Stevens Tue 2/16

  • Quick foot
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16 Feb 2021 16:44 - 16 Feb 2021 17:03 #234706 by Quick foot
Stevens Tue 2/16 was created by Quick foot
I sent this email

This is the worst day I've ever had at Stevens. Not because of the snow quality or the weather but because of the way you are handling the mountain. This is a time when school kids are out for midwinter break so you had to know that they were going to be a lot of people there and there certainly were. You only had 50% of the lifts running. Brooks, Seventh Heaven, Tye, Jupiter and Double Diamond/Southern Cross were not running.  The lines on the other chairs were tremendous..  A lift operator that I asked said the other chairs were not open because you don't have the liftys/skipatrol to man them. This is the worst excuse I've ever heard. If you can't get enough people to operate the ski area then sell it to somebody who can.  Somebody who can run it in a proper manner.  This is the worst customer service I have ran into at any ski area.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2021 17:03 by Quick foot.
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  • snoholic
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16 Feb 2021 19:41 - 16 Feb 2021 19:51 #234707 by snoholic
Replied by snoholic on topic Stevens Tue 2/16
As an everyday skier at Stevens (for some years now) I have struggled deeply this season to reason with Vail. All things considered I think they actually did a reasonably good job today to have anything spinning (considering the MO for this season). With all the BS going on and the vastly different attitude between management and staff the on the ground,  employees actually seemed to have some power (maybe just not giving a f?) to make decisions today. That is something I will support. Maybe something to build from? 
Last edit: 16 Feb 2021 19:51 by snoholic.
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  • H2oskier
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16 Feb 2021 20:15 #234708 by H2oskier
Replied by H2oskier on topic Stevens Tue 2/16
It might be bad form to be a complainer or whiner in our current state of the world, but Stevens has had a long history of a standard of operation, which is what Vail will be compared to.  I'm a longtime pass holder and have watched many ownerships come and go and Vail is simply not running the ski area as well as it has in the past.  I can understand the backside not opening today since they only had S. Cross open yesterday, they had a lot of snow overnight, it had warmed up, it was snowing way over an inch an hour and it was really windy.  However, with that said there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for Brooks, a high speed quad to sit idle today.  I DON'T CARE WHAT THE EXCUSE IS!  Former general managers would have manned the controls and run the lift themselves, rather than watch 40 minute lift lines form.  In fact, it wasn't open yesterday, which was the Monday of one of the busiest ski weekends of the year!  Boyne was a way better company and before that Harbor Properties was also way better at managing this ski area.  Explain to me how it's possible that the former management groups never had problems hiring and staffing the chairlifts.  We went by Tye at 10 am to inquire when they would open and they said they weren't sure if they would be able today.  Fine, then I have idea.....why not send those employees over to open Brooks.  In additon to not having adequate staff, Vail can't even make sure that the Sani-cans that they have stationed in the parking lots get serviced......During a PANDEMIC!  The last two weekends, 3 of the honeybuckets were so full, that if a male were to sit down, their privates would be touching waste!  There are so many other issues to discuss, but at the heart of lift served skiing is making sure that you can open and run lifts.  "Anybody can say they have a lift that can take people up the mountain, but the most important part of the lift is actually running the lift!"         
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  • Powderchaser Steve
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17 Feb 2021 05:30 - 17 Feb 2021 05:32 #234710 by Powderchaser Steve
Replied by Powderchaser Steve on topic Stevens Tue 2/16
I could not agree more! I have been chasing powder for 50 years and it's only this season that I have almost completely crossed Stevens off the list! I have been shut down 3 out of 4 chases (Backside closed, no Double Diamond, Lift Maintenance etc.). I am tired of the excuses. They are operating Stevens like it is a giant resort like Vail and Whistler. You can't ignore the backside on powder days as its been open nearly every powder day before Vail purchased them. Stevens is just too small to operate only front side. Hoenestly, without enough patrol to get Backside going early (9-9:30 AM) like the old days, the ski area jams up and folks track out  mid to lower Double Diamond from the trees since they are tired of waiting for lifts to open. That is actually a liability in my opinion (Sking below avalanche terrain). In credit to Vail, they operate Vail Mountain and even Park City very well. I give them credit for pulling the plug early last year (Covid) and other things. So, perhaps the real issue is  the Operations Manager at Stevens. Thats a very important role at a Ski Area. Patrollers are new, so that is the other issue. While I understand avalanche closures the fact is that the backside is closed on nearly every storm until 10:30 or 11:00 due to lack of staffing. It's simply not a big enough resort to operate like Vail Mountain where Blue Sky Basin stays closed until 10:30.  I give lots of credit to Vail Resorts for many things, but the way Stevens is being operated has me going elsewhere. 
Last edit: 17 Feb 2021 05:32 by Powderchaser Steve.
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  • DB_Cooper
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18 Feb 2021 07:59 - 18 Feb 2021 08:00 #234715 by DB_Cooper
Replied by DB_Cooper on topic Stevens Tue 2/16
Agree with everything said here. Regular at Stevens for the past 7 years, and while my expectations for skiing in a pandemic I think are reasonable, Vail has effed this place up this year.  We've had 4 miserable midweek days where they couldn't get lifts going and lines got 30-40 minutes long. 

Skipped night skiing last night as they couldn't staff Kehrs or Tye Mill. Checked website this morning (Thursday) at 745 and yesterday's noon opening is the banner, lifts reflect last night's skiing and looking at the webcams it looks like a ghost town.   Shouldn't there be someone on the mountain by 8 am getting things ready?

Will probably spend our ski money elsewhere next winter, give them time to figure shit out.
 
Last edit: 18 Feb 2021 08:00 by DB_Cooper.
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19 Feb 2021 23:08 #234730 by Bruce A
Replied by Bruce A on topic Stevens Tue 2/16

  Boyne was a way better company and before that Harbor Properties was also way better at managing this ski area.  Explain to me how it's possible that the former management groups never had problems hiring and staffing the chairlifts.  

Begging your pardon, Boyne never owned or managed Stevens.  Ownerships since founding were, in order, Kehr, Bullitt (Harbor), CNL, Och-Ziff, and now Vail.  Bruce and Stim were both competent business people and passionate skiers, and the area thrived under their direction. CNL and Och-Ziff were REIT model ownerships operated and managed by the Mountain High crew as tenants.  The California folks had their own brand of stoke (They were park rats through and through.) and in fairness taught us much about operating on thin coverage, but the need to earn a profit to first feed two voracious mouths (Owner and Tenant) too often led to short shrift for those lower down the food chain: Employees and Guests. Sharper pencils have seldom been wielded. Vail is, well, Vail. They're all corporate and like that, but the world is all corporate and like that. Unhappy?  Wait five..or ten, but be ready with that better mousetrap.  Giants grow; giants fall.  The graveyards of business are filled with the bones of those who grew to be kings of the hill only to discover to their dismay that hubris is always followed by nemesis. 

Having winessed all of this first hand, to my mind, the tipping point for Stevens (which was gradual, mind you) came when Bullitt retired and board level management and power transferred to people who for all their value as real estate managers knew little or nothing about ski areas. They in turn relied on their managers for information and advice, but knew not enough to know if they were getting good advice or baloney, and, well, they ate a lot of baloney. There was no comparable figure to replace Stim, and management at the strategic level became mired in expensive distractions like the partnership with Mission, the ill advised purchase of Schweitzer, and ultimately in the inability, like the US Congress, to do much of anything at all. The area had become a stagnant resource, ripe for the picking, when CNL showed up with their checkbook.  It didn't have to be that way, and it nearly wasn't.  Many conversations about local purchase were had, even by paupers such as I, but sadly the necessary capital did not materialize. Too bad, too because it's a great hill with a strong and long lived local culture; it would have been so cool to continue local ownership and control.

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  • filbo
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20 Feb 2021 15:34 #234734 by filbo
Replied by filbo on topic Stevens Tue 2/16
Vail runs Stevens Pass.   All I remember about Vail and there corporate structure was hey remember when they were expanding back in the day in Colorado and those guys went up at night and burned and blew up all the stuff they were building.   That could be an indicator of how that corporation understands the local communities they affect or in reality the lack of understanding.  

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