Memorably bad ideas in the ski industry

Comment on thread on Gateway Hills made me think:

List memorably bad ideas in the ski industry by:

Ski Area Management
Ski Equipment
Other

Does not include ski areas that were startups and/or failed as such

I will start with:

SAM: 
Q Burke
Northern Star at Burke
Tenney Mt. Glacier
Taking out GMX and putting in the GMQuad (aka: The Slug) at Sugarbush/Mt. Ellen


Equipment:
Hanson boots
NAVA binding/boot system
Parablocks


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Comments

  • Good thread:

    For SAM:
    How about Walt Schoenknecht idea to set of a nuclear device to add 500' of vertical to the north face of Mt. Snow.  I mean seriously folks: this one has to top the list!
  • Ascutney putting in the HSQ instead of investing in better snowmaking/grooming.

    Jeremy
  • The vacuum to suck snow from the woods to throw on the trail.
  • I guess the summer ski mat a few areas tried turned out to be bad investments. I like the idea, but not many others did, I guess.
  • Powdr buying Killington then opening late and closing for the season in mid April, also raising prices and losing a few hundred thousand skier visits in the process. Took them a decade to somewhat recover.  Many local establishments never recovered with many shuttered motels and eateries along Rt 4.
  • The management of Pico for the last 10 years.
  • newman said:

    The management of Pico for the last 10 years.

    Specifics?
  • NELSAP said:

    Ascutney putting in the HSQ instead of investing in better snowmaking/grooming.

    Jeremy

    I agree but would add, installing a high speed chair without the infrastructure to support it is like buying a house and not budgeting enough money to finish the kitchen (i.e. put in the snowmaking) or buying furniture (i.e. adding more ways to get off the landing area).

    They did have the grooming capability, but if they didn't use it at the HSQ summit, it was because there was not enough snow to groom without damaging the tiller.

    As someone who skis Ascutney's HSQ daily (i.e. the Rocket at CM), I am grateful for Ascutney's mismanagement!  When CM installed the lift, the management budgeted not only for acquiring and installing the lift, but 4 new trails and  for Snowmaking and Lights on those trails.
  • newman said:

    The vacuum to suck snow from the woods to throw on the trail.

    In a presnowmaking era, I think that was a great idea and think it could be used in reverse today to blow machine made snow into gladed trails.
  • Indoor ski area in New Jersey
    How about the crazy stand up open air gondola at mountain creek?( I forget the name)
  • MrMagic said:

    Indoor ski area in New Jersey
    How about the crazy stand up open air gondola at mountain creek?( I forget the name)

    Cabriolet- still in use.
  • edited February 19
    MrMagic said:

    Indoor ski area in New Jersey
    How about the crazy stand up open air gondola at mountain creek?( I forget the name)

    Indoor ski areas have been successful in a variety of places.  Are you suggesting it was too far north to be successful or just incompetent management/funding in building it.

    I suspect there are many lifts installed whose value could be questioned.  I think we had a thread on "bad pods" in SJ2.0 within the last year or so.
  • MrMagic said:

    Indoor ski area in New Jersey
    How about the crazy stand up open air gondola at mountain creek?( I forget the name)

    Indoor ski areas have been  successful in a variety of places.  Are you suggesting it was too far notrth to be successful or just incompetent management/funding in building it.

    I suspect there are many lifts installed whose value could be questioned.  I think we had a thread on "bad pods" in SJ2.0 within the last year or so.
    It was a bad idea to put one in the Meadowlands. They are thriving in Europe. 
    Bad lifts are fair game, but let's stick to ones that are not in use anymore so we don't get into the old debate.
  • newman said:

    The vacuum to suck snow from the woods to throw on the trail.

    In a presnowmaking era, I think that was a great idea and think it could be used in reverse today to blow machine made snow into gladed trails.
    I remember seeing this in the Sutton brochure mounted on a snow cat. I thought it was a cool idea. I presume it didn't last. I don't recall what problems it had.
  • Jiminy Peak using tarps in the early 80’s to cover the snow
  • Jiminy Peak using tarps in the early 80’s to cover the snow
    They used covering the slopes in case of rain as a big marketing tool at one time. The cover was just for portions of the 180 slope.

  • newman said:

    The management of Pico for the last 10 years.

    Specifics?
    Since after the merger Pico has been the forgotten step child. The snowmaking has stopped on many trails over the years. Plus they don't like to spin certain lifts. They claim trails open on Outpost and Knomes, but the lifts don't run. Even Little Pico, but they will run the triple for racers. I know all the trails can be skied with some hiking from other lifts, but really? When it was independent and fighting for skiers from K, it was a better run area. Now it just seems like it is always taking the back seat.

  • edited February 19
    Chuckstah said:

    Powdr buying Killington then opening late and closing for the season in mid April, also raising prices and losing a few hundred thousand skier visits in the process. Took them a decade to somewhat recover.  Many local establishments never recovered with many shuttered motels and eateries along Rt 4.


    Some might say Killington is in MUCH better shape since Powdr has bought them. The increase in summer business, new lift installation and the moving forward with the village is all on Powdr. As for the short season, they need to get finances in check! Let be real, all areas start to see major revenue drop after March 1st. To be open for the season pass holder who’s pass has been paid for since Jan 1st was a smart move for them. And look what happened, after a few years of corrections, they are back at full steam. And as for area business, that is not Powders fault. Is it their job to keep local businesses in business? It’s one of the biggest issues in the industry right now. The business is there because of the mtn, not the other way around. Sometimes people forget that.


  • edited February 19
    Burt bindings with the cables on the bottom to suck the ski back to the plate. Very had to get back on. 

    Those ultra-high Nordica boots that caused a lot of knee injuries when they were out. 

    Wooden posts set in the ground for corrals--- peeled many a person off of them after they slid into them

    Corral mazes-- especially the corners where the snow would pile up. 

    Poles with booze inside of them-- 

    moon boots
    imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage
    download-1.jpg
    224 x 225 - 6K
    images.jpg
    282 x 179 - 9K
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • Killington was run much better / more skier oriented before American Ski / SKI LTD / Les Otten.  Founder Pres Smith cared about skiers and had a long term vision.
  • image


    image
    download-2.jpg
    275 x 183 - 8K
    download-3.jpg
    211 x 238 - 9K
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • newman said:

    newman said:

    The management of Pico for the last 10 years.

    Specifics?
    Since after the merger Pico has been the forgotten step child. The snowmaking has stopped on many trails over the years. Plus they don't like to spin certain lifts. They claim trails open on Outpost and Knomes, but the lifts don't run. Even Little Pico, but they will run the triple for racers. I know all the trails can be skied with some hiking from other lifts, but really? When it was independent and fighting for skiers from K, it was a better run area. Now it just seems like it is always taking the back seat.

    Pico has become an another pod of the much larger resort area.  I don't believe it could survive on its own these days and don't have any problems with the way Killington runs it. When the snow is good it comes in handy, when not it probably costs more to run then its worth.  You can moan all you want about corporate//independent ownership thing but Pico and Glen Ellen are two prime examples of areas that would probably no longer exist if it didn't have good neighbors.  

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ


  • edited February 19
    First summary- some good stuff so far, but also some very general rants. Looking for specific actions/items/plans that were not so great and are now gone (thankfully)

    Ski Area Management
    Ski Equipment
    Other

    Does not include ski areas that were startups and/or failed as such

    SAM: 
    Q Burke
    Northern Star at Burke
    Tenney Mt. Glacier
    Taking out GMX and putting in the GMQuad (aka: The Slug) at Sugarbush/Mt. Ellen
    Ascutney HSQ that added little but debt
    Xanadu (indoor skiing in NJ)
    Snow vaccuum
    Jiminy tarp- though glaciers use this in summer, and I have seen areas use tarps to cover lift loading ramps when meltdowns approach. I'll let it stay.
    Pico recent history. Borderline, though I see your point. A conscious decision by Killington and then Powdr to stop the bleeding, at the expense of loyal skiers. 

    Equipment:
    Hanson boots
    NAVA binding/boot system
    Parablocks
    Burt bindings
    High Nordica boots
    Poles with booze

    Don't count:
    Killington debate- place is still running and doing well by all (many) accounts
    Moon Boots- making a comeback
    Posts for corrals- there are many ski area practices that have been done away with due to safety.
    Cabriolet- still being used at several areas. Still silly but not up to criteria
    Mt Snow A-bomb- thankfully never put into practice...


    More?
  • Tamarack Resort failure to complete base village and loss of an important high speed quad to Bank of America.
    Hermitage Club six-pack.
  • Peter said:

    Tamarack Resort failure to complete base village and loss of an important high speed quad to Bank of America.

    Hermitage Club six-pack.
    I myself think the Herm 6pack is overkill, but that lift is sure loved by the members.

  • edited February 19
    The prototype QMG or whatever it was called at June Mountain.

    While we're on Yan, the marshmallow gravity detach grip.
  • White Peaks Express originally going all the way to the summit of Waterville, then being shortened due to wind

    Cutting trails too wide, example Ovation at Killington has about half its width covered with new trees growing in over the last decade plus.


  • To lotsoskiing: It's great when one originates a thread and gets to do the summary!  I always enjoy moderating the controversies that arise.  Just curious: why did you reject the A-bomb proposal at Mt. Snow?

    To xlr8r: Just prior to the start of the big snowmaking era in the east, there were a lot of areas that tried wide trails like they have out west with similar results as you mentioned for Ovation at Killington.  Magic Mountain (Master Magician); Waterville Valley (True Grit) are among a few of the others.

    To TReilly: A number of areas experimented with tarps including Sugarloaf and I think even Killington tried it.
  • To lotsoskiing: It's great when one originates a thread and gets to do the summary!  I always enjoy moderating the controversies that arise.  Just curious: why did you reject the A-bomb proposal at Mt. Snow?


    To xlr8r: Just prior to the start of the big snowmaking era in the east, there were a lot of areas that tried wide trails like they have out west with similar results as you mentioned for Ovation at Killington.  Magic Mountain (Master Magician); Waterville Valley (True Grit) are among a few of the others.

    To TReilly: A number of areas experimented with tarps including Sugarloaf and I think even Killington tried it.
    Thanks. As for the A-Bomb- He never did it. I am looking for actual changes/products that were flops and are gone now.
  • edited February 20
    Grass skiing, I think VV/GG tried this in the 1980's. Hunter Mtn tried summer skiing on plastic chips in the 1960's.

    Ski Conditions Report: A detailed report describing the snow conditions on the mountain the day of your visit. Skiers should become familiar with the following snow surface descriptions: Ice: Packed Powder, Slush: Packed Powder, Frozen Granular: Packed Powder , Packed Powder - A thin covering of snow over bare earth.

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