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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out of curiosity I thought I’d start this post, now that Vail has been the owner of these resorts for two years.

Do tell or better yet post some pics of your lift lines and any other b.s. you can think of. The pics I’ve seen and stories I’ve read seem to all be resorts owned by Vail, it leads me to believe that there may not be the manpower shortage as much as the “cooperate just get by with the least amount of people as possible” mentality.

As far as one of my local mtns Stevens Pass has dropped the ball with not even a simple letter to its customers explaining the resorts issues, that is until they received my email the other day. Just a few things I mentioned to them that may sound a lot like your local mtn, is the length of the lift lines, poor to no grooming, only a third of the mtn being open (their website says 6 chairs opened but 2 of those “chairs” are magic carpets), and at NO discount. My buddy sent me a copy of Stevens post on Facebook and it read like they were answering my email to the general public, but in the need it was just blah, blah, blah. Last year their excuse for not having the entire mtn opened was that they were avi blasting for safety but on everyone of those days not once did we hear one explosion.

I read some reviews of a resort back east and those reviews sounded like they were from the Stevens Pass Facebook page, customers with decades (like myself) of season passes threatening to go elsewhere. With Mt BAKER only being another half hour longer drive it looks like my money will be going to the privately owned resort next year.

Ive posted this several times, but this is what I’m talking about 🖕🏻Stevens

Snow Mountain Sports equipment White Tree
 

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Never going to defend Vail BUT resorts in the PNW are all seeing record crowds and line regardless of ownership. Not only the boom to the industry but the Portland and Seatle areas have gone crazy and you can't blame the resorts for that. And with the absolute puking thats happened over the last 7 days, theres a lot of terrain they absolutely should keep closed for safety reasons. Closed lifts suck but after this storm cycle you really can't complain, it is an extremely dangerous snowpack in the area.

Stevens was a small locals resort back in the day but when your local resort is now local to one of the major metro areas in the country, local no longer has the same meaning. We all will continue to dream and reminisce over the days werewe didn't have to get to the mountain at7 just for parking but those days are just gone.

We have increasing population, massive increase in popularity and most importantly no new supply. That's is the biggest issue with the industry, there's no real expansion, we aren't building new ski resorts so we're just [packing more and more people in to the same sized area as 20 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’ll agree with the amount of people moving to the PNW (which absolutely sucks), but as far as the danger of all the snow we’ve received of late is BS. I’ve been riding the PNW for almost 40 years and have never seen the resort closed for this length of time, they might have one or two chairs shutdown but you can also hear the bombs going off for a later opening I.e. more fresh runs. The fact is they pissed off their senior groomers/patrollers and they left.

I find it funny that these resorts backed with all of Vails money are the ones having the issues, Mt Baker opens everyday, even the world record year. The Baker crew are all about doing what needs to be done to open, during the record year one of Bakers patrols was digging out the fourth Riblet with a shovel on chair 6.

As I stated in the email to Stevens I guarantee they have several employees sitting behind a desk, espresso machine, guest service counter, grill, etc that could easily load chairs. Make people bring their own lunches, ask strangers where shit is located and bring your own coffee then OPEN THE DAMN CHAIRS. For starters they know they don’t have enough parking for all of the people on the slopes, so stop the bus services from the parking lots 35 miles away in Sultan and the one on the east side, first come first serve no different then buying sporting/ concert events.

Stevens had plans years ago for a three chair, one lodge expansion which was supposed to be completed in 2017 I believe. Not sure what happened but I know the granolas were trying to stop the expansion and maybe the lack of cash, but now with Vail’s account get it going.

As I mentioned I’ve been boarding for almost 40 years and I’m not getting any younger, so these most recent years of absolute poor management really piss me off. Must be nice having a business where you could literally charge any ticket price, close half the mtn, and have to hike uphill just to reach the end of the lines and STILL turn 100’s of people away for the love of boarding.

Are you a Stevens employee? Your reply sounded very similar to the replies we get from Stevens, excuses, excuses, excuses
 

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I’ll agree with the amount of people moving to the PNW (which absolutely sucks), but as far as the danger of all the snow we’ve received of late is BS. I’ve been riding the PNW for almost 40 years and have never seen the resort closed for this length of time, they might have one or two chairs shutdown but you can also hear the bombs going off for a later opening I.e. more fresh runs. The fact is they pissed off their senior groomers/patrollers and they left.

I find it funny that these resorts backed with all of Vails money are the ones having the issues, Mt Baker opens everyday, even the world record year. The Baker crew are all about doing what needs to be done to open, during the record year one of Bakers patrols was digging out the fourth Riblet with a shovel on chair 6.

As I stated in the email to Stevens I guarantee they have several employees sitting behind a desk, espresso machine, guest service counter, grill, etc that could easily load chairs. Make people bring their own lunches, ask strangers where shit is located and bring your own coffee then OPEN THE DAMN CHAIRS. For starters they know they don’t have enough parking for all of the people on the slopes, so stop the bus services from the parking lots 35 miles away in Sultan and the one on the east side, first come first serve no different then buying sporting/ concert events.

Stevens had plans years ago for a three chair, one lodge expansion which was supposed to be completed in 2017 I believe. Not sure what happened but I know the granolas were trying to stop the expansion and maybe the lack of cash, but now with Vail’s account get it going.

As I mentioned I’ve been boarding for almost 40 years and I’m not getting any younger, so these most recent years of absolute poor management really piss me off. Must be nice having a business where you could literally charge any ticket price, close half the mtn, and have to hike uphill just to reach the end of the lines and STILL turn 100’s of people away for the love of boarding.

Are you a Stevens employee? Your reply sounded very similar to the replies we get from Stevens, excuses, excuses, excuses
No I'm not remotely associated with Stevens at all, I live in Portland and ride Hood. BUT the fact that you're getting similar responses from multiple unrelated people should be a sign... I get it because I have all those same frustrations, I'm just also willing to accept the reality of the situation and look at each issue individually.

Hood is not owned by Vail and has literally every one of the exact issues you are struggling with at Stevens the last few years. Huge crowd increases, lift lines, massive price increases, staffing issues, lack of expansion to meet new demand.

Staff: All resorts on Hood are still DESPERATELY trying to hire and at increased wages. One literally was begging for people to just come up and volunteer over Christmas days because they couldn't hire in exchange for free lift tickets. Staffing is not a vail or Stevens issue.

Lift operations: None of the upper lifts at ANY of the resorts on Hood haven't opened at all this year. YES even Baker closes lifts during active storm cycles. It's always frustrating but trust me, resorts, even Vail WANT lifts open and running. As for them not being open about the terrain, I'm pretty sure their website actively will tell you exactly how much of the mountain is open and what lifts are open.

Again if you've been around for 40 years i get the recent industry is just a completely different beast from the past but that's the industry as a whole, not Vail or Stevens. That's one of the things that sucks about getting old, things inevitably change and become more crowded.
 

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Honestly, I dunno. The lines as mount snow and Okemo have been no worse than other years over Xmas, though the snow is sub par so maybe that’s keeping people away too
 

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Alterra bought our mountain, Sugarbush, 2 years ago and unfortunately we have noticed a big difference in a negative way. Having almost nothing open this far into December is unacceptable and ridiculous. Looking an hour south and seeing triple the amount of trails open at Killington is infuriating. They haven't even attempted to make up a BS excuse. Service, grooming, snow making, everything has declined in quality. We now have a mountain being run by people who don't even ski/snowboard. I wish the mountain remained private.
 

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Vails very clear that they are a real estate company that focuses on ski resorts. Their priority is residential/commercial property leasing & sales as well as income from these investments (Disney model of high margin captive food/entertainment etc) unfortunately this means ski operations is in support of these ends and not the core business priority of Vail.

This includes snow making which has always been one of the most expensive parts of ski resort operation is closely managed to the bottom line. Because vail has effectively moved their model to “pre sales” of 2.2m lift ticket packages and they have also locked the majority of real estate into condo ownership models which are also guaranteed income they have an exact figure they are willing to invest per resort in mountain function and are not going to lose money on staff or production regardless of snow fall.

at the end of the day it’s always worth looking at the core priorities of a companies income strategy to understand what you are going to get from them. For vail you’ll get a classic western resort experience targeted at wealthy casual skiers. Lots of services that support that type of customer. You’ll also get cheap entry to alot more resorts then most other options as they are banking on you buying food/drink/lodging/entertainment.

So at the end of the day the trade off is lower quality mountain operations and bigger crowds for less expensive access to more resorts, vail also will most likely keep your resort open where as many locally owned mountains struggle financially and are often at risk of closure.

Final though Vail and it’s competitors target big mountains within 2 hours of major metros, if you are a hardcore boarder these mountains are going to crowded regardless as Millenial and Gen Z are focused on experiences rather then material goods, if you want lower lines and more boarding fade towards mountains that are a. Further away b. Have less base area infrastructure c. Are on stand alone passes
 

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Never going to defend Vail BUT resorts in the PNW are all seeing record crowds and line regardless of ownership. Not only the boom to the industry but the Portland and Seatle areas have gone crazy and you can't blame the resorts for that.
Same thing here also, to much people. They increased parking capacity to fit 700 more cars at my tiny local resort this season. Doesn’t matter that lift Lines already was insane last season, money money money! Resort riding here is a no-go during holidays and weekends. Strictly for weekdays, BC for weekends and holidays.
 

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Same thing here also, to much people. They increased parking capacity to fit 700 more cars at my tiny local resort this season. Doesn’t matter that lift Lines already was insane last season, money money money! Resort riding here is a no-go during holidays and weekends. Strictly for weekdays, BC for weekends and holidays.
If one can afford it I really like the combo of either a epic/ikon pass and a Indy or MC pass (or local mountain) keeps cost down as a east coaster for out west trip or two and gives an alternative for crowded weekends. On the upshot I’m used to when season passes for 1 mountain we’re 1200-1800 bucks so the two passes together are still cheaper
 

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Hate how many of these posts I see and nobody mentions the obvious. Europe handles a hundred times more skiers every season... 100! It's not some sort of exaggeration over 300 million skiers ski in the Alps in a given season and they don't really have lift lines.

The answer isn't less skiiers it's more terrain. Instead of everybody fighting to stop actual people participating in their sport I wish there would be some concentrated push to expand lifts and terrain. We're giving them customers so it should be in these resorts interests.

Stop fighting to make your mountain more exclusive or more for your particular group of friends (neighbors)
1. It doesn't work - thank God we're in a very free society in America. People want something (and they can lay out the money) they'll get it.
2. It's somewhat selfish. Just because you're closer to this particular mountain doesn't mean only you should be the one to enjoy it. If large companies have made it accessible to millions more credit to them. We should however be forcing these companies to make a better product.


Of the two problems too little skiers is much more problematic for the sport as a whole. My neighborhood in the East alone over 30 resorts have closed.
 

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Hate how many of these posts I see and nobody mentions the obvious. Europe handles a hundred times more skiers every season... 100! It's not some sort of exaggeration over 300 million skiers ski in the Alps in a given season and they don't really have lift lines.

The answer isn't less skiiers it's more terrain. Instead of everybody fighting to stop actual people participating in their sport I wish there would be some concentrated push to expand lifts and terrain. We're giving them customers so it should be in these resorts interests.

Stop fighting to make your mountain more exclusive or more for your particular group of friends (neighbors)
1. It doesn't work - thank God we're in a very free society in America. People want something (and they can lay out the money) they'll get it.
2. It's somewhat selfish. Just because you're closer to this particular mountain doesn't mean only you should be the one to enjoy it. If large companies have made it accessible to millions more credit to them. We should however be forcing these companies to make a better product.


Of the two problems too little skiers is much more problematic for the sport as a whole. My neighborhood in the East alone over 30 resorts have closed.
Spending 2 winters in a small west coast resort it’s amazing how many bitter folks there are out here. Most aren’t “locals” but instead folks who moved here within the last 5-10 years because they wanted the mountain life and are now pissed that costs are going up due to increased popularity/job mobility.

Ski towns absolutely need to figure out housing for service staff but it gets my goat every time I hear someone complaining that other people had the same idea they did. It’s like middle schoolers getting pissed when a band gets popular, do people not understand that many many humans would like to live in beautiful mountains next to awesome activities?

The final item I can’t identify with is the horror by many at the idea of commuting. Perhaps it’s the northeastern in me but my job has always been 30-60 minutes from my home seems odd how it’s not an accepted part of mountain town life.

At the end of the day the market will sort itself out, resorts need staff and based on that they will figure out higher pay/housing/perks but it’s going to be a bumpy few years as towns/resorts evaluate if the new population surge is permanent
 

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if you want lower lines and more boarding fade towards mountains that are a. Further away b. Have less base area infrastructure c. Are on stand alone passes
Agreed. While more terrain opening would reduce lines, it doesn't seem like that's a priority to Vail. I moved deep into the mountains last summer. No more Vail for me! Last season was a real shit show at my local Vail resorts. I miss all the snow making, but I don't miss anything else. There's nothing like that mom and pop vibe. There's a difference when all the staff shreds and is passionate about the mountain.
 

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Agreed. While more terrain opening would reduce lines, it doesn't seem like that's a priority to Vail. I moved deep into the mountains last summer. No more Vail for me! Last season was a real shit show at my local Vail resorts. I miss all the snow making, but I don't miss anything else. There's nothing like that mom and pop vibe. There's a difference when all the staff shreds and is passionate about the mountain.
yup it’s a balancing act for me, when in the east my family and I go to Berkshire east, low line, decent snow making, little base infra, cheap season passes and a good youth dev program. Trade off is its smaller then going another 30-45 into VT but it’s worth it for me to run the same 5 runs 10 times then 5 different runs 1 time each. For vacations I target Jay peak or sugarloaf, adds an hour onto my drives but worth it to get larger mountains with less lines by blowing past Sunday river, Stowe etc

i will say most bigger resorts that have gone epic/ikon have other mountain options in the same area, they are generally just smaller/jankier options
 

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