Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Change of Hosts

Well unsurprisingly the pub won last night but had a great time catching up with the news. When we turned out it was a clear sky with a full moon and all the mountains covered in fresh snow. There is something magic about the light in those conditions, all the mountains seem luminouse, almost as if they are lit from within. Stayed out on the deck to watch in light so bright you could read a book by it - now I know why I love the mountains in the winter.

The forecasters seem to be getting it about right so far. Last night was down to -15 on the mercury with about -20 including the wind chill. Today the high got up to -7 although beautiful bluebird conditions and for the next few days it should get colder - at least this means they should be making snow on the lower ski hill like there is no tomorrow.

While Lynda was at the gym working on her leg in the morning I spent the time trying to sort out the Christmas lights for the deck. As usual they were tangled and a load of them that had worked last year weren't working now. Went and got some replacements and strung the lights - why is it that two replacement bulbs cost $3.20 while you can get a new string of 25 including wiring and plug for $19.95 ?

Took the car to Canadian Tire at lunch for them to fit snow tires. Of course the tires I had ordered hadn't shown up ( they had been sent to Trail of all places) so I had to have my second choices of which ( surprise surprise) they had loads in stock. The bill came to $666, do you think someone is trying to tell me something? Had lunch and a couple of beers in Boston Pizza while waiting for the fitting. Now have 4 all weather tires in ok condition cluttering up the garage, don't know what to do with them , may try Ebay.

Oh yes, about the hosts as I know a number of my UK guests like using this service. For those who don't know the hill had a system whereby ski hosts act as greeters each day then offer free tours of the hill each morning and afternoon - not any more. The issues were explained to me by a senior RCR manager a few days ago.

The problem was that intermediate vacation skiers tended to use this service as a free guiding service and go out every day with the hosts which wasn't the idea. Even though the hosts were only allowed to ski blue groomed runs ( North ridge as well as long as it had been groomed in the previous 12 hours) this suited quite a lot of intermediate European skiers who weren't actually looking for anything more challenging.

From now on the hosts will just be meeters and greeters in the base area. During the day they will tour the hill offering assistance and presumably selling ski school services. The tours will continue but will be run by the ski school and cost 10 bucks a time ($9.95actually). A voucher will be issued for an amount ( possibly 100% of the cost) which will be redemable in the ski shop or maybe the day lodge - details to be finalized in the next few days and will be published here.

I have no idea whether or not this is a good idea or if it will work. Presumably people will either like it and buy more ski school product or not and vote with their feet. Doesn't affect me but I will keep my ear to the ground for guests who I know have liked sking with the hosts in the past.

Another cold day called for and we hope to go to the hill to check out the snow making and play hunt the transceiver in the snow - it's good to practice this before you get caught in an avi for real altough an amazing number of people don't seem to bother.


  1. As an intermediate European skier, the old arrangements did indeed suit me fine. Purely from a wallet perspective I think the changes are a shame.

    Last season I skied 12 days at two RCR resorts and had one hosting session at each. Not unreasonable. The previous season I think I had three hosting sessions in all.

    The ski hosting programme is a good way for RCR to get locals involved on the hill - free pass for 20 half days unpaid work.

    I suspect the new system will spoil this free pass system for many hosts. As is the way of the world, it is probably just about cutting costs. I've once had a bus load of skiers turn up, but my hosting sessions have usually been really quiet.

    Free hosting has always been one of the good things about skiing in BC. In reality CAD10 is neither here nor there for most people (particularly if you've flown 4,000 miles).

    RCR need to encorage holiday makers - differentiators are reducing. Their lift prices are expensive, they are indifferent to pricing when there are major lift closures and they are less than generous if you get stuck on a broken down lift. Having said that, Fernie is still agreat place to ski!!

  2. Totally agree with what you say but this was something Murray Edwards saw at another ski hill and wants to try - as they say, the boss isn't always right but he is always the boss.