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So What?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Our job is to put smile on faces. (Stole that phrase sorry!) No more and no less. Direct Parallel, PMTS, PSIA, Perfect Turn, so what! Give me the tools to take my customers coming from all walks of life and put a smile on their face and we have made the goal. Many will never see the light of day of a snow filled bump run, deep powder, or the back side of Snowmass and you know what, they could care less. Maybe as instructors this is where we loose it all. They want you and me to give them tools that will put a smile on their face and just maybe they will come back. No more and no less. It is amazing even those that don’t keep coming back still yell a hello to me from the lifts. I can handle that. To those skiers that want to go on and get a bigger smile I need a few tools and possibly all those organizations and systems will get me started. Unfortunately I have yet to see a student fit in the mold that makes it a 1-2-3-4-5 day lesson like the book says. I guess that is why PMTS doesn’t appeal as much to me as others but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its place like all the rest.

It really isn’t rocket science. It is going downhill, turning feet, and letting gravity work. We need to be there when our student needs us and realize that most are where they are because they are having fun and anything additional would be more effort and less smiles and that is NOT where they want to be! It is the total experience the average skier wants. (me too) Shopping, skiing, eating, tipping a few, a week of smiles and some miles and oh yes friends. Why do we think they must want more?

Floyd
[img]smile.gif[/img]

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 06, 2002 04:36 AM: Message edited 3 times, by Floyd ]</font>
post #2 of 28
FINALLY SOME SANITY!!!! Thank you!

"Unfortunately I have yet to see a student fit in the mold that makes it a 1-2-3-4-5 day lesson like the book says. "

Neither have I, and the one's who say they do, well lets just say "ugly" skiing is not very inspiring to me. Also, if someone wipes out on every single run, that's hardly what I call progress.

I do realize I am going totally against the grain, here. After all, who ever has the most ACL tears before they die, wins, right?

I once took a class with a certain instructor, who after explaining a skill, would have me do a run, then, he would ask me if I felt what he was talking about. If I said yes to quickly, he would ask if I was just saying that to make him happy!

I think many students nowadays feel that if they don't progress fast enough, somehow they are "insulting" their teacher. Until that thought process changes, no one is going to be smiling.
post #3 of 28
Ah yes, just what Pinhed and I were discussing yesterday while turning.

Instructors, please answer us this.

Pinhed and I got on the lift with 2, high level ski instructors at Copper.

Neither one of them said a word to us. They didn't say hello, they didn't say goodbye. In fact, they only said anything when I barged in to their conversation and said, "What about Harald Harb"? They were shocked that we knew who he was.

Now, here's two ski instructors. They weren't with students. We're potential customers. How is is that 2, trained professionals, can't even say hello to us? How is it that they can't even look at us? How is this good for sales folks?

Even if they were having some sort of important discussion, couldn't that have waited until they got off the lift? Of course they should have. The priority is the customer, or potential customer in our case.

They should have said hello to us - "Hi guys, how's it going". Then, how about some promotion? "How's your skiing going this year? Anything I could help you with"? But noooooooooo.

So instead of leaving 2 potential customers with a positive experience, they left 2 potential customers with a negative experience, "What a bunch of jerks", Pinhed and I said to each other.

You all can complain to AC all you want. But everyday, I'm uncovering some huge holes in this product you all claim is so good.
post #4 of 28
Speaking of sales and promotion, I have always wondered why there is not a single instructor "showing off" (in a good way) under lifts in the morning when runs are wide open and potential customers still have time to change their mind and book a lesson. What could be a better promotion than a demonstration of superior skiing skills to the audience.

Just my observation...
post #5 of 28
SCSA, good points, i agree. But why did you not say to those 2 what you wrote here? In the realm of effectiveness, wouldn't that be more so? I'm sure (I think) you could have made your observations politely and with humor.
As an aside, the "sniper" rifle that was found "near" an Olympic site? Did your shipper goof up and not get it to Fernie? Wear white, gonzo!
post #6 of 28
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SCSA:
Ah yes, just what Pinhed and I were discussing yesterday while turning.

Instructors, please answer us this.

Pinhed and I got on the lift with 2, high level ski instructors at Copper.

Neither one of them said a word to us. They didn't say hello, they didn't say goodbye. In fact, they only said anything when I barged in to their conversation and said, "What about Harald Harb"? They were shocked that we knew who he was.

Now, here's two ski instructors. They weren't with students. We're potential customers. How is is that 2, trained professionals, can't even say hello to us? How is it that they can't even look at us? How is this good for sales folks?

Even if they were having some sort of important discussion, couldn't that have waited until they got off the lift? Of course they should have. The priority is the customer, or potential customer in our case.

They should have said hello to us - "Hi guys, how's it going". Then, how about some promotion? "How's your skiing going this year? Anything I could help you with"? But noooooooooo.

So instead of leaving 2 potential customers with a positive experience, they left 2 potential customers with a negative experience, "What a bunch of jerks", Pinhed and I said to each other.

You all can complain to AC all you want. But everyday, I'm uncovering some huge holes in this product you all claim is so good.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Since I was not there, I can't tell what they were talking about but...

It sounds like you barged into a conversation with out introducing yourself or saying Hi to them first. If someone hops on the chair with me and says Hi, I usually respond with a hello or hi and go from there. If you were having a business meeting or specific conversation with a co-worker about work for instance and someone just barged in with something I suspect you would not respond well either.

SCSA is correct that instructors should be ambassadors for the mountain but they are also often working even when not with a "student". For all I know it was a clinic in which you might have been riding with an examiner and student. Like I said earlier, I don't know the situation.

I would try to handle it better but SCSA, Think about the way you entered the conversation and maybe you "turned them off" with a comment like the "HH" comment instead of something like "Hi, So you guys teach here? What's it like teaching here at copper?" Then asking about "primary movements" and the HHski system instead of HH specificly. You are acutely aware of many instructors complaints about HH so why bring him up first. HH is recognized as a great skier and coach maybe it's not a great opener unless you are looking to create friction.

I would sure rather talk to someone about skiing after a friendly opening rather than what sounds like a confrontational opening.

And then again maybe they were just jerks. Instructors are not all perfect, sadly.

Just me rambling...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 06, 2002 09:11 AM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #7 of 28
SCSA you said:
>>You all can complain to AC all you want. But everyday, I'm uncovering some huge holes in this product you all claim is so good. <<
I think what you are uncovering every day is normal mundane human behavior rather than holes in a product. I have found the same in all service businesses. The fact that PMTS is young has a lot to do with you're perceptions.
post #8 of 28
SCSA is 97% right. As long as the uniform is on, it's showtime. What does it hurt to say hi?
post #9 of 28
And, I took my first (of many) lesson because my friend and I rode up on a lift with an instructor who told us that the afternoon classes were usually empty, and we could probably get an instructor to ourselves.
post #10 of 28
Back to the topic, why then all the complaining about really short soft skis that let those particular customers have more fun right away? I wish those had been around when I first started!
post #11 of 28
It wasn't confrontational at all. Two towers before the end, I finally said, "What about Harald Harb", just to see if there was anything I could do to get them to acknowledge us. Pinhed will chim in later with his take.

Once a customer walks into a department store or any service oriented business, the first task is to greet the customer with a warm hello and a smile. The customer should NEVER be the one to say hello first. From there, talk to the customer to find out what their needs are.

How would you feel if you walked into a store and no one said hello to you, not for a minute, not for 10 minutes? Not good, I'd imagine.

From what I've seen, what happened to Pinhed and I happens more often than not. It is rare that I walk by an instructor and they make eye contact with me. Even more rare is a warm hello and a smile. The mountain ambassadors are great. When I'm old and tired I plan on being one. Maybe ski instructors need to take some lessons from them.
post #12 of 28
Sorry if this is off topic. I thought it fit.

Pinhed will add his view then we'll drop it unless it's worthy of discussion.
post #13 of 28
SCSA, is this the new super-easy-to-get-along-with SCSA?
post #14 of 28
SCSA

I agree, They should have at least said Hi but as far as a sales pitch depends on the situation. Again I was not there.

Come by Sugarbowl sometime and walk by the SS meeting area. We are out there greeting people all day. I suspect most instructors do. Sorry you seem to get all the ones that don't but then again it only takes one "Aw Sh***" to wipe out a whole life time of "Way to Go" [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #15 of 28
AC,

Yes.
post #16 of 28
SCSA: What you observed may be peculiar to Copper Mountain. They don't seem to do much promotion of the ski school. On the trail map there is nothing about the ski school (but a nice picture of the rescue dogs). I have had a season pass there for many years but have never received anything in the mail or email promoting the school. No "specials", no discounts for a season pass holder, nothing. I have received promos for condos though, which is where their heart is. Perhaps this attitude works its way down to the instructors. I don't see too many classes either.
post #17 of 28
Dchan hits the target, I think. I talk to strangers on the lifts every day, and I'll talk about the ski school's programs if they ask, but I don't go around trying to line up business. I don't like the junk-mail phone calls at home and I don't like someone in my face pushing their particular product UNLESS I'VE ASKED THEM TO, so I sure wouldn't force it onto a captive audience on a chair ride.

SCSA, you say the instructors were having a conversation, and that may be why they weren't very communicative. My philosophy is: Talk on the chair, ski on the hill.
post #18 of 28
I would agree with Pierre eh! that we are looking at human behavior. Some are nice, some are not so nice. It would have been nice for the instructors to just say "Hello there" and continue their conversation.

Kneale also makes a good point: pushing lessons on skiers is never a good idea.

But overall, most instructors are very sensitive to projecting a positive, friendly image and the majority will say "hi" and exchange a few words. At least that is my experience.
post #19 of 28
Here's what happened .....

Instructor1 "Are you sure thats him"

Instructor2 "Yeah ....., oh sh#t he's gonna get on the lift with us"

Instructor1 "Look, just keep talking and don't say a word to him or he will start goning on and on about that PMTS stuff"

SCSA "blah blah blah Harold Harb blah blah blah PMTS blah blah blah 97%"

DB
post #20 of 28
Hey, It takes all sorts. Some of us are friendly, some are full of ourselves. I do my best to help instructors be friendly to people on the mountain. We actually have service duties here.

"Floaters" who cruise around and offer help to people. One day I actually ended up teaching a guy 360s after I asked if they had any questions and tey admired my twintips and started asking park questions.

Free lift lessons at the beginner lift for anyone interested.

Rental Shop ambassador for bootfitting and eq. advice prior to lessons.

We also do make a point of ripping it under the chair, last week I heard someone holler out, Hey! you're not supposed to do that! after nailing a decent drop.

So, SCSA, some instructors, I would be willing to bet, some in every ski school are on the same page as you are.
post #21 of 28
Roto,

You captured my sentiments exactly.

I have several SS friends who are very approachable and go out of their way to say hello to guests while in uniform. With GCT being under the spotlight these days, those SS people will do well.

Like it or not, SS seems to attract somewhat introverted people with poor social skills. I dunno, maybe writing books and analyzing the mechanics of skiing is more their forte. But, instilling a sense of comraderie with fellow skiers of lesser skill often escapes them. I think there are a few of you here today.

For the record... SCSA and I did "break the ice" with those two instructors. Alas, one of them (both RMPSIA Level IV) did a fine job of filling the full of himself category. I think that may have spoiled the other instructor's opportunity to shine. I found him to be much more affable.
post #22 of 28
You all can complain to AC all you want. But everyday, I'm uncovering some huge holes in this product you all claim is so good.

product, shmoduct. were you paying them for their expertise? no. obviously there was no "product" at issue, nor a service.

how did a guy who cannot use reason or logic ever make enough money to live a life of leisure?
post #23 of 28
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gonzostrike:
how did a guy who cannot use reason or logic ever make enough money to live a life of leisure?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

He went to law school?
post #24 of 28
I think that whenever you wear the uniform you are on duty. That includes chatting it up with folks on the life. Not do do that is to do a disservice to the uniform and the resort.

At Vail we get rated on how we great people. It's a must.

I've picked up a lot of privates when chatting with someone on the lift while out freeskiing I'll ask them what they are working on in their skiing and they tell me. I ski a quarter run with them and watch them and then will say "if you and I were to ski together here's how I'd try to help you with that". If done in a genuinely helpful tone people are quite receptive.

bob
post #25 of 28
SCSA,

I have stayed out of this fray for some time. As you well know, I have worn a variety of uniforms in my life. I think I can speak with some authority.

When you take your position you attack me, you attack Susan Osborne, you attack a lot of people. I think I am starting to understand where you are coming from, and in all honesty, my opinion would make you angry. I don't want to hurt your feelings, so, I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

Sending every PSIA instructor to HH will not change their personalities. It won't make them polite. It won't make them congenial. It will not keep them from being confrontational. They are humans who have good days and bad.

I'm going to talk about the chair lift ride. I don't know what went on. I can't comment. I was not there. I believe you when you say the guys did not come across as friendly. I will say this. They may well be great teachers and they may well shine in lessons. I have met many a great teacher who had lousy personalities at colleges, in the military, at police departments and on ski slopes. Give me the message and forget the pleasantries.

Please consider one other important point. There are many instructors who do chat with guests. I do. Are you being fair?

There are many rides when I sense guests want to be left alone. I may shock you when I say this. I DO NOT TRY TO MARKET SKI LESSONS ON A CHAIR. IT'S NOT FAIR.I NEVER HAVE AND NEVER WILL. PEOPLE DON'T ALWAYS WANT A SALES JOB. SOMETIMES FOLKS JUST WANT TO RECREATE. THEY ALSO DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE SPOTLIGHT AND HAVE THEIR SKIING OBSERVED FOR A "FEW MINUTES". EVERYONE ISN'T DONNING SKIS OR BOARDS IN ORDER TO BE TOLD WHAT A GOOD CHILD THEY ARE.


I will trust that you are fair and you will report the instructors that you meet who are congenial. You have referred to me and to Susan in the past as being good coaches. I work very hard at my trade. Again, I have my opinion as to what is causing you to behave in this manner, however, what I think might hurt your feelings and I have no desire to do any such thing. I have said this before and I will say it now. You are a fine fellow and a very good skier.

Why do you think it is your job to change ski instruction?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 09, 2002 05:15 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Rusty Guy ]</font>
post #26 of 28
As you all know, I'm a very shy, retiring, quiet, introverted guy.
I've yet to meet an instructor I didn't like (OK, apart from Steve, but that was only cause he was married to Sarah, and she was a very pleasant instructor indeed!!!)

Normally when I'm riding the chair, if there are instructors on it, we talk. I normally kick off with an inane question, such as asking what runs are good today, or where they get their skis serviced. The conversation tends to switch to "where are you from? and why have you come all the way from Ireland to here?".
I don't know why, but a lot of people seem to remember me, some try to forget, but fail!
So, I meet them on the lift, maybe ask advice, and frequently ask about private lessons.
I've been on lifts with some instructors who were engrossed in private conversation, or deep thought, and I'll leave them to it, but if they're cute and on the lift alone, well, it would be rude not to talk to them.

But that's just me.


S
post #27 of 28
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Cheap seats:
He went to law school?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

bwaaaah hah hah hah!

most excellent, cheaps!
post #28 of 28
SCSA--the only thing you said to the two instructors on an entire lift ride was "What about Harald Harb"--and you blame THEM for not wanting to talk to you?!? I'm surprised even at you.

Yes, most instructors love to talk with people. They wouldn't BE instructors otherwise. At least, they wouldn't last very long at it, and wouldn't be very successful at it. And most instructors also realize that it's good business to chat with people on the chairlift--and they usually do a good job at it. There isn't a trainer at Copper who I haven't seen act VERY friendly to strangers. There isn't a trainer at Copper who, on most days, wouldn't be glad to engage in a friendly conversation with you.

But good instructors are also very good at reading people--body language as well as words. Like a dog, they can SMELL confrontational attitudes. As Rusty says, they can tell if someone sitting next to them would just rather be left alone--and they leave them alone. They'd know if you were open to or seeking a pleasant conversation just by a glance at your eyes. You weren't. You know it. And the words you finally uttered prove it.

So they didn't WANT to talk with you. (Can you blame them?) Uniform or not, I'd argue that they aren't obligated to. Yes, it's good business. Yes, they should act as ambassadors for the resort when they can. But they are also entitled to carry on a conversation with each other. They deal with people ALL the time, and even the best instructors sometimes need, and deserve, a break--a chance to withdraw and take a ride and a run for themselves. And you know as well as I do that they weren't going to sell YOU a lesson, and that they had no chance of winning your favor, no matter what they said!

Instructors skiing together quite often engage in heated discussion. I agree that they should at least make eye contact with and check the body language of their chair partners and not exclude them from the conversation--and I'll bet these guys did that. A glance would have told them all they needed to know. You don't hide your disdain for instructors here--do you really believe that you're that good an actor to do it on the lift?

Maybe they did ignore you--no one is perfect all the time. Maybe they had a bad day. But they also weren't getting paid to ski with you or even to acknowledge your presence. Deal with it! If they were trainers at Copper, pay 'em for a lesson. I guarantee you'll get a good one, even if you act like a boar. I guarantee that they'll at least humor you, if you pay them. They'll talk to you, entertain your questions, and save their "opinions" of you for the locker room. MOST of us here do that for free!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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