Back East NSAA

Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Canadianbombar on 25 Feb 2014, 17:05

Yup...I don't think I ever once had an ice issue out west. The climbing thing was the biggest pain though..there's just no base out there. Yeah....you can get a 30-40 inch storm out east....but it has a base! Out west you can end up tunneling down to the south pole if you're not careful. Everywhere I worked in BC would get hit pretty good...pretty often....for months straight....so when it finally lets up you're still having trouble climbing as much as a week after the last big dump as it has no density and nothing ever got compacted all that well in the lower layers. Whistler can be a bit more eastern like as they get wetter eastern like snow on the lower 2/3 of the mountain due to being out on the coast... which compacts. They also do a lot of snowmaking....but "a lot of snowmaking" there is a pretty relative....they make as much snow as say Loon....but have 100 times the acreage....so most of it is still all natural. I prefer the eastern stuff because I like the challenge of making sugar out of #$%...it gives me more satisfaction know I took a run from completely unskiable to something that's pretty darn good.....and typically less "am I gonna die" moments...I'm really not into that but some guys live for it....and die for it too I guess....literally. It is pretty frustrating when you've worked a whole week to get the whole mountain perfect and then it deluges rain... again...but I still honestly prefer that to the annoyance of having to use climbing routes to drop runs all night.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Canadianbombar on 25 Feb 2014, 17:29

Just read the article. Boy...is KS ever a douch in the comments...lol...think he failed reading comprehension at school! I concur...you have a good point on needing moguls on intermediate terrain to teach people. That's pretty much the crux of the story in one sentence. I also concur on halfsies runs. I'm only 41 and I can't (well..can but prefer not to) ski a full mogul run. I used to hit a mogul field at an honest 40 mph on 205's (ala Glen Plake) when I was 19 to the ooohs and ahhs of the chairlift (I'm the only guy I ever remember pulling that off at the local resort) however I'm pretty sure that's a good part of why my knees don't want a full mogul run anymore. The halfsies intermediate runs are really nice even if you're a good mogul skier....they give you the option to bug out when you've had enough. You could put exit signs down the side of the run with age brackets as a joke! lol I agree whole heartedly that having at least one run like that at a resort is a winner of an idea.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby snowizard1 on 27 Feb 2014, 18:48

Hope you enjoy Mt. Snow it's a great area with great people.
Started grooming 1978
1st Snowcats to operate Thiokol 2100 Packmaster/Tucker
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Still doing it.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Tom400CFI on 27 Feb 2014, 19:32

Thanks and I completely agree. The people here are fantastic and as a whole, the best group of folks I've yet worked with. I really like it here for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is just b/c it feels so good. Great folks here, for sure.



Canadianbombar wrote:Congrats on the New Job Tom! You're within' "Pop in" distance of me now...lol. You need to work on the pay structure there regarding problem #1. I've never understood why there's such a huge discrepancy in pay in the industry from resort to resort....area to area. It's not a major have resort vs. have not resort thing either....Some of the best paying jobs in business can be had at smaller areas with next to no money who know they need someone who knows their #$%$ to get twice as much done with old equipment while not breaking it. Meanwhile....you have large 'have" resorts that routinely spend 1 million on new cats every winter who field a budget for staffing a 20 man grooming dept of 150K. I have always believed the pay scale for ops should be $12 an hour for never evers with equipment experience....$18 for a good 3 year guy....and $30 for a 10 year guy with a track record of looking after the gear while getting a lot done in a shift. Some places pay that. On the other end of the scale...some places think the scale should run $9-$13...$10 for you first 10 years....$13 for the next 20...lol....and then wonder why they have near 100% turn over and/or the worst ops. Sure you can get lucky once in a blue moon and get a retired farmer who will do a hell of job for $12 an hour....but he's doing it for fun and to get away from his wife for a few hours...and doesn't need to make a living. There's a video of Stan (grooming ops manager) at Whistler on the internet somewhere likening hiring groomers to building a hockey team. You need park guys....you need older experienced guys to lead and train....you need winch guys....and even the right never evers who you can properly train right from scratch and hopefully get to keep. Whistler will hire experienced guys from as far away as Europe...but still hire a never ever or 2 that they think have the right stuff. Usually the never evers are snowmakers who know the mountain....they dangle the fact you can get transferred from snowmaking as a carrot to keep passive snowmakers around for a bit longer than they might have stayed otherwise. Their pay isn't industry leading...but it's nothing close to $9-$13 either. It IS industry leading if you factor in the quality of life there and the quality of the equipment you get to run though....and they know that...and factor it in and use it as a sales pitch when hiring. Anyways...I'm not telling you anything new I'm sure...more laying out the case you need to make to ownership to explain why the dept isn't staffed like it should be....and how paying a little bit more might actually mean paying a little bit less overall (in terms of better productivity/less broken equipment) and heading towards netting you a ski mag grooming title which ads to the top line.

^Best post of the year.

You should sent THAT to SAM mag. I am not kidding. Copy and paste that into an email and send it. That is good quality thinking there, and it works! I've seen it work. You add value to your program, get the right people, pay the right wages and you get a good thing going on. I had that going on at one place I've worked, damage for an entire season was limited to one PB 200 back glass. That is pretty good for a 16 cat fleet. Right people, right pay, valued machinery.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Tom400CFI on 27 Feb 2014, 19:58

With regard to Patrick's article...yeah that KS guy was a tool. He made an issue out of nothing, IMO.

Anyway, This may make me sound like a kook, but here is my thinking;

Bumps are a feature of skiing. They are a product, you could say. There is a groomed product, there is a bumps product, there are Terrain park product (features). Different people ski, looking for different products, a few people (like me) appreciate all genres of skiing products. I like ripping groomers, I like ripping bump lines. I like terrain parks, I like gates.

I feel that you could make "dying" parts of the sport cool again with nothing more than the right presentation and marketing. What if you had designated bump runs (as many resorts do) and you present them as "terrain park" feature? Rope line at top w/an entrance, signage etc....sell it as a feature, a challenge rather than a PITA for people to negotiate. Groom 1/2 and 1/2 (which places do already) so mom and dad can watch/stay with Jr, and make it low angle.

Going OT, but same concept, same goes for GATES. I love skiing gates...always have. How can I ski some gate? I can pay-per at a NASTAR course. I can sign up for some race league ($$$$). But I just want to run some gates for practice, fun, and see a time. Why not a "gate park"? One run, a few timing rigs and lines (Slalom, GS), and staff one guy to keep it up throughout the day? We spend $$$$ on terrain park staff, grooming, SM, etc...a gate park would require a tiny fraction of the funds to operate, and might actually pique the interest of some younger folks.

Anyway, that's my rant. Sell the products as features...make them attainable. How many people would ride terrain parks if you had to pay $3 every time you entered a feature line?? So why do we do that to people for gates? It's a turn-off.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Canadianbombar on 04 Mar 2014, 10:29

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO in on a gate park. If posed with 5 ski areas within a driving circle I would possibly go to the crappiest one of them if they had the described gate park. I'm not sure if that's just me (ex-racer) or not. I think it could quite possibly be a genius idea. They only problem I could forsee with that idea would be it being so popular it would get rutted up too fast on soft snow days. Then again...if you're keeping it on certain trail you could make wetter snow to form ice or salt that area to help with that problem as well. It could also help keep your ski instructors around. I said to my gf just Sunday that I quit being a ski instructor 20+ years ago because I was making nothing because there were so few paid hours. I would actually get the least hours because they had to pay me more because I had higher CSIA and CSCF levels. Mount Snow would be an ideal site for a gate park!
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Canadianbombar on 04 Mar 2014, 11:02

Thanks for the "best post of the year" vote Tom...lol. That isn't saying much since this site is unfortunately only seeing 10 posts a year! I'd re-write dropping the #$%S's if Patrick could sell it to SAM (he seems to have an in there!). Have you seen the new snow groomer magazine out of Winnipeg MB? They were likely at the show?
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby admin on 04 Mar 2014, 22:02

Canadianbombar wrote:Thanks for the "best post of the year" vote Tom...lol. That isn't saying much since this site is unfortunately only seeing 10 posts a year! I'd re-write dropping the #$%S's if Patrick could sell it to SAM (he seems to have an in there!). Have you seen the new snow groomer magazine out of Winnipeg MB? They were likely at the show?


Just edit it up a bit and send it in as a "Speakout" op piece. They'll probably give it real consideration.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby Tom400CFI on 05 Mar 2014, 22:15

Cool that someone likes the gate park idea. I agree it could get rutted. It wouldn't be lot different a "problem" than you get on Terrain Park Landings. You're right though; groom it first shift, slat if necessary. Could be very cool.

I have seen Snow Groomer Mag...though I didn't notice them at the NSAA show.

What Patrick said. I think you should submit your thoughts. They're valid, and I feel that you conveyed them well.
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Re: Back East NSAA

Postby cannon405 on 08 Mar 2014, 00:43

Really enjoyed this great discussion - we do mostly half and half to 2/3 flat cord 1/3 bumps on our steep wide front five trails ( Cannon Mt Franconia NH ) - i totally agree that people paying to have fun at our mts deserve their choice if possible. Gate park awesome idea too
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