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Never Ever to Die Hard

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
The thrill of introducing someone to the world of skiing/riding is what gets me excited. How do we get that person to become a die hard skier/rider, to come back to the mountains and buy all of our services?
post #2 of 29
Well, I've said it before, and you might have read it from me before, but as far as I'm concerned, getting "more people" excited about skiing is ludicrous. : I guess you've never skied anywhere that the lift lines make enjoyment impossible.

Frankly, I would focus on improving the enjoyment had by EXISTING skiers. That's why instruction -- whether formal (for $$) or informal -- is IMHO the most important thing anyone can do for the sport of skiing.

Sounds to me as if what you want is "growth in the ski industry." Skiing isn't an industry. : It's a sport, and for many of us, a great passion. IMHO, turning it into purely a money-making venture is obnoxious and has no place in this forum of dedicated, passionate skiers.

signed,

Crusty Curmedgeon [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #3 of 29
Buy them a few beers on their first day. Then no matter how much they like the skiing, they'll have a good time. And they'll remember feeling good that day.
post #4 of 29
Mawk,

though it's a low-profile story, "they've" recently discovered a skiing gene. yeah, true. some people don't just learn to ski, they are already skiers at birth. it just takes that first trip to the hill, followed by that first turn, that sparks the ignition and sets the rest of said person's life in motion. (yes, all downhill from there, nyuk nyuk nyuk.)
after the chemi-electrical kick in, synapses firing like god's own snowblowers, such individuals are prone to aberrant behaviors, such as the wearing of full ski gear (usually in the early stages) on hot august days; fondling and ogling of skis (yours, theirs, the stores', doesn't matter); a video collection suddenly changed from all of woody allen's stuff to anything put out by warren miller, TGR, etc.; and, in serious way-gone cases, the individual begins to view all "hills" (dirt mounds at construction sites, driveways, etc.) as potentially skiable, if only there were snow. HBO gives way to the Weather Channel. If you're single and looking , your pick-up line is a no-brainer: "Yo. You ski?" (And if you're attached, the sign ificant other runs the risk of becoming considerably LESS significant unless he/she skis, too.)(Hey, it's true, okay?)
post #5 of 29
Mawk,

I have been discussion groups that have tried to tackle this issue.

Consensus had it that we need to learn to build passion into our students. Not an easy task. One of the ways is for instructors to fulfill the students motivation for taking a lesson. I think thos instructors who teach at area that have a one hour lesson, are hard pressed. However, if they can get three of their ten students to come back for more lessons they have succeeded in a better than average retention rate. My goal is to have fifty percent return. If I should achieve that goal, I'll try for more.
post #6 of 29
Mawk:

I really believe that *most* of those you would define as "die hards" were hooked the very first time they set skis on snow. I know I was, in spite of a combination snow, weather, and equipment that would make any sane person flee in horror.

I think it's like the old cliche about some people being alcoholics before they ever taste a drop of booze. The personality is hardwired to be addicted to alcohol - all it takes is the trigger.

Same thing with skiing. You can try all you want to bring those "moderate" skiers to hard core status, but all you'll accomplish is to increase their consumption a little.

Hard cores are born, not made.

Thank God.

Bob
post #7 of 29
Rick H, >>> I think thos instructors who teach at area that have a one hour lesson, are hard pressed. However, if they can get three of their ten students to come back for more lessons they have succeeded in a better than average retention rate.<<<

They ALL come back! They have paid for the whole Winter's lessons in September and they come back every week to get another one. Some try to duck the lessons but their adviser catches them and brings them back. (dang..)

....Ott

edited for spelling;

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 05, 2001 05:39 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Ott Gangl ]</font>
post #8 of 29
What Bob Peters said rings so true. Hooked from the moment your skis hit the snow.

I watched my son go through this on his first day. Seven years old and all he wanted to do was that stupid big right hooking turn back to the rope tow..... over and over again. He was in his own world and did not want company, dry gloves or food.

It was like watching myself in 1965..... one big stupid hooking left turn back to the rope tow....... only difference was tht I was 16.
post #9 of 29
Not me. Hated it the first time. Instructor made me feel like an idiot.
Ten years later, tried it again. Instructor made me feel like an athlete.
Been hooked since.
post #10 of 29
I don't know what makes a die hard skier, however I do agree somewhat with what Bob said. For me, the first couple times I skied I wasn't much good, I slowly improved and became intermediate. But then one time, I skied with my uncle's brother-in-law (he's a great skier) and skiing with him (and keeping up) made me realize that all along I had the skills (hidden there somewhere) but not the confidence. Now I have both, and am hooked on skiing for life (and rippin up tha slopes!).
post #11 of 29
Its the mountains that attact. The skiing follows.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #12 of 29
You know you're a Die Hard skiier when: the season has just ended(June) and you go purchase and then drool over the next Warren Miller film, or you wake up one "August" morning remembering remnants of a dream that night that put you in three foot of powder bounding down the slopes through pinetree after pinetree.

Oh boy i can't wait!!!
post #13 of 29
This is similar to a discussion we had in my Outdor Recreation class today.
Kinda like the idea "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink"
Well, you can introduce someone to skiing and you can try to make it the best experience for them but it is the intrinsic value that it holds which is most important. They must want to do it, or else they won't keep coming back.
post #14 of 29
I like the question, and I also like the answer from Gonz. Here's the real issue for me: Why do we care? What is our own self interest in bringing more people into the sport of skiing? I have some thoughts on this, but I'd like to hear from others: Why do we care - why SHOULD we care - if "more" people love to ski?
post #15 of 29
If you don't recruit enough keen new skiers to keep the numbers up, then nobody will develop new resorts, the lift operators will go bust and close down current systems, the equipment manufacturers won't spend money developing new gear, all of you full-time skiers won't be able to earn any money teaching as there won't be any students.... whether you like it or not, skiing is an industry and like any industry it needs demand for its product.

If you are stinking rich and only interested in exploring new mountains, you can of course just buy a helicopter (though not in much of the Alps where heli-skiing isn't allowed).

Anyway, I'm a recreational skier (if I'm lucky I will get two weeks of holiday skiing a year). I haven't been doing this for long, so I'm not yet very good. If nobody new was learning, there wouldn't be anyone on the slopes that I could look at and see how much better I am than when I started...
post #16 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Frances:
If you don't recruit enough keen new skiers to keep the numbers up, then nobody will develop new resorts, the lift operators will go bust and close down current systems, the equipment manufacturers won't spend money developing new gear, all of you full-time skiers won't be able to earn any money teaching as there won't be any students.... whether you like it or not, skiing is an industry and like any industry it needs demand for its product.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Brainwashed! Industry = manufacture. Ski areas are SERVICE, not industry. They provide service. They don't make anything. They aren't a factory.

Skiing as a sport and passion did fine for a VERY long time, long before the monolith ski areas sprouted and long before Dear Valet was created to cater to the would-be "Captains" of this so-called "industry."

Frances, your perspective is spoiled by your view of the world as purely an economic venture. Hang around this forum long enough and you will see that it isn't about economics, it's about passion for skiing in its purest sense. The economic side of it is just a necessary evil.

My local ski areas do just fine without "growth" or "progress" tailored to those who view skiing as "an industry." And, quite frankly, I like it that way and hope it doesn't change. The more people who feel like me, the more likely it won't change. The more people who feel like you, the more I am in trouble.

Please, stop the future-speak. Go have a cyberdrink with SCSA, he'll be happy to help you plot a new way to "grow" the "industry" of skiing. Just remember that movie 12 Monkeys, okay?
post #17 of 29
Were you to ski at my home mountain, you might think they were trying to scare people away. The drive up the hill always holds potential for "adventure," the pothole-dodging in the parking lot should be a sport unto itself, and the walk up the icy "ramp" from the lot to the ticket window will get you a yardsale before you've strapped to your skis.
to say the chairs are antiquated would be to flatter them; and don't expect too much in the way of people skills from the ops, who are probably there working off fines and tickets. (you'd think.) if you're skiing here for the frills and ease-of-day, forget it.
but if you're here to ski and that's your focus, you'll be satisfied and want to come back for the SKIING.
it isn't about the lunch you can get, or the smiles from the staff that make you feel welcome, or the way the high speed six-pack flies you to the top. it's pretty much "just" about the terrain, the skiing that can be had, especially if you don't mind maybe walking a little off the beaten path to find your own line down.
skiers want to ski. period.
i've got nothing against the fine services and atmosphere offered by plenty of mountains, particularly the mega-resorts which MUST do that to compete for clientele who yes, love to ski, but by and large also want the "small things" that make their not inexpensive vacation just that.

i like deer valley. i like to ski there. i get to park city every year and have a good time at the three "Big Mountains" as well as walking up and down Park and Main, escaping a little bit. it rejuvenates me; it's a getaway. i'm in the mountains and around thousands of people who have SOMEthing in common with me(pretty rare). i DO like that BUT i sure wouldn't mind if half of them weren't there. nothing personal. just more space for me, less lines, etc. i'm selfish in that sense.
i'm not worrying so much about the Ski Industry. it's a business and the weak shall perish (after first bleeding millions). the corporation might leave, the mountains will remain. the snow will fall. skiers will ski.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 13, 2001 09:35 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #18 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gonzostrike:


Brainwashed! Industry = manufacture. Ski areas are SERVICE, not industry. They provide service. They don't make anything. They aren't a factory.

Please, stop the future-speak. Go have a cyberdrink with SCSA, he'll be happy to help you plot a new way to "grow" the "industry" of skiing. Just remember that movie 12 Monkeys, okay?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I think you're hanging your argument on a pretty thin semantic cord, Gonzo. Ever hear the phrase "Service Industry?" [img]tongue.gif[/img]

I'm actually somewhere in the middle here. I think the mountains are not the place for unconstrained development, and what people are really looking for in terms of making moeny out of the "Ski Industry" is more real estate sales. That's where the big money is and always has been, and its unfortunate. Because an industry based on selling people on the idea of something (you can live just 10 minutes forom mountain x) don't neccessarily have a connection to selling you on actually doing it. Once you sign the papers on that slopeside condo, the transaction is finished.

So one of the big problems as I see it, is in part that the actual mountain operations and so on are only secondary to the project of getting people to buy property. Perhaps it isn't a coincidence that so many of the true "skier's mountains" are located up canyons, in the middle of national forests, where there is not a lot of money to made on development because of enviro impact.

Unfortunatly, the way our economy and society is organized, there often has to be a big pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow for anyone to get really involved in doing something. Which is why we have a kind of beign neglect at a lot of more skier oriented mountains. If you're like me, you like it that way.

But what it does mean is that there are two interest groups, people who are skiing because they love doing it, and people who are trying to sell big projects. (Of course, there is some overlap.) Many of the poeple who do it because they love it are just like Gonzo, they'd just as soon not see any more skiers around. And don't think this isn't obvious to guests.

Again, I'm kind of in between. I don't want to see mountains overrun, and I do want uncorwded slopes and lots of fresh pow. But I also know how much skiing has meant to me, and I genuinly think that other people should have the opporunity to enjoy it. Without the freshness and vitality that genuine enthusiasm and new blood bring in, things can get pretty dreary. Remember the late 80s, early 90s? And I want people who make their living doing what they love to be able to make a decent living doing it.

There is a middle ground here. We shold be thinking of ways to encourage people towards the same love of the sport that we have. If we don't, I see the mountains becoming more of a disneyland environemnt, with all kinds of "amenities" and what not around to convince people they are having a good time in their slopeside condos, even though they really don't get the whole skiing thing.

btw, I think you'll get a lot farther with your arguments if you give people a little more of the benefit of the doubt. Unless, of course, your intent is simply to piss people off.
post #19 of 29
Even to keep the skiing Status Quo you need new blood because people give up skiing (or something gives up on them which means they can't ski).

I don't think its a case of making more people diehard skiers I think its a case of introducing more people to skiing. There are probably a lot of people out there that have never skied but would love it (and become diehards). Am I right in saying approx 3% of Americans ski? Identify who hasn't skied before and give them a big enough incentive.

Skiing is a passion but without the business side it would be a slow walk up that hill.

DB
post #20 of 29
try something new: live video feed from the top of the lift to video screens in the lodge. people will be laughing so hard at the prat falls that they will forget about being embarrased and just have fun.
post #21 of 29
I think you're hanging your argument on a pretty thin semantic cord, Gonzo. Ever hear the phrase "Service Industry?"

Sure, Lodro! And I've got memories of Ronnie Reagan saying "inflammable" as if he meant "flammable." Improper use of words doesn't change the definition, it makes the use improper!

My point really is that too many people in the US are like George Babbitt (cf. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis). They think that "growth" and "progress" and being a "booster" for those things is the ONLY way to live. Sooner or later, their shallow materialist existence begins to feel hollow. After all, what is it about skiing that people like? The pose? The money it costs?

could it be....

THE ACT OF SKIING ITSELF?

naah. it's an "industry."

So, you think the "industrial revolution" was about the development of services, not of manufacturing hard goods?

very strange. very strange indeed.

Ryan, I agree. People will continue to ski. But, does that mean we have to just roll over and play dead when they decide that skiing should be more about $$ and less about the act of skiing?
post #22 of 29
No. (Hence the "hike to ski" post.) And this is a digression but it DOES seem to me that the whole ski "biz," about which i am admittedly ignernt, seems geared to the demographic group which would seem to feed said biz; namely, the 10-20-day-a-year skier who flies in with his wife and couple of kids for one of two or three ski vacations each year. (i mean, who ELSE can the main ski mags possibly be targeting? "come ski here. and buy a condo.") THOSE are the ones they need to keep coming back. THESE are the ones who might just stop coming.
and i don't begrudge that sensibility - you're in business to make a profit - nor do i have a problem with THOSE skiers. but a lot of THOSE skiers DO want the vibe that, say, vail offers. or beaver creek. deer valley. yes, even whistler, etc. it is as much a "happening" as it is a ski excursion. true, at baldy where i am or lost trail where you are, or a-basin, etc., the scene is different. but not entirely apart from that part of the monster that eats.
anyway, no one's twisting anyone's arm to pay 60-some-odd bucks for a ticket. people are free to go elsewhere. or take a backcountry course and get their skiing to a point where the ticket window is not a necessary part of the equation.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 13, 2001 03:19 PM: Message edited 2 times, by ryan ]</font>
post #23 of 29
My whole thang has changed.

Why on earth would we want to get more people excited about skiing?

There's too many snowboarders/dorks as it is!
post #24 of 29
The industrial revolution was about turning humans into slaves legitimately.

Die-hard skiers are born. They have no problem with resorts; they ride the lifts for a free pass and the access. They play the game, just like taxation!

The vacation skiers will never give up their “society conformist” home comforts to become die-hard. Nothing wrong with that.

One feeds the other. All get feed. All happy, all fed. To attempt to “target” convert would only upset the whole ski body evolution.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #25 of 29
Let's turn the tables here and pretend that this is a bass fishing forum, and we are thinking of ways to get more people fanatical about it.....Some people just won't get into it that much!
Well, there is still the beer thing.
post #26 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gonzostrike:
Sure, Lodro! And I've got memories of Ronnie Reagan saying "inflammable" as if he meant "flammable." Improper use of words doesn't change the definition, it makes the use improper!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm not really sure what you're even arguing here, which I guess is the point. What the hell is the difference between the two in the 21st century? I can't imagine that you're so dogmatic that you belive that industry really has a significant difference from service. Does it make any difference to the guy who's making $7 bucks an hour wether he's running a drill press or flipping burgers? I guess I'm completely lost, but I don't see the point of your argument unless the point is to have an argument? Or is this just a rant to show how much you get it and no one else does?

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>My point really is that too many people in the US are like George Babbitt (cf. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis). They think that "growth" and "progress" and being a "booster" for those things is the ONLY way to live. Sooner or later, their shallow materialist existence begins to feel hollow. After all, what is it about skiing that people like? The pose? The money it costs?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yea, well, duh. And my point is that this kind of real enjoyemnt should be encouraged, not discouraged. And that means maybe adopting a friendlier amd more welcoming attitude towards people who might really enjoy the sport for what it is. Help people see that the people who are really enjoying themselves are not the ones in the $1000 Borgner suits at the lodge in Deer Valley, but the guy the next valley over who's hiking a bit and sporting duct tape.

Again, I just think its weird that so many self-styled progressive thinkers out there seem adept at nothing so much as driving away people who might actually agree with them. Enjoy your Chomsky et.al., I've pretty much had it with the American left.
:

[Edit: Sorry, I guess that was a little harsh. Must be having a bad day...]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 14, 2001 12:17 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Lodro ]</font>
post #27 of 29
Lodro,

you mean there IS an American Left? gettin' harder and harder to see.

ah, but i digress....
post #28 of 29
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ryan:
you mean there IS an American Left? gettin' harder and harder to see.....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

True enough...we better be careful though, or we'll get bounced to International Affairs. : : :

Again Gonzo, I didn't mean to go off so much -- its frustration speaking.
post #29 of 29
I didn't know I was being so provocative. For the record:
I don't see the world as a purely economic venture; I'm not in the US; I don't think that "growth" and "progress" and being a "booster" for those things is the ONLY way to live.

In fact I was trying to make the point that gonzostrike also made when saying that the economic side is a necessary evil. It's necessary. You can say you don't mind clapped out lifts, surly operators etc but still someone has to pay the operators & maintain the lifts & that money comes from somewhere. In fact it comes from people like me who spend the money they earn from an evil capitalist corporation on enjoying themselves in the snow.

Now, I am a 10-20 day a year skier who flies in with my husband (no kids) for a couple of vacations a year. Does that mean I can't love skiing? All it means is that I don't love it enough to give up the day job and spend every summer trying to get enough money to ski all winter.

Why is it such an insult to call skiing an industry? Why can't I love doing something that is also part of an industry (or service, whatever)? I enjoy going to the opera but I don't pretend that the people singing their hearts out to move me to tears would do it for nothing.

I grant you that there are a small number of people who don't need helicopters or resorts or lifts or well-maintained mountain roads or groomed pistes or mountain search & rescue operations or winter flights to Alpine destinations or car parks or restaurants (and quite of few of them are probably you guys). I can see that us recreational skiers are just a pain. But most of the skiing world needs us and needs the industry to pay for its fun.

p.s. I haven't seen the film 12 Monkeys so don't get the reference.
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