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Public pummeling of ski school class cutting lift line

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
There was a letter to the editor of one of Whistler's newpapers (the Pique maybe, unfortunately I lost my copy of that paper) about a ski school class that had attempted to use the ski school line on the Peak chair at Whistler. The Peak chair hadn't yet opened for the day due to heavy snow and ongoing Avalanche work. So the whole lift line corral was full and this ski school class slides by in the ski school line. The people in the corral had been waiting an hour for the chair to start to get first tracks. So they start throwing snowballs at the ski school class. Apparently lots of snowballs. The ski school class was pummeled so badly by the snow balls that they had to leave the lift line.

The writer of the letter compared it to we she had been attacked by a Muslim mob in Indonesia. She complained that the lift Ops or Ski patrol should have intervened. I think they were totally justified in driving the ski school and it's moron instructor out of the lift line.
post #2 of 54
If you'd paid up to buy a lesson to go learn powder or whatever was on offer up there that day, and your instructor joined the back of that giant mass that forms, you'd be heading off to complain, wouldn't you?

It's a tricky one, people flock to those 2 top lifts at W/B and the "line" is horrendous, but if the resort has put a ski school line into that lift, then it should support it. Sounds like a pretty nasty situation...a lynch mob.
post #3 of 54
Thread Starter 
Ant
Actually on that day the line was not moving at all. A big crowd was waiting for the lift to open. They were doing Avalanche work so the chair was opening late.
I think the instructor was real stupid and rude to try to insert his class in front of these people. The had been waiting for like a hour for the chair to start.

[ May 22, 2003, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: NordtheBarbarian ]
post #4 of 54
Well, based on what little I read here, the instructor should have showed better comprehension of the situation, and taken
a more appropiate path than simply inserting the class in the
preferred lift line (which was their right anyway, I agree, Ant).
The idea of people being snowballed because they were cutting lift lines is nice, though! Better than being shooted at, or hit with poles.... :
post #5 of 54
Nord, you are kidding right?

If the morons in line wanted to cut to the front maybe they should pay for a lesson and cut the line. Ski resorts and ski schools all over Canada and the US allow line cutting and advertise that as a bonus to every lesson. There are no exceptions for powder days!

I cannot believe that you are defending the crowd's behaviour. :
post #6 of 54
Sounds like that crowd was pretty nasty. I don't like mob behavior.

I feel bad for the ski pro. All she or he was doing was her job as she's been trained and allowed to do, and the crowd goes wild. I mean this pro wasn't "cutting" the lift line. Instead he/she was using a designated school line.

On the other hand, we would recommend to our pros that if they see a huge line, and have an opportunity to bypass it, they should to go to another lift--that they should use some discretion.

But powder does bring out some nasty behavior sometimes. That's why I NEVER participate in the first tracks wave. Very nice people suddenly become extremely obnoxious.

[ May 23, 2003, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #7 of 54
weems,
I like your answer that the pro should have moved along to a less crowded lift. If I were one of the people standing in line for an hour waiting for the patrol to open that lift I would be very pissed if the first 10 chairs went to the ski school. Now if the instructor had waited for say half of the initial line to go through and then taken every fourth or so chair I doubt that he would have had such a problem. From the perspective of someone who bought a lift ticket and isn't part of the group cutting line, I paid good money for for a lift ticket and I doubt that in the case in question it was brought to my attention either verbally or in the fine print that I would be subjected to line cutting by the ski school. When people wait in a lengthy line for anything (lifts, grocery checkout, DMV) they become agitated and very easily excited. I think it really just comes down to being poor judgement on the instructors part (given the information presented). Had I been in the line I wouldn't have participated in the snowballing, but I would have enjoyed watching it happen.

Edit: Additionally, in my experience most powder workshops start about an hour before the lifts open to the general public, thus avoiding this problem.

[ May 23, 2003, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by TomB:
Nord, you are kidding right?

If the morons in line wanted to cut to the front maybe they should pay for a lesson and cut the line. Ski resorts and ski schools all over Canada and the US allow line cutting and advertise that as a bonus to every lesson. There are no exceptions for powder days!

I cannot believe that you are defending the crowd's behaviour. :
I just picked up a discarded lift ticket out of the back of my car, it mentions nothing about ski school line cutting priveleges and neither did the girl at the ticket window when I purshased it (from Snowbird BTW, mmm, steep, powder, goood). Cut to the front of the line when I've been waiting for an hour and your group just cruised up and you deserve whatever gets thrown your way.

Not that the instructor doesn't have the right to do this, but it is a very poor judgement call. And you wonder why the customers don't value ski instruction, read your post from the viewpoint of someone standing in that line and tell me how that's going to make you want to throw your hard earned cash to the ski school.
post #9 of 54
Cutting the line is a privelage that comes with a lesson, but there are good ways to approach it and bad. The best way I have seen is when the instructor says "mind if we scoot in here" or something like that. This defuses a potential situation, especially on a powder day. I think in this case the instructor used poor judgemnet, people waiting an hour for first tracks should have the right of way, I don't agree with the snowball attack, but can see why it happened. At least we have a better system than in Europe. I got run over so many times by the Austrian ski team on the line I started to get a complex, and I'm 6'2" 240 lbs.
post #10 of 54
1. Why was the instructor using his student's valuable time in a lift line for a chair that was down (not being loaded)?

2. What kind of jack-a## stands in line for an hour when he/she could be skiing on other sections of the mountain?

3. I'll tell you what I would do if I were an instructor with a class in a situation like this... I'd march those people right to the front of the designated ski school line, and alternate my class in with the general public. (The chair would have to be running, or I wouldn't waste my client's time!) First loser that pelted me with a snowball would get first class ticket to the bottom of the resort and asked to friggin' go somewhere else and act like a jerk. People in lessons have paid money on top of money to get a little "extra". If you want the same... pony up the cash and keep your damn snowballs to yourself. Shame on you Nord for supporting the same mob mentality that has been the source of every great buzz-kill throughout history.

Caught me on a crappy day I guess,
Spag :
post #11 of 54
We have a lot of opinions here without much real information.

First, it's not cutting. It's the ski school only line. It's standard operating procedure in all the areas. I don't think this has to be printed on the lift ticket, and I very much doubt the people in the lift line didn't know this.

Second, they are supposed to alternate, and the lifties usually help with that.

Third, the best pros usually do it politely, although there are many who forget that.

Fourth, we don't know if that was the only lift available to ride or not. If it was, I don't see how the pro had much of a choice. If there was a choice, the prudent thing would have been to take it. Another choice, perhaps, would have been for the pro to wait discreetly outside of the maze until the loading actually started and then work his way in.

Fifth, I think the mob mentality really sucks. Again that's why I don't ever go for the first wave.

We really don't know enough to judge here. However, I'm not sure that I would take a lesson if I had to wait in line. It's a pretty good perk.
post #12 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Notorious Spag:
1. Why was the instructor using his student's valuable time in a lift line for a chair that was down (not being loaded)?

2. What kind of jack-a## stands in line for an hour when he/she could be skiing on other sections of the mountain?

3. I'll tell you what I would do if I were an instructor with a class in a situation like this... I'd march those people right to the front of the designated ski school line, and alternate my class in with the general public. (The chair would have to be running, or I wouldn't waste my client's time!) First loser that pelted me with a snowball would get first class ticket to the bottom of the resort and asked to friggin' go somewhere else and act like a jerk. People in lessons have paid money on top of money to get a little "extra". If you want the same... pony up the cash and keep your damn snowballs to yourself. Shame on you Nord for supporting the same mob mentality that has been the source of every great buzz-kill throughout history.
Caught me on a crappy day I guess,
Spag :
1) He or she probably thought it was cool that they could cut in front of that many people, to ski the best snow on the best lift on the mountain. Flaunting your privledges is never a good idea.
2) The same kind of jack-a## that go backcountry or hike for powder. There is a lot of good steep terrain accessable from that lift. So basically a bunch of hard core skiers and boarders were in that line. I wasn't in the line that day but I have been in it on others days.
3) If you were the instrustor and I were the mountain manager. I would fire you for creating such a public relations fiasco.

Nord

The letter was pretty crazy. It sounded like the ski school client who wrote it had a panic attack.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by NordtheBarbarian:
The people in the corral had been waiting an hour for the chair to start to get first tracks.
This is where I have a problem with the instructor. If he makes a run on another lift and then comes back after the initial group has gone through then its business as usual. I also agree with Nord's statement above:

Quote:
1) He or she probably thought it was cool that they could cut in front of that many people, to ski the best snow on the best lift on the mountain. Flaunting your privledges is never a good idea.
While legally in the right (maybe, but I'll get to that later), the instructor in question was being a prick. Also, I stand by my first statement that nowhwere in the purchase of a lift ticket does it state that the ski school gets line cutting priveleges, I know that it is common knowledge that they do however I would also say that this a privelege and not a right and should be excercised as such with discretion and courtesy towards other paying customers of the ski area.
post #14 of 54
One thing that needs to be kept in mind is that this happened at Whistler/Blackcomb, the BIGGEST resort in North America. While I was unfamiliar with it before, it took me 20 sec to look at the trail map on their site to find the peak chair (guess where it was- not at the bottom...). For this chair to be open everything on the mountain must be open (relatively at least).

As far as I'm concerned, ski classes get to cut in line because they paid for instruction, and need to maximize the time on the snow. It does not make you a first-class citizen at the resort. Often, ski school groups are made to wait so more people can be cycled through the line before they go. But, it really comes down to the instructor being judicious with the line cutting priveleges. Sure he has a right and a need to cut the line, but people don't like it. They should try to go on chairs that are less busy.

I asked my best friend who is a ski instructor at Squaw and gave him the equivalent hypothetical with the KT chair. He said no way would he do it. Not only would he fear for his life, but he would also get yelled at by his boss.

Frankly, I think it is fine to cut the line for groomed runs. However, whether or not it is important to you, you can see how important fresh tracks are to the people that were waiting in this line because they gave up over an hour of skiing in order to go on this chair first. Even if these students want to learn how to ski powder, they don't need 100% fresh tracks to do it. Why not get more laps in on another chair? 7,000 acres makes for a lot of powder.

As well, do you really want to take your ski school class into the midst of a powder feeding frenzy? I wouldn't want inexperienced people in the way of Hugo Harrison, Shane Szocs, etc.

The instructor made the wrong choice. My friend *expected* to get snowballed in that situation. Whether or not it is right, why would you subject your ski class to the potential of that kind of abuse? The instructor should have known that might happen.

I would have thrown a snowball. Quite a few actually. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] Just no rocks. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]

[edit: can't spell priveleges]

[ May 23, 2003, 06:15 PM: Message edited by: sanchez ]
post #15 of 54
"The writer of the letter compared it to we she had been attacked by a Muslim mob in Indonesia."

While I admit that it must have been a horrific situation, I am really becoming impatient with those who trivialize being attacked by terrorists, by comparing it with events that are terriible, yet not tragic.
post #16 of 54
Lisamarie, are you saying that all Muslim mobs are terrorists? That sounds like cultural stereotyping. I'm sure there exist many very nice Muslim mobs that have no predisposition for personally committing terrorist acts and only desire to engage in the harmless fun of celebrating the activities of actual terrorists and chanting anti American rhetoric. Shame on you! Lets try to keep such culture bashing off this forum.
post #17 of 54
Gee Nord, I guess It's a good thing you aren't my boss then. I'd hate to work for someone who wouldn't support his employees in the face of obvious abuse. I remember once in a lift line a "gentleman" called one of our lift ops the "N"-word. I had no problem stepping up to this jerk-off and getting him out of line, detaining him, and getting his sorry excuse for a carcass off my hill. Did the resort condemn me for causing a "fiasco", as you so eloquently put it? Did the lift op just have to sit there and smile? NO. This is the same type of disrespect and abuse that the instructor encountered, delivered upon him by adult-aged children that couldn't stand to give up any of their precious lift-line time. (who, by the way, aren't the same people who hike for their turns!) I firmly stand by my previous statement about getting abusive customers off the mountain.

I'm still not understanding why the instructor used the school line privelege for a chair that wasn't running, that just seems stupid. And (I can't remember who said this) why does it have to state on the ticket that the ski school gets line privelege for it to be a policy? That is equally stupid. Must we have a Surgeon General's Warning on EVERYTHING?

"Caution: the edges of this sign are very sharp. Please refrain from touching the edge of this sign. Failure to comply with this warning could result in bodily harm."

or

"This Bullet may be travelling in excess of 3200 feet per second... Do Not Stand In Front Of."

or

"Purchase of this ski area pass requires you to give up your space for a ski school class should the need arise. Your cooperation will be expected."
Of course the ticket isn't going to say anything like that! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills here. Does no one else see how ridiculous that would be?

Call it what you will, but lift line priveleges for ski schools do exist. Instructors will use them for their clientele. If people standing in line can't be adults, that is their problem. There are certainly different ways in which instructors, lift ops, and area managers can handle this "non-problem". Supporting crowds, or even individuals who exact childish revenge on ski area employees for infractions that affect their lives... gee... not at all... is itself, Childish.

Spag :
post #18 of 54
Well said Spag!!

Belive it or not this actaully happens at WC fairly often, with out the snowball problem. Lessons start and lifts have just opened because of control work. Ski school politely goes first and everyone understands why. Though the lines are usually only a few minutes.
post #19 of 54
Not only are lift line privileges the rule for ski school classes across the US, but some areas offer special guided powder tours before the general public is allowed on the lifts. We don't know if this was the case here or not, but it's possible. I can see why the mob in the lift line might be envious, and as an instructor, I'd even accept a few light-hearted, "tossed" (not thrown) snowballs. But this sounds out of hand, and inexcusable.

If the resort offers the opportunity, then those throwing snowballs are just expressing sour grapes. Maybe it's not just--but it's an opportunity that they could have participated in too, if they'd chosen. Either way, the resort should definitely have stood by the instructor who was surely "just doing his/her job."

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #20 of 54
Snowballs? You want snowballs?

Be the instr of a group at the bottom of Ch5 in the Vail Back Bowls on a big snow day... There will be 45-60 minute lines, all day long! And they wait till you are on the chair, can't protect yourself, and hit you from BOTH sides! Hell, it gets so bad sometimes, the lift ops have to go inside their sheds to protect themselves. And they'll stop the lift as they go! I saw one ocassion this past season where the patrol and other mtn ops emplyees were told to pull the pass off of ANYBODY seen throwing even a single snowball.

But you are right. It is up to the pro to be diplomatic and courteous to the public. But for Nord or teledave to condone the actions of a mob like this, does not make me feel comfortable having them on my hill. What other (uncivilized) actions would they find acceptable?

Can't find the writing on the ticket? I didn't realize that simple courtesy (on the part of both parties) was something which had to be spelled out to educated people with common sense. So, in that case- read the writing on the wall! You know it's a common and accepted practice at almost all ski areas,
GET OVER IT!!!

[ May 23, 2003, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: vail snopro ]
post #21 of 54
I don't know this chair, but my guess is that the entire class would take 5 or less chairs. Probably delay the crowd by less that two minutes. A class also does not use up all the terrain and destroy the trail for all those that follow. To those throwing the snowballs, I say "grow up."

I think that one jerk threw the first snowball and started the whole thing. Some in the line throwing snowballs probably thought it was fun. They never even thought someone could get hurt. To this jerk, I say "grow up." To the others I say "grow up too".

At most resorts there are signs for the feed lines to the lift. One of the sighs reads "SKI SCHOOL." If you want to go in this line, you take a lesson. If you don't want or can't take a lesson, thats life. Accept it and move on, "grow up".

To the instructor who was the focus of all this rath. You could have forseen the situation and as some suggested gone elsewhere or held back until the lift started and then make your move. I don't think you should have to do this but it may have been more comfortable for your class to be less obvious to the jerks.
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
Lisamarie, are you saying that all Muslim mobs are terrorists? That sounds like cultural stereotyping. I'm sure there exist many very nice Muslim mobs that have no predisposition for personally committing terrorist acts and only desire to engage in the harmless fun of celebrating the activities of actual terrorists and chanting anti American rhetoric. Shame on you! Lets try to keep such culture bashing off this forum.
I think Lisamarie's intent was the opposite. The woman who compared the Whistler skiers to being attacked by a Muslim mob was doing the stereotyping and the trivializing.

A friend of mine once declared that all comparative references to Hitler should be banned in political discourse, because they were inevitably too trivial to be considered as an effective metaphor. I think Lisamarie says basically the same thing here.

there exist many very nice (whatever!!)mobs...(who) only desire to engage in the harmless fun of celebrating the activities of actual terrorists....? Yes, indeed. How nice!

(I'm dropping out of this one. It ain't about skiing.)
post #23 of 54
VSP- Rowdy behavior at Vail? What is the world coming to!

The answer is to ski small out of the way resorts. We have no lines, and not to steryotype, on a powder day all our pinheads from Nederland are too stoned to make or toss a snowball.
post #24 of 54
rusty,

You're inbox is full!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #25 of 54
[QB][quote]Originally posted by FastMan:

Lisamarie, are you saying that all Muslim mobs are terrorists? That sounds like cultural stereotyping. I'm sure there exist many very nice Muslim mobs that have no predisposition for personally committing terrorist acts and only desire to engage in the harmless fun of celebrating the activities of actual terrorists and chanting anti American rhetoric. Shame on you! Lets try to keep such culture bashing off this forum.

WEEMS SAID:
I think Lisamarie's intent was the opposite. The woman who compared the Whistler skiers to being attacked by a Muslim mob was doing the stereotyping and the trivializing.

there exist many very nice (whatever!!)mobs...(who) only desire to engage in the harmless fun of celebrating the activities of actual terrorists....? Yes, indeed. How nice!

FASTMAN REPLY:
I think an explanation is called for. My post was intended to point out that mob activity does not equate with terrorism. To try to equate the two is in of its self an exercise in trivialization, no matter which side of the pond the mob behavior takes place.

It was also meant to include an abstractly humorous, tongue in cheek, politically incorrect, between the lines statement. Sorry Weems if your took my statement as a sincere reflection of my sentiments. I guess ya gotta get to know me.

Finally, to speak in defense of the woman in the article who made the comparison, I would suggest that a person who has personally lived through each ordeal has every right to make comparisons between the two and does not deserve to be condemned for doing so by those who have not.

Now, sorry for the interruption, and back to skiing!! :
post #26 of 54
"Finally, to speak in defense of the woman in the article who made the comparison, I would suggest that a person who has personally lived through each ordeal has every right to make comparisons between the two and does not deserve to be condemned for doing so by those who have not."

And you know that I have not...HOW?

Summer, year of the Iranian hostage crisis
Universita Per Stranieri, Perugia Italy
Large Iranian student population launches evening attacks on American students.

Febuary, 1993, a fluke situation means that I did not go to work at the world trade center that day.

Flash foward: Winter 2000 Killington.
Get hit by snowboarders because they are angry that I am "in their line".

Difference between iincident 1&2, in comparison to 3, is that in 1&2, the goal was to kill. In 3, it was to inconvenience.
To compare being hit by boarders to being chased by a homicidal Iranian mob would be heresy.

I do believe that the woman who was hit has every single right to be enraged. But in order for this rage to be taken seriously, she should not compare this incident to dangerous mob behavior, that has the intent to kill.

Back to skiing
post #27 of 54
Thread Starter 
Lisamarie
The letter writer/ski school client was attacked by a mob in Indonesia. Thus she draws the comparison.

[ May 24, 2003, 03:28 PM: Message edited by: NordtheBarbarian ]
post #28 of 54
Of course I don't know what life experiences you've had Lisamarie, but whatever they may be I think you have a right to your own personal perception of them, just as the girl quoted in the article has right to hers.

In an attempt to keep this on a skiing note, let me offer a personal example. I once took a high speed crash during a downhill race after a pre release. My momentum carried me rather violently off the trail and into the pop fencing and Willie Bags in what was to the observing crowd a horrendous looking fall.

In true Herman style I arose from the malaise of twisted fencing and scattered bags and immediately rejoiced in what I had perceived to be a very thrilling and enjoyable crash. (understand, I'm the guy who trained in summer by hinging a set of bindings on top of my truck cap and blasting down the road out of Lake Placid at 80+ mph)

I was immediately scolded by one of the young female spectators who had just witnessed my crash, and still looked to be rather shaken by it, for laughing over such a terrifying and potentially deadly fall. But my view is perception is the right of the participant. Perhaps perception patrol is some sort of female thing, I'm starting to see a pattern!
post #29 of 54
If I was still instructing, I'd do the same thing as the instructor did with his group. I would have handle the outcome differently though. A simple call to Mountain Operations would have put an end to the altercation and those who complained enough would have had an abrupt end to their skiing day or season. Every lift at Whistler/Blackcomb has a Ski and Snowboard School line. Additionally, the Ski Patrol either have their own or share the SSS line. There is no need to post the information on the lift tickets, since it is posted at every lift base station at the entrance to the lift line up.

Whistler/Blackcomb Ski and Snowboard School (WBSSS) offers many programs for all types of skiers and snowboarders. Club Link for instance is a season long weekends and holidays program for regulars. Part of the program is off-piste skiing on alpine terrain, which is accessed by both the Peak and Harmony chairlifts. These two lifts are last to open, since snow stabilization takes longer and other parts of the mountain are higher immediate priority. To be an instructor with this program, a familiarization of the terrain by years of skiing at W/B is required. With the time spent, one picks up some additional knowledge, like how to find out when a lift on standby might open, so that standing for hours in line is not required. It might only be a few minutes. Knowing a number of the instructors of the WBSSS, I would assume that they took their classes skiing elsewhere from the commencement of the lesson until their arriving at the Peak Chair that day. Many of the senior instructors have radios, and a simple switch of channel to Patrol could have given them information so that they could time their arrival at the lift with the opening of it, so that a long wait was not needed. Also, there is conduct which must be adhered to, and one is not to barge through to the line. The group must still merge with the flow of traffic of the other lines, and it is up to the instructor or lift personel to tactfully merge the class in. Throwing snowballs was idiotic, since the ski school class was filling space in their line, and at the time not forcing their way onto the chair.

I find no fault in any actions taken by the instructor, other than not having those punished who ruined the day of the class.
post #30 of 54
Here. I hand my lift ticket to you, sir.
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