Check out the comments after the article.
We need a big snow fast to ease the tension.
"Dumb and DMR" bumper sticker ->
Hesperus? I'd never heard of that one. Their web site hasn't been updated in a while. Are they still open?
BTW - it would be sad for employees or pass holders to lose jobs or privileges over forum posts. If you're an employee "telling the truth" can also be "airing dirty laundry". That's something employees are not supposed to do. If you have any suspicion that a post might cause you trouble, that's a hint to not post it. Either reword it to be "cleaner" or hold your tongue. Alpinord has set a good example of posting a clean link with no "dirty laundry" airing and followed up with the link to the other side of the story. Well done!
FYI - The original article that started all of the fuss is here.
In the case of the pass holder Slaff, the most descriptive comment about this was that she "was fired as a customer". Within the context of this one issue, it's easy to come to the conclusion that DMR over reacted. However, it's also pretty easy to conclude that DMR had previously provided to Ms. Slaff an explanation that their decision was not "catering to tourists at the expense of locals". Although her quotes in the original article are clearly recognizable as opinions and clearly "countered" by quotes from DMR, it's easy to see how this could have caused a domino effect of damage control efforts for DMR. This would have been particularly frustrating to DMR if Ms. Slaff had been told and provided evidence that the opinions were not accurate. If this situation is put into the context of a history of similar situations, it becomes much easier to justify firing a customer. I'm not saying that this was the right way to handle this. I'm saying it's easy to understand why a resort would choose to do this. A chronic unreasonable complainer could easily cost more than $500/year. In situations like these, options for how to proceed can seem like "damned if you do and damned if you don't" choices.
If you've worked for a resort, you've undoubtedly experienced a closure in between opening and closing day. It's quite common throughout the industry to close during mid week when snow (and sometimes weather) conditions are marginal. Most of those times, a resort could open mid week. But there are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether the resort should stay open or not. When considering the downsides of not staying open, it's not unreasonable for management to assume that most of the mid week pass holders would be able to ski on the weekend. DMR's decision to let mid week pass holders ski on weekends when the resort is closed mid week shows that they've made an effort to come up with a "best possible" policy.
Whenever a resort attempts to make a decision or set a policy in the best interests of the majority of their guests they will inevitably make decisions that are not in the best interests of a minority of their guests. Skilled management will find ways to do this that minimize the anger these decisions generate, but this often requires time and communication skills that may not be available. Thus we get what we have here .... "Failure to Communicate"
You know that if the resort commits to dates and the weather does not cooperate, they'll get dinged for not keeping their commitments. If the weather over cooperates and they don't change their plans and open more than they committed, they'll get dinged for that. But if the weather over cooperates and they do change their plans, they'll get dinged for making bad plans. The longer they wait to announce plans, the better those plans will match with the weather, but the more they'll get dinged for not announcing their plans early enough. This is the kind of thing that is a no-win situation for the resort.
Lauren had every right to complain when DMR changed their policy after she bought her pass. If she didn't like the explanation she was given, she had an opportunity to get a refund and take her business elsewhere. Most of her comments in the original article were perfectly ok. But "it is another example of DMR catering to tourists at the expense of locals" was inflammatory. It's hard to imagine anything positive resulting from such a statement. It's easy to imagine DMR seeing this statement and coming to a conclusion that this is a guest who would never be satisified. Did she actually think complaining to the paper would get DMR to change their plans? Did she expect that stirring up a locals vs DMR controversy would make things better? Sorry dear. You stepped on an awkward hornet and it stung you because it did not know what else to do.
BTW - "Last season, DMR shutdown Lift 5 on Monday through Thursday, even though the expert terrain below it was perfectly skiable," If you have not seen this happen at other resorts, you have not skied very much. Resorts do things like this because they are the lesser of two evils. I've worked for a resort that did not spend its money wisely. The results aren't pretty.
DMR is an awkward position where they need to "make a statement" to heal relations with the local community. But finding a statement that "saves face" for all involved will be difficult. If they were accurate in their assessment that Lauren is a "chronic complainer" customer that costs them more than she's worth their options are:
a) stick to their guns, claim that their position is best for all, make some token concession to locals and accepting the wrath of the community
b) apologize, admit the mistakes were all on their part, reinstating the pass (with permission), revert to the previous operating schedule and hoping that escaping the wrath of the community makes up for the loss of keeping her as a customer
c) apologize, claim that mistakes were made on both sides and accept her back as a customer, with conditions (e.g. the understanding that her complaints need to be more reasonable and not argued in public)
In hindsight, it might have been smarter for DMR to offer to let her ski at the resort on closed week days on a limited basis (yes of course this is "impossible") as a compromise (e.g. look, the experience will be below our standards, but if you insist, here's what we can do for you), then keep the option to refuse to accept her money next season. Sometimes customers do need to be fired. If you're going to do it, you better do it right.
Snowdancer - want to help your friemd? Convince her to get a job at a resort.
Actually, "firing" a customer isn't the same as firing an employeee.
Employee work (mostly) "at will" and get paid for their work. Customer PAY first and expect service in return.
The latter is basically a business contract, which can't be simply torn up by one side of the contract (even with "full" refund). If the customer had other expense that are based on the contract, they can sue to get their demage paid for.
So to desolve the contract, it needs to be agreed on by BOTH sides. DRM is perfectly within its right to OFFER the refund to get rid of her. (she doesn't have to automaitcally accept that offer) By revoking her pass without her agreeing to it in advance, DMR basically torn up the contract unilaterally.
Any business who torn up their side of the contract unilaterally should be looked at harshly. Next time, it might be YOU who got stuffed.