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Public pummeling of ski school class cutting lift line - Page 2

post #31 of 54
I hate the creation of a two tiered class system in skiing. In my opinion skiing is one of the last sports where the filthy rich are forced to mingle with the just plain filthy I really can't stand the fact that some places like Copper and Stratton are starting to give privelaged treatment to some skiers. I respect ski school and patrols right to cut the line on every occasion EXCEPT on a powder day. Can you think of anything that should be more democratic then first tracks on a powder day? You busted your a-s-s to get up to the mountain first so that you can snag some tracks and because of the high speed quad revolution its not even a powder day its more like a powder hour before its all tracked out. There were plenty of other lifts on the mountain that could be used, the instructor didn't have to slide up late to the prime lift on the mountain and expect to use his line cutting privlages. Same thing with patrol, I have no problems with them cutting the line if their rescuing someone or have some job to do, but if they're simply freeskiing then they should wait in the line like everyone else.
post #32 of 54
Being from the fringe element here's make take on it. Both parties were not using their heads. But I'll have to side with the Instructor. He was within his rights. Big deal,so a few Ski school people got to the top first. I'm sure they won't ruin the whole Mt. for Powder skiing. : Christ,I feel lucky just to be there,right Pierre..........
post #33 of 54
It is one thing to lob a snowball in fun but that does not sound like what was happening here. If I were management, I would have a standing policy of pulling the ticket of anyone who acted this way. I would also make season pass holders come to the area desk to retrieve their tickets. They would receive the warning that additional bad behavior would result in the total loss of the season pass. I would try to implement a similar policy with daily ticket holders but I also see the difficulty in doing so. I would hold out banishment as the ultimate penalty.

This is the skiing form of Road Rage. The cure is not to let it go until someone is seriously injured or killed over cutting in line, the cure is to deal swiftly and severely with the miscreants.

post #34 of 54
If law abiding ski school students were legally able to carry concealed firearms, this situation would not have gotten so out of hand.
post #35 of 54
I do know this chair, to get there from other terrainyou have to ski down to it, going past a T Bar to get there and there is an opportunity, if you dont like that option to bail out and go down to another lift which will take you back up to that area, so the instructor had other options....but not to get to the Peak if that is where he really wanted to go. But what was wrong with what he did.If there was nobody else in the ski school line naturally he would be at the top of it. Was he supposed to say to his class- despite you having paid to go in that line we will go in this one at the back? I know what my reaction would have been.

Anybody who has skied at Whistler for half an hour, let alone any longer, should be able to see/work out that ski school has lift line privileges, if they didnt know it already.

The idea that this ski school class were going to spoil irreparably anybodies first tracks is just junk if you know the area- there is so much terrain available that the whole line and more could have found first tracks in the bowls, where the class were likely not going anyway. Most of the area atthe immediate top of the lift is either double or single black and not groomed. Alternatively there is a groomed cat track which can take the likes of ski school away from the immediate top to somewhat easier terrain.

The chair as i recall is a fast quad, the ski school class is unlikely to have been more than 10-12 people, so the "delay" foranybody would be insignificant. As was said the ski school line goes turn about with the main line, they dont just get to the top and load up in total before joe public gets to go.

The fact is that the line behaved like morons and no amount of analysis is going to change that.No doubt they had been standing there for a long time, but whose fault was that? Any of them could have gone away and come back later as well. In the end of the day that was their choice and no doubt they were getting increasingly riled standing there as nothing was happening, but that cant condone what happened.

What if the class were little kids? Would everyone say that it was ok to pelt them with snowballs. Even if they werent little kids, they paid for the lesson and the lesson involves getting into a special line which you pay for.If these guys wanted that, they could have bought that.Whistler does something called first tracks- for which you pay extra- and get up before everyone else. The logic of some ofthe posts here seems to be that if I was to get up an hour before the first tracks guests and stand at the bottom of the lifts until they came along then I could feel aggrieved that they got up before me, even though I had not paid.
post #36 of 54
Originally posted by milesb:
If law abiding ski school students were legally able to carry concealed firearms, this situation would not have gotten so out of hand.
post #37 of 54
Hah. This is funny from both sides. I woulda made sure my class got some fresh tracks after that pummeling though. With a hearty Nyaah Nyaah.

complaining should never be rewarded with positive feedback.
post #38 of 54
Yes, the Peak chair is good in that you can see from above how bad the line is. People tend to flock to it, and 7th Heavan over on Blackcomb, waiting for the avalanche work to be finished so they can all swarm up and get "first tracks". It's a bit of a cult. There's also the option of bailing, say when you get there and find it isn't going to run for a while.

7th Heavan up on Blackcomb is hopeless in that regard, after a long road glide, you are virtually stuck there (there is a way off but it's a bit complicated and involves trees). the signs telling you about how much wait at thsoe lifts are usually wrong, in my experience.

I can only surmise (more info, Nord!) that the class was specifically to ski the Peak area (or Bagel Bowl or wherever), hence the instructor heading there. I mean, in the morning, both those chairs are packed with eager punters waiting for it to open. Ski school often arrives at crowded lifts, at any resort (in the world?). If this kind of behaviour happened often...I dunno what would be the result. Whistler does seem to suffer from lift lines at certain lifts. It's not as though the line was a freak occurance.

Whistler really pump this first tracks thing. They have a deal called first tracks where you pay a bit extra, and go up early morning, have brekky in The Roundhouse while patrol do their thing, and then you are released to go ski, while down at teh base, they haven't loaded the gondolas yet. My experience was you got about 2 decent runs before the normal punters arrived in the gondolas. Maybe this cult of the first tracks has led to the mob mentality Nord posted about.
post #39 of 54
I wonder ifg the snowball thowing idoits had a simalar product to the Buddy Pass???????
post #40 of 54
Good question, Larry, and I agree with you.
post #41 of 54
Originally posted by vail snopro:

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?!!!
What I said: Had I been in the line I wouldn't have participated in the snowballing, but I would have enjoyed watching it happen.

Originally posted by vail snopro:
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,
Since when is cutting line considered a common courtesy? I must have missed that memo.

Would you buy a car that would stop in the event any public transportation wanted in front of you without the same knowledge? How about signing an employment contract that guarantees you a certain income, unless of course the employer decided to pay someone else and not you but did not disclose this fact in advance however it is still legal and OK? Aggregious examples I admit.

However; What I originally said I will stand behind. If the general public had been in the line for an hour or so, the instructor should have bypassed that lift in favor of another and then come back to it after the initial crowd had gone through. The particular instructor showed very poor judgement in this case and holds a certain degree (albeit small) of responsibility for getting his class snowballed. The entire incident SHOULD have been avoided and very easily could have except for the ego of one particular individual which has also been shown to be prevalent among several other posters.

I echo the sentiment of Pesky Resinballer here, I truly loathe the advent of tickets and passes that give a hierarchy of rights to the holder based upon their payment. That is not what skiing is supposed to be about.

I do however accept that the ski school has line cutting priveleges, but i also think that this particular instructor was abusive to the general public in the way that he used them. Also, he should not have been snowballed by the lift line. The entire incident should not have happened and both parties are to blame.

[ May 27, 2003, 06:29 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #42 of 54
I did place an equal amount of responsibility on the pro who used poor judgement in this case.
But in my comment to you and Nord, I used the word "condone", not "participate". As you "would have enjoyed watching", rather than doing something positive about it, I consider your attitude to be condoning of the activity.

As to the comments you and PR expound re: varied tiers of pricing equalling varied service. Have you ever flown on a commercial flight? Why do the people who paid more get to sit up front, get more leg room, have edible food, wine with corks, free cocktails, and possibly, the prettier flight attendants? They get on the aircraft before you, they get off before you, and their bags are already waiting for them?

They are paying for the service they want! Certainly, to some it's a status symbol. Do you want that service? Ante up! I don't hear you bitching at any airline for having First Class! Isn't flying just about getting from point A to point B?

Do you want the best seats at the concert, with box cocktail service? Pay the price, but you won't get it for the price of sitting on the grass! Isn't the idea of the concert just about listening to music?

I could give you dozens of examples of this tiered service model. But since you (or others) feel it's directly affecting your enjoyment of a sport/event, you take selected offense at it. So to say "that's not what skiing is supposed to be about", is to say the ski resorts don't have the same rights as other businesses, possibly even your own.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not going to defend the same ski areas which have generally ripped off the public for decades in their greed, but don't blame the people who take advantage of these opportunities, because they can afford to! In fact, many students save like mad, not just for their vacation, but the extra necessary to take a lesson or two, so that they can enhance the enjoyment of their vacation.

But allow me to make a comment about liftline cutting by ski school students-
At many/most areas, it is a privilege, not a right! Even the Vail clients who have paid over $500 per day for a pvt lesson can not just cut right in. The instr MUST ask if they MAY alternate in with the line. They MAY NOT just barge in. And if they do, tell them NO! It is your right to decline letting them in. And the professional instr's will let you by, and ask the folks behind you. The instr's (for the most part) do realize the time you have spent in line, and will be considerate. Very rarely will an instr put students onto consecutive chairs. Usually, they will allow several groups(in Vail, the policy is 3-4 groups) go by between each group of students, with the instr going up last.

post #43 of 54
There are no ski school lines at my home mountain. Everybody gets the same treatment in terms of riding the lifts.

I don't agree with the concept of allowing a ski school line, at least here. I am sure that at Whistler or Vail, the resorts are largely supported by the tourists who might be willing to spend $500 for a day of lessons, but here, the mountain is largely supported by the locals. There are Vails for the people who want prima donna treatment and there are places like Mt. Baker for those who want to avoid it. To each their own.

I go to Whistler occasionally (in fact I was there yesterday), but I only go when the hoards are safely home in Ohio. If I were in the line, though, I would have thrown snowballs. But only at the instructor.
post #44 of 54
We are probably closer on this issue than it appears. Finally, someone brings up that line cutting is a privelege and not a right. Instructors remembering this will probably avoid any scenarios like the one that started this thread.

I don't really care for creating a tiered service level within the skiing industry (BTW, I would let the ski school cut line in front of me, even on a powder day.) even though it is commonplace in just about every industry. As I said before, that is not what skiing is about. But then you teach at Vail every day, and the only time that I am there is when I go out with my extended family because my mother and my in-laws love it. I'm not into the scene there, but to each his own.

Given the lift layout at Vail I'd say you pretty much avoid this problem anyway since you would have to ski down through the avy closure areas to access the lifts on the backside.

I'm just bringing a dissenting opinion to the table, have a great summer in CO.
post #45 of 54
I'm still a bit troubled by people blaming the instructor.
I have a strong suspicion that the group was formed/sold/bought specifically to ski the "steep n deep" which is generally regarded as the Peak and 7th Heaven areas at WB.
I strongly suspect that The Peak chair was the set destination, and that using the ski school line wasn't even in question.
And I'm really hoping that the instructor didn't get into trouble, because it sounds like to me that they were the meat in the sandwich: wrong for using the ski school line, but wrong if they didn't.

Last time I taught in the US, I got complained-about by a punter whom I'd caught using the ski school line on the bunny hill with his sons. My colleagues explained that you take off your namebadge before doing that! (yay for velcro).
post #46 of 54
Let me try to solve the problem of who was right/wrong using what would probably be the logic of the ski area's Executive Board.

A) if the peak chair maze was filled up with 'ergular' skiers - estimate about 100 skiers

1) 50 tourist skiers/boarders @ $60 each = $3,000
2) 20 locals @ $30 each = $600
3) 10 season pass holders who were widly optimistic on how much they would ski/ride ($1,500 season pass, break even is at 30 times skiing) (estimate 10 times skiing/riding @ $150 per day) = $1,500
4) 10 season pass holders who made good on their investment ($1,500 season pass, break even is at 30 times skiing/riding) (estimate 30 times skiing/riding @ $30 per day) = $300
5) 5 skiers/boarders who scammed their day skiing/riding = $0
6) 5 rich skiers/boarders friends of ski area executives who ski/ride for free = $0


B) large ski class of 10 skiers and 1 instructor

1) 1 instructor (Level 2 CSIA) @ $12/hr for 5 hrs = -$60 (a loss)
2) 4 students (lesson & lift & rentals) at $225 per day = $900
3) 4 students (lesson & lift) at $200 per day = $800
4) 2 rich students friends of ski area executives who get free lessons/lift/rentals = $0


Conclusion is that the regular skiers can throw snowballs at the skis school class.

Are my assumptions ok? Did I make any mistakes?
post #47 of 54
Well I hope a Canadian level 2 wouldn't be taking teh Steep and Deep class, or any class that was competant for The Peak area.
Other than that, a depressing but probably realistic scenario.

So next time that instructor gets the SteepNDeep Rippers group, and takes them to the Black chair (or Orange) instead because teh lines are smaller there, and gets complained about, the bosses will defend her, right?!!!!
post #48 of 54
Thread Starter 
I am pretty certain that this wasn't a steep n deep group or powder clinic. There was no mention of that in a letter. The leesson may have been a part of a package trip.

The snowballing incident: Is this like a class warfare thing, locals and hardcores vs "rich" tourists?
post #49 of 54
This assumption that people are rich is fraught with peril. You might find that they've won the trip, or saved all year to afford it, or..yeah maybe they're "rich", maybe they work 12-hour days to be rich...
It's not a good thing.
post #50 of 54
Here are some questions to those who favoured the actions of the snowball throwing crowd. If the ski school group just skied up to the corral, then how were they to know how long the rest were waiting? Also, how can any of you really make any comment regarding it? Do you live in Whistler? Are you season's pass holders at Whistler? Why didn't the crowd ski to the next lift down instead of waiting? Why does Teledave care so much about the issue? I thought using telemark gear allowed for easier access to the back country where there are no lift lines.

Do you want foreigners to get involved in American diplomacy? No. Then stay out of Canadian issues when you have no clue about how things work here.
post #51 of 54
Now BetaRacer.....I only lived in Canada for three years, however, I didn't find it much different than North Dakota or northern Minnesota say around Ely. Just kidding of course. Three years doesn't make one an expert at anything. I did work for Robin for a year and he's as clearly Canuck as they come!
post #52 of 54
Originally posted by BetaRacer:
Why does Teledave care so much about the issue? I thought using telemark gear allowed for easier access to the back country where there are no lift lines.

Do you want foreigners to get involved in American diplomacy? No. Then stay out of Canadian issues when you have no clue about how things work here.
Why do I care about the issue? Well, I am almost strictly a lift serviced telemark skier. I enjoy skiing using the telemark turn for several reasons which are not really important. I live in TN and ski in the Southeast US, not much backcountry skiing around here. I can count my backcountry ski days in the Southeast on one finger and my total backcountry days on two hands. I generally ski 35-50 days per season, so you can now make an informed decision as to why I care about lift lines. (This is not a slam on you, you did not have full disclosure before making your previous commentary.)

As far as the foreigners vs. Canadian issue; the last time I checked Whistler/Blackcomb was owned and operated by the Intrawest Corporation; a company that also operates 12 other ski resorts/operations in the US and Canada, which is traded on the NYSE (ticker: IDR) so it is hardly an island unto itself that other skiers should not concern themselves with. Not only does Intrawest own WB, but it also operates 4 other skiing operations in Canada and 8 in the US. These resorts include some of the best ski areas on the continent. Intrawest consistently uses its properties on a test basis for new ideas in managing its other properties. Thus, what happens at WB affects what happens at the Intrawest owned properties here in the US.

Below is solely my personal opinion and is not supported with any factual basis:
Intrawest Corp. is not interested in serving the non-affluent sector of skiers. They are interested in serving the segment of the market that can afford to buy the surrounding properties, and they are interested in policies that predjudiciously favor patrons staying with Intawest owned properties. They are not interstes in serving the market that consists of local skiers, season pass holders (unless they are property owners), and day ticket buyers. They consider that group to be non-profitable, and non-desirable due to their spending habits while at the resort (i.e. no rentals, no lessons, brown bagging, etc.). Other than WB (which is just too good an area to ignore) I will not ski at any Intrawest owned area; with the exception of the times that I have been able to score free tickets, because it is my personal beleief that thier approach is short-sided and is not good for the skiing industry as a whole.

This all leads into this thread:
Preferential Treatment of the Rich on Public Lands
where the same ideas are being discussed.

[ May 29, 2003, 06:33 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #53 of 54
As a whole, Im not a fan of Intrawest. There are a number of things about their business practices that I do not agree with. Intrawest owns Whistler/Blackcomb and many large parcels of land which they develop. The daily operation of Whistler/Blackcomb is run by a different management group. Their concern is everything with on hill business and service, ski school, mountain safety, retail sales and rentals etc. The skiing brings the guests who then buy the properties. My assessment of the Whistler/Blackcomb operation is that they offer great service at a very good price when comparing to other ski areas. $65CDN is cheap to ski at Whistler when one compares that to $70US at the major resorts of Colorado or Utah. Even compared to the smaller resorts of BC (Big White, Silver Star and Sun Peaks) whose daily lift ticket is around $50CDN. Those areas don't even come close to what is offered at W/B in the way of terrain, lifts and service. Even accomodation is on par with Whistler prices. The Harmony and Peak Chairs offer awesome terrain, and at one time was only accessible by hiking. There were mixed feelings when the original Peak Chair was installed, but not anymore. Being able to rip lap after lap in the bowls and chutes is pure heaven, and many other would agree that having those lifts is better than not. But new lifts are expensive and those costs must be absorbed somehow. One way is Itrawest's realestate development, and the other is general revenue from services offered to those willing to pay. If an individual is willing to shell out $450/day for a private lesson, then they should be allowed their lift priority regardless of how busy the line is and how deep the snow is. Chances are you will get 3 runs to their 1 even with standing in the line. Even when the lines are filled to the end of the corral, it is only a 15 minute wait, which in the grand scheme is not huge. Let the rich pay for the services and lifts, and let them think they are special by giving them their own line, and I'll use the same lifts and services for the cost of my pass all year.
post #54 of 54
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by BetaRacer:
Here are some questions to those who favoured the actions of the snowball throwing crowd. If the ski school group just skied up to the corral, then how were they to know how long the rest were waiting? Also, how can any of you really make any comment regarding it? Do you live in Whistler? Are you season's pass holders at Whistler? Why didn't the crowd ski to the next lift down instead of waiting? Why does Teledave care so much about the issue? I thought using telemark gear allowed for easier access to the back country where there are no lift lines.

Do you want foreigners to get involved in American diplomacy? No. Then stay out of Canadian issues when you have no clue about how things work here.
If the ski school class just skied up to to the the corral the instructor would have known that no other skiers had been let up the lift. Thus the people first in line had been there about 1/2 hour after lifts opened (This half hour is due to the length of the gondola ride up to the Round House, or riding the 3 chairs to get there). Any one who skis at Whistler on a regular basis knows this.
The next lift down sucks (in comparison to to a powder day on the Peak chair). So the crowd didn't ski down to it.

I don't live at Whistler but I'm a Express cardholder and an IDR shareholder.

Also, Who ever said this was a $450 private lesson?
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