Folks, let me tell you a story, and then you can decide for yourself whether to feed Snowshoe your cash or not anymore.
First of all, holiday rates are now $65 at the window. You might as well go to Stratton for that proice. You can no longer buy a ticket until 4:30, you must buy a ticket with night skiing. 'Freedom' tickets they are called... basically its a way to screw you out of more money. It's $58 for a ticket from 12:30-closing during holiday. Weekend rates at the window: $63 for a full day, non-holiday. Student discounts are not in effect during holiday rates. Oh, so that's why they advertise for them on their website... idiots.
Then there's the trail maintenence issue. Tuesday of this week everything is a solid sheet of ice. No grooming had been done. Why you ask? Because it was too warm the night before... oh so when the mercury drops into the low 20s overnight but its 34 at 10pm you don't have to groom the trails. That's why every other resort grooms in the morning if its too warm at night... I hope somebody sues them for negligence, because upon speaking with some Ski Patrollers, things did infact get 'ugly' on Tuesday. Maybe its because Intrawest has the money to throw away on lawsuits, but every other resort in WV cares about their customers, and isn't owned by a billion-dollar company who has this kind of money.
Then there's the no-ticket rule. Everything at Snowshoe, including your vehicle, is at the top. If you get your ticket pulled or don't have one because your wallet's in the ER after losing $65 in 20 seconds, you owe them $20 at the base to get back up the lift, if you don't have it, they'll be glad to bill you. Hike the park without a ticket, and expect to meet an army of security at the top on your way out. Either way, I'm now on the 'list', so if I fail to present a valid lift ticket while on the slopes they will not hesitate to call the police and take me to court to obtain a restraining order. Kind of like when you go in the lobby of Allegheny and they tell you not to be there, then call the security when you walk out the door.
Then there's the issue of backstabbing. The Ski Patrol, most of which are alright, are generally nice to you in face. We got yelled at hiking out of the park without tickets. They were nice, told us just to be safe and have a good night. Appearantly they hit the top with our names and descriptions, moaned about it, entered us in the 'list' and we all got messages to report to Ski Patrol where we received a berating, after we weren't told we couldn't hike the park w/o a ticket.
But there's an upside, they created a new policy because of us.
It sounds like you are mad because Snowshoe has rules that are actually enforced whereas at Timberline, everything is laissez faire.
Personally, I would gladly put up with more rules and higher prices for better lifts and snowmaking....
On the other hand, I do enjoy ducking the ropes to ski the whales early season.
If it is #1 then I agree with your call of BS: while I don't know why they clipped you, maybe it was valid maybe it wasn't, they should atleast let you ride back up to your car.
If it is #2... well you take your chances!
Atleast their lifts work! Hit me with draconian rules and I will play by them as long as they provide the service I paid for.
It is true you can get to southern VT or NY in the same time and for about the same price as Snowshoe - but variety is the spice of life I suppose - and for the single guy Snowshoe has Killington beat hands down as far as the ladies go. For us married guys, well that doesn't matter!
PS Killington is $72 a day - ouch!
I can see why you're upset but I'm having trouble parsing out what I feel are valid complaints and what aren't.
Lift tickets at Snowshoe are among the most expensive in the region when purchased at the ticket window. (It's been pointed out before on DCSki that the pricing structure is designed to encourage you to pair the tickets with lodging at Snowshoe -- if you lodge at Snowshoe, you can get tickets really cheap, and often free.) At the same time, Snowshoe offers the most variety and usually the best conditions in the region, and to many that makes it worthwhile paying more for a lift ticket. Their lift ticket prices aren't a mystery, and folks can vote with their dollars and choose not to go there if they feel it's too expensive.
I just checked their web site under the lift ticket pricing section, and it breaks out ticket prices into "early/late season", "regular season", and "holiday season" sections. For each section it shows what the student rates are for tickets (no discount under the holiday section), so I don't understand your negative comment about them advertising the student rates on their web site as if that wasn't clear -- but maybe you saw something somewhere else on the site that you felt was misleading.
In terms of grooming, that may well be a valid complaint. I know Snowshoe does most of their grooming throughout the night. I also understand from talking with snowmakers (and I think John Sherwood has pointed this out in the past) that proper grooming requires time to let the snow "set" -- with certain types of snow conditions, you don't want to groom it right before opening the slopes, and especially if it was recently above freezing. But I have no idea what the conditions were on your visit and it could just be that they didn't have the staff to send out that morning to groom, in which case you could have a valid point.
I've seen resorts out west, such as Vail or Mammoth Mountain, groom some trails throughout the day. But they can get away with that, given how large the terrain is and how much snow they have. At Mid-Atlantic resorts, it would be hazardous to groom while slopes are open. Given the number of trails at Snowshoe, it takes a few hours to groom, so there might not have been enough time between when the temperatures became acceptable for grooming and when the slopes opened -- and people would be upset if they delayed opening trails for grooming, I'm sure.
There's one clear thing that happens if you groom when temperatures are well above freezing: you end up with no snow on the slopes. Each time you groom, you lose some snow, and the amount is dependent on the snow conditions.
Your complaints about the trouble you had by not having a lift ticket I just can't understand. Had you purchased a lift ticket or not? If someone has not purchased a lift ticket, and is anywhere on their slopes, then they have every right (and one might argue, a duty to paying customers) to call the police and have an arrest made for trespassing and theft of services. Do you objectively disagree with that? Snowshoe is private property, and giving a warning or charging $20 seems like a polite slap on the wrist compared to what they could otherwise reasonably do. If you shoplift something from a store, you usually don't get let off with a warning.
If you had a legitimate reason for losing a ticket, and approached Snowshoe staff courteously, I'm sure their customer service folks would be able to help out or refund you for the $20 cost for a one-way lift ride. But if you lost your cool with them, then they're probably not going to be anxious to do any favors. And complaining to the resort employees about the high cost of tickets probably won't earn any sympathy, either -- after all, they're on the clock and not making exorbitant salaries, I'm sure. (I've always thought it would be difficult to work at a resort: after all, you're working, and all of your customers are on vacation.)
If you thought that it was OK to hike a terrain park without a lift ticket, where did you get the idea that would be OK? I don't know of a single resort in the world that allows that (although some resorts check for tickets more carefully than others -- but that doesn't make it any more OK.) Tickets pay for all the costs of running a resort -- making and grooming the snow, paying the insurance, making the hits in the park, maintaining EMS services on-mountain if you get hurt, plowing the roads, etc.
My guess is that you were surprised and outraged by how much holiday lift tickets were, and decided to gamble by not buying one. (If that's not accurate, I apologize, but I can't understand why else you wouldn't have had a ticket. If you lose your ticket in a nasty fall, for example, at most resorts you can go to customer service, politely explain the situation, and they'll help you remedy it, even though the "official" policy is that tickets are not replaceable. Resorts really do want their customers to be happy, because repeat visitors are what sustains the business.) If you did gamble by not having a ticket, the gamble didn't pay off this time and I don't think you have any right to complain. Not having a ticket can lead to confrontation (e.g., with the ski patrol or security) that isn't going to make the trip memorable for you in a good way, but that still leaves the point that the ticket wasn't paid for, and that's wrong. No one forces you to visit Snowshoe if you think it's too expensive, and supply and demand -- that basic tenant of capitalism -- is what sets the prices. We're fortunate that there are many good resorts in this region, with a wide range of ticket prices.
I don't mean to be beating up on you. I want DCSki to provide an outlet where people can point out the good and bad points of resorts in an objective way -- that's what I strive to do. But that includes defending resorts when I think they've been unfairly criticized. If this is really about the response of the resort to not having a lift ticket, I don't see that Snowshoe has done anything wrong. (And I do understand that your experience would have been negative, and that venting about it is therapeutic, but I'm trying to keep things in check. No hard feelings!)
Here are some stats to contemplate:
At Killington, arguably one of the best resorts in the Northeast, 16 out of 31 lifts cover less than 1000 feet of vertical. Only three lifts cover over 1,500 feet of vert. (SkyeShip Gondola, Skye Peak Quad, and the K1 Gondola). Most of the remaining 12 lifts cover a little over 1,000 feet of vert. per lift. In short, even at a place like Killington, most skiers rarely make runs covering more than 1,000 feet of vertical.
I'm sick and tired of people beating up on the Mid-Atlantic because of lack of vertical and challenge. Believe it or not, many skiers do not want challenge or vertical. They just want to ski, have a good time, and be in the mountains. Half the skiers at Killington never ski anything greater than a green.
Places like Snowshoe are a great alternative to Vermont for beginners and intermediates. For the Washingtonian, the drive to Southern VT may only be 2 more hours if you don't hit traffic on the horribly conjested I-95 corridor. However, Snowshoe attracts most of its skiers from places like Charlotte, Richmond, Norfolk, and places even further south. These skiers like the convenience of being able to drive to Snowshoe rather than having to fly further afield. For an average skier, Snowshoe offers a lot--not just skiing but apres ski and restaurants. One of my wife's colleagues from Norfolk just took up the sport in her late 20s. She loves Snowshoe and really does not want to go anywhere else until her skiing improves. It's great that we have a place like Snowshoe to introduce the sport to so many potential skiers in the south. These southern skiers will eventually help to maintain the sport as baby boomers exit. They are part of the future of this sport.
PS As my wife put it recently, she'd rather ski with people from North Carolina than New York any day of the week.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-03-2004).]
With that said, I have *never* had to pay a $20 dollar fee to ride the lift. I had some lifties tell me this before and I just told them to "call ski patrol" back to take me up the mountain. They will come and get you -- I can't help but think that $20 goes right into the pocket of the person running the lift. I do agree that the policy of charging people to ride a lift one way is absolutely retarded.
Another trick you can try is tell the ski patrol you left your ticket in your hotel room -- when you get to the top, they will wait for you outside of whatever "hotel" you tell them you are in. Leave the resort (or go to Silvercreek).
Too lazy or too lame to find and keep a pair of wire snips handy - that pretty much sums me up.
if it is getting too big - around four tix I find - I remove the thing by bending the wire back and forth a zillion times. too lazy to wait for the cutter yet I'll stand in the cold bending the wire for 5 minutes. hmm.
[This message has been edited by JR (edited 01-06-2004).]
I think by Rich's standard of coolness, I'm even below George. I take the tickets off once a year when I wash my jackets. If I even wash my jackets once a year.
Just don't attach the ticket to the zipper pull of your jacket. Once you zip up your jacket, the tickets will be up around your neck. At speed, you'll feel like you're in a Jackie Chan movie.
Actually one of my jackets has just that; a clear vinyl lift-ticket/pass pocket just inside the bottom of the front of the jacket. Unzip 3 inches from the bottom, flip, and show your pass. Jacket is last year's Spyder model Kootenay but I am sure Spyder must have newer models with a similar option.
7 Springs can convert 14,000 gallons of water per minute into snow whereas Snowshoe can covert 10,000 per minute. You are correct in saying that 7 Springs has more capacity but wrong in saying that it has twice the capacity.
I think it is counterproductive to pit 7 Springs against Snowshoe. They are very different resorts with different terrain. Snowshoe is more of a New England style resort with lot of tree-lined runs and 7 Springs, with its open bowls, is more European.
We should be thankful that we have two resorts in the region that are willing to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to recover from this thaw so quickly. Both resorts should have perfect, machine made snow with natural lake effect snow thrown into the mix by this weekend. That's the key issue. Be happy that skiers in the area will have two excellent ski choices by Saturday.
7 Springs has 1000+ guns on the mountain of which they can run 550 concurrently for 5 days 24x7 until water supplies need to be replenished. Also 7 Springs recycles their water via 80 lakes and ponds.
I got that stat from one of 7 springs' brochures. I think it was 11 or 12 fball fields with 1 foot of snow in 1 hour. Snowshoe claims 5 fball fields with 1 foot of snow in an hour. Now we all know that the type of snow that they produce makes all the difference in how many cubic feet you make so that comparison doesn't necessarily compare equally to the tons or gallons per hour.
I forget where I was, but it was Super cold! As a true dumb-*ss I had my lift ticket on my zipper.
I thought my frost-bitten nose was going to shatter! And, I kept the damn thing on all day just whacking me in the face.
It'd be sweet if jackets had a window pouch on the shoulder you could snap the thing in. Then you could be a show-boating geek AND not get wildly flapped.
PS Why does everybody constantly pit resorts against one another. As long as it has snow, i can have fun. Variety is the spice of life.