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Not impressed with Mount Snow's ski school

New Daddy

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Had my son attend Mount Snow's 7-and-over ski school from the 24th to the 26th. I understand it was a busy week, but we've had far better experience at other resorts in similarly busy times.

During each of the three half-day sessions, my son rode the chairlift just twice! I think he spent as much time at Bullwheel - the mountaintop cafe - as on the trail. The instructor-to-kids ratio was terrible too. I think they had 8 kids on one of the three days. And on the 24th, my son had a HIGH SCHOOL KID as an instructor! Is this normal? even legal? It not like summer camps, where high school kids work as counselors under supervision of more experienced teacher. I think everything points to one cause: they were terribly short-handed and didn't hire enough staff.
 
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kartski

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The Snow Time amount kinda s*cks, but my Daughter taught Seasonal Classes at Hunter at 16 and 17. She took Seasonal Classes from 3 to 15, knew the mountain and what to do and when. Her kids definitely had more than 2 runs a session though.
 

AdironRider

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So you bought a half day group lesson on the busiest days of the year, at one of the busiest ski areas on the East Coast, and are surprised they weren't getting ski on laps?

This seems more a problem with expectation than with the ski school.

And you get what you pay for.
 

Edd

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This veers off the topic of Mt Snow's school a bit but, just before Xmas, ski areas have typically done a massive amount of hiring and quick training. The new employees aren't paid well and thrown into the pool. Then the holiday crowds show up, with likely limited terrain open, and the chinks in the armor will show. That's just the reality of ski industry economics.

As the season progresses the employees get better at their jobs and they hopefully weed out the bad workers. This is the truly crazy time. None of this excuses any possible mistakes at Mt. Snow, of course. I personally avoid holiday ski week altogether.
 

Hawkshot99

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No it is not!

He was entirely joking by the smily face.
Without sub 18 yr old workers the ski industry would die. Who else is going to deal with someones pain in the ass children for minimum wage and a seasons pass? I would guess 40% oof ski school instructors are under 18 with most being college or retired people. VERY hard to survive on a ski instructors pay. Just because you pay a small fortune to the mtn for lessons does not mean that they pay the instructor very well.

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millerm277

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I see the primary problem here the only getting 2 runs in. You paid for a lesson, not a day-care with 20 min skiing break, day-care would be far cheaper but it's not what you're paying for.
 

snoseek

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consider voicing your issues with mgmt. and maybe they will make things right. Agreed that xmas week is crazy at ski areas. Pick a weekend at the end of January and results will likely be better.
 

New Daddy

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(I started the OP not only to express my disgruntle but to inform other parents.)

Well, if Mount Snow's ski school strategy is to maximize profit by skimping on staff and paying them minimum wage, I'm not sure that's wise business strategy. I thought children's ski school and daycare are there to attract families, not to make a lot of money. Mount Snow surely won't see my family's business again! I also discovered yesterday that the waiver form was still in my ski jacket. I remember that my son was lead to the meeting area directly next to the Canyon lift, as he was pre-paid online and the ski school front desk was a total mayhem with people on the 24th. And they forgot to collect the waiver form. It is another sign of how disorganized their system was.

I understand it was a busy week, but like I said, we always ski around Christmas and some resorts simply operate better. The picture below is from Okemo around Christmas last year. Look at the instructor-to-kids ratio! The scene is dotted with instructors. I think this is how ski school should be run.


2012-12_1.jpg
 

Hawkshot99

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You are being very unrealistic here.
For starters who Mt Snow has working in their ski school is the norm, not the exception for the ski industry. Just be happy you didnt end up with some international who doesnt speak English.
In the pic you posted from okemo it shows the magic carpet area with all the real little tiny kids. All mtns have more workers in this area and im sure had you gone to that area at Mt Snow you would have seen the same thing. You had your kid in a more advanced lesson than that which goes all over the mtn. Of coarse there will not be a army of instructors following them around.

Yes I do feel that if they truely only took 2 runs a day that is rediculous(but based on my dealings with most of the holiday crowds at resorts you are over exagerating greatly). If your kid is in a group lesson the instructor must make the group happy, not just your kid. So if the entire class is crying about how cold they are and need coco they will go get coco.

Mt Snow is one of my least favorite mtns so it pains me to defend them, but sometimes the truth hurts.
 

ss20

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Don't be surprised your kid only got 2 rides to the top yesterday. 15 minute wait to get on the lift, 10 minutes up, 30 minutes down. Don't be surprised the place was a zoo. It's a zoo on peak season Saturdays. The mountain's proximity to NYC s why it's so popular.
 

twinplanx

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You are being very unrealistic here...

Mt Snow is one of my least favorite mtns(in VT) so it pains me to defend them, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Fixed it for ya ;-)

Not exactly sure what the OP expected during (arguably) the busiest week of the season... I believe the experience would be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum during ANY non-holiday period. Even your average weekend is ALOT less of a shit show.


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New Daddy

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You are being very unrealistic here.
For starters who Mt Snow has working in their ski school is the norm, not the exception for the ski industry. Just be happy you didnt end up with some international who doesnt speak English.
In the pic you posted from okemo it shows the magic carpet area with all the real little tiny kids. All mtns have more workers in this area and im sure had you gone to that area at Mt Snow you would have seen the same thing. You had your kid in a more advanced lesson than that which goes all over the mtn. Of coarse there will not be a army of instructors following them around.

Yes I do feel that if they truely only took 2 runs a day that is rediculous(but based on my dealings with most of the holiday crowds at resorts you are over exagerating greatly). If your kid is in a group lesson the instructor must make the group happy, not just your kid. So if the entire class is crying about how cold they are and need coco they will go get coco.

Mt Snow is one of my least favorite mtns so it pains me to defend them, but sometimes the truth hurts.

When was the last time you had your kid in ski school?

If my assessment based on "real-life" experience with ski schools for the past five years during the same Christmas week is "unrealistic", then I don't know what can be more "realistic". And it wasn't exaggeration that they logged only 2 runs for each of the three half-day lessons. On the third day, I followed them to see how poorly the whole this was run. After one run on Canyon, they got on the Bluebird, got off, went into the Bulwheel, stayed there for 30 minutes, came down Cascade+Canyon, and called it a half-day for the morning session kids. I have a feeling that it was carefully designed that way, because that pattern repeated itself all three days.

Yes, the photo I posted above is from the magic carpet area, but my experience with Okemo's ski program for older kids is just the same. Below is a from older kids' ski school from last year at Okemo on Christmas eve. One instructor and 4 kids. (The guy in light blue is not a student. He was an adult just crossing path.) And I can assure you that my son, in the same half-day lesson, logged far more runs at Okemo too, including at least one or two on Northstar. I'm only making comparison to Okemo, but Stratton during Christmas wasn't too bad either. (I don't have photos from Stratton to compare.)

Nobody is disputing the fact that Christmas week is busy time. I'm relaying my own experience that shows how vastly different it is how each resort copes with arguably the busiest time of the year. THAT is the reality. What you ended up doing is not just defending Mount Snow, but adding misinformation on this forum based on your imagination detached from reality. That sounds like a lot of favor for one of your least favorite resorts.

2012-12-24 12.10.09[12-18-51].jpg
 
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New Daddy

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Don't be surprised your kid only got 2 rides to the top yesterday. 15 minute wait to get on the lift, 10 minutes up, 30 minutes down. Don't be surprised the place was a zoo. It's a zoo on peak season Saturdays. The mountain's proximity to NYC s why it's so popular.

I think you haven't watched (your own) kids in ski school program get on lifts. They don't have to stand in line.
 

New Daddy

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Let me repeat. My experience at other resorts during the same busy time was different.

Let me put it this way, since some of you have problem comprehending that some resorts take it better during busy times: if you are a parent and wants your kid to have more ski time and instruction even during the busiest times, some mountains have consistently been able to do it year in and year out, but Mount Snow in 2013 didn't.
 

BenedictGomez

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I was stationed at the beginner area (Spruce) at Stowe for 5 or 6 years and I can tell you it's a well-oiled machine. Give them a shot next Christmas.
 
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