New Jersey Education Association get 50 percent off of lift tickets at Hidden Valley -- any time (exclusions are Jan. 1, Jan. 15 and Feb. 19-23).

Just produce a NJEA ID card at the ticket window and you can buy up to four tickets at the reduced rate of $24.50 for a weekend, all-day lift ticket. The normal price is $49.

EXPIRES: End of 2007-08 season.
We had a few hours free this morning (rare, for both of us), so we figured we'd shoot up and make a few turns... you can't beat the price! There were only six trails open, and conditions were hard hardpack from the recent weather, but it's still worth the trip.

Get there, only to find out my wife left her hat at home. Okay... let's grab one in the ski shop.

Ski shop is empty. Nothing for sale. The girl from the rental counter next door walks in to tell us there is nothing in the ski shop for sale. (Thanks, Captain Obvious.)

"We forgot a hat. Are they keeping a few essential items anywhere, just in case somebody forgets a hat?"

"Oh yeah. They have a box of hats, goggles, gloves and stuff at the ticket counter."

We tell the girl at the ticket counter we need to buy a hat. She sends a manager back to one of the offices where the box is. So we go ahead to buy 2 tickets, my wife shows her school ID and NJEA card.

"Um, yeeaahhhhhh... management is not offering that discount."

"Well, why did they advertise it? It's right on that website there, that big poster on the wall behind you... www.OnTheSnow.com ... we just checked it this morning."

"Um, well... they just decided not to do it this year."

"They started the offer on Dec. 30, and decide now, this weekend, to drop it?"

"Yeah... I guess."

:::: manager comes back to ticket desk ::::

"We don't have any hats."

Ticket girl turns to manager and says..."Yes we do, there's a whole box of them on John's..."

Manager interrupts... "...well, but... yes, but.... I'm sorry, we don't have any hats for sale at this time."

"You're serious? You're open for business, but you don't have any hats 'for sale'??? There's a box of hats back there, but you won't sell us one?"

"Yeah, well... they aren't inventoried yet. The new management has been here for only two months, and we've been busy fixing floors and roofs, and things are a little crazy right now."

::::Now we have the stare-down thing going::::

"That's it? That's all you have to say?"

"Well, ::: in snooty little bitchy voice:::: what do you want me to say?"

"Is that how you folks here talk back to a customer??? Call me 'sir'!!!"

(wife is choking back laughter at this point)

"I'm sorry sir, but we can't sell you a hat."

"Is there a manager I can talk to?"

"I am a manager, sir."

"Then why can't you take a hat from the box, write up an IOU on that post it note right there, and stick it back in the box explaining that you sold one of the hats for $30 to a happy customer who will be coming back in the future to spend more money, and refer his friends, family, coworkers, and fellow ski club members? I'll even take one of the uglier hats, that would otherwise hang on the rack til next summer! Now, can't you... as a manager... do that to make a little money from the sale, and show these nice folks behind me on line here how Hidden Valley wants their customers to have an enjoyable ski experience?"

"Um.... no, I'm sorry, sir. I just can't do it."

"So, you're not going to honor your advertised discount, and you won't even try to help us find a hat. Is that correct?"

"I'm sorry, sir."

"You're going to let us walk away from this ski area right now, just like this, because you won't sell us an uninventoried ski hat?"

"I'm sorry, sir. There's nothing I can do."

We were a little surprised to say the least.
post #2 of 9
That's amazing. Are you sure you weren't on one of those Candid Camera shows? You have to laugh at something like that or you would strangle the guy. The new management is going to turn that place around in no time:
post #3 of 9
So what your saying it that its not just MountainCreek that sucks?
post #4 of 9
Wow, that's horrendous. Makes you ask: Who is more fool, the fool or the fool who hires the fool?
post #5 of 9
There is more to this than meets the eye.

Hidden used to be a small nice place to take the family away from the Mt. Creek madhouse while the kids learned to ski.

Not a challenge area fer' sure, but a nice "Mom & Pop" ..... good race program (fun oriented), for the kids ..... didn't bat an eye getting me a comp as an "extra coach" on race day ...

Wow! What a change. This is probably linked to a shaky law suit where the owner did some weird leveraging and loans and things are a mess with the courts trying to sort it out.

It almost sounds like he wants the place to go under.

Also sounds like a clear violation of state law where if you advertise a price or promotion you are bound to honor it.

You could file a complaint with the Office of the State A. G. .... and the union should (but those bums won't), take the lead on this.
post #6 of 9
Had a similar experience there on Jan 2. They had a discount on the web for NJ Ski Council members -- the discount listed was 50% off weekday rate (it was on the same page as the teacher discount). Posted weekday rate is $19 -- so 50% off was $9.50. A friend and I had a couple hours free and even though they had 1 real trail open we thought why not at that price.

At the ticket window we were told they don't honor that offer and they tried to snow us into believing the $19 was the special rate down from $49 (which we knew was the holiday and weekend rate). The woman was nice enough but seemed perplexed about the offer on the website. She got a guy from the back who said the 50% off was negotiated by former owner and they weren't honoring it. On principle, we pushed it saying that if it's posted they need to honor it. We went back and forth a bit on this (still politely on both sides) and he eventually honored it. We thanked him for doing the right thing and suggested that if they weren't going to honor the offers of the former owners they needed to pull it from the website. Alas, by that evening all discounts were off the site.

We skied and had fun for 10 runs. Conditions were ok and they were blowing snow. I sense they are in scramble mode with the late change in ownership, but probably well intentioned. Looked like they were replacing the roof on the lodge. I'll go back, but only after there is more open.
post #7 of 9
Wife and I basically learned to ski at Hidden Valley a few years ago.. We used to own a little condo at the top of the mountain. We would come out, walk a few steps and ski down the beginner run.

Season passes were all of $179, Vernon is a really nice area (with some great places to eat), and it took about an hour to get there..

It is a tiny little place, a speck, but it was almost never busy - especially at night. We could get tons of runs in on a normal day

Conditions were not great by any stretch, the runs were almost icy, narrow, and filled with snowboarders on their rear ends (speed bumps I used to call them)

The place clearly was operated on a shoestring budget

There were a lot of things going on there - the owner kept reaching agreement to sell the place and then would pull out at the last minute, there were rumors of Mountain Creek buying the place and turning it into a snow tubing area, and bankruptcy issues

It is a shame - it used to be a fun place
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
There is more to this than meets the eye.

Yup, I'm finding this out more and more.

Been talking to dozens of people in my office yesterday and today... all of the after-school programs in my area have pulled out of Hidden Valley in the past couple of weeks. And from what I'm hearing, the school trip coordinators were disgusted with the communications and whole situation of the HV management.

Whomever this new group is... they're apparently screwing up everything. After what I saw there yesterday, I hope they get sent to the cleaners. Big time.

My sympathies go out to the employees, patrollers, coaches, and kids in the race program. The irresponsible management above them is unforgivable.

We may be seeing the last of Hidden Valley, NJ this ski season.
post #9 of 9
NO doubt you should have gotten the teacher's discount advertised (even if it was part of the old management- it was still advertised), and the hat situation, well, it was unfortunate. You could have been treated better in my opinion, that being said I also know that HV in the midst of a major transformation.

I know fair is fair, and you have a right to be pissy, but those of us who have grown up with and love HV are exercising our patience with it.
It always has been and still is a great family hill and alot of significant changes are taking place despite the very short amount of time the new management has had with it.

In just a a couple months a new roof has gone on, the cafeteria looks to be reoutfitted, and we've seen the snow cats are out in the mid-day for a trail tune -up. I'm sure the ski-shop wasn't a priority, and the staff, in my personal experience have always been respectul and eager to assist.
It sounds like you had a really frustrating experience, but give it time, at its core it is a great place with alot of heart.

I wouldn't write it off just yet.

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