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SKI Magazine Wonders, "What Happened to Etiquette" This Year in Skiing?

thetrailboss

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More of an editorial. Some comments that aren't really pertinent, but the author finally gets to the question I posed--was this season filled with rude skiers and riders? What happened to basic decency?

What has your experience been?

One observation is with my experience with the original Deer Valley. Not Alterra's Deer Valley, but the original Deer Valley and Edgar Stern's concept of a "new" kind of ski area experience.

The snowmonster took me to Deer Valley in 2012. I was skeptical about it and like other resorts really did not think that the whole "high end" market things was for me. But it was on his bucket list and I went along.

That visit was so nice. Staff were nice, other skiers were nice, and the skiing was pretty decent. The next year I snagged some discount Deer Valley tickets that the Utah Avalanche Center was offering as a fundraiser. While I wanted to support a good cause, I would be lying if I said that getting a premium experience at a discount price was not a big motivator for me. They were for me and my wife and my wife had a bad ski accident and was sidelined for the year. So I had a stack of tickets that had to be used.

That season I spent at least six days at Deer Valley throughout the season. I spent a lot of time there. I was there on weekends and weekdays. Great days and meh days. Everyone was generally nice--not just the employees. It seemed contagious. After those experiences I decided to do some reading on Stern and bought the Deer Valley book written chronicling his life and the ski area he built.

From that reading and just my experiences there I finally "got" what Edgar Stern understood about hospitality and his business--treat your employees well, encourage them to be good with the guests, and that will spread. Basically, those at the top set the example and the tone for the whole experience.

Perhaps our "ski resorts" have lost that lesson--it's the tone that those at the top set that matters. When those at the top are only motivated by the bottom line then things begin to disintegrate. Another frequent ski area of mine, Snowbird, notoriously cut employee pay and benefits midseason a few years back during a "slow" start to the ski season. Save a few bucks they figured. So what if the free access to Alta ended? It was an expense. Well, a lot of seasoned and passionate staff, that the previous ownership and management had built over the years and who delivered a good product, walked out the door. Taking care of the employees who interact with your customers did not factor into the bottom line. Word spread and nobody wanted to work there. Those that did were not at all motivated to deliver the service that the resort once delivered because why? The owner said it was the bottom line and ultimately he paid and is still paying for that decision. And the general mood is pretty sour overall, sterile at best. It was the wrong move and one that he has since repeated many times with other decisions.

Don't get me wrong--Mr. Stern ran a private business and admittedly his resort nearly failed after its first few seasons. But he never lost sight of the "added value" that comes from treating his employees well and making guest service a top priority. That part of his "brand" led to a successful business. Deer Valley, this season, was a captain-less ship and just not the same. Perhaps by Alterra at least moving it off of IKON Base reflects that maybe they recognized that service and exceptional experiences ARE integral to the Deer Valley brand. Or, as I have said, without those parts of the brand it becomes "just another crowded ski area".

Add to the loss of at least decent customer service some of the anger and frustration with the pandemic and you get what this author outlines. That's what I think at least.....

 
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jimk

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Went to Deer Valley twice this winter. Conditions weren't too good either day. Crowds were pretty heavy. Pounding steep groomers is not really my thing. Also, I don't eat much lodge food when I ski so can't comment extensively on DV food (had one piece of plain pizza there), but I don't think the mtn has that super high end vibe anymore. Too many Ikoners (including me) go there now :) I find the crowds are smaller at Snowbird. Goofy anecdote, my favorite lodge experience this winter was smuggling in some polygamy porters and drinking with a friend at the snowbird summit restaurant around 2pm on a beautiful afternoon, Apr 2. (they can be pretty picky about not allowing your own food or drinks in there,) The place was mostly empty and we got a primo table next to the rear windows looking towards Mineral Basin. Sat there for about an hour chatting and enjoying the brews and the views!

i didn't really have any problems with skier etiquette or unruly lift lines this season in 58 ski days.

there were two instances of cheesy behavior (admittedly smuggling my own beer into ski lodges is cheesy behavior) that stand out in memory: around 1st of april I was in line for the peruvian chair at snowbird. there was a sign just before getting on lift that said it was lift foreman's last day and to please share. below the sign was a small pile of beers guests had left for the lift foreman's last day party. a young man right in front of me took two beers from the pile for himself and his girlfriend to drink. they giggled as they got on the chairlift. I thought that was a really low deed.

second, i was at Mammoth in mid-April on an uncrowded day and riding the gondola by myself. when i passed through mid-station there were about 5 people looking to ride the upper half of the gondola line. there was also one guy screaming at the lift attendant. he was in the fast pass lane and was demanding to get on a gondola before the other 4 people. he got put in my cabin. there was an awkward silence for a couple minutes while he calmed down, then I couldn't help breaking the ice by saying, "nice day isn't it?" we proceeded to have a friendly conversation without mentioning his recent temper tantrum. He was from LA.

Some of the bad etiquette at ski areas might be due to the kind of people specific mtns draw. mammoth is great skiing, but it's sort of a giant "local's" mtn for SoCal weekenders, rather than a destination for well traveled skiers from around the US. You might be able to make an argument that savvy destination ski travelers are more polite than weekenders going through the stress of driving to/from a place like Mammoth every Friday/Sunday. sorry that last para reads like bad stereotyping.
 
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KustyTheKlown

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documented phenomenon across all aspects of society

we are all too online and covid accelerated the fuck out of it

i'm as guilty as anyone, if not worse, for playing a character online that isn't reflective of how i necessarily always am in real life.

personally i haven't seen much of this at ski areas tho. I'm a bit blissfully unaware of other people tho, generally skiing solo with music in my ears for 7 hours straight.

 

Kingslug20

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I didnt notice this at ski areas. The rest of the world oh yeah. Crime is rampant..road rage everywhere. On a bigger scale we are back to a cold war..except nukes are talked about even more.
I don't like where this world is going. At all.
 

Edd

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I'm a bit blissfully unaware of other people tho, generally skiing solo with music in my ears for 7 hours straight.
Haven’t listened to music skiing in over a decade. Had one of those helmets with speakers built in, hardwired from my phone. I may try again as I do ski alone nearly half the time. I have PowerBeats Pros for exercise that I love. Not sure about wearing a helmet over those, though.

What are you using for buds to listen?
 

djd66

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I didnt notice this at ski areas. The rest of the world oh yeah. Crime is rampant..road rage everywhere. On a bigger scale we are back to a cold war..except nukes are talked about even more.
I don't like where this world is going. At all.
throw in the leak of the upcoming supreme court decision. I dont like where things are going either,... I'd love to have just 1 year of normal.
 

KustyTheKlown

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Haven’t listened to music skiing in over a decade. Had one of those helmets with speakers built in, hardwired from my phone. I may try again as I do ski alone nearly half the time. I have PowerBeats Pros for exercise that I love. Not sure about wearing a helmet over those, though.

What are you using for buds to listen?

i am a fossil from 2007. i use old 5th generation click wheel iPods and wired ear buds. ipod sits in my breast jacket pocket. earbud wire flows thru the opening built into the jacket for it, up my neck, into my ears under my helmet. i also carry a 2 USB portable charger that can top off the phone and the iPod, both of which die especially when cold due to constant use. phone is tracking GPS all day and i also tend to read on chairlifts.

i am not sold on streaming music. especially when i drive and ski in the middle of nowhere when i do my most attentive and lengthy periods of listening. i have a stable of old iPods that all in all hold most of my ~terabyte+ music collection. i like my music being 'mine' (whether or not i paid for it is a different story). i don't want to ever rely on my music being held by spotify. I'm a collector and an archiver.

this guy is fucking awesome. he is modding old iPods with huge harddrives and better batteries. i am going to spring for a 2 TB eventually: https://eoe.works/
 
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thetrailboss

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there were two instances of cheesy behavior (admittedly smuggling my own beer into ski lodges is cheesy behavior) that stand out in memory: around 1st of april I was in line for the peruvian chair at snowbird. there was a sign just before getting on lift that said it was lift foreman's last day and to please share. below the sign was a small pile of beers guests had left for the lift foreman's last day party. a young man right in front of me took two beers from the pile for himself and his girlfriend to drink. they giggled as they got on the chairlift. I thought that was a really low deed.
Wow, that is really bad. FWIW I delivered beer to the night crew at Brighton. I handed it directly to the lifty to avoid it being taken by others.
 

jimk

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documented phenomenon across all aspects of society

we are all too online and covid accelerated the fuck out of it

i'm as guilty as anyone, if not worse, for playing a character online that isn't reflective of how i necessarily always am in real life.

personally i haven't seen much of this at ski areas tho. I'm a bit blissfully unaware of other people tho, generally skiing solo with music in my ears for 7 hours straight.

Excellent post and article link by Kusty! I like the introspective Kusty:D

As an older person, the toughest thing for me about the pandemic was watching our country/society go all-crazy-divisive, rather than pulling together to support each other during a crisis. The election year, the upheaval regarding social justice, and combining this with all the froth created by social media and the press made it a very UGLY time. I believe the best thing about this ski season that is wrapping up (my last ski day will likely be May 8) was not stuff like great powder days, but that ski area operations and policies returned closer to the norm than the last two winters.
 

Smellytele

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Here is something not sure if really a new occurrence but it bugs the shit out of me. In line waiting, all of a sudden someone is trying to get by me saying “hello, hello, hello” like I was the ass for not letting them by to get up with another group.
FUCKIN WAIT OUTSIDE THE CORRAL UNTIL ALL OF YOU ARE THERE AND READY TO GO!!!
This is not usually young people but older people who feel they are the only ones that matter. That they somehow earned the right to do this because they are old and have skied at their home mountain for 30 years.
 

drjeff

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Here is something not sure if really a new occurrence but it bugs the shit out of me. In line waiting, all of a sudden someone is trying to get by me saying “hello, hello, hello” like I was the ass for not letting them by to get up with another group.
FUCKIN WAIT OUTSIDE THE CORRAL UNTIL ALL OF YOU ARE THERE AND READY TO GO!!!
This is not usually young people but older people who feel they are the only ones that matter. That they somehow earned the right to do this because they are old and have skied at their home mountain for 30 years.
100% agree with you on this!

If your entire party isn't there, don't get into the queue lane until they are. And if they're not all there yet, don't block the entrance to a queue lane while waiting for the rest of your group to get there! I am quite convinced that the folks that do this are the same ones who park in the fire lane at a convenience store while they're running into to grab 1 thing and there's an open, legal parking space 10 feet away or the folks who don't bother to put their shopping carts into the collection bin area of a parking lot and just leave them a space or 2 away from the collection bin area!! :mad::mad:
 

ThatGuy

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Yes that is so annoying. Kept having it happen to me at Killington with people blatantly cutting me off to hop on chairs with their friends. I told a few people thats not how a line works. Then they get mad at you for popping their little ego bubble.

As for peoples behavior, it has definitely degraded to a terrible baseline.
I’m a polite person in general (open doors, say excuse me and thank you, basic courtesy) and people will look at me like I’m an alien or give a dirty look for engaging with them. Also the amount of minor alterations over petty bs I witness regularly is ridiculous. Just the attitude alot of people seem to have developed is terrible.

I worked in customer service prior to the start of Covid and the change in behavior was nothing short of depressing. People just began living in their own world and acting as if they are the only one that matters. Thats not to say people weren’t rude before Covid (they definitely were) but it really seems to have spiraled to another level which is very sad because I thought that it was a perfect opportunity for people to work together and get over our differences to overcome a common problem. Instead it seems to have highlighted our ignorance and led to more problems.
 

Kingslug20

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Haven’t listened to music skiing in over a decade. Had one of those helmets with speakers built in, hardwired from my phone. I may try again as I do ski alone nearly half the time. I have PowerBeats Pros for exercise that I love. Not sure about wearing a helmet over those, though.

What are you using for buds to listen?
I use ODT chips which fit in the smith helmet ear flaps..wireless...sony walkman...works great.
 

cdskier

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Here is something not sure if really a new occurrence but it bugs the shit out of me. In line waiting, all of a sudden someone is trying to get by me saying “hello, hello, hello” like I was the ass for not letting them by to get up with another group.
FUCKIN WAIT OUTSIDE THE CORRAL UNTIL ALL OF YOU ARE THERE AND READY TO GO!!!
This is not usually young people but older people who feel they are the only ones that matter. That they somehow earned the right to do this because they are old and have skied at their home mountain for 30 years.

Yup...that drives me nuts. I've even seen numerous times this year where people get up to the RFID gates and stand there waiting for someone else to join that hasn't even entered the lift line yet (this tends to happen more mid-week when it isn't crowded...but still if you have a group you're skiing with, wait for them at the entrance to the lines instead of blocking the gates for others that aren't waiting for anyone). I haven't noticed any particular age group being guilty of this though. I've seen it across all age groups personally. Families, teens, kids, older people.
 

drjeff

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Yes that is so annoying. Kept having it happen to me at Killington with people blatantly cutting me off to hop on chairs with their friends. I told a few people thats not how a line works. Then they get mad at you for popping their little ego bubble.

As for peoples behavior, it has definitely degraded to a terrible baseline.
I’m a polite person in general (open doors, say excuse me and thank you, basic courtesy) and people will look at me like I’m an alien or give a dirty look for engaging with them. Also the amount of minor alterations over petty bs I witness regularly is ridiculous. Just the attitude alot of people seem to have developed is terrible.

I worked in customer service prior to the start of Covid and the change in behavior was nothing short of depressing. People just began living in their own world and acting as if they are the only one that matters. Thats not to say people weren’t rude before Covid (they definitely were) but it really seems to have spiraled to another level which is very sad because I thought that it was a perfect opportunity for people to work together and get over our differences to overcome a common problem. Instead it seems to have highlighted our ignorance and led to more problems.

The opportunity for COVID to become a unifying event ended the second that COVID got politicized, which was just after COVID became known to the public. Such a sad state of affairs
 

Kingslug20

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30 years riding the NYC subways has made me somewhat indifferent to most behavior.
 

thetrailboss

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Here is something not sure if really a new occurrence but it bugs the shit out of me. In line waiting, all of a sudden someone is trying to get by me saying “hello, hello, hello” like I was the ass for not letting them by to get up with another group.
FUCKIN WAIT OUTSIDE THE CORRAL UNTIL ALL OF YOU ARE THERE AND READY TO GO!!!
This is not usually young people but older people who feel they are the only ones that matter. That they somehow earned the right to do this because they are old and have skied at their home mountain for 30 years.
Yes. I saw this recently at Alta. A woman cut the entire line and ignored the lifty running the queue.
 

KustyTheKlown

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30 years riding the NYC subways has made me somewhat indifferent to most behavior.

the subways make me indifferent to most things, while also being hyper alert and aware of my surroundings

for example, yesterday i was going to a friends uptown, and had a seat in one of the areas where there are just two narrow seats. a homeless dude with tons of bags, smoking a cigarette, started making a move to sit next to me, but i murdered him with my eyes and he didn't. had he sat i would have just gotten up and gone elsewhere. but if i were buried in my phone or a book i wouldn't have been able to glare him away from me in the first place.

also, this isn't about his homelessness per se, tho he did not look like he would smell good at close range. it was more about this fucking guy was about to try to join me in a seat for 2 with bags that equaled the size of another full human adult man
 
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