Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 90 how to piss off your customers in one easy lesson

Back to Fernie today for a busy Saturday with all the usual crowd up from Calgary for the weekend. Starting temps were -3 going up to +7 during the day which was probably right with maybe a few more degrees of warmth in the direct sunlight. No new snow but with all of the hill having been closed yesterday there was plenty of fresh on the upper mountain, the only problem was that pretty well all of the upper mountain remained closed due to avi conditions. A look around the hill revealed the longest and ugliest avies I have ever seen in almost every part of the hill.

No one has a problem with the hill being mostly closed due to avi risk, those decisions are taken by people who know far more about it than we do and have our safety at heart. The problem we have is how we are treated by the hill as a result.

Today as an example whilst the Elk, Bear and Boom chairs were open (not Haul Back as was claimed on the web site) sign lines were in place so that Lizard, Boom bowl, Bear chutes etc were all closed and the only skiing was Bear (with sign lines either side) and Kodiak down to Boom. This was about 15% of the hill and even later in the day when a very restricted Timber opened it was still only about 20% of the hill and yet the price for day tickets was 100%. How would you feel if you went into a gas station and put in 10 bucks of gas and then were charged 50 bucks - the ski hill is the only business I know that seems to think this is ok.

To make matter worse, at 9 when the breakfast club had been skiing the hill for an hour and getting first tracks and the hill was due to open, it was shut and remained shut until well past 9:30 before we were allowed to go up the Bear or Boom. The reason was that a group of - well you choose the adjective- were here on some corporate freebie and they were given the hill to ski ahead of all the rest of us fare paying customers including those who had just paid 100% for 20% of the hill. No safety issues as they were skiing the same restricted area that was eventually made available to us, just go old fashioned corporate greed and "screw the customer."

When we got going the little skiing that there was on Bear and Kodiak had been totally trashed by various privileged groups that were there before us but we made the best of it. Soft snow to the far right of Kodiak and soft snow becoming soft then hard bumps on the left of Bear. Right side of bear was also bumps which just got harder as the day wnt on. With so many people in a tiny area the risks of contact were getting so great that just before 12 we bailed for lunch.

We had heard that Timber was opening around 12 which was true. Trouble was nothing was open, Falling Star closed, Lift Line closed etc. The only run of the hill was around Puff/Trees to White Pass, Black Cloud and Summer road - the whole process was only livened up by the occasional foray into the various trees that flanked the descent. The snow above White pass was just awesome and soft which bodes well for the time when they open the White Pass lift. Anything lower down was a bit crusty on the base and heavy on top. By 3 we had enough, after all there are only so many ways you can ski Black Cloud.

Only problem with the closures was that they were not enforced. The lift line under Timber was being poached all afternoon and nothing was being done. Now I don't poach, never have, I think it shows disrespect but that is on the basis that those who do poach get their passes pulled. If nothing is done to enforce the sign lines then why should any of us keep clean and as a result lose out on any first tracks. I will be watching tomorrow and if the same attitute is being taken to poaching then I figure I might as well join in as long as no one else seems to be taking it seriously. On the other hand if some passes start getting pulled then no one is happier than me and we can all go back to obeying the rules.

Some new snow forecast overnight and the ridges on the hill being heli bombed, lets see.

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