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How NOT to run a Ski School

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Have a toll, as opposed to a toll free# to contact the school.

Have no operators available, causing people to stay on hold for 20 minutes

After 20 minutes, have a recording that asks if you would like to leave a voice message

Do not answer the voice message

Repeat 3 times or more

Once at school, have the most clueless people possible work the ski school desk, so that the lines to sign up for class are half an hour long

make some of the people have to wait OUTSIDE, especially the never evers who have not been skiing long enough to build up cold tolerance

If 2 people taking a level 3 class say that they usuallly ski Black Diamonds, put the other 5 students in a level 2 {even if they have level 3 skills} so that the instructor can rip with the supposed level 3

I WILL PROBABLY REGRET WRITING THIS POST LATER. But it seems Okemo, who I was forever praising for their superb customer service, has decided to rest on its laurels. 4 phone calls, on hold for 20 minutes, to sign up for Women's Spree. Finally get voice message. Call not returned. Finally reach someone in person, who tells me the class has a wait list. Hotels charge a major fee for canceling reservations during the Christmas Holiday.

Sad and mad!


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 27, 2001 07:56 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #2 of 34
post #3 of 34
As an employee of Okemo this is a concern of mine. I have forwarded your post to my ski school director. We at Okemo want to hear if our guests are unhappy.If people do not speak up nothing gets rectified.
Terry Carey
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thank you Terry! Okemo was so AMAZING in their customer service last year, that I would hate to see them employ tactics typically used by ASC resorts. It is such an insult to instructors like yourself who work so incredibly hard to improve their teaching skills, only to be represented by desk staff that could not care less about customer service.

The typical comment I always hear is "Don't be so hard on them, they are being paid so little!'
But the problem is, the customer is paying so much! We're not talking about someone buying a burger at Mc D's!

On a lighter note, I'm glad to see that the Women's Spree is filling up! Especially since I've recommended it to all these other people. So I've given them free advertising, but I might not be able to get in myself. If they had told me that 2 weeks ago when I called the first time, I would have reserved a hotel somewhere else.

BTW, they are looking for more teachers to instruct the Spree, that's why the wait list. Care to volunteer?
post #5 of 34
Wow-what customer service. Someone complains(Lisamarie), rightly so, and an employee NOT directly involved steps in to try to get an answer.

Okemo always trys to be rated high up on customer relations.

I just read an article that we have to increase our beginner clients by 6% a year and retain 1% a year for 15 years to sustain any significant growth.(NSAA-Models of Growth)

We also have to keep our current clients. If people get pissed off like Lisamarie did, the money goes elsewhere. There were more than 700 ski areas in the 1970s. Now there are less than 500. A neighbor of Okemo, Magic Mountain is trying a gallant comeback.

I think all of us should make sure that the people servicing us do a good job. If not, it is the death of the sport we all love.

Again-great recovery Okemo.
post #6 of 34
I do not know if they are looking for more instructors or not. It has been a slow start for ski school so far so most of us have not taught at all.You would think that with the high demand they would add more instructors.My guess is that there may not be enough upper level female instructors to fill those needs
If you cannot get into these classes I can refer you to some excellent instructors.
I will try to get some more info for you and relay it ASAP.Terry
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks once again, Terry. But if i do end up skiing at Okemo, I probably will not take any lessons. As you know, the cost of the 3 day workshop and all the stuff it includes would be considerably less than the cost of 3 days of lift tickets, 3 private lessons, and 3 days of on mountain meals.

So I would not choose to reward the ski school for having inept administrative help by taking lessons there.

The interesting comment I always here from administration is "Well we get hundreds of calls a day, we can't POSSIBLY answer all of them!"

Well, if you have so much potential business, then you can afford the extra phone help!
post #8 of 34
After all the lessons you have taken, do you not think you have the basics down? The fastest road to improvement is to just ski, can the lessons for awhile. Over analysis of your skiing leads to lack of confidence. Lack of confidence leads to stagnation. Find someone who will ski with you and gently push you towards tougher terrain. You have to train yourself to stay in balance and feel comfy on your skis. Take those little kid trails off the sides of the greens. Spend some time screwing around. Its fun dammit!
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
hey, did ya'hear that! The dudes telling me Not to take lessons!
post #10 of 34
I don't understand why you don't just take lessons from Todd if you like his teaching so much.
post #11 of 34

You're so right on that. Gonna get my first day(night)in here next week and I found myself getting WAY TOO cerebral and task-oriented. Had to remind/kick myself that it's about fun. So I AM "just gonna ski" and get the legs under me. Should be plenty of crowd-avoidance maneuvering going on, anyway. About all I'll try to be aware of is rolling edges, back and forth, trying to become aware of using the skis rather than battling them. But yeah, first day: Just Do It. Good advice.

Granted, I'm no expert, and I know you, like I do, like to focus on detail and
doing it right - and you HAVE to, sometimes - but I humbly submit that there are those occassions, especially early season, when it might be okay to just play with stuff, see how things feel, trial-and-error, and let 'em roll. Trust your body - I'm sure you're kinesthetically aware - to absorb and learn apart from the brain. It'll connect. I'm not saying be sloppy on purpose, but give yourself a little room to just let it flow. (AND LOOK AHEAD, NOT AT YOUR SKIS. )
My first lesson was my first day, will be taking another late next month. The gap feels about right. Granted, I've gotten great informal feedback from some folks (Miles, for one) but PERSONALLY, if I took lessons "all the time" (exxagerating to make a point) I'd go nuts thinking instead of skiing. You know what I'm saying. Don't want to be preachy but let yourself have fun, even if it includes moments where grace eludes you. That's part of it. I know this wasn't solicited, so sorry if I'm treading where my muddy feet aren't wanted.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 28, 2001 12:29 PM: Message edited 2 times, by ryan ]</font>
post #12 of 34
I figured you wouldn't get it....
How does "for awhile" equate to "Not take lessons"
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Joe Canadian;
"LM, I figured you would'nt get it..."

Gee Joe, what's with the sarcasm??? Make you feel manly to be condescending? If you figured I would'nt get it, why say it in the first place?

BTW, yes, I have the basics. SOME of us are interested in going beyond that. But I figured you would'nt get it.

Miles, yes. There are very few instructors who can teach as well as Todd. He has a highly unique talent. But feedback from different teachers is important, and I'm sure Todd would agree.
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Oh and Ryan; That did not sound preachy at all. Well said and I will take those thoughts to heart. You have shown the difference between someone who truly knows how to communicate, and someone who is totally clueless as to how to intereact with another human being.
post #15 of 34
Ever wonder how those mysterious "flame wars" get started?
post #16 of 34
It is very easy to understand how flame wars start. It begins with misunderstanding.
I may have a tendency to become a little condecending when I offer some heartfelt advice, and receive a useless retort in response.
The reason I thought you would miss the mark on the original message is due to the nature of your occupation. As an instructor you may see a stronger connection between a sport and learning from a certified instructor than the average 'Jo. That is fine. However, it is important to ski a few days in between lessons.
In past responses I have attempted to be helpful and supportive of your willingness to improve. Your quickness to flame, is amusing. What is not, is the gender slang.
And yes, SOME of us have become proficient skiers without lessons.
post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry you felt my attempt at humor and irony {hey did ya hear that, the dudes telling me not to take lessons] was a useless retort. Also, if you read my post directly above what you wrote, I was saying that if I did not get into the workshop I definitely NOT take any lessons.

Anyway, the point of the thread was not whether or not I should take lessons. There has been much discussion (by instructors} about why people aren't taking lessons, and I was trying to point out that its not always the instructor's fault.

Quite frankly, it puzzles me why anyone who seems to think that ski lessons are so bogus would even bother to read a section called Skiing Technique and Instruction.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 28, 2001 06:56 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #18 of 34
I don't believe that i have ever said that ski lessons were bogus. I was seriously thinking of instructing part time, but I decided that the limited number of days that I ski should be spent skiing for myself instead. I think that an an adult racing course would be great and i plan on searching one out in the next year or so.
post #19 of 34
It should be obvious by now that vocal inflections and facial expressions don't always come through in this format. LM, when you said "...telling me not to take lessons," I heard something very different from your stated intent, which I fully believe. That I got what I got from it was, of course, more about me than you.
It's a worthwhile thread; I think it's clear it's mainly a misunderstanding; let's try to think about giving someone the benefit of the doubt when we MIGHT'VE misunderstood, and move on.
I hate people butting in as I'm doing now but it seems a good time to drop it and move on. I am VERY sarcastic and have had to learn (the hard way) to temper what I think is humor, as not everyone "gets it." And when I re-read what I've written, removing the tone (that only I could hear), it's easy to see how/why I stepped on someone's toes.
Okay, I'm gone. Promise.
post #20 of 34
Thread Starter 
Don't go, Ryan!! Pretty please!! This really was a mis- communication. I was actually making fun of myself when I said "the dude's telling me not to take lessons".

I probably should drop into lurker mode for awhile.

Truth of the matter; As the season approaches, I am becoming anxious about what kind of standards I will set for myself, and how I'm probably going to end up very disapointed. been a little on edge in many of my posts.
post #21 of 34

Yo, baby, not GONE, gone. (Am too selfish too depart.) Just mean I wanted to inteject the above, then stay outcha y'allz way. Sounds like you get nervous the way I sometimes do. Each day I ski's like Christmas morning as a kid. Anxious but sometimes uncomfortably so. Re skiing, I/we put too much "performance" stuff into it. Need to LEARN to just let it go. Not worry so much about perfect this or that. When I get that way on the hill, I make a point to stop, reassess, continue with what's fun.
I generally will start the day with big turns, get myself in the rhythm; after awhile the turns seem to shorten themselves and the aggressiveness (it HELPS) kicks in. But it seems to take that re-introduction.
Part of just not being able to pile up ski day after ski day after ski day....

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 29, 2001 09:28 AM: Message edited 2 times, by ryan ]</font>
post #22 of 34
I think skiing is like sex - by all means improve your technique so you enjoy it more; but don't get too hung up on technique or it's never gonna come(sp?)

post #23 of 34

I just have to wonder, do you relax when you ski? Is every run done with the same intensity and preoccupation as an educational or self-improvement experience?

Please do NOT take this the wrong way....
post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 
Yuki, in answer to your question, on most runs , I have a self dialogue going on where I am bereating myself for skiing "incorrectly".

But not to digress from my own topic...
Whether or not I personally take too many lessons {which I probably do} the issue of ski schools having less than desirable procedures for potential students, is a critical one, and should not be ignored.

Just to clarify, my experiences as a never ever did NOT happen at Okemo, they happened at ASC resorts.

Which only serves to show how FANTASTIC most of the ASC New England instructors are. I got hooked on the sport despite some pretty bad service at the ski school desk.
Keep in mind, as hard for us as it is to believe this, many never ever are practically biting , kicking and screaming "I won't go!!" on the way to their first lesson. Having other factors to discourage them is probably a bad idea.

I spoke to someone from customer service at Okemo. Seems that they need to find more female instructors to teach the courses.
post #25 of 34
LM, you'll never ski "well" if you keep that up, I mean it. Some days I find myself doing that, and it's self-perpetuating. You get all out of balance, your body isn't working with the skis and the snow, nothing seems to work.

If you have to do that, how about setting one run as the "work" run. Then try and have the discipline to set the next couple of runs as totally sloppy, anything goes...
Try laughing!

Skiing is a mixture of "correct" and "incorrect" things. When I see that rare bird, a totally correct skiier, I cannot say that I've ever got the impression they are enjoying it. Skiing as serious business...no way!
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
You are, of course, quite correct. But itsa quite a phenomena, isn't it? Bad condtions, bad turn, bad day, bad girl! I once told an instructor that I had trouble with a particular run. She said, ok, lets see what's going on. Go ahead and ski it, and stop when you feel you need some help.

So I set out, VOLUNTARILY skiing over the "bumpy" parts, ski the whole run, do the "don't turn so that you will go straight up the uphill thing", and met up with her at the end.
I turned to her and said "Wow, the conditions are great today!" She groaned!
post #27 of 34
In the words of Ullr...no probably not...but JUST SKI, DAMMIT! The best skiing is done with concentration, but with maybe a song in your head, not instruction saying "hip/ancle angulation/eyes downhill/opps I just got off balance" Yeah..sometimes I think these thoughts and my runs aren't so great. My best runs occur when I'm a hoopin and a hollerin and a singin...those runs are fun...which, afterall is what skiing is about, am I not right? [img]smile.gif[/img]

DISCLAIMER: This is just me. For other people maybe it is the opposite. And yeah, LM, I don't know everything [img]smile.gif[/img] I don't really know if u do this, or if u take lessons every time u ski. Prob. not. SO this message was not flaming anything you do, it was just a comment about life, and naturally about skiing. Damn...we need snow in Maine. Does this make sence to anyone?
post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 
I do understand, and I don't take offense.
I do not want this thread to get too side tracked. Whether I value my lessons too much is a whole other story. But the key issue is, for those of us who do take lessons, we sometimes pay a good deal of money to get horrific service, not from the instructor, but from whatever secretary is working the ski school desk.

As we have seen from the instructor participants here, many of them work really hard. They should not have to put up with incompetants who cannot perform the simple act of making an important.
And let me say again, I really do not care how little the girl at the desk is being paid. The customer is paying alot, the service should reflect it.
post #29 of 34
Right on LisaMarie!!!
post #30 of 34
Your absolutly right! I hate it when I pay for somthing and don't get quality back. Ski lessons is a service, and the costomer is paying for that service and every detail should be taken care of to please the costomer. It's called good buisness. I agree w/ u LM. (I'm not saying skiing should be ran like a buisness, but in this aspect it should.)
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