Pete, thanks for the nice comments. I'd caution that we don't confuse eloquence with talktalktalktalkttalktalktalktalktalktalktalkttalk talktalktalktalktalktalkttalktalktalktalktalktalkt alk
Oz, perhaps I'm a bit of an idealist but what if talktalktalktalkttalktalktalktalktalktalktalkttalk actually led to some actualizations
: . Ok, so let me dream on
Nolo, yes I have looked at NASTC's site and any others that I hear of. They are definitely in the same boat as the others.
Do I think these alternative programs are making money???? I expect so to a widely varying degree. However, I think that they are enjoying what they're doing and getting much satisfaction out of their success.
In terms of ski school concessions (at a local Midwest area) - at least one that I know of is relatively lucrative. But this model is not what I am talking or getting excited about. It's the true integration of learning (and more fun and excitement) into the resort operation.
I am at a major university and yes we use a great deal of e-learning including entire graduate programs that are based on it (combined with occasional visits). As I run a clinical program I don't teach too many courses but a majority of the courses at the U have a website, use email communication between instructors and students, etc. In my research I have an international collaboration and we use a dedicated website with a variety of tools (including a chat for a regular weekly meeting). My experience there and other places only confirms what is suggested by looking at Epicski. These type of electronic communications can serve us well in building relationships and a sense of community.
As I meet people in my daily life I somewhat often discover people who ski, many with families. While they may not be as intense as I am about skiing they almost all exhibit a very special excitement when they talk about their experiences and travels. I think that this can be tapped into. What if you gave these people the opportunity to participate in a web forum with others of like mind getiing answers and suggestions in regards to child care, dining, ski instruction, etc. Now what if you have employees of the resort participating, making suggestions, etc. All of a sudden you are extending a very positive side of the ski vacation experience, (while perhaps reducing some of the worries and anxieties that accompany a vacation trip like this), getting the opportunity to give suggestions and get them to think about ways to enhance their ski vacation, etc. This certainly already occurs to some extent by talking to central reservations, hotel concierge, and others. But they don't also put you in contact with other visitors, ski instructors, patrollers, etc. Such a forum would inevitably lead to new relationships (with resort employees as well as perhaps other like minded visitors coming at the same time), a "connection" with the resort well beyond what normally would occur, dramatically enhanced learning opportunties allowing for discussion about the best approach and programs for their individual needs, sharing of ideas with others in a similar situation with similar desires, etc.
It's really not any one particular idea hear that's going to make a difference. It's the total integration of instruction with other resort activities along with the ability of enhanced communication and interaction. Humans are, for the most part, extremely social creatures and anything we can do that enhances the social experience is going to keep them coming back.