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If ski resorts really cared about creating life long skiers... - Page 4

post #91 of 108
Here are a few things I think are key to creating life-long skiers:

1) Pomas and T bars. Every good hill needs a few.

2) Night skiing. With Cheap Trick, Sweet and Kansas blaring over a PA.

3) Lifties who work the carnival circuit in the summer. Dressed as vikings.

4) Brutal kickers to flat ice built by 13 tear olds. In fact, the management should always leave a few grain scoops along the sides of the trails.

5) Some old guy from Bavaria with chronic halitosis to teach the kids how to run gates.
post #92 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Here are a few things I think are key to creating life-long skiers:

1) Pomas and T bars. Every good hill needs a few.

2) Night skiing. With Cheap Trick, Sweet and Kansas blaring over a PA.

3) Lifties who work the carnival circuit in the summer. Dressed as vikings.

4) Brutal kickers to flat ice built by 13 tear olds. In fact, the management should always leave a few grain scoops along the sides of the trails.

5) Some old guy from Bavaria with chronic halitosis to teach the kids how to run gates.
Add a rope tow or two, and you'll have nailed almost every ski area I ever skied at in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
post #93 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Here are a few things I think are key to creating life-long skiers:

1) Pomas and T bars. Every good hill needs a few.

2) Night skiing. With Cheap Trick, Sweet and Kansas blaring over a PA.

3) Lifties who work the carnival circuit in the summer. Dressed as vikings.

4) Brutal kickers to flat ice built by 13 tear olds. In fact, the management should always leave a few grain scoops along the sides of the trails.

5) Some old guy from Bavaria with chronic halitosis to teach the kids how to run gates.
Swap out Poma for a J Bar and carnival vikings for hillbillies and it sounds like the mountain I learned at.

I'm a life long skier, so maybe you are on to something.
post #94 of 108
Place I get a season pass gives 50% off to one friend with me. Keeps beginners/intermediates rationalizing while they get hooked.

Pay more attention to rental equipment. Put a beginner on bad edges and in a bad fitting boot, send him/her out on hardpack, and that'll about do it...

Discounted or free lessons to beginners. Most places have one free intro lesson; expand it to a heavily discounted package of 3, enough to get people to spend a weekend and check out the local wildlife. Local restaurants, shops, and motels need income too. And those of us who are bringing along beginner friends need a little time to ski on our own without getting the guilts.

Top lift operators could be encouraged to stop twitching to their iPods or texting their buds inside the booth and actually get outside to make sure the pilup is kept under 10 bodies. Even if (gasp) it's cold.

Lose the slow transition to imitation McDonalds and actually put some thought into the generic burgers, institutional chile and/or beef stew and pizza. No, you don't have to eat it if you're too pure or poor, but some people may actually count food as part of their experience. If this raises a blank, go ski Sun Valley sometime and get back to me.

Have ski patrolers who actually go after skiers or borders who think they are so all that for doing SG on green/blue runs, and have resorts who actually pull passes from idiots. (Parent-think here)

Smile. We pay a resort a ridiculous amount of money every day so that we can enjoy complex logistical screwups, cold hands, pinched toes/ankles/insteps, and if we're lucky, cartwheels at 40 mph. Just thinking about it should make anybody smile.
post #95 of 108
SAFETY: No one has mentioned safety. Get slammed by an out of control snowboarder or skier, break your leg or get concussed and this will greatly diminish your desire to get back on that hill. Ski patrol personnel need to be proactive and spot out of control skiers/riders and deal with them immediately before they hurt someone and turn them off of the sport. I've heard numerous stories of this sort and my own daughter while skiing with me on hills that were nearly empty was slammed three times. Twice two seasons ago and again, the worst, last January. While skiing nice controlled carves she was hit from behind by a seventeen year old snowboarder, a 12 year old girl on skis, and last January, an eleven year old snowboarder who put a bruise on her leg as bad as anything I've ever had in all my years of sports and broke her ski while at it. She didn't break a bone but she was traumatized to the extent that on a trip to Boyne Highlands she was freaked out when a skier was within 200 yards of her. She was in a panic. I know of people who, while standing on the side of the slope have been struck by snowboarders and concussed. My ski mentor's mom was struck from behind and her back was damaged and she never skied again, this after a lifetime on skis.
What to do? When a skier is spotted on the hill out of control the patrols need to go get him. This includes all hill staff including instructors who need policing power. Now yanking a pass is one thing but I'd say they can get their pass back after they view a video on safety and pass a level test to insure they are not on a hill out of their ability. "KNOW THE CODE" is nearly a joke in that No the Code might be a more accurate moniker.
Ski hills must have adequate staff on the hill at all times. This does not happen. Difficult to do? Pay them more, create incentives at non peak times, and do more outreach if necessary. Position staff at the bottom of the hills, as spotters. This would work great on small local hills like the four we have here near Detroit.

Play videos on safety and the code and add ons to it in the lunch room or cafeteria or in the boot/ski rental area. More posters on the code should be on the walls of the lodge and on ski lift poles.

Many of the suggestions in previous postings are great too. I particularly like the mentoring role that staff could bring to the hill when everyone shows up. They should all be greeted anyway, and directed to lesson desks, rental desks, and fitting areas. Having rental staff actually concerned about a snug fit instead of sizing up for comfort would be nice. This augments safety too. Also, why not a generic footbed in every rental boot? Darn near everyone could benefit from it, learn to ski faster and have a better and safer time.

EJ Levy
post #96 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarlito View Post
Add a rope tow or two, and you'll have nailed almost every ski area I ever skied at in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
I thought he was talking about Buck Hill at first.
post #97 of 108
Some ideas ...

As far as ambassadors or whatever - I think having a specified fixed time/place to meet when you can get a "free advice" (for what it's worth in groups for a run or maybe two then follow up with some folks at the bottom to take lesson appointments based on the quick assessments. Do this for mogul runs or tree runs, change it up. Always at say, 10 o clock or 2 at the top of whatever lift. Mix it up with different level instructors. Or even offer free assessments by instructors on what you need to work on.

Also - ski with/meet with some famous skier or high level racer/free skier/athlete. Glenn Plake has done this at various places. Those visits stick with kids for a long time (or adults)!

Raffles for same

Make it cool by NOT compromising - snowboarding has done this to some extent the whole free skiing and backcountry aspects. Everyone wants to be like XYZ and tries it in the terrain park. Offer intros to whatever area of the mountain.

All these things are done and to varying degrees of success. But not everyone gets to go to Aspen or Tahoe to take advantage of it.

Like the fire pit thing ... and music.

Also make room for everyone's groups - really separate the beginner and intermediates from experts. Nothing worse than having really fast skiers and slow ones together.

Same for snowboard vs skiers - separate em! I'm not saying everywhere, but have the option. The sports and people are different enough a lot of folks want their own space.

Rentals - sharpen the edges! Nothing worse than a ski with no edges to learn on - great!

Natural skiing - encourage less groomed, more naturalistic stuff with trees and no grooming at lower levels with slight to moderate pitches. It really opens up the possibilities for spreading people out from the typical groomed cruiser runs that get skied out. Cheaper and less energy too.
post #98 of 108
Oh one other thing - do like Magic and allow areas for dogs in the apres ski. Kind of cool
post #99 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
Some ideas ...

As far as ambassadors or whatever - I think having a specified fixed time/place to meet when you can get a "free advice" (for what it's worth in groups for a run or maybe two then follow up with some folks at the bottom to take lesson appointments based on the quick assessments. Do this for mogul runs or tree runs, change it up. Always at say, 10 o clock or 2 at the top of whatever lift. Mix it up with different level instructors. Or even offer free assessments by instructors on what you need to work on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
Offer intros to whatever area of the mountain.
I think these two can go hand in hand and be extremely effective, good ideas!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
Make it cool by NOT compromising - snowboarding has done this to some extent the whole free skiing and backcountry aspects. Everyone wants to be like XYZ and tries it in the terrain park.
Huh??



Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
Also make room for everyone's groups - really separate the beginner and intermediates from experts. Nothing worse than having really fast skiers and slow ones together.
unfortunately topography doesn't always allow this, but the mountains where there is a separation of trail difficulty tend to be pretty popular with both experts and beginners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
Same for snowboard vs skiers - separate em! I'm not saying everywhere, but have the option. The sports and people are different enough a lot of folks want their own space.
Bad bad bad idea!! The whole lame ass skier vs. snowboarder quarrel of the early 90s was pretty bad for the sport. Why would you want to impose more stupid rules on people who are supposed to be just out having fun? On a recent trip to Utah, I didn't get to ski Alta, because it was me and 3 snowboarders, not a huge deal as I'll get there someday.
Now if I go to some mountain with my knuckle dragging friends, buy a ticket and then find out I'm skiing alone because we can't go on the same trails, I'd be mighty pissed off (as would my friends), I'd demand a refund!!
Now if I was a beginner and came upon all of this, this trail is for x device, this trail is for y device confusing bureaucratic crap, I'd be dumbfounded by it. I'd wonder what was wrong with this sport that people have to be segregated like this, plus I wouldn't want to have to worry about making sure that I was on the wrong trail. I'd go take up something less confusing and confrontational.
The idea is to make new skiers/riders feel comfortable not alienated.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post

Rentals - sharpen the edges! Nothing worse than a ski with no edges to learn on - great!

Natural skiing - encourage less groomed, more naturalistic stuff with trees and no grooming at lower levels with slight to moderate pitches. It really opens up the possibilities for spreading people out from the typical groomed cruiser runs that get skied out. Cheaper and less energy too.
x1,000
post #100 of 108
what I meant by separated was not the whole hill. But places within the mountain that each group goes to. The terrain parks kind of do this to a degree.
Fighting boarders when you're learning to ski or vise versa is just another obstacle you don't need to deal with. I'd hope we're mature enough to accept areas like this without pitting groups against each other. It works the other way too - I know folks that prefer less boarders and won't go to a place that doesn't allow for ski only zones.
post #101 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
How? For one thing ski areas could make it easier to learn to ski. [...] How many ski areas even have an introductory learning center or an intake system for beginners?
Makes me glad that my first ever time skiing was at Taos - notorious for expert terrain, yet their Yellowbird program (two full days of beginner terrain lift tickers, instruction and all necessary rentals for $148 but if IIRC it was even cheaper when I did it several years ago) gave me a great start. The third day, I kept my rentals, got a regular lift ticket and I could manage to follow my friends down the greens on the rest of the mountain.

http://www.skitaos.org/contents/view/lessons
post #102 of 108
How about making being a day skier a pleasant experience?

Stop building lodges, spas, and cottages all the way across the base of the mountain, eliminating parking and making "skier services" impossible to get too.

If I'd had to hike a 1/2 mile across the parking lot, then to 3 different buildings for lift tickets, rentals, lessons, and food before ever setting boots on snow, I'd never have become a lifelong skier.
post #103 of 108
Amen to that. Build the condos farther away and provide shuttles for them so the visitors (some have to drive 3+ hours) can park closer. Most of the condo folks have season passes anyway so why not let the folks that pay 50 bucks to ski one day have a better parking space?

When I used to work retail at the mall during Christmas time management made the employees park at the local high school and ride shuttle buses to and from work so the customers had more parking.
post #104 of 108

c-o-o-o-o-fee

when lift loading is delayed, causing skiers to wait for an hour at the bottom of the lift in extreme cold, shoot a coffee urn over to the line with a snowmobile, and spread a little "warmth". good return of feelings for cost outlay!
post #105 of 108
that darned Wafflehaus place should be outlawed - those things smell sooo good and they're always at the bottom of the lift
post #106 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by ct55 View Post
that darned Wafflehaus place should be outlawed - those things smell sooo good and they're always at the bottom of the lift

ha ha yeah and a total of probably 3 or 4 mountains... I tired one once, pretty good, but not what I had expected based on smell. I talked to the guy for a few minutes, guess they are based out of Rutvegas, hence the concentration in Central VT.
post #107 of 108
I agree - they smell better than they are! There's a line there somewhere
post #108 of 108
You merely have to consult your local neighborhood drug dealer to find out how to hook people for life...

* Get them when they're young

* Cheap day tickets for juniors

* Family-oriented season pass programs where a family of four can ski for the price of two adult season passes

* A plethora of kid programs. Some on a competitive track. Some on a 'have fun' recreational track. Price them to break even on the program costs.

* Free never-never rental + lesson deal

* Promote day trip bus + lift ticket programs

* Affordable instruction. Price it to break even, not be a profit center
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