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Are free (shop) lift tickets gone?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
My kid had been working part time at a shop last year and he didn't make much but he did take plenty of advantage of the free ski tickets.

He started at a new shop this fall and sadly, no tickets.  Soooooooooo he went over to his prior employer and hoped to get a few evenings in a week and at least get in some free slide time.

Poof, gone ..... no more free tickets for shop employees ..... period .....

How is it where you are.  This doesn't come as a shock to me.

Horrible economy and all that. 

Sooooooo, he took a job at a llama ranch and will at least make a few dollars more.  Now, this is bad, when my kid elects to shovel llama schizz instead of working in a ski shop.
post #2 of 29
I have seen a few hills stop and or limit or require silly levels of "sponsorship" in order for a shop to get free tickets. IMO this is just the areas being short sighted and shooting themselves in the foot. I get people EVERYDAY asking me where I recommend they go and free tickets go a long ways towards me suggesting a hill (the place still has to be decent, but all things equal I will recommend a place that gives me a perk over one who does not). Ski areas don't make a ton off of a typical shop guy guy, but we do bring our friends who spend money on lifts, we buy food, we send skiers their way etc.
Just my $.02
JD
post #3 of 29
Just out of curiosity, do you give free skis to ski area employees?
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

Just out of curiosity, do you give free skis to ski area employees?

They used to give them a HUGE discount (like 60-70%) when I worked at a ski hill.   It used to be called "pro form"
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

Just out of curiosity, do you give free skis to ski area employees?

Thats not really a far question. A ski shop loses something of value when they give away a pair of skis. Giving a free lift ticket doesn't really cost the ski area because for the most part ski area costs are fixed by number of days rather than number of skiers. So giving free lift tickets simply means they don't make money off that skier they don't lose anything of value.
post #6 of 29
Pro forms are provided by the manufacturer, not the shop. Companies have split the program, so shop employees get the 60%-70% off (now called "shopform")...not ski area employees any more. The only ski area employees that can get proform are instructors and patrollers, and the discount is 40%, for the few manufacturers still offering it at all. Shops, as a rule, don't do squat for ski area employees.

As far as value goes, if a lift ticket has no "value", what's your beef? It seems to me it has value, if it's something you want.

There are 10+ shops around here, and one ski area. Seems to me if someone is trying to earn referrals, it would go in the other direction.
post #7 of 29
So maybe if ski area employees want a deal on skis they could get a pair of used rentals

Yuki, I guess your kid needs to be fixing and passing out rentals on weekends if he wants any free ski tickets. 
post #8 of 29
Hey, there's another good point. Most ski areas are in competition with with the shops. Pretty silly business to support the competition's employees, isn't it?
post #9 of 29
I hope Bro-discounts aren't gone.  I have received some excellent deals from instructors and patrollers on lift tickets in the past.  I don't know any ski shop employees well enough, I guess.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

There are 10+ shops around here, and one ski area. Seems to me if someone is trying to earn referrals, it would go in the other direction.

If there's only one ski area then that's a monopoly and why would they bother..... Oh, 'cos the supporting industry will recommend not bothering will the local "unless you have to"?

Around here.... 10 or so major hills plus cat and heli operations, with about 8 major independant ski stores.....  Shop days and mid-week tickets are available as well as free cat/heli days depending on number of named refferals/bookings.  People buying gear from shops want to hear what the hills are like, they want hints and snow reports.... They then arrive at the hill with a good positive expectation.

The past few years RCR made it hard to get free day tickets..... Lake Louise lost out in number of recommendations and overall perception to hills like Sunshine, Castle and Kicking Horse.....  Now back in Charlie's hands they have a $50/day ski card and shop-tickets, and the good feeling surrounding Lake Louise is returning quickly.....  It's hard to describe but it works.
post #11 of 29
Uhhh, "pro form's" are industry discounts given by the MAKERS OF THE PRODUCT, not ski shops.  They companies sell to ski shops at say %50 - %70 of retail, they make about the same giving discounts to people "in the industry".  Some given a bigger discount for the PR purposes of getting more "mind share".

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post




They used to give them a HUGE discount (like 60-70%) when I worked at a ski hill.   It used to be called "pro form"
 
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveys View Post

Uhhh, "pro form's" are industry discounts given by the MAKERS OF THE PRODUCT, not ski shops.  They companies sell to ski shops at say %50 - %70 of retail, they make about the same giving discounts to people "in the industry".  Some given a bigger discount for the PR purposes of getting more "mind share".
 


 

Thanks for the update. I guess this wasn't specific enough.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

Pro forms are provided by the manufacturer, not the shop. Companies have split the program, so shop employees get the 60%-70% off (now called "shopform")...not ski area employees any more. The only ski area employees that can get proform are instructors and patrollers, and the discount is 40%, for the few manufacturers still offering it at all. Shops, as a rule, don't do squat for ski area employees.

As far as value goes, if a lift ticket has no "value", what's your beef? It seems to me it has value, if it's something you want.

There are 10+ shops around here, and one ski area. Seems to me if someone is trying to earn referrals, it would go in the other direction.

 

I guess it is confusing because my ski school director (an industry rep) used to give them to me, but  I took them to the local brick and mortar shop to order the skis and I picked them up there. 
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzee View Post


If there's only one ski area then that's a monopoly and why would they bother..... Oh, 'cos the supporting industry will recommend not bothering will the local "unless you have to"?
 

Nobody even asks the ski shop employees whether they recommend skiing here. That would be like someone walking into a shop at Whistler Village and asking whether Whistler is worth skiing.

Doesn't seem to be hurting business either. Already recorded the busiest day ever this season. But part of that might be that instead of having a $50/day ski card, everybody gets to ski for under $50.
post #14 of 29
Will, it sounds like you are in a different situation than I am. Yes, as a matter of fact I would give ski area employees a discount if they come in my shop, it is not a pro form deal, but it is better than they would get elsewhere. As far as the ski area shops being my competition, not even close man, at least not in my area. The ski hill"shops" are pathetic around here, and they know it, they don't even bother to try all they do is sell cheap gloves and goggles. I always looked at it as kind of a one hand washes the other situation, but hey I don't have to encourage my customers to ski locally.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
The way it used to work here:

You work in a shop.

You show up with a current pay stub and the hill issues you a ticket.

The shops don't have tickets to just hand out (that I'm aware of) .... except for those on the jackets .... buy a (usually) "high end" ... jacket not off the clearance rack ... and it came with a ticket to "X Hill" already on the wicket.

Sooooooo ..... the shop rats got to ride for free.  Not bad for a kid but it seems to be gone.

"Free Skis" ..... is a whole-nuther-topic ..... like a free lunch right ....

??? ... Still, my Q. is regarding free lifts for shop rats in your area and has the policy changed this season ?????
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

As far as value goes, if a lift ticket has no "value", what's your beef? It seems to me it has value, if it's something you want.

 
I wasn't saying that a lift ticket has no value I was only making the point that a set of skis can only be given to one person wheres allowing the use of your facilities can be given to a great many at  a comparatively lower price.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

... Still, my Q. is regarding free lifts for shop rats in your area and has the policy changed this season ?????

No change. No ticket either.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post



I wasn't saying that a lift ticket has no value I was only making the point that a set of skis can only be given to one person wheres allowing the use of your facilities can be given to a great many at  a comparatively lower price.

I understand your point, but business is business. The area makes money off selling lift tickets, not giving them away for free. Perhaps you would prefer to look at it this way - do the shops sell skis to ski area employees at their cost? There's nothing out of pocket to them in that that isn't out of pocket to the ski area; overhead and lost sales.

It's hard for me to feel sorry for shop employees when the shops were responsible for shutting down proform to ski instructors and patrollers because of "lost business".

I don't like the whole model of doing business. Nobody wants to pay full price for gear, so everything is jacked up so it can be sold at a discount. Same with ticket window prices. It's like the old chilkoot Charlie's motto "We rip off the other guy and pass the savings on to you."

What do you get from that? Skis that "cost" $1295 and $91 lift tickets. And everyone trying to scam everyone else to get their 60%, else they be the one ripped off.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post


 

It's hard for me to feel sorry for shop employees when the shops were responsible for shutting down proform to ski instructors and patrollers because of "lost business".

 
 
Really? Pro Form is shut down? I sold a dozen (at least) pairs of boots on Pro Forms this year.  I will concede that pro forms are tighter now, but that is because a lot of patrollers and instructors were abusing the system. Also out of all the pro form orders I do, only a very very small percentage actually send skiers back into the shop. Kinda hard for me to fell sorry for the pros.
post #20 of 29
Shut down as in non-existent, no. Shut down, as in fewer brands, smaller discounts and more hoops to jump through, yes. Proform is almost as good as you can get on the internet, most of the time anymore.

And if as you're pointing out, the manufacturers and shops aren't aren't seeing business sent back by the ski area employees, do you think it should somehow be different on the other side? I've never once had someone show up and say so-and-so at the shop sent me here because this is such a great mountain. Maybe it happens where you're at, but not here.
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

The way it used to work here:

You work in a shop.

You show up with a current pay stub and the hill issues you a ticket.

..

??? ... Still, my Q. is regarding free lifts for shop rats in your area and has the policy changed this season ?????

Ha, that's a good one!  Do you live in Cuba or something?  We all pay full retail around here.  Never even heard of such a policy.  You have to work at the mountain to get a free pass, and even then, it is a 1/1 deal; work 1 day, get a day's skiing.  I guess they were getting tired of part-timers working 2 days a week and skiing the other 5. 
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Dawg .... Shops are in New Jersey on the feeder roads to the hills in PA.  It seemed like each shop would have a co-op deal with a local hill, one in New York and then one in Vermont.

Like I said my kid got in lots of night ski action last season and all for free.

Wacky world when it comes to local policies.  Up north and west instructors and families get the full pass while we Pocono instructors just got .... "passed over".   I never got a free day ..... yeah there was one but I got it for working a race under bad conditions ... but that's race not instructing.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Dawg .... Shops are in New Jersey on the feeder roads to the hills in PA.  It seemed like each shop would have a co-op deal with a local hill, one in New York and then one in Vermont.

Like I said my kid got in lots of night ski action last season and all for free.

Wacky world when it comes to local policies.  Up north and west instructors and families get the full pass while we Pocono instructors just got .... "passed over".   I never got a free day ..... yeah there was one but I got it for working a race under bad conditions ... but that's race not instructing.

 

Makes sense.  Around here, we have a monopoly; if you are vacationing in Central Oregon, there is a 99% chance you are skiing at Mt. B.  There isn't any reason for the mountain to hook up shop people: what are we going to do; tell people to drive 3 hours and ski at Hood (which they just passed by on their way to Central Oregon)? A friend who works at a hotel in Truckee gets to ski free at Northstar, Alpine, or discounted rates at Squaw.  I am sure they want references to their hill, as you describe.  Seems like a smart business plan. 

Maybe that is why so many locals get frustrated with Bachelor: monopolies have little incentive to change their ways. Although, they have been working on it the past year or so, after enough bad press basically started not only to anger the locals, but caused tourists to stop showing up.  

The little areas within a 1.5 hour drive do give us free shop passes, but it is tied to a ski marketing organization membership which is very affordable.  Overall, a very good deal, if you don't mind spending $25 in gas to get there and back. 

Maybe what you describe has been curtailed to include only full-time employees.  It probably sucks if the ski area has to give out passes to every high school kid that works 2 days a month and would otherwise be purchasing a pass. I could see a program in place for those who work over, say 25 hours a week. I know with our industry deals, it is predicated on "full-time" employment, although not everyone requires a pay stub that proves it. More of an honor system.
post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Came on fast and strong, I've known this shop owner and the family for years and he says he is perplexed and never saw it coming.

He is making some calls to hopefully work out some deal with a "local hill" .... there are like 15 withing a few hours drive between the Catskill and Pocono "Mountains".  They aren't much but ..... when it came to sliding within an hour of the house ..... it was better than nothing.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

??? ... Still, my Q. is regarding free lifts for shop rats in your area and has the policy changed this season ?????

I'm not sure how shops work out East, but in most western states the shop has to pay for these tickets for employees.  What's common are shop owners offered either a deal on season passes or offered transferable passes.  So, the shop owner pays for those passes for the employees.  I can see how in tough times a shop owner wouldn't want to spend $3000 - $5000 in passes (or more.)  You mentioned individual tickets and I haven't seen areas do that, but I imagine behind the ticket window there's a billing account set up for the shop owner.  
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Came on fast and strong, I've known this shop owner and the family for years and he says he is perplexed and never saw it coming.

He is making some calls to hopefully work out some deal with a "local hill" .... there are like 15 withing a few hours drive between the Catskill and Pocono "Mountains".  They aren't much but ..... when it came to sliding within an hour of the house ..... it was better than nothing.
In my experience; his best bet is to reach out to the area manager or owner and do some cross-marketing.  We got shop passes to a somewhat nearby mountain a couple of years ago by offering their pass holders discounts on summertime gear (bicycles).  Quid pro quo all the way though; which is how it should be. If the resort's are not seeing an ROI for their freebee passes, it would make sense to dis-continue them.   The shop should sell some tickets to the mountains they are partnering with: that is always a way to get some tickets thrown at the shop guys.  It shouldn't be hard to get an established relationship going between a hill and a local shop.
post #27 of 29
 We put the ski area flyers on display in our shop, in return they usually give some passes or a discount.
post #28 of 29
 Some companies do pro deal in the shop, giving slight kick backs to the shop.

Many companies have you sign up for an account and submit your credentials.

Often times different credentials mean different levels of discount.

Other companies belong to a communal pro deal site.

Some shops buy season passes for the workers to use.

 

Some areas offer free or discounted tickets when presented with paystubs, letters of intro, or a discount card the shop employees use.

I can tell you that all the spouting off about discounts on the internet doesn't usually garner more or easier discounts.

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDoyal View Post

 We put the ski area flyers on display in our shop, in return they usually give some passes or a discount.
That's usally the way things were done when I worked in a shop.  The local ski area would give us two transferable passes and we would get free mid-week and discounted weekend lift tickets at Snow Shoe in W. Va. for being part of their marketing programs.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JDoyal View Post



Really? Pro Form is shut down? I sold a dozen (at least) pairs of boots on Pro Forms this year.  I will concede that pro forms are tighter now, but that is because a lot of patrollers and instructors were abusing the system. Also out of all the pro form orders I do, only a very very small percentage actually send skiers back into the shop. Kinda hard for me to fell sorry for the pros.

 


I had the same experience with pro form orders.  They were a hassle to deal with for a few bucks at best in profits and in the 9 years I worked in the shop I can probably count on my fingers the number of customers that were referred to us. 
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