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Vail: How it's changed skiing and where it might be going.

Christy

Angel Diva
Wow, Vail is really willing to have PCMR shut down rather than pay patrollers more?

My neighbor's high school kid just got his very first job, at a local pizza chain; he started at $20/hour, plus tips. Patrollers aren't even asking for that much.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Wow, Vail is really willing to have PCMR shut down rather than pay patrollers more?

My neighbor's high school kid just got his very first job, at a local pizza chain; he started at $20/hour, plus tips. Patrollers aren't even asking for that much.
My impression is that in general the move to patrollers being in a union is relatively new and pretty uncommon even at large destination resorts. Definitely changes the situation not only at Park City, but obviously patrollers at other VR locations are watching closely to see what happens.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
"The email included a single footnote. Union members would be eligible for the bonus, Lynch said, “subject to their acceptance and the terms of their contract.”

"Repeatedly rejecting the union’s request for a $2 per hour raise and then offering it as a one-time bonus to all employees, he continued, “is a way of conveying to the ski patrol workers that you don’t have any leverage” and compensation decisions lie solely in the company’s hands."

Wow, @teleskichica - you have sent us a really good example of why people all over the country are really fed up with Vail. And @Christy - good point!
 

teleskichica

Diva in Training
"Repeatedly rejecting the union’s request for a $2 per hour raise and then offering it as a one-time bonus to all employees, he continued, “is a way of conveying to the ski patrol workers that you don’t have any leverage” and compensation decisions lie solely in the company’s hands."
This quote exactly. The $2 per hour clause is a divisive offer pitting various sectors of Vail's employees against each other. A bribe, if you will, to other employees not in the union or unwilling to accept the offer to encourage pressure and resentment between those who accept and those who don't. Don't fall for it!

Patrollers are seasonal but some of the few employees who return each year. Lifties, food service, are rather transitory and likely to rescind their leveraging power for the short term gain. Then there are those in the middle such as mechanics, and groomers/dirt workers, or (year-around) lodging staff who would really benefit from a unified front. And whole small towns that would benefit from a securely employed work force.

Yes. It costs money to run a ski resort. There is a lot of capital investment. But operating costs and grossly exploitative profits are two very different pools of money. I support draining that exploitative profits pool of funds and redirecting it to the workers and the private equity investors driving these lifts into the ground (literally, I see from recent reports of chair accidents - how much is that mechanic being compensated for their expertise??) can go to the-place-that-never-freezes.
 
My beef with Vail Resorts (today) is that I cannot get through to Okemo's ski school. They do not answer my emails and the resort # is busy whenever I call. I am signed up for WAA January 26-28 and had a couple of questions. No communication whatsoever. Okemo was never like that before....
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
I just looked at Northstar's website to see what was open. The only discernible difference I can see is the Village Express (a high speed quad) that parallels the Big Spring gondola isn't running. The Rendevouz chair isn't running either but both these chairs only run when it's busy. So really nothing looks different chairlift wise. It's only January. Grooming wise, I noticed some of the steeper runs like Iron Horse and Challenger haven't been groomed all season and usually are. Prosser on Lookout gets groomed occasionally (it can be nasty without grooming - see my avatar) and noticed it got groomed once in the last month.
So is it staffing? Covid ? Vail Resorts?
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
It actually scares me what Vail is doing at Park City. I want a strong, confident and well compensated ski patrol.

Wouldn’t everyone controlling the spending for 4 other people also want that?
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Friends who skied PCMR early in the weekend said while crowds are a given on a holiday weekend, there wasn't a lot open and what was has minimal grooming. The snow coverage is not the issue. Like each groomed run was half as wide as usual for no apparent reason. They just stayed home the rest of the weekend.
 

Lmk92

Angel Diva
I’m shocked to read that ski patrollers with 10 years of experience are being paid $19 an hour! Doesn’t Vail care about guest safety??
Sorry to say it (as a skier), but maybe it's time the union flex its muscles. This is more than a money issue. As Iwannaski says, it's also a safety issue. They need to use the "s" word, and involve their brothers and sisters. If they're not taken seriously, a mid week sickout should be the shot across the bow.
 

KelliMaj

Diva in Training
Interesting article, but too long for me to read while riding in the car. The only problem I see is no plan to grow future skiers. I mean, no non-skier will pay for a season pass OR the crazy day pass cost (plus equipment rental and lesson prices can easily add another $200 to your day). No long-term thinking from them as far as I can tell.
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
I’m shocked to read that ski patrollers with 10 years of experience are being paid $19 an hour! Doesn’t Vail care about guest safety??

It actually scares me what Vail is doing at Park City. I want a strong, confident and well compensated ski patrol.

Wouldn’t everyone controlling the spending for 4 other people also want that?

As a long time (27 year) ski patrol spouse:
Pro (paid) ski patrol are paid a pittance EVERYWHERE. It's not just a Vail thing; it's just where people are talking about it. Supposedly the cachet of being out on the hill every day makes up for not much more than minimum wage in most locations.

Second,
I want a strong, confident and well compensated ski patrol.
What about volunteers? Volunteers are not compensated at all (other than maybe a season pass and a few pro deals) and they train just as hard as paid patrollers. I am a little offended by this remark as my hub just retired from 27 years of unpaid ski patrolling. Both my sons were volunteers for NSP and one of them won national awards for his service. There are many ski areas that use volunteers NSP which are held the the same standards as any ski safety organization.

Back to Vail....
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
@geargrrl … I did not mean to offend. Because I did, I’m so sorry.

I do a lot of volunteer things with my professional skills. When I choose to volunteer to do something with skills that have market value… for me, the joy of doing it is also part of the compensation?

I think the strong, confident part is important in my sentence. To me, the PCMR issue is LESS about the pay (I mean, it is about the pay as well, in this specific case) but the respect that the company is affording these people who need to be respected on the mountain.

I don’t want out of control individuals or individuals in dangerous situations to think that they can disregard guidance from ski patrol, regardless of if they are paid or unpaid.

Example: yesterday, I saw a video of a lift rescue in which there were a bunch of people holding a catching cushion. The patrollers were yelling instructions, and some other yahoos also felt empowered to yell competing/irrelevant instructions. Someone had to tell the yahoos to shut up. The gall of presuming that you’re some idiot who is just a set of arms who can contravene ski patrol? That’s what concerns me.

Again, I’m sorry that I offended you. It wasn’t at all my intent.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
My husband has been relaying the info. Poor guy, all he wants is to have Kehr's chair open. It's fun to lap and doesn't get too busy as it's an old fixed chair. So it was good news for him to read that. It will be interesting to see if they are indeed able to hire by "streamlining processes."
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
So have you heard about this? Apparently as a way to "improve lifelines," Vail is asking people to stop using their cell phones (nothing like blaming the guest!).

Here's an excerpt from the article in the Vail Daily (you can read the whole thing here):

Phone Free Zones

Prior to the creation of the petition, the November press release from Vail Resorts said the company would be “deploying a new operating plan which includes a significant improvement of how efficiently the company loads lifts and gondolas to reduce wait times, among other operational enhancements.”

But the release did not detail specifics on what the operating plan entails.

On Wednesday, however, Vail Resorts spokesperson John Plack confirmed that one of those operating specifics include a concept called a “Phone Free Zone.”

The signs for the zones in Vail lift maze areas are new for this season as part of the new operating plan, Plack confirmed.

Vail skier Tanner Miller was recently scolded by a line attendant for using his device in the Phone Free Zone at Chair 2 in Vail.

Miller said he couldn’t help but feel slightly insulted as an initial reaction.

“They won’t even let me fight the boredom of their enormous lift line by checking Epic Mix,” he said. “And this is coming from the same resort that equipped the gondola with WiFi.”

Plack said the effort is aimed at the approach to the lift terminals, not the entire lift line.

“In an effort to load lifts safely and efficiently, we are asking guests to put their cell phones away as they approach lift terminals,” Plack said.

--------------------------



By the way, I should note that trail maps are only accessible digitally at Vail, as is their EpicMix app, which gives you info you might need on the mountain.
 

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