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

Abbi

Angel Diva
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.
Since they made the Epic Mix app it’s sort of ridiculous for them to say no cell phone. However I was pretty well irritated a couple of days ago when someone talking on their cell phone stopped about three rows from the sunburst chair and kept talking with everybody waiting. They had no idea that their group had moved ahead or there was a long line of people behind them! I have the same reaction to people who stop on the sidewalk all of a sudden to talk on their phone or text. At least pull over to the side and get out of the way!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Since they made the Epic Mix app it’s sort of ridiculous for them to say no cell phone. However I was pretty well irritated a couple of days ago when someone talking on their cell phone stopped about three rows from the sunburst chair and kept talking with everybody waiting. They had no idea that their group had moved ahead or there was a long line of people behind them! I have the same reaction to people who stop on the sidewalk all of a sudden to talk on their phone or text. At least pull over to the side and get out of the way!
I think this is likely the only (or one of a very few) times that cell phone use holds up the lift lines. Maybe I’m not paying attention to other people holding up a line I’m waiting on (UNLIKELY!), but I can’t imagine this is a major cause of delay.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Not much new in this interview for someone who knows the history of Vail Resorts, but it's well done. It's pretty easy to tell when Rob Katz is out of his comfort zone in terms of operational issues outside of Colorado or Tahoe.

January 25, 2022
 

Christy

Angel Diva
The Stevens GM sent an email to passholders (including my husband) that said, if you are receiving this email we want to make things up to you via a discount. Here is the follow up FB post. It seems like they don't recognize problems anywhere else--they think only Stevens is having issues. But at least they are offering something.

***

Hello, Everyone –

I want to focus today’s post on the email that I sent to pass holders within the Stevens Pass community last night. We take your feedback seriously, and we’re listening to you, and I certainly understand that adding terrain is the priority. While my focus remains on operations, our company began working on a Stevens Pass guest loyalty offer for the 2022/23 season in over the holidays, as the challenges in guest experience became increasingly apparent. I want to summarize what the plan is and answer some questions that I have seen pop up.

To recognize the very unique challenges at Stevens Pass, we are offering two options:

1) Eligible pass holders who ONLY want to ski and ride at Stevens Pass can get a discount on those products for next season (Stevens Pass Premium Pass and the Stevens Pass Select Pass), or;

2) Eligible pass holders who want to access more resorts, with one of our multi-resort passes (like the Epic Pass, Epic Local, Epic 4-7 Day, etc.), can get a $150 spend credit to use in resort at Stevens Pass next season for things like lift tickets, ski and ride school, restaurants, and rentals/demos.

Here are some questions I’ve received:

❄️ Who is eligible? Any 21/22 pass holder whose pass provides access to Stevens Pass.

❄️ Why not just provide a pass discount for next season on all passes? Passes like the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass provide access to dozens of resorts that did not face the challenges we faced here at Stevens Pass. Because of that, we are not discounting access to those resorts through these products for next season. However, we recognize many of you in the Stevens Pass community have these products, which is why we are providing you the same amount, just in the form of a spend credit at Stevens Pass for next season.

❄️ Why not provide refunds? Our passes are non-refundable because they are so highly discounted and most offer access to dozens of resorts all season long. We never know what terrain or conditions look like ahead of the season at any resort – which is why we provide such a great deal if you buy in advance. That said, this season was unique at Stevens Pass – which is why we are providing these offers.

❄️ How do I redeem these offers? More details will be communicated in the coming weeks – before our passes for next season go back on sale in March.

I remain incredibly grateful to this special community – while I know this doesn’t solve everything, it is an important step in recognizing your loyalty. I’m excited for what’s to come – including opening the backside this weekend and continuing to add to our midweek and night operations – and I hope you continue to support us as we make significant strides forward at Stevens Pass.

Looking forward to share more tomorrow on the latest up here on the mountain.

-Tom
 

ilovepugs

Angel Diva
The Stevens GM sent an email to passholders (including my husband) that said, if you are receiving this email we want to make things up to you via a discount. Here is the follow up FB post. It seems like they don't recognize problems anywhere else--they think only Stevens is having issues. But at least they are offering something.
I’m wondering if it’s related to the WA consumer protection complaints?
 

ilovepugs

Angel Diva
I guess they don’t see the crazy crazy liftlines, miles traffic backup and lack of parking at other as issues. It’s a feature, not a bug? Otherwise they wouldn’t have sold so many passes?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I guess they don’t see the crazy crazy liftlines, miles traffic backup and lack of parking at other as issues. It’s a feature, not a bug? Otherwise they wouldn’t have sold so many passes?
Not that I agree with the approach to operations and lack of capacity limits for daily tickets and/or Epic pass holders, but other than during the recent holiday periods the how many of the VR resorts are having lift line waits, parking issues, and snowmaking concerns that are out of whack with local competition?

Stevens is a mess for sure. Wildcat didn't seem to start snowmaking as it used after Peak Resorts upgraded the snowmaking infrastructure. The issues with old lifts at Attitash were inherited by Peak. The former Showtime resorts in PA didn't seem to pick up the snowmaking pace once the cold fronts blew into southern PA and NoVA in early January.

How are the former Peak resorts doing in the midwest? Or the three that serve Chicago, Detroit/Ann Arbor, and Minn./St. Paul?

What about WB? The transition seasons there were pretty ugly as I remember.
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
I can speak to Keystone, which is absolutely having atypical traffic into the resort this year on weekends. It's been taking 30-60 minutes to do this stretch of road on weekend mornings, which is sadly the first half of my drive to A-Basin.
 

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marzNC

Angel Diva
I can speak to Keystone, which is absolutely having atypical traffic into the resort this year on weekends. It's been taking 30-60 minutes to do this stretch of road on weekend mornings, which is sadly the first half of my drive to A-Basin.
Do you have any sense of how things are at Copper in comparison to Keystone?
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Not that I agree with the approach to operations and lack of capacity limits for daily tickets and/or Epic pass holders, but other than during the recent holiday periods the how many of the VR resorts are having lift line waits, parking issues, and snowmaking concerns that are out of whack with local competition?

Stevens is a mess for sure. Wildcat didn't seem to start snowmaking as it used after Peak Resorts upgraded the snowmaking infrastructure. The issues with old lifts at Attitash were inherited by Peak. The former Showtime resorts in PA didn't seem to pick up the snowmaking pace once the cold fronts blew into southern PA and NoVA in early January.

How are the former Peak resorts doing in the midwest? Or the three that serve Chicago, Detroit/Ann Arbor, and Minn./St. Paul?

What about WB? The transition seasons there were pretty ugly as I remember.

And I can speak for Okemo, too. In the 15 years I've lived in the Ludlow area, I have NEVER seen more people, longer lifelines, and more traffic than I have this year. The town can't handle it, the mountain can't handle it, it's a mess. And I'm not just talking weekends. It's bad all the time.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Not that I agree with the approach to operations and lack of capacity limits for daily tickets and/or Epic pass holders, but other than during the recent holiday periods the how many of the VR resorts are having lift line waits, parking issues, and snowmaking concerns that are out of whack with local competition?

Stevens is a mess for sure. Wildcat didn't seem to start snowmaking as it used after Peak Resorts upgraded the snowmaking infrastructure. The issues with old lifts at Attitash were inherited by Peak. The former Showtime resorts in PA didn't seem to pick up the snowmaking pace once the cold fronts blew into southern PA and NoVA in early January.

How are the former Peak resorts doing in the midwest? Or the three that serve Chicago, Detroit/Ann Arbor, and Minn./St. Paul?

What about WB? The transition seasons there were pretty ugly as I remember.
I was at Wilmot today. (the Chicago-area resort @marzNC referred to.) It was ok, but they had a few lifts closed. One that was closed cut off 3-4 of the already small number of "trails" (it's really just 3 hills with different sections designated as "trails")

The parking lot has been a pot-holed nightmare for at least the past two years. I have no idea why they don't resurface in the summer bc it's totally shut down then. Grooming was on point, as usual. (one of the things I like about it.) I was bummed because unlike a year or two ago the "learning park" that I goofed around on to practice tiny jumps is not set up. In fact, this late in the season, the entire side of the hill with a terrain park looked closed.

But in the past few years under Vail ownership, it's been ok. Actually, before Covid I used to LOOK FORWARD to night skiing and dinner of one of their homemade soups there. It really had some of the best, reasonably-priced lodge food I've ever had. I still dream about a house-made roasted red pepper and Gouda soup I had I think in 2019? Yummmm.

To their credit, when we were there 1st week in Jan, the rental and lesson for my daughter went smoothly and she really liked her instructor. It was an awful ski day for me as they only had 2 lifts open and only 1 magic carpet and it was a Sunday. I think I took maybe 4 runs and decided people were bunching too closely for my comfort in the long lift lines so I just watched my kid learning, which I enjoyed, so whatever...

I thought about @ski diva 's recent blog post about lift line etiquette today, and wished she could have been observing the BAD manners of the men who would either cut me off trying to get in line ahead of me by speeding up to the chair (there were no waits! why be rude and come in hot into the corral?!) or the dreaded pull-into-the-front-of-the-line-and-not-get-on because you are waiting for your buddy. Really guys?!
I got there at opening (1PM) and it was for sure 95% middle-aged to older men skiing there and when it came to lining up, quite a few behaved like preteens. That said, once on the chair, everyone I rode with was chatty and nice AND - no lie - EVERY GUY asked me if I had an Epic 3 or 4 day pass "Because then you can ski here free!" Yes, I politely responded. I buy it for that reason.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
And I can speak for Okemo, too. In the 15 years I've lived in the Ludlow area, I have NEVER seen more people, longer lifelines, and more traffic than I have this year. The town can't handle it, the mountain can't handle it, it's a mess. And I'm not just talking weekends. It's bad all the time.
Ohhhhhh dear. I was literally just putting together a possible 1 day of skiing trip to Okemo via Albany International (cheap airfare/rental car opportunity the days I was looking at) because I have one day left on my Epic pass. Would it be worth flying in on a Thursday, driving part way there, and getting there super-early Friday? Or would it be an exercise in futility? My other choice was Mt Snow, which per Google Maps is 30 minutes closer?
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Maybe in the middle of the week. But the one road leading in and out of Ludlow has serious traffic jams, even during the week, from what I hear. And the mountain is very crowded. They set a record recently (not on a holiday) beating the previous number of skiers in one day. I know two people who live right nearby who have been driving 45 minutes to ski elsewhere.

I was at Mt. Snow recently for a half day, mid-week. The trails were scraped off and icy, and it was crowded. It was afternoon, though. Trails might have been better earlier.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Maybe in the middle of the week. But the one road leading in and out of Ludlow has serious traffic jams, even during the week, from what I hear. And the mountain is very crowded. They set a record recently (not on a holiday) beating the previous number of skiers in one day. I know two people who live right nearby who have been driving 45 minutes to ski elsewhere.

I was at Mt. Snow recently for a half day, mid-week. The trails were scraped off and icy, and it was crowded. It was afternoon, though. Trails might have been better earlier.
I mean, from Albany, the closest spot to use my pass is Hunter but I read not great recent reviews, mostly the frequency of noobs straightlining from the top of the lifts...

Thoughts?

I can fly in to Albany for like $50 RT/nonstop , rent a truck under $70. Found a very nice reasonably priced hotel...

Goal is to use last day of my epic pass.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I mean, from Albany, the closest spot to use my pass is Hunter but I read not great recent reviews, mostly the frequency of noobs straightlining from the top of the lifts...

Thoughts?

I can fly in to Albany for like $50 RT/nonstop , rent a truck under $70. Found a very nice reasonably priced hotel...

Goal is to use last day of my epic pass.
I haven’t skied Hunter since earlier in the season. Midweek it shouldn’t be bad. If they have opened the west mountain there’s enough room for everyone. I’m not sure lately, though.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I haven’t skied Hunter since earlier in the season. Midweek it shouldn’t be bad. If they have opened the west mountain there’s enough room for everyone. I’m not sure lately, though.
I usually try to ski midweek but work schedule really only allows Fri the 11th I can take off...travel afternoon of the 10th. I'm taking a bunch of early week days off Mar 5-9th for Tahoe trip w family (Will just miss Diva West. ☹)
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Good luck! You can go even if it’s crowded. Just be extra careful.
 

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