Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 87 Well worth 10 bucks

Yes, today is the day that even allowing for the tax on my season's pass the average cost of skiing drops below 10 bucks - if things go to plan the average daily cost of skiing to me should be below 6 bucks by the end of the season. When I tell people this the reaction is usually a variation on "the hill don't make anything out of you then". This attitude is so completely ingrained even in those involved in running the ski hill that it is hard to explain that this view point is 180 degrees incorrect. A ski hill is a high fixed cost operation so that once a ski pass has been sold the cost to the hill is the same for a 30 day a year skier (considered a good customer) as for a 130 day a year skier like me. The difference is in the income line where the 130 day a year skier spends way more on the extra visits which in my case would amount to an extra $2500 minimum over the 30 day skier making me one of their best customers. The view that just because I am getting good value has to mean that the hill is getting bad value has been around for so long now I don't expect it to change no matter how wrong it is.

Before I launch into today's skiing I have to add a PS to yesterday's in that late in the day I hit Hollywood Rock for the 14th time this season and improved my average to 10 landings v 4 stacks - just saying.

The final tally for yesterday's snow cycle was 27 cms in 24 hours but with only 5 cms of that falling overnight after the hill had closed. This wasn't too bad as there were significant closures (at least in the areas I want to ski) from about lunch time yesterday and several areas that didn't open at all meaning that there would be some good untracked runs to be had. It was -7 on the way to the hill and a mix of sun and cloud during the day. There was rather too much sun for my liking but we appeared to have dodged the bullet and the surface did not get too sun affected. I am always amazed at the uncritical delight with which people greet sunny days when skiing. Snow doesn't fall out of blue skies (usually) and sun and warm temps are destroyers of good skiing (usually) a fact that so many seem to fail to appreciate. It clouded over by late afternoon and as we drove away tonight it was starting to snow again and the temps was a steady -3.

The Cedar High Traverse was closed all day so the whole Snake Ridge area remains a promise for tomorrow and on that basis we headed for the New Side. We headed across to Stag Leap and found the trees at the top untracked and only a couple of tracks in the run itself giving us deep untracked lines with face shots to start the day. Next loop the Saddles had opened and in the few minutes before I got there Corner Pocket had been totally trashed by skiers and boarders side slipping it. We have strong views on side slipping which are that if you are not good enough to ski or ride a chute you shouldn't be in there. In our group anyone caught side slipping rather than turning in a tight line has to buy a round. The whole situation turned out well as it forced me to check out High Saddle which was skiing beautifully with soft snow and just about as mellow as I can remember. The snow under the Saddle was soft and deep and I cut across to Spinal Tap which like yesterday was full of soft snow.

For a change we took the High IT across the Knot Chutes which was very mellow and dropped Gotta Go which was a little scratchy in the choke but great soft untracked skiing both above and below. The Don't Lose Me Trees to the right of Bootleg had a couple of turns in the top affected by cat debris and after that it was soft and lightly tracked all the way down. Next we hiked Lone Fir which had good coverage in the chute and then after that the fan was just awesome as always. The exit through Easter was good soft tracked powder. Our final run before lunch was Decline where we considered dropping Window Chutes but the lower run looked (and in fact was) so good we couldn't resist.

After lunch we started the afternoon on Cougar Glades which had untracked lines if you were prepared to push hard enough left into the tight trees and the straight drop into the left hand exit was chopped up deep powder. Next we went to the Fraser Tooth which was good tree skiing and hit the tight chute to skiers right of North East Glades which had filled up with soft powder. Lynda was going to go off the hill to do some shopping so we went to her favourite run Touque Chutes which as always had some of the deepest snow on the hill. The exit through Spinal Tap was just as good as the morning but with a few more tracks.

We decided to gamble on The Brain which we figured would be either very good or very bad. As it was we struck gold and had a great tree run in soft snow with many untracked lines. It was so good that we pretty well got to the cat track at the bottom of Skydive before we left the trees. We just had time for a quick loop of the Fraser Tooth which was just as good as before and headed back up the Timber Chair. The chair stopped twice and ran slow which was not what we needed but we made the final White Pass chair with less than a minute to spare - I might not have been so phlegmatic about the stoppages if we had missed it.

Final rip down Skydive was as always great fun with a group of 6 of us which is not bad for a Monday. The Griz Bar was not too busy considering how many people had been on the hill during the day and it was fun to lay in the hot tub tonight and watch the light snow falling. We should be at the start of the next snow cycle tonight so lets keep our fingers crossed.


  1. FAR needs to realise that the season pass holders that ski the most often could/should be their highest revenue source. 100+ days means 100+ potential chances to spend more money at the hill. Instead at FAR local season pass holders are treated like second class citizens that generally vote with their wallets by skiing and leaving. It's about time that Robin and Andy take a visit to some of the other ski resorts in BC known for the customer experience, maybe they can learn how a better customer experience equates to more money spent.

  2. Rob - I think you make a valid point in that the hill seems very good at measuring the money they make but no good at measuring the money they lose. For example if they put a dollar on the price of something it's simple math to work out what the increased take is but they have no idea how many sales they lose because of the price hike or for how many this will be the "straw that breaks the camels back" and they take all of their purchasing away.
    My personal experience goes back 10 years to when the shop on the hill was handling a warranty claim by me on a heel binding and making life as difficult as possible for me. The final straw was when they insisted I paid $20 to cover the shipping costs to return the binding to the manufacturer. I pointed out that I was the wronged customer but they insisted and I paid. Their records show that they took $20 from me that day. What they don't show is that I have never spent a cent of my considerable skiing budget there in the last 10 years and prevent my dozens of guests from doing the same. That $20 has cost them many thousands (maybe even tens of thousands) of dollars of income but they just can't measure it.