I would suggest that you write a letter describing your experiences to the general manager at Snowshoe.
One of the corporate goals of Intrawest, Snowshoe's parent company, is to make sure guests receive quality service across the board. In general, the company does an excellent job in adhering to this goal. It works tirelessly to enforce all sorts of local ordnances designed to enhance a guest's "experiences."
However, bear in mind that many services and most accommodations at Snowshoe (as well as many other ski resorts) are privately owned and managed by 3d parties. This system allows the resort to share profit as well as risk with "the Snowshoe Community": small business owners, condo owners, and restaurateurs. In other words, complaining to the lodging management is different from complaining to Snowshoe management. If you have a legitimate grievance, I guarantee that you will receive fair treatment from the resort's general management. It would be a pitty to write this resort off based on one lousy lodging experience.
I am sorry that you feel it necessary to castigate SnowShoe in toto for your unfortunate experience. I think that some of your discomfort might have been bypassed if you understood a little better the processes at Snowshoe.
First of all, normal sign in time is 5 PM or later. Although the desk personal may say your room could be available prior to that time, it just doesn't seem to work out that way. On major holidays the turn over rates can be 1500+ rooms. Imagine having to prepare 1500 rooms in 6 hours (from 11 AM checkout to 5 PM check in) with a normal staff. It is a Herculean effort and the housekeeping personal do a fine job considering everything.
As far as driving down the mountain to get your keys, not all of the condos owners have arrangements with the Snowshoe management firm to handle their rentals. Those that don't, usually have the keys with the general office down the mountain rather than the Brigham Center at the top. I suspect this may be the situation in your case since you mention that the condo you rented had 2 baths that were indicated on the rental website. Snowshoe's online reservation facilities do not indicate either room number or number of baths for a particular condo.
"TV didnt work, the blinds literally fell off in our hands", been there! We rented over at Powderidge one time when we couldn't get into Highland House. Our hot water didn't work, the bedroom light fixture fell off the wall and blew all the fuses, and there was the funkiest mildew odor about the place. When we approached the management about the problems we joked about it and asked if they could change us to another accommodation. Again, like you it was a fully booked weekend and they couldn't give us another room. But, I think because we didn't make a fuss and talked to them face to face, they comped us our lift tickets for the entire stay ... and fixed the water heater.
The restaurants at SnowShoe deal pretty effectively with large crowds. However on holidays like Christmas it is often easier to have buffets to allow the staff to have a few moments off with their families. Some of the restaurants have been undergoing renovation like Auntie Pastas, which wasn't open mid December when we were last there. If they still hadn't opened or were on reduced schedule I imagine that would have caused a shortage in dining facilities. You know, you can always order out for pickup and eat back at your condo.
We always enjoyed our stays at Snowshoe ... we go there to ski ... period. If we want perfect service we stay at the Allegheny, Highland House or Rimfire. If we want to save a few bucks and deal with the unknown we stay outside of the village. To be sure of the best service, book thru the Snowshoe reservation system, the number is on the web site at ... www.snowshoemtn.com.
BTW ... I don't work for SnowShoe, we just love the mountain and hate to see anyone not enjoy it as we do.
If I am going to drive over 3 1/2 hours I am going to Southern Vermont (just got back-GREAT SNOW!) or New York. Otherwise you can't go wrong with any of the other WV or Western Pa hills.
With all due respect Snowcone, why do you get so offended when someone reveals a negative experience about Snowshoe? Do you own property there, stock? Not everyone has the same taste, and there does seem to be a pattern of people's experiences out there.
Where do you go in Southern Vermont and New York? How long are the typical drives?
To compare the mountains, go here:
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-13-2003).]
In NY, Hunter Mt and Ski Windham are off of I-87(NY Thruway)which is about 2 hrs closer than So.VT.
Johnfmh: I agree that under 7 Hrs to Mt Snow is VERY optimistic!
We went to Okemo this weekend. The best conditions I have seen in years, there was 3 feet of snow all over So.VT! I'm going back in a few weeks!
No we do not own property at Snowshoe, the mountain is too small and I would rather spend the 5 hours it takes to get there, 'getting there' to somewhere like Snowmass if I am going to be an owner. It's just that we have spent a lot of long weekends there winter and summer and have gotten to know many of the locals who work there. These are hard working, wonderful people and don't deserve the way they get treated at times. They each do the job of 3 for the salary of 1. It seems to me most of the problems Becky experienced were due to a bad independent rental agency and not being aware of some of the systems in place at Snowshoe.
Believe me we have had bad experiences there too, but I have found that you cannot make a bad situation better by yelling at people. If you are civil and patient people will help you out to the best of their ability. If you get nasty they won't. I tell you frankly, I would never book where Becky did, especially for holidays. I know the holiday service is abysmal in anything but the top properties, Allegheny, Highland, Rimfire etc. Better to take the kids to Florida for Xmas, at least you have a wider choice of places to stay than the limitations of a single mountaintop in WV.
Can you give us some more feedback on the terrain, lifts, and other services? THANKS!!!
Okemo doesn't have a lot of extreme terrain. There are some glades (even an intermediate glade-style trail). They do alot of grooming but allow some trails to bump up. The base area is a real cluster-**** in the am & pm but that's the only time you are around there anyway. Its crowded at some of the lift lines at times (though never more than 5-10 min. wait), but the mountain is big enough that its not too crowded on the slopes. The food is so-so at Solitude lodge (there are three lodges other that the base lodge). All of the staff are go out of their way to be friendly and helpful and it seems to rub off on the skiers too. Ludlow (where Okemo is located) is a nice town with some decent restaurants. And all the facilities are always clean.
All in all, its a nice place to ski. If you want more agressive terrain, Killington or Magic Mountain may be more up your alley. I like it a little more laid back.
-"the holiday service is abysmal in anything but the top properties". Plus the comments on the holiday dining options. Many skiers book only on the holidays and rightfully expect solid service on the few times they go. It is after all, a holiday for the guests. I would expect the resort and related restaurants, etc. to make an extra effort to increase staff to ensure quality service.
-"Our hot water didn't work, the bedroom light fixture fell off the wall and blew all the fuses, and there was the funkiest mildew odor about the place." These are pretty major complaints. I don't care how hypothetically rude the customer is, for things this major it is unprofessional for any customer to not be given prompt response. The "TV didnt work, the blinds literally fell off in our hands" are not quite as major, but are important enough that prompt service is expected. Failure to return calls is unprofessional.
-WRT the uncertainty about the number of bathrooms in a rental unit. The on-line booking does not indicate on the search pages the number of bathrooms in a unit. This is a serious deficiency in their web site. Based on previous group trips, the number of bathrooms is an important consideration. As such, if I do go to Snowshoe, I will not book online.
-WRT the comment on third parties handling some services for Snowshoe, Becky indicated that she booked the trip through Snowshoes website. That being so, it is the resort's responsibility to resolve all property complaints. Period. Failure to do so is extremely poor customer management, no matter what business you're in.
It is not the job of the customer to understand how a resort works, it's the job of the resort to ensure that customers understand how the resort works. We are spending money to enjoy ourselves.
While I appreciate the possible difficult situation that some of Snowshoe's workers may be facing in their work environment, it is the resort's responsiblity to ensure that system is working smoothly so the amount of customer complaints are minimal.
Snowshoe's real estate problems are no different from those of most major U.S. destination resorts. The current industry model is for resorts to develop condos, sell them, and then persuade unit owners to rent them out to "guests" either directly or more likely indirectly through 3d party real estate management companies.
At big destination resorts like Snowshoe, there are literally thousands of properties managed by a variety of different property managers. Furthermore, at Snowshoe, many of the condos were built before Intrawest took over and therefore do not adhere to Intrawest's high standards of construction and interior design quality. In short, trying to maintain consistent quality across the board is a tough goal under these circumstances. To make matters even more complicated, many units on rental programs are owned by real estate investors who never use the units for themselves. Hence, they spend as little money as possible to maintain these units. Now, not every owner behaves like that but some do, and woe to those who end up renting from those owners. Frequent guests avoid lemons by requesting good units by name or number, but not everyone is lucky enough to be a frequent guest.
I know from talking to executives at both Intrawest and the American Ski Company that these corporations are working very hard to improve the situation, but it will take time to weed out the bad apples-especially in a program as large as Snowshoe's. So what are you and your group supposed to do in the meantime? Research the properties via DCSki and other net resources. E-mail owners who know the lay of the land and ask for their advice. Whatever you do, don't write off an entire resort because of bad condos. If you do that, you might as well forget about staying at any major resort across this country.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-13-2003).]
If a significant percentage of the accomodations are of substandard quality, that is a perfectly valid reason for writing off a resort. Especially one of limited terrain as Snowshoe (compared with other national destination resorts).
I strongly disagree with the assessment that Snowshoe's real estate problems are no different from those of most major U.S. destination resorts. I have made over 20 trips to destination resorts and have never encountered the severity of problems mentioned on this thread. The price range of these accomodations is consistent with what is being charged at Snowshoe.
I would simply urge anyone who has had a bad experience to vote with their pocketbook, and go elsewhere. I don't think that until Intrawest actually does make the changes that they deserve the business. Why go through all the trouble when there are other, better options? As you might have pick up on the Okemo discussion earlier, you really can't find a better example of a resort that does it right. In my opinion, the absolute opposite of Snowshoe.
I hope Intrawest does turn it around. It would be a great benefit to the people of WV.
1. BeckyP made her reservation through:
and not through the official Snowshoe site:
In short, blaming Intrawest for her problems is a bit like blaming Okemo for problems encountered at a hotel in Ludlow. I suspect her experience would have been better indeed if she had booked an Intrawest property through the official site: www.snowshoemtn.com.
2. People ARE INDEED voting with their pocketbooks. This year, Snowshoe is receiving a record number of guests--almost twice as many as last year thus far. Obviously, a lot of people like the resort or else it would be a ghost town.
3. I don't work for the resort, but I do thank Intrawest for bringing such high quality skiing to the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. This is a tough area of the country to provide quality destination skiing and I think Snowshoe does as an excellent job of offering a VT quality ski experience closer to home (especially for people whose homes are south of DC).
Unfortunately, two other people on this thread besides the original poster have mentioned problems with lodging/service, so I don't consider this an isolated incident. Plus, my own experiences with lodging at Snowshoe (2 times, granted 10 years ago), were not all that positive. If I'm going to spend $$ and travel 5 hours, I have certain expectations in terms of what I'm getting.
She speak with pierced tongue...
I not like Becky
I like West Virginia
You get what you pay for. If slopeside lodging is 60 to 70% less than other units there is a reason.
Wake up and smell the snowflakes
BTW, my sister just got back from Christmas at Aspen and had horror stories to tell about where they stayed there. I think the best thing they had to say about the place is it was about the level of a Motel 6. But ... they had a dynamite time because they went there to SKI not niggle about the accommodations.
I don't mean to imply anything negative at all and I enjoy your posts, but do you work for Intrawest? I mean some your posts sound like commercials! My criticisms of Snowshoe are for the whole package. I can forgive poor lodging, or bad food or surly-sullen-rude service, but not all three at once, no way.
As my hero Mike Dukakis once said "A fish rots from the head down" (I don't think he coined that one, but he is the last person I heard say it). I'm with John L on that one.
[This message has been edited by DC_Skier (edited 01-13-2003).]
In this discussion, Snowshoe and Intrawest are deemed to have done something wrong. It eventually comes out the main culprit in this is a competitor of Snowshoe.... who also rents units on the mountain.
So Snowshoe/Intrawest is badly flamed .......... for their competitor's actions. Snowshoe chose for whatever reason(s) to ignore this entire discussion. So it appears Snowshoe has been effectively tarnish in an unfair manner.
Real scary for its implications but it does tell me why several net sites have dropped their comment areas. Maybe we should be a little more careful in this entire process. As the option is to lose this discussion area....
Scott runs this site so only Scott can make a determination concerning how frank he wants the discussions on this web site. Presumably to cover operating costs, he has accepted some advertising in the sponsored by sections of this site. I don't know the arrangements, nor do I really care. The point is, I recognize Scott has some constraints in operating this site.
As a viewer of this site, and one who has contributed brief reports, I have a definite opinion on this subject. To me, the real value of visiting/contributing to this site is to get/provide a frank assessement (good and bad) of conditions, lodging, travel, etc. Without this frank assessment, I would mostly go to the web sites of the mountains themselves.
I saw no flaming on this thread (though myrto has come real close), but saw some real concerns wrt lodging/service. Participants on this thread disagree as to the root cause of these problems, but reasonable people are allowed to disagree. IMHO, Snowshoe/Intrawest should utilize this and other discussions as valuable customer feedback. They may or may not be aware of this thread.
I would welcome input from Snowshoe/Intrawest on the issues raised in this thread.
[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 01-14-2003).]
I also don't see Snowshoe/Intrawest and the third-party real estate entities as competitors. Their ultimate success (at least at Snowshoe) depends upon each other providing solid facilities and customer service.
[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 01-14-2003).]
I guess I should chime in with a few comments.
I have always been impressed by the maturity of DCSki readers and the professional level of dialog on the Message Forums, so I'm rarely concerned about frank message threads, even when they're critical in nature (of advertisers or DCSki or even me!) As long as they're fair, and they tend to be. And readers are pretty good at picking up on inaccuracies and correcting them -- we've seen some of that in this thread.
Some of DCSki's fixed costs are recouped through advertising, but I make the best possible effort to keep the advertising and editorial sides of DCSki separate, and DCSki would not be successful if it was not objective. The Message Forum is one of the strongest editorial parts of DCSki -- it's a community gathering place where everyone can come and talk about what's on their mind -- so I try to let discussions play out unless I see something being posted that is obviously wrong or unobjective or "flaming" in nature.
I can tell you that many of the major resorts in this area do closely watch DCSki and the DCSki Message Forum, even though, as a policy, they do not post to it. I can also tell you that constructive negative feedback raised on the Message Forum is often responded to, and problems are corrected, sometimes immediately. Mid-Atlantic resorts are in the business of making guests happy, and they want to know when there are issues so they can continue to tweak things and make them better. But, there's always a chance someone will have a bad experience every now and then -- that's the luck of the draw. It's never good to draw conclusions based on one bad experience.
The snow is here! What are you waiting for? This is the best ski season in a while; Hope you get a chance to come North!
The annoying problems (non-of-them serious):
1. If you come from the new road (via local route 66 through Cass), all the signs especially the Brigham Center (check-in for the properties - at least for me) point from the other direction. We wound up missing the village and turning around.
2. Card (?) to get into the garage didn't work. Went back to Brigham Center (40 yards away). Got another card. Didn't work. Went back to Brigham Center - worker walked back with me. It seems that because of the cold (and conditions) that sometimes it takes multiple tries (usually within 5 swipes) to work.
3. Room wasn't ready (nor did I think that it would be) we were there at 1:30. Got a number to call to find out when our room would be ready. So we went a got a small pizza at Cheat Pizza (hint skip the ham, sausage, pepp - the ham has gristle). Afterwards, we stopped by Brigham Center to see if the room was ready because Cheat is right around the corner. The room was ready. No complaint.
4. After hauling our bags up to the room, we noticed that the skis had to be stored in the ski locker room which is next to the hearth room. Hmmmm. Wonder where we get the combinations for the locks. Back to Brigham Center, they have the combos. Now, this did erk me. Their process should include the combo for Rimfire.
5. On Monday evening for dinner, we wanted to try Rosa's (Mexican) in top of the world - my wife likes Mexican; I can be plyed with Margarita's. It wasn't opened for Dinner. Tried Goodtime Bobby's at the Mountain Lounge - Closed. We had already ate at the Foxfire Grille on Sunday evening - nice enough, but a little loud for me (Bennigan's type atmosphere), weren't interested in an Italian buffet (Auntie Pasta), too tired to really enjoy Red Fox, so we finally settled for the junction. Nothing on the menu was what we wanted. Also, the Comedy club isn't opened Sunday or Monday nights. Then again the show starts at 930. After a day of skiing, I'm not up much later than that!
A letter will be written for the more serious issues.
1. Be very careful with the reservation desk. "My wife asked for 2 days of skiing for 2 adults." The res agent didn't inquire further - but we realized that we had day/night tickets. Skiing during the day is enough for us. This cost us $80.
2. Same transaction. Breakage insurance was added to our rentals without asking. $8, I may have paid for this, if asked - but it wasn't raised.
Again, great skiing - process improvements are apparent.