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Burke's envisioning session/roundtable discussion

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Given the opportunity to participate in the upcoming Burke envisioning session what would you want the new owners to hear/know about the "old" Burke as it melds into the "new" (or Q) Burke ?, and, what would you as a Burkie like to see happen to both ensure the ski area's survival and enhance the experience for its customers? For the record here, my personal opinion is, and has been for a long time, that Burke's biggest asset is what it isn't so the task and opportunity is both challenging and exciting. I recently heard a comment from a very successful advertising/marketing executive that said branding (part of this new/Q Burke) revolves around a "set of values". I take that to mean the "what it isn't" experience we have needs to be recognized and marketed without destroying the very set of values we are promoting.......... My last Burke thread lasted from September until now and I am looking forward to a lively discussion for this one as well. OTB
 

ScottySkis

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Seriously I only been there once on a bad weather day, so I skipped skiing their, and am not a regular customer at all. But seriously one way to get me their is enhanced train service.
Family vibe is what makes you and platty, and Magic great so please try to keep that way.
 

kingdom-tele

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A few ideas, opinions, since they already have the mega resort atmosphere development going on maybe trying to keep burke away from that would be a better option, give the two mountains two different identities, jay has the championship golf course, maybe burke could go with a disc golf course, something more family friendly, free wheeling, how about a zip line set up, anything that will promote being outside, its what we're good at in the NEK IMO.
Jay has the aquatic set up, does burke need another, build the bike park but maybe instead of the aquatic playtime add in a skateboard/bike park, something that promotes board riding outside of an artificial wave. Something that non skier kids in the community will have access to and may spark a fire other than cannonballing their buddies. There are some really cool skatepark designs that would be usable for bikes and boards, blades. A LOC park on steroids.
Speaking of which, the burke ski park is great, those guys/kids have done an amazing job, but having them intermingled in the lower lift line is, how can I say it, sometimes a little offensive. Their teens, so its liveable, but since the willoughby quad is sitting there just getting test run, why not make it the park lift, cut it in half so it unloads at the end of fox's, turn one of the lost trails below it on skier's left back into a big park, leave the lower park park give the older kids and younger kids learning to ski some space and elbow room.
In contrast, don't worry about making more elbow room in east bowl, leave the exploratory aspect of it in place, it would be cool to see a couple trails in the paradigm of the wildcat valley trail switching through that bowl, those trails end up having their more expert shots open up naturally and it allows for a long, mellow ski that the kids/intermediates can do, they aren't fast but are stimulating in their own special way, I see no need for the hack job to make runways for people to side slip all day, going out to east bowl doesn't need be different, it slows you down, almost makes you have to take in the views, if you want speed, go to Jay, leave burke with the chance to ski with some reflection and time. In that vein I see no need to expand it's lift access, its a relatively small area, it is unique because it isn't the easiest thing to navigate, not everything needs to be spoon fed. There used to be a time where it was OK that you couldn't do everything all at once, it challenged us to learn, the challenge makes you appreciate it more IMO, grading and cutting everything to appease the weekend vacationer is unnecessary IMO, burke doesn't have the ridge terrain of J, they should at least leave the woods we have intact as much as possible to keep that challenge. Oh, and and arcade? really, ditch it, put in a yoga/space for body work classes, the kids can go bike, skate, ski, hike, have options for people to get back in touch, not remain out of it.

good luck OTB

one more, still like the idea Ginn had with the farm development, there gonna be betting the massess there to pay and play, be nice to see the food come from the area as much as possible and who doesn't like seeing a good farm:)
 
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SkiRaceParent

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I also think that the academy sets Burke apart. To think that it is the training ground for future olympians and world cup athletes is pretty neat for such a small, intimate venue. Unlike GMVS and some of the other academies, this is happening right AT Burke, whereas Sugarbush/GMVS throws them down the road to Mt. Ellen and away from the development. Riding up the Mid-Burke lift, you can watch them train, I have sat on many a chair this winter and heard folks not involved with the program 'oo'ing and ah'ing' about the technique and speed. Pretty cool stuff. Burke should harness that. Kind of reminds me of what it would have been like to go play tennis at the courts next to Bollittieri's tennis school in the eighties (Agassi, Courier, Seles, Kournikova, etc.)
 

from_the_NEK

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I got to listen to Bill Stenger speak this past weekend about all of the projects going on throughout the region with most content focused on Burke and the surrounding area. He talked about where the Swimming/Diving and Tennis facilities come into the picture. Apparently, there is a lot of excitement in both of these sports communities to have world class training and competition facilities in New England (and specifically VT). Details on what this actually means to BMA is still a question I have. However, I got the feeling that BMA may have plans to use these new facilities to expand on their Olympic caliber sports training curriculum.
Jay has had a lot of success with skate-and-stay Hockey tournaments in the ice arena which is right next to the hotel and waterpark. Swim camps, meets, etc could bring quite a few of non-skiing guests to the mountain year round. Bill said the plan is to increase midweek and off-season (non-ski season) guests at the mountain.

I’m starting to get the feeling the indoor bike park may be at the bottom of the three facility list. The reasoning is that MTB is primarily an outdoor sport which Burke and Kingdom Trails are continuing to excel at offering. Would the money spent on building an indoor attraction be better spent on continuing to improve the outdoor offering? Expanding lift served biking to daily (rain or shine) instead of just weekends and holidays? Hell a large pump track and skate park with a roof over (parts of) it would be a lot less expensive and easier to maintain. The facility would be open daily with access granted for $5 or with a KT trail pass or lift pass.

Bill’s plan is to not just make Burke Mtn profitable but to make the entire region more profitable. An ambitious plan indeed. He talked about the number of unemployed in the region and how he would like to get them all working. This is a noble endeavor but in reality, I think it will be very difficult. There are a lot of people that don’t want to work (IMHO an attitude aided by political policy). For example, the larger farms around here have actually taken to hiring Mexicans since the many locals feel that farming is too hard. When I was in high school a lot of my friends had part-time jobs working on farms. I’d be surprised if there are any kids (that don’t actually live on a farm) that would bother to put down their I-Pads long enough to properly learn how to squeeze a tit, let alone wash dishes, be a courteous waiter/waitress, trundle baggage around a hotel, etc. Economics and attitudes are complicated, so enough talk about that from me.
 

SkiRaceParent

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Agree. Look at Stowe, there isn't an American anywhere to be seen in the fancy Spruce lodge. Cooks, Cashiers, etc., pretty much all foreigners. In addition to the lack of employees willing to do this work, there is just a general lack of people, period.
 

from_the_NEK

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It seems Jay has done pretty well hiring locals (as far as I can tell). There is an initiative to get the local education system on board with training people for the potential new jobs. This is especially true for the adult education system. Hospitality training will be important.
 

riverc0il

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Burke had foreign workers under Ginn. Have they all left? I remember getting scanned at the lift a few seasons back by a foreign worker. I bet QBurke ended that ASAP if it wasn't already over considering the EB5 money.

Travel visas and resort workers are a funny thing. FTN wonders if there is enough interest in low paying jobs to make it work. If you limited the visas, wages would increase because those jobs must be filled and I bet that would increase interest. Tough policy to figure out as foreign workers help drive our economy in many sectors. But they also deflate wages for tough jobs that not many people want for low pay. Increasing pay would increase prices but might be better than paying people unemployment. No easy answers there. I think society as a whole falls down when we protect prices rather than let wages naturally increase to merit the hard labor involved by employing too many foreign workers. But with EB5 money, QBurke won't have that option so we'll see what happens.

Jay has TONS of employees, I've never seen a foreign worker at Jay. I don't know how they manage to have so many people on payroll at Jay, actually. It always seems like they have more people working than they actually need.
 

kingdom-tele

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Jay has TONS of employees, I've never seen a foreign worker at Jay. I don't know how they manage to have so many people on payroll at Jay, actually. It always seems like they have more people working than they actually need.


the only thing more impressive than the number is the palpable sense of disdain in the atmosphere.

that might be a nice feature to keep away from burke.
 

deadheadskier

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the only thing more impressive than the number is the palpable sense of disdain in the atmosphere.

that might be a nice feature to keep away from burke.

Seriously? If you're not bitching about how much you think all the development sucks at Jay and Burke or that you can't get a season pass the old fashioned way, you now feel the need to comment on how you perceive the staff at Jay hates working there?
 

from_the_NEK

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the only thing more impressive than the number is the palpable sense of disdain in the atmosphere.

that might be a nice feature to keep away from burke.

It will be admittedly difficult.
At least a large portion of Burke's pool of population/potential employees is closer to the mountain than Jay. Lyndonville (pop. 6,000) is 10 minutes away and St Johnsbury (pop 7500) is 20 minutes away. In comparison to Jay where the nearest large town is Newport at 30 minutes under good conditions.
Maybe not having a long difficult commute to these jobs may help employees have a brighter disposition?
In this region, the "redneck" quotient is going to come into play here as well and probably already has at Jay. A portion of that population has a somewhat resentful attitude toward the "rich flatlander skiers". How do you overcome that attitude? More $?

Edit to note that I haven't experienced a "palpable sense of disdain" at Jay, but I haven't spent much time in any of the lodges since I tend to ski as much as possible when I'm there. K-T has spent a lot more time there and likely has a better feel for the general attitude of the employees, even if it is a subtle attitude of disdain that most guests would never pick up on. My paragraphs above are simply attempting theorize explanations for such an attitudes and how that attitude might present itself at Burke.
 
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kingdom-tele

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Seriously? If you're not bitching about how much you think all the development sucks at Jay and Burke or that you can't get a season pass the old fashioned way, you now feel the need to comment on how you perceive the staff at Jay hates working there?


And you only visit to ski and could care less about anything else right. Whats your point?

FWIW its not just my perception.
 

deadheadskier

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And you only visit to ski and could care less about anything else right. Whats your point?

FWIW its not just my perception.

My point is that you pretty much rip apart anything and everything you can about Jay likes its your full time job. Your negativity towards Jay is probably ten times more palpable than the disdain you feel exists on their staff.
 

riverc0il

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the only thing more impressive than the number is the palpable sense of disdain in the atmosphere.
Strange perspective. I was at Jay on Sunday and when I passed one of the two guest service workers directing drop off traffic, she was enthusiastically friendly. I gave in a cracked a smile and engaged in pleasantries. I left after not many runs due to excessive fatigue and generally mental grogginess and she engaged me again on the way out. Over at the Jay earlier this year, I super energetic liftie engaged me about how great the snow was, asked me what I was skiing, traded notes, etc. Really friendly dude. Overall, I'd say the overall vibe I get from Jay's workers is anything but disdain.
 

kingdom-tele

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My point is that you pretty much rip apart anything and everything you can about Jay likes its your full time job. Your negativity towards Jay is probably ten times more palpable than the disdain you feel exists on their staff.


so you are deciding to gloss over my appreciation of the affordable mid week passes, my appreciation for the friends I have made over the years that both ski and work there whom I missed this last year not having a pass, or my hope that this seemingly lofty goal of changing the NEK actually does pan out despite my disbelief.

to be more fair, my statement isn't trying to be a reflection of every employee, I always get a wave from groomers in the AM, both guys who open the flyer come out to say good morning and play with the dog, patrol I meet getting in their first turns are always courteous, as Riv said the folks bumping chairs have always been great.

My comment more revolved around some people I know who work there and the experiences of friends who have stayed there and had to deal with logistic stuff of their stay, even a bit of snideness (not sure if thats a word) about my pass experience as it seemed the lady could have cared less if I ever did come back or not. Hell, read some J TR's from this year, its hardly me having to work full time

I think you misperceive my comments. J and Burke have been more than just ski places in our lives. There is a vibe, there is/was/is a community underneath the superficial ski experience. While it may not matter to most, if you have been a part of that community in some small way it does get nerve rattling to see it change, especially when it feels like the direction these places are being steered into is going to have to trade in that community for people who don't share the same perception in the name of being able to sustain these developments.

Things are changing, but its not all roses. I met a couple from the cape on wednesday riding the lift. They hadn't been back to J in 10 years. They were looking forward to the quiet, ski focused deep dark nights of the NEK for a 5 days. They were in a bit of shell shock, hotel full of running (happy I might add) kids everywhere. They could sense the change and their expectations and experience were very different. They were still having a blast skiing, but were questioning if they would come back to stay at the resort. There are 2 sides DHS. I may not have your viewpoint, but I don't think we need to get nasty.

Happy Easter AZ'rs.

sorry OTB for muddling the thread.
 

deadheadskier

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. There are 2 sides DHS. I may not have your viewpoint, but I don't think we need to get nasty.

Happy Easter AZ'rs.

sorry OTB for muddling the thread.

There are 2 sides I agree. And regarding nastiness, that's my point. Lately, you tend to bring it to all discussions regarding Jay/Burke. By your own admission, you muddled the thread by bringing up your perception that Jay is bad place to work. That's what I'm taking contention with. Your constant internet smear campaign against Jay/Burke. That's what is nasty.

IMO it's almost gotten to the point with you the way Killington threads had been with Highwaystar over the past 6 seasons prior to this one.
 

from_the_NEK

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Well I guess I should let you guys know I was selected to the "Envisioning Session" at Burke. I thank Burke for the opportunity and I think it will be a good experience. Hopefully I will be able to contribute some insight and ideas that are actually applied to the planning process as Burke goes through its transition. And hopefully I don't leave there thinking Burke should be the first star in ABC's new reality show, Extreme Makeover - Ski Resort Edition :) .
 

thetrailboss

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Well I guess I should let you guys know I was selected to the "Envisioning Session" at Burke. I thank Burke for the opportunity and I think it will be a good experience. Hopefully I will be able to contribute some insight and ideas that are actually applied to the planning process as Burke goes through its transition. And hopefully I don't leave there thinking Burke should be the first star in ABC's new reality show, Extreme Makeover - Ski Resort Edition :) .

Excellent! You are, of course, the poster boy for Burke Mountain!

 

ScottySkis

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Well I guess I should let you guys know I was selected to the "Envisioning Session" at Burke. I thank Burke for the opportunity and I think it will be a good experience. Hopefully I will be able to contribute some insight and ideas that are actually applied to the planning process as Burke goes through its transition. And hopefully I don't leave there thinking Burke should be the first star in ABC's new reality show, Extreme Makeover - Ski Resort Edition :) .

Nice job, congratulations on that, I'm glad to see a true lover of Burke and that area get the call.:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::):):):cool::cool::thumbup::thumbup::cool::cool::D:D:D:thumbup:
 
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