Mountain Spy

The Question: I'm calling about an ad I saw for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. It said it was for the month of January for people new to skiing or snowboarding. Can you tell me what it's all about and if you're participating?

Mountain 1, Wyoming

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose snowsports school.
Answering phone: Jake. Young male, nice but tired-out sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month?
SAM: Yeah, it said it was for the month of January, and it was special offers for people who were new to the sport.
Staff: Umm okay, well uh, I am personally not aware of that program, but I can find out if we're involved in that at all and possibly get back to you. You think it's called Learn to Ski, Learn to Ski month or something like that?
SAM: (are you not listening, son?) Yeah, it was Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and it was for January.
Staff: Okay… umm, okay, Learn to ahh, let me see what I can find out. Do you know anything else about it? Just special promotions and stuff?
SAM: Not really, I saw an ad in a ski magazine at the doctor's office. It said to call a resort in your area to find out more information.
Staff: Alright. Well uuh, yeeah let me get your name and phone number and I'll give you a call back in a few minutes. [Gave fake name, but real cell phone number.]

Call back time: NEVER. Not even the next day. Always call a girl back Jake.

Rating: 2.5
Comment: Mac tried for a second there, but failed to call back.
Always call a girl back, Mac.

Mountain 2, Iowa

First Contact: Young male. Veeery mellow sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uhhhh, yeeeah, hang on a second. Let me put you on hold and I'm going to grab Zelda because she probably knows way more about that than I do. (Sounds quite possible, dude.)
Staff: Hi, this is Zelda!
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about, but we do have a three-pack for learning to ski, umm, if you're wanting a private lesson. Uhh, it's ahh, it's ahh, a pretty good value, ahh, it's three lift ticket, three rentals, either skis or snowboards, and three private lessons for $XX.
SAM: Hmm, that does sound like a pretty good deal. And I can try skiing or snowboarding you said, right?
Staff: It's either skiing or snowboarding, whichever you want to do. Or you can mix it up if you want to try skiing one day and snowboarding the other day.
SAM: Great, and is that during January or some other time?
Staff: Uhhh, we'll probably do it the whole season, ummm, probably the earlier you start the better, you'll have more time to use it if you have weather that's off and on. But you can buy it whenever you like.
SAM: Sounds good. So should I call and make a reservation?
Staff: Yeah! That would be a good idea, yes.
SAM: Perfect. And is there anything else I should know as a first timer?
Staff: Uhhhh, wear warm stuff. And uhh, goggles are good, if it's snowing at the time you're doing stuff, goggles are good to have. And you don't have to buy expensive ones, either.
SAM: Thanks!
Staff: Yeeah, and we've started using helmets as well, me and my husband have. We don't require them, but we do rent them, so that's always a safe option. But it's entirely up to you.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 7
Comment: While they had no idea about Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and that they were participating, Zelda still offered some great info.

Mountain 3, Colorado

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female. Not too happy sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Let me put you through to the ski and ride school. Transferred…
Answering phone: Automated machine. Waited for "next available representative"… young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Okay, so uh, umm, that's just our normal group lessons is probably what that is.
SAM: Okay, it said it was a nationwide program so does that include your resort or…?
Staff: I, ah, I think it's specific because we don't have any like specific programs starting in January, so I'm guessing it's just our normal lessons that we offer that are our regular learn to ski and ride.
SAM: Okay. So it's just your normal lesson rates, there aren't any discounts in January?
Staff: I don't believe so, uhh, you said learn to ride?
SAM: Well, It was learn to ski or snowboard and it was for the whole month of January at resorts across the country…
Staff: Uhh, yeah uh, hold just one sec, let me look for you. holding...
Staff: Sorry about that, so basically what it is, like, January out of the year is the learn to ski and ride month, so it's like a specific month, but there's not a specified program for it at our resort.
SAM: Okay, that's fine, the ad just said it was for the month of January when first timers should give it a try to receive special offers, so that's why I'm calling. So I guess your resort doesn't participate in the program?
Staff: Yeeah, I don't, yeaah, I guess we're not participating, no.
SAM: Alright, that's fine, that's why I was calling. Thanks anyway, though.

Rating: 3
Comment: If you're not participating, why is your resort logo prominently displayed on the website?

Mountain 4, Vermont

First Contact: Young female, transferred to snowsports school.
Answering phone: Young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: So it's one lesson, usually from 10 to 12 or 1:30 to 3:30, and it includes your rentals and lower mountain lift ticket after your lesson. Um, it's good till December 24th, but you would probably want to make a reservation because spots are almost full.
SAM: Okay, so it's not the month of January?
Staff: The month of January is actually the Ski Vermont program, and that one you actually have to go to the Ski Vermont website and make a reservation. And that is January 3-9, same deal, though. We're offering one here, too, that's why.
SAM: Oh, okay, gotcha. So the January one that is part of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard program is through Ski Vermont?
Staff: Yup, exactly.
SAM: Okay, perfect, and is it the same deal that you're offering now?
Staff: Yup, exactly the same deal, you got it.
SAM: Great. And is there anything else you think I should know ahead of time if I've never been skiing before?
Staff: My recommendation is to go for the morning lesson because that gives you the whole afternoon to play.
SAM: Perfect, thanks so much.

Rating: 9
Comment: Well that was easy.

Mountain 5, California

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose snowsports school.
Answering phone: Young male. Mr. Know-It-All sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, ya know, I just got off the phone with another girl who was asking the same thing (see, real people do call with these questions!) so I got up and starting asking around the office, and one of the new girls had the article, I guess it was in a local newspaper as well, if that makes sense? But anyway, are you looking for the free lessons?
SAM: I guess the ad said something to the effect that there were discounts and offers available to first-timers.
Staff: Yeah, yeah, I know here we're not doing those lessons, but it would be a good idea to check with the X newspaper-
SAM: Are you part of that January program at all?
Staff: Let me ask, yeah, ya know, I didn't think so, but that's a good question. What's it called again? Learn a what?
SAM: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. (Maybe you should write it down this time, buddy).
Staff: Hmm, yeah, okay, bear with me for one moment. Bearing with him…
Staff: Umm yeaah, we're not a part of that. It is a good deal they were saying, guess there's a little buzz around it.
SAM: All right, so you're not doing any deals in January?
Staff: Nooo, sorry 'bout that. You might try another mountain?

Rating: 2
Comment: "A little buzz?" I've got a little buzz for you: your resort IS taking part in the program.

Mountain 6, New Hampshire

First contact: Automated machine. Chose snowsports school.
Answering phone: Young female, very nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: In January are you talking about?
SAM: Yup, pretty sure it said January.
Staff: Sure, it's called Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month with Ski New Hampshire. We offer a free lesson for beginners, I believe it's from January 3 to 9, and you would sign up for that through their website, the Ski New Hampshire site.
SAM: Okay, so I can sign up for the lesson there. And does the free lesson include a lift ticket?
Staff: Yup, it includes the lift ticket. You do have to take the lesson first, and then you come down and get your lift ticket.
SAM: Okay, and do I have to rent my own equipment or is that included, is it a package?
Staff: Ya know, I'm not sure, I think rentals are included, but I'm not positive. You would be able to find all the details on the Ski New Hampshire website.
SAM: Sounds good. I guess I'll check out their website and go from there.
Staff: Great, thanks for calling!

Rating: 8
Comment: Right to the point with a good attitude.

Mountain 7, Maine

Fist Contact: Operator.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hold on one moment. Holding…
Answering phone: Young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Umm, hold on just a moment. I have to figure out the details of that. I think it's through the Ski Maine association, but let me check. Waiting…
Staff: Yes, that is through the Ski Maine Association, and you would have to contact them directly to get the vouchers for it.
SAM: Okay, so I can't just come right to the mountain and take part?
Staff: Umm, Ski Maine is offering free vouchers. We have a snowsports school here that you can participate in any time you'd like, but-
SAM: Right, Ski Maine is the only way to redeem those discounts?
Staff: Yup, and you can just bring the voucher in and redeem it for your free lesson.
SAM: Great, I'll go ahead and do that. Thank you.

Rating: 7
Comment: Basic info with a pleasant attitude.

Mountain 8, Colorado

First Contact: Young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, ski school, we offer it year-round. Well, not year round, but while the mountain is open. Umm, I don't know too much about the ski school or if they have any discounts in January, but if you'd like I can transfer you over to ski school and they can let you know what they're offering.
SAM: Okay, is your mountain participating in that program, do you know?
Staff: Umm, I'm pretty, I don't know, you would have to ask. If I transfer you over there you would have to ask, they would know for sure. Hold on one second…
Transferred to Ski School…
Answering phone: Young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: To be honest with you, I haven't heard of that. We do have something for adults that's a pretty good deal. If you pay for two days of lessons you get the third day free, and we only charge $X per day for the lift ticket. And that in itself is worth a lot because right now an adult lift ticket is $XX per day, so…
SAM: Okay, it said that Colorado was participating…?
Staff: Well, no one has told us about this, and I don't have a supervisor here today to ask. I will have a supervisor here tomorrow!
SAM: Okay. Well, regardless, you still have some deals going on for first timers?
Staff: Yes, this "buy two days for $xx and you get the third day free."
SAM: That sounds pretty good, and that's through the whole season?
Staff: Yes it is, the whole season.
SAM: Perfect, I'll keep that in mind, since it doesn't look like you're part of this program I saw-
Staff: Well, I wouldn't go that far, I just don't personally know. But if you want to give us a call back tomorrow, or I can call you back, I can have my supervisor help you out.
SAM: I can call you back, that's fine. [I was given the direct ski school phone number.]
Staff: And what magazine did you see this in?
SAM: I don't remember, sorry. It was a skiing magazine for sure. And it was a national program during the month of January for people who have never been skiing before. But you haven't heard of it?
Staff: No, haha, I haven't, unfortunately.
SAM: Okay, well no worries, I'll give you a call back tomorrow.

Rating: 6.5
Comment: Good, patient attitude, but it's unfortunate that she's never heard of the program, since resort is definitely participating.

Mountain 9, Pennsylvania

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Young female, dull sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Okay, we have something called a first-time learn to ski or snowboard package, and what that is is, it's an all-day lift ticket and your rentals are included, and you get one class lesson, which is about an hour and half long.
SAM: Okay, great. And that's going on for the whole month of January?
Staff: Um, no. That's actually going on from now until December 24th and it's $XX.
SAM: Alright, are you guys doing anything during January?
Staff: Umm, oh, January 6th we have a learn to ski and snowboard day, and I think it's that same price of $XX.
SAM: Great. Does that include everything you mentioned before?
Staff: Yup, if you're snowboarding it includes your boots and board, and if you skiing it includes your boots, skis and poles, and then of course your lift ticket and lesson.
SAM: Perfect. Should I call back and reserve a lesson?
Staff: Nope, you can just come up here when you're ready and join one of the lessons. They start at 10, 1, 2, 4:30, 5:45 and 7, so you can just jump into any one of those lessons.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 6
Comment: Good info, but where's the personality?

Mountain 10, Massachusetts

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose snowsports school.
Answering phone: Female, not very happy sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, learn to ski, learn a, learn a snowsport month, boy. I can't get that one out of me today. It starts in January and runs through the whole month. If you go to ahh, oh my gosh. I don't have the link in front of me. But if you go to their website, there's a link that goes over to our beginner package. We were actually setting this up last week, so I'm not sure if it's set up quite yet. But what it is is, our program here is all-inclusive. You're going to get your lift ticket, your rentals and your instruction. And we have two different specials we're running. One is bring-a-friend. So if you're already a skier or snowboarder and you want to get someone into the sport, you're going to bring them in and have them sign up and you'll get a lift ticket. And there's a coupon for that.
SAM: Oh. Okay, that's nice.
Staff: Or you can do buy-one, get-one-free. So if you and a friend want to learn how to snowboard together, there's a coupon on our website that if you buy one package, you get one free.
SAM: Oh, cool, and that's for snowboarding or skiing?
Staff: Yup, it's for both. And that starts on January 1 and it runs Sundays through Fridays. We opt out on Saturday and MLK weekend. But if you're interested in coming up before then, the bring-a-friend coupon is on our website and it's something we offer all the time.
SAM: Okay. Well, I'm new to the sport, so maybe I can get a friend to come with me and do the two-for-one deal. So for that, should I go to the Learn to Ski and Snowboard website or your website?
Staff: Well, what you would do is pull the coupon off their website, and then we would book you here, and then when your friend comes we'll sign them up as well.
SAM: Sounds great, thanks. Are there any other tips you would give me if I've never been snowboarding before?
Staff: Uh, yup. We offer free use of helmets and wrist guards. We don't require them, but we offer them to whoever would like to use them. And then a warm jacket and waterproof gloves. And if you don't exercise I would get out and start walking, move your body, because whenever you try a new sport like this, you're going to be sore afterwards. It helps if you're in shape when you start.
SAM: Good advice, thanks so much!

Rating: 8
Comment: Lots of good info and love the helmet mention.

Mountain 11, Michigan

First Contact: Operator.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, sure! Let me ring ski school for you, just one second…
answering phone: young female, peppy sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, and what paper did you see it in?
SAM: I actually saw it in a ski magazine at the doctor's office, but I don't remember which one, sorry.
Staff: Oh, umm, let me see, sorry, we're just getting everything organized for the season and our ski school is under new ownership, so let me-it's Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and what did the ad say?
SAM: It just said it was for first-time skiers and snowboarders, and for the month of January there were discounts available to those who wanted to learn.
Staff: Ooookay. Hold on one moment, please. Holding…
Staff: Thanks for holding. Okay, so we have the learn to ski program at 2 in the afternoon and 5:30 in the evening. It's $X in the afternoon and $X in the evening, and that includes an hour and a half group lesson and your rental equipment.
SAM: Great, and that includes your ticket as well I assume?
Staff: It does not, actually, but you don't need one on our beginner hill where you'll take the lesson.
SAM: Oh, okay, great. And that's for the whole month of January?
Staff: Yup!
SAM: Perfect, so should I call back to reserve or just come that day?
Staff: Yeah, you don't really have to reserve, I would just come about a half hour before the lesson, and you could call the day of just in case the lesson is already full.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks. Are there any other tips I should know when I come up?
Staff: Um, dress warm, hehe. And when you wear your socks, wool socks will keep your feet dryer than cotton. And for your snow pants, whatever you wear under your snow pants, you just want to make sure when you put your boots on you don't want anything bunching inside your boots.
SAM: Great tips, thanks!
Staff: No problem, have a great holiday!

Rating: 8
Comment: Chipper attitude paired with good advice.

Mountain 12, California

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose snowsports school.
Answering phone: young female, nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes, it's called, well, this weekend we have a special called XX, it's a $XX special but after the 12th of December until, let's see, it's $ZZ outside of that and I believe it's going until the end of next week some time… It's for anybody who's 13 years and older, and it's a special that includes a lift ticket, a lesson and rental equipment.
SAM: Oh nice, and that's for first-timers?
Staff: Yes it is.
SAM: Okay, so is that part of the ski and snowboard month?
Staff: Yes, it is. This weekend is the bigger special that's the $XX, but every other day is a $ZZ special.
SAM: All right, and this is for the whole month of January?
Staff: No, it doesn't, sorry. It doesn't go past December 19th I believe.
SAM: Oh, okay, well, that's okay. I was just wondering because the ad I saw said it was the month of January?
Staff: Ummm, like nooooo. That's something that we haven't started participating in yet.
SAM: But you have your own specials going on for the next few weeks?
Staff: Yup, they'll be going on right up until Christmas.
SAM: Great. So as first timer I can do the XX special which includes my ticket, rental equipment and a lesson?
Staff: Yup, that's correct!
SAM: Perfect, so I should call back and schedule something?
Staff: Yup! Thanks for calling! And all of this information is on our website as well.
SAM: Great, thanks!

Rating: 6
Comment: Helpful attitude, but like many others, this resort IS participating in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.

Mountain 13, Pennsylvania

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose lesson information.
Answering phone: Female, nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Okay, um, let me bring it up here … Okay, and let me see what we have going on … Now we have, um, do you have any experience with skiing or snowboarding?
SAM: Nope, not at all, and I actually wanted to try snowboarding.
Staff: Oookay, let me see what we have because right now we actually have a special going on through December 23rd. That's a first class ski and snowboard program, sooo it's pretty much for first-time skiers and snowboarders. That's a $XX deal right now and that's a good price because usually it's $YY to $ZZ depending on the week or weekend. And what that includes is an all-day lift on the first class area, which is pretty much the beginner area, and it gives you all your rental equipment and a guaranteed beginner class lesson, which means they're going to work with you until your comfortable with your basic skiing or snowboarding. Umm, so that's the special deal that's going on right now, but that's only going on until December 23rd.
SAM: That does sound like a great deal, thanks. I was just wondering if there was anything going on in January, too, or if all you had was this deal until the 23rd?
Staff: Ummm, let me check for you on that, hold on one moment please. Holding…
Staff: Ok thanks for holding! What we're doing in January is it's going to be every Thursday in the month of January, and it's still that same $XX special I was telling you about. Uhh, the only difference is it's valid for a 9 to 5 lift ticket instead of all day. (Is a day usually longer than 9 to 5? Help me out here, girl.)
SAM: Awesome, so that's part of that Learn to Ski and Snowboard program?
Staff: Yup! You got it.
SAM: So should I call and reserve a lesson beforehand?
Staff: Nope, just come to ticket window where you'll purchase the package, and then we'll get you set up with rental equipment and your lesson.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks so much!

Rating: 8
Comment: Props for taking the time to check the details, with a peppy
attitude to boot.

Mountain 14, Massachusetts

First Contact: Young female, very chirpy sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes, Absolutely! You can do a one-, two-, or three-day program. One day is $XX , two days is $YY and three days is $ZZ, and all three times you get a lift ticket, full rental package and a group lesson.
SAM: Awesome. And is that for the whole month of January?
Staff: Well actually, that program runs all the time. January is, I believe, Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and we'll be running those programs, yes. The first lesson is at 10:30, and then there's a one o'clock and we have one in the evenings, too. And if you come on the weekends, we also offer a 9 a.m. lesson.
SAM: Sounds good to me. So should I just call back and reserve a lesson?
Staff: You actually don't need to reserve these. The great part about this program is that these lessons are always offered. You just want to be here about 45 minutes before the lesson you choose and we'll set you up with everything. Just come inside to customer service and we'll get you everything you need.
SAM: Thanks! Is there anything else you would advise for my first time skiing?
Staff: I would definitely do the three-day program, I mean at $ZZ you're getting three lift tickets, three rentals and three lessons. And they don't have to be consecutive, you just have to use them within the season.
SAM: Oh, that's a nice bonus, I don't have to commit to three full days.
Staff: Nope, not at all! You can come on a weekend, a weekday, at night, on a holiday, whenever you want to be here.
SAM: Thanks so much for all the info.
Staff: Oh, you're welcome, have a nice day!

Rating: 9.5
Comment: Friendly, knowledgeable and even thought to up-sell me on the three-day package. Kudos.
Identity revealed: Wachusett Mountain \

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