Mountain Spy

Question: "I've never skied before, but I would love to start this year. What do I need to know?"

Mountain 1

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Wait time: Three minutes!
Answering Phone: Female
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: Umm, well, what would you like to start off with? Just you and ah, like, how many people?
SAM: Well, I was just talking about it with a friend so I'm not sure if we'll come together, but I was just wondering what I need to prepare for…
Staff: OK, umm, exactly, we actually have a package, it's called X and you can, like, choose to do one day, two days or three days. And it, uh, involves a lesson, up to an hour, rental equipment and then you get ah, um, like, the lift ticket as well.
SAM: Cool, OK.
Staff: Yeah and if you do, um, the three days you'll, umm, ah, you'll be able to do a lot more with that. So I would definitely suggest doing the three instead of, like, the one day because every single day you'll learn something new. And you'll, so yeah, you can definitely do one of those and that's just, like, one of our beginner programs.
SAM: Sure, yeah that sounds good. So you think I should just start with that lesson package and then go from there?
Staff: Yes, and you can apply for that online.
SAM: OK, just go to your website I assume?
(I have to actually apply for a lesson? Do they do a background check, too?)
Staff: Yeah.
SAM: Thanks. Well is there anything else you would suggest for a first timer?
Staff: Um, I mean, I suggest probably since you haven't, like, you've never done it before?
SAM: Nope. (Pretty sure I just said that…)
Staff: So, um, I would just wait on buying any type of, like, kind of equipment because, like, if you do the X program you'll get rental equipment. So just in case cuz you don't want to spend, ya know, a lot of money on equipment that if you're, like, if you don't like it or, like, you just aren't interested in it, like doing it, then that would just be a pain to return everything. (What? Was that English?)
Staff: So, I would definitely suggest doing that instead just, like, if you really are interested in learning about it and really trying this out then definitely start with our beginner program.
SAM: OK. Well I guess I'll go online and apply for that lesson. Thanks for your help.
Staff: All right, you're welcome. Bye.

Rating: 2
Comment: The word "like" should not exist in customer service. Like, period.

Mountain 2

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: Umm, about the skiing?
SAM: Yeah.
Staff: What exactly do you want to know?
Staff: Um, well just how I should prepare if I've never been skiing before…
Staff: OK, you mean, like, clothes and stuff like that?
SAM: Yeah, I mean any advice you can give me. I assume I should wear warm clothes, but is there any particular advice you have?
Staff: All right, I mean I think you need, like, snowpants and snow jacket and snow gloves of course 'cause if you fall you can, like, put your hands in the snow and it's not going to get cold.
SAM: Ha, good point.
Staff: Ha ha ha, yeah. And I mean, like, you need to have a hat, ya know, like a beanie, stuff like that.
SAM: Sure, OK. So dress really warmly.
Staff: Yeah and, ah, goggles would be nice.
SAM: Do you have goggles I can buy?
Staff: Um, I think we do, I can't see them right now, it's my first day. We definitely have gloves and helmets in here, but I can't really see goggles.
SAM: OK. Well I can look at another ski shop I guess for goggles.
Staff: Yeah. Yeah, but here we have all the equipment you need.
Staff: Yeah, so that's it I guess.
SAM: OK. So I can rent that equipment from you when I get there?
Staff: Yeah, yeah you can.
SAM: Perfect. All right well I'll dress super warm and plan to rent equipment from you.
Staff: Yeah, exactly, and if you need any more help you can, like, call us later if you have any more questions.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 4
Comment: Solid effort for the first day, but who's got my details on lessons, tickets, rentals, etc.?

Mountain 3

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: Well, um, I would start with a lesson.
SAM: OK, that sounds like a good plan, thanks.
Staff: All right. So, um, you need a lift ticket then. So lift ticket prices vary slightly depending on which day you come to the resort.
SAM: OK, sure well I would probably come up on a weekend.
Staff: OK, well then you can judge between $88 and $92 dollars.
Staff: Uh huh. But what I would do if I never skied before is I think you should speak to our ski school and they can recommend something. We have this great program that will give you two hour-and-a-half lessons and you can get your lift ticket. So I think I'm going to put you through to ski school because that's the best way to learn.
SAM: Cool. Yeah I can definitely talk to them about lessons, but is there any other advice you would give me as a first timer?
Staff: No. I don't think so. Just dress smart. Like, you need to wear warm clothes.
Staff: Yeah, gloves and all that. Ya know, actually I would really consider renting a helmet. After ski school you can talk about renting a helmet. But that way you're all safe and sound and warm and you can just come and enjoy yourself. It's such a great sport. You'll be hooked! Hee hee hee! (There's the enthusiasm!)
SAM: Yeah! I always see it and thought I should try it out.
Staff: Yeah, yeah. OK, well let me put you through to ski school and they can explain how it works for new skiers. Hold on one second.
Transferred to ski school...
Answering Phone: Answering machine. Left message with real cell number.
Two days later: No call back.

Rating: 5
Comment: Light on the info, some enthusiasm, but where's my call back?

Mountain 4

First Contact: Male.
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: OK, um, are you looking for prices or what you're gonna need?
SAM: I guess I'm looking for advice on how to prepare if I'm brand new.
Staff: Ha ha ha, I don't ski myself so I would not be the person to ask as far as that goes.
SAM: Do you snowboard?
Staff: I do not, no. Ha ha ha.
SAM: OK. (Feeling less confident, but at least he's honest!)
Staff: But as far as everything you need, we offer all of that here once you get here. We rent skis and snowboards and boots and poles and all that. We also rent clothing if you don't have ski bibs or googles.
(Ski bibs? Gotta love that.)
SAM: Great. So if I'm missing something you'll have everything I need. And I can rent all the equipment, which is great to hear. Do you have any other tips for a first timer?
Staff: I would definitely suggest taking a lesson. X Ski College operates through us and they're very good at what they do. You can take a one-hour group lesson for $18 or do what they suggest and that's take three lessons 'cause that first lesson is basically just teaching you how not to fall down.
SAM: Right, that sounds like a good idea.
Staff: Yeah, if you really want to grasp the skill they suggest taking three lessons and that's only $51.
SAM: Cool, that's a great price. And can I spread those three lessons out over however many days I want?
Staff: Yes.
SAM: Yeah, that would be great. And is that something I should call ahead for or do I just show up?
Staff: Either one. Do you have an idea of when you're coming?
SAM: I'm now sure, yet. I'll definitely be coming on a weekend though.
Staff: Yeah, I mean if you want to you can call us back at this number and we can reserve your skis and ski ticket and rental equipment for you or you can do it all once you get here. But if you do it through us you don't have to go through the hassle of standing in lines to get everything set up.
SAM: Good point, well I'll definitely plan to call you back. Thanks. Are there any other tips you might have for a first timer?
Staff: Ha ha ha, not that I can think of, um, don't fall down!
SAM: Ha ha ha, sure I'll work on that. Well thanks for all your help!

Rating: 7
Comment: Points for a great attitude and the info. But wasn't feeling the love for skiing.

Mountain 5

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: Well, you've called the right place! We've got a great beginner package. It's a series of three lessons. It has to be done on three separate days, but it doesn't have to be three consecutive days, it can be whatever you want. Um, each day includes a beginner's lift ticket, your equipment rental, which is board and boots and a group lesson. First time you come it's $70, second time you come it's $30, third time you come it's $30. Which obviously is less than the cost of the rental.
Staff: And after you've done all three you earn a season pass for 2011/2012.
SAM: Oh, wow. So if I just pay for the three lessons, which is $160…
Staff: Over the three days, right. You don't have to pay for them all at once, you just pay for them as you come and do them.
SAM: Sure, so then if I do that then I also get to ski… a season pass I assume allows me to ski the entire season?
Staff: Yup.
SAM: Oh, how much is a season pass usually?
Staff: Umm, it is…I don't buy them because I work here….They gotta be on this brochure somewhere. (Waited over two minutes for him to find the season pass price... really dude?) An adult season pass is $399.
SAM: Wow, OK, so I save quite a bit of money!
Staff: You do save quite a bit of money.
SAM: That all sounds great and I guess taking a lesson is the smartest way to start.
Staff: Well, yeah, and ya know the thing is is that we're open until 9 o'clock at night so you'll want to take the first lesson of the day at 10:15 a.m. Get here at 9 a.m. and go into the rental department and tell them you want to do the X program. It takes about an hour to go through the rental process to get all the equipment and everything. And then at the end of the lesson your equipment is still good until 9 at night.
SAM: Oh, wow, that's a great deal, thanks.
Staff: Yeah, that way you can practice the rest of the day. It's a great way to get into the program and see if you like it before buying all the equipment.
SAM: Well, thanks so much, that's good to know.
Staff: Sure thing.
SAM: Good stuff. So is there anything else you would advise?
Staff: I don't know because I'm going to learn to board myself this year! Ha ha ha! I mean you need to have your own pants, your own jacket, ya know, gloves, goggles or sunglasses for sun protection and something on your head to keep your head warm.
SAM: Sounds good, I can get all that.
Staff: Yeah and if you don't have any of that stuff we have a retail store here too that's quite reasonable.
SAM: Awesome. So should I call back?
Staff: Nope, just show up and go to the rental department. They're on the main floor of the lodge when you walk in and you'll probably come in the west entrance of the lodge so you would just walk straight through when you come in.
SAM: Thanks so much, I really appreciate your help!
Staff: No problem, thanks for calling!

Rating: 9
Comment: Minus a point for no website mention, but great attitude and information. The website would give me that much more insight into what this mountain is all about!

Mountain 6

First Contact: Male.
SAM: Stated Question.
Staff: Ummm, are you coming out to our resort?
SAM: Yup. I have a friend that lives there.
Staff: OK, I can get you through to mountain school. That'd be your first step right there, you're going to want to take lessons. So I can put your through to there and they can take care of everything including rentals.
SAM: Oh, OK, sounds good thanks.
Answering Phone: Female
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Before you gave it a go? Are you looking for a lesson…?
SAM: Yeah, I mean, if that's what you would advise. If the sport is not super easy to pick and that's where you think I should start…
Staff: We have a great lesson program for beginners-it's called our beginner special. It's a half day and you can either start in the morning or the afternoon and it's $90 and that includes your lift ticket, your lesson and your equipment.
SAM: That works, yeah.
Staff: So if you just did your lift ticket and equipment separately you'd probably be spending about $90 so…
SAM: Oh wow, so taking a lesson is actually cheaper in general?
Staff: I think for this one, yeah. After that, if you really like it, you can come into the ski school office and pick up what's called an X Badge. And if you get that, your next five days of skiing are half price and you can also take $40 off our adult mountain workshop, which is usually $100 so you'll get five of those for $60 as well.
SAM: Great. So overall it's more affordable to start with a lesson and stay on that track?
Staff: Yeah! I mean if you take the lesson and you feel like you got it, you can go ski on your own. I mean I would recommend taking the lesson in the morning and then practicing the rest of the day because you'll have your lift ticket the rest of the day. And then after that, if you wanted to come up a couple more times during your visit, you could ski for half price.
SAM: Yeah, that sounds good.
Staff: Definitely and then if you wanted to come up again your lesson would be half price.
SAM: Awesome, thanks! Do you have any other tips for a first timer?
Staff: Well, are you up here right now?
SAM: No, not yet. In a few weeks.
Staff: Oh, OK, and are you going to try skiing or snowboarding?
SAM: Skiing I think.
Staff: So I would say you'll want to make sure you have snowpants that are durable and then, um, a warm jacket, a hat, gloves. And, um, if you are going to put on some socks try not to make them too heavy and try not to wear cotton. If you have something synthetic that would work much better.
SAM: Oh, OK, that's warmer than cotton?
Staff: Yeah, yeah. If you come up mid-January or February it's probably going to be cold and cotton socks tend to stay moist and so your feet would stay cold unfortunately.
SAM: Ooooh good tip, thanks! My feet always get cold. So should I call back to schedule a lesson or do I just come in?
Staff: Well, if you come for a morning lesson, you would need to be here, um, well the lesson starts at 9:45 and you'll want to pick up your rentals and everything before that so you'll want to be here at 8:30 for the morning lesson and then about 12:30 for the afternoon session so you're dressed and ready. And you can always call before you come, too, and just book it and pay for everything up front if that's easier for you.
SAM: Awesome, thanks so much.
Staff: Yeah you can call a few days before or a week before when you're in town and know when you're ready to come up.
SAM: Well thanks so much, I'll give you a call back soon then.
Staff: Sure, well thanks so much for calling. I think you're going to have a great time!

Rating: 9
Comment: Super nice, super patient, stellar job all around! Still no website mention.

Mountain 7

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Hold time: 2:30 minutes. Yuck.
Answering Phone: Female.
Staff: Ha ha ha, OK. We have an excellent ski school right on the premises. And, ah, the one I suggest is the all-day program-it's called the X package. It would consist of a lesson in the morning and a lesson in the afternoon. And your lift ticket and equipment rentals are included in the price of $125. It's a great deal for $125, ya know. And they pretty much guarantee that you'll be able to hit the bunny slopes and be able to turn, maneuver, get up and all that on your own.
SAM: Cool, so I'll get the basics down. So do most people start with a lesson?
Staff: Oh yeah. Ya know it's a wise thing because they're gonna give you, ya know, all the little, ya know, safety, ya know, things to do and stuff like that. So, yeah.
Staff: Yeah, so we suggest you take at least one day of schooling. And then we have lodging right here too, rentals, a restaurant, wi-fi.
SAM: Sure, that all sounds great, thanks. So you suggest I come up and do the all-day package. Is there anything else you would advise?
Staff: Yes, especially for Texans, ha ha ha! Myself being one. Bring sun protection because of the sun glaring off the snow. It'll burn you as fast as being on the beach! And then lip balm because you are at higher altitude so you skin will dry out. So lotions and stuff. And just remember to drink lots of water while you're up here.
SAM: Got it, great tips, thanks so much. So should I call to set up the lesson or do I just show up?
Staff: So you're not gonna need lodging or anything?
SAM: No, I'm staying with a friend so I'll be driving to the mountain.
Staff: OK, well then let me give you the direct line. (Given direct resort number.) And they're gonna ask for your height, weight, shoe size. And you can discuss with them what might fit you best, but I know that seems to be the one that everyone seems to like the best that X package.
SAM: Well, thanks so much, I appreciate it.
Staff: Anytime. And my name is Sally so if there's anything you need just give me a call back.

Rating: 7
Comment: Good effort, but a bit confusing.

Mountain 8

First Contact: Automate machine. Chose "live person."
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sure, hee hee hee, well there's all kinds of things to know. So you've never skied or snowboarded before. Have you ever been up in the wilderness in the winter before?
SAM: I have, yes, but not a lot.
Staff: So you feel comfortable driving and getting here?
SAM: Oh, yeah.
Staff: OK. Excellent. Well then we offer a wonderful program. First-timers can do learn-to-ski and it's $70 if you're at my window. And that's all inclusive of equipement, and that would be hard equipment, lift ticket and two hours of instruction. And then at the end of that, if you really liked it, I would turn that into a $139 learn-to-ski lesson. So you would get three, two-hour lessons and you get to choose the days, um, the lift ticket each day and the equipment those three days for $139.
SAM: Oh, wow, that's a good deal.
Staff: Yeah, just because you might get out there and go, "Whoa, I hate this. I wouldn't do it if someone paid me!" Or, you get out there and you love it and say, "Wow!" and then $70 a time is still a discount with everything they give you and then putting that together with two other times for $139 is a great deal. And that gets you out thinking "Gosh, do I like it? Do I want to keep trying it?" The first time you're out there for two hours so if you take the morning class which starts at 10, you'll have the basics and then you can just go out and have fun for the rest of the day.
SAM: Awesome, those sound like some great options. Do I need to call and reserve my lesson?
Staff: You know you don't even need to. What I told you about the group lesson, it's walk-in availability, but we'll just want you here an hour beforehand. So it's a 10 o'clock lesson so we'll want you in my parking lot at 9 a.m. And you'll need a parking pass, which you can either buy on your way here or at the lodge. Um, anytime you park in the X snowparks the state requires a parking pass. It's either $5 daily or $25 yearly. And then come on into the rental shop building where they'll issue you your equipment and lift ticket and tell you where to meet the coach out on the hill.
SAM: Thanks so much, that sounds pretty easy.
Staff: So, all you need to bring, depending on the weather, is outside clothing, sunglasses or goggles. If it's going to be winter weather, which it probably will be, you don't want to have anything exposed. There's some ski shops downtown that all have lots of sales right now. And depending on how much you want to actually shell out on that stuff, I would suggest going to one of the used shops, X shop is a great one right in Portland. And they have great used equipment that's pennies on the dollar. Gloves are very important. If you spend your money on anything it should be gloves.
SAM: Wow, OK. That's great to know.
Staff: Yeah, something that's on sale. And then talk to those guys. They'll say, "Here are our $25 gloves if you're just walking around and then here are our $50 gloves with a little wind protection and then here's our $80 bomber gloves!" Those are the ones you want so your hands don't get cold.
SAM: You got it, I'll be sure to get good gloves!
Staff: Yeah and we offer those lessons at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., seven days a week. And if you go to my website, which is, on the opening page there's a black banner at the top and in that is a 'deals' button, click on that and you can usually get that $70 product for $50 online. That way you can get a little savings.
SAM: Awesome, thank you so much.
Staff: Sure and, ya know, you're a brand-new skier so think about a helmet. They don't include that with rentals, but I didn't used to wear helmet and now you couldn't get me out there without one! Ya know, you gotta protect the grey matter!
SAM: That's a good idea, thank you.
Staff: Sure thing, do you have any other questions?
SAM: I think you answered everything, thanks so much!

Rating: 10
Comment: That's how it's done, folks.

Mountain 9

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, um, and, ah, in terms of clothing or, ah, how many dimensions of this are you looking at?
SAM: Yeah, I mean any tips or advice.
Staff: Well, for a first-timer you probably want to go through our discover program which is a group lesson. And it'll be taught in a team fashion on our beginner hill and it's going to be going on all-day, every day. And it's a situation where you'll get all the advice you need in a moving lesson as opposed to one where you just stand around. They'll try to work people up the Magic Carpet lift and work the basics of straight run, turning the skis and slowing down, etc. And so hopefully by the end of that you'll be able to ride the double chair, which is adjacent to the Magic Carpet and ski the beginner terrain there.
SAM: Oh, OK. What's the Magic Carpet?
Staff: Magic Carpet is a, ah, conveyor belt. So instead of having to grab a beginner lift, which was generally a rope tow that wasn't really easy to ride, this is basically a conveyor belt that you stand on and when you get to the top, like an escalator, you get off and you're on a rather flat surface and that's where the skiing begins. The discovery lesson is going to be a new type of lesson for us here this year and it's based on the idea of keeping people moving, which accommodates the beginner a lot better. And from the instructor's point of view you can accommodate more people. So that's free with a full priced lift ticket and equipment rental. So were you thinking of coming up on the weekends or weekdays?
SAM: Probably on the weekends. And that's a one-day package?
Staff: Yes. It's the cost of your rentals, which is $29 and the full lift pass on the weekend, which is either from 9-5 or 1-9, which is $54 for an adult.
SAM: Perfect.
Staff: Yeah, and they will work with you, it's not like it's an hour lesson. They work with you until you're ready to move on to the double chair. Or, you go in and have some hot cocoa!
SAM: Awesome, it sounds very thorough.
Staff: Sure. As a beginner it's one of those situations where you should always involve yourself in a lesson first. Because the most important thing for people is to have a positive experience. For beginner skiing, the learning curve is actually pretty easy compared to snowboarding, but to become a very good skier is a lot harder than to become a very good snowboarder, but the learning curve to enjoyment is much less with skiing to where you can happily come down a beginner trail. Ya know, and that's what it's all about. (I'm not sure I agree, but he's taking the time to engage me.)
SAM: OK, great, thanks. Do you have any other tips for a first-timer?
Staff: Well, ya know, you want to dress in layers. Because you might find yourself working hard so some type of layering system like if you have a fleece vest under something that would be a shell. That would work. And then warm gloves, hat obviously, some type of eyewear either sunglasses or goggles. I mean sunglasses are great for beginners because it gives you a little tint. Tint is always good for definition! Because it's very bright sometimes!
SAM: Sure, OK.
Staff: Yeah, I mean I wear clear glasses, like clear safety glasses sometimes, like at night, or if the light is flat. But sunglasses for a beginner wouldn't be a bad idea. And, um, just clothes that are warm, but at the same time, if you can work out any kind of layering arrangement. I mean I went skiing at XX last Friday and I want to tell you, I took off at least one layer after the first couple of runs because I was so warm! So I ended up skiing with a parka that had pit-zips which were wide open and then a double zipper on the front which was just met in the middle so it was just kind of on me and then a short-sleeve techwick shirt, which is like an undershirt that absorbs moisture and filters it away from your body. But I mean I could have also had a long sleeve on or a vest on still with the pit zips open. But it's just a matter of staying comfortable because you work hard in the beginner stages so you want something to take off if need be. (We might be bordering on TMI, but, still, he's taking the time with me.)
SAM: Thanks, lots of details. Good to know!
Staff: Yeah and don't hesitate to call back if you need anything. I'm the X manager now, but I used to be a certified instructor for 20+ years so if you have any other questions I'd be happy to answer them. And thank you for thinking of our resort.
SAM: Anytime, thanks for your help.

Rating: 9
Comment: Sorry, but I can't stop picturing the clear safety glasses with opened pit-zips and an unzipped double zipper that just met in the front. Regardless, A+ for effort.

Mountain 10

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh my goodness gracious! Besides getting your legs into shape, let me transfer you up to Steve in our learning center and he can get you all the details! Hold on one second please.
Answering Phone: Steve.
SAM: Restated Question.
Staff: When do you want to do it?
SAM: I'm not sure yet. I'm staying with a friend this winter near your area, but I'm not sure of the exact dates I'll come up.
Staff: Yup. Ummm, well when you're up here I would give us a call and make a reservation for one of our Learn-To lessons. It costs $80 and it'll take care of everything-lift ticket, equipment rentals and lesson, the whole nine yards.
SAM: Awesome, so you definitely recommend a lesson then?
Staff: Absolutely. And you can certainly do a private lesson as well.
SAM: Great, thanks. Is there any other advice you would give someone that's never skied before or is there something first-timers forget or don't think of?
Staff: Umm, dress warmly. One pair of ski socks, not two or three or four. Umm, make sure the socks are long. None of those short athletic socks, make sure it comes up to your knee. Hat, gloves, goggles or some sort of eye protection. And yeah, make sure you're prepared to be outside for a while.
SAM: Awesome, thanks!

Rating: 5
Comment: Good tips, but maybe a little too short and sweet.

Mountain 11

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oookay, since this is your first time, I would highly recommend lessons. We offer a great ski school and you show up the day you want to ski and we also offer a great mid-week ski package. Let me get the details… so it's Monday through Friday, non-holidays and that price would be $60 to ski or $75 to snowboard and that prices includes your lift ticket, your snowboard or ski rental and your lesson. And it comes with a full-day or twilight sessions ticket.
SAM: Cool.
Staff: Yeah, and that might be a great way to go because you're getting everything all in one and you're also getting a lesson.
SAM: Yeah, absolutely, sounds like a great package. So should I call back to reserve the lesson?
Staff: We actually don't take pre-reservations, you just show up. If you want to do a full day it starts at 9 and the twilight starts at 12:30. So whatever fits your schedule, you can just show up.
SAM: Awesome and that's seven days a week?
Staff: That's actually just the weekdays. We do offer lessons on the weekends, but you would have to purchase the ticket and rentals separately.
SAM: Gotcha, so that will probably be more expensive?
Staff: Yes, ma'am.
SAM: No problem. Well do you have any other tips for me?
Staff: Make sure you have really good water-resistant clothes because you're gonna be on your butt a lot. Ha! And I used to work on ski school and I would always recommend a hot bath afterwards because it really loosens up your muscles!
SAM: That is a good tip, thanks! Well, I guess I'll see you guys soon then.
Staff: Sounds good and thanks for calling!

Rating: 8
Comment: Nice, patient, love the bath tip!

Mountain 12

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: OK, um, I mean are you looking for, like, you probably need rentals. Are you coming midweek, weekends?
SAM: I'll probably come on a weekend.
Staff: So weekends are you going to be staying at the hotel?
SAM: No, I would be driving up for the day so I don't need a hotel.
Staff: OK, well we do offer rentals here, which are $38 for the day on weekends. Now if you come on a holiday weekend, of course, it's going to be a little more expensive. Lift ticket is $68, a regular lift ticket is $60.
SAM: OK. And rentals, those are the equipment?
Staff: Yup, ski or snowboard. And that does include your boots, your skis and your poles. And then we do have group lessons if you've never skied before. We do have a beginner's lesson we can offer you. It's $35 if done separately or there's a package you can purchase that includes your ticket, lesson and rental.
SAM: Great, and how much is that package?
Staff: Let's see here… on a weekend that package is $99.
SAM: Sounds good.
Staff: Yeah, so that's a good savings. And the lessons are offered at like 10 and 11 a.m. for beginners. And then any other time after that for the daily lessons, which are offered five times a days and they're at ten, eleven, one, three and 5:30 p.m. And remember if you come on a Sunday, we close at five, but Monday through Friday we close at nine.
SAM: Great. And so I should call back to arrange a lesson?
Staff: Well no, group lessons are just walk-ins and if you do want a private lesson, we do offer those as well.
SAM: Sounds good. Well, I like the idea of the group lesson.
Staff: Yeah! That way you get the feel of being out on the snow, it gets you going and then if you're really getting good you could take a private lesson as well.
SAM: That's a great idea. Anything else you recommend?
Staff: Um, dress in layers! And if you're trying snowboarding, I would recommend wrist guards because you're gonna fall a lot, but you won't need them for skiing. And then I would consider a helmet perhaps, which is never a bad idea!
SAM: Good to know. Thanks so much!

Rating: 8
Comment: Good info + good attitude = big points.

Mountain 13

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ha! Oookay. Good question. First of all you need the clothes to keep you warm.
SAM: Check. I can do that.
Staff: And secondly we have a one-day beginner's lesson with a lift ticket and rental package. So that would be everything you need.
SAM: OK, like my skis and stuff?
Staff: Skis, boots, poles. You do need googles, you do need waterproof gloves because you're going to fall. A helmet wouldn't hurt. We don't require helmets, but a helmet wouldn't hurt.
SAM: Do you rent helmets?
Staff: Yes. So this beginner full day lesson with a beginner lift ticket and the rental package is $214.
(Silence...Getting up after I fell off my chair.)
SAM: And that's just for one day?
Staff: That's one day.
SAM: And how long is the lesson?
Staff: From 9:45 - 3:30 with a break for lunch.
SAM: Cool, so it's really all day. And that's a private lesson?
Staff: No, private lessons are $745, plus the lift ticket, plus the rental.
SAM: Wow! Looks like I'll do the group lesson.
Staff: Uh huh.
SAM: OK, and is that all-day lesson my only option?
Staff: Well, we have an afternoon lesson with a lift ticket for $135.
SAM: That's better, but does that include the rentals?
Staff: No, it doesn't.
SAM: So the all-day group lesson is really my best option?
Staff: Yes it is.
SAM: Sounds good, so should I call back to reserve my spot?
Staff: No, what you can do is if you're here by 4:30 p.m. the afternoon before you take your lesson, you can go to the ski school to register and they'll send you off to get equipped. Or, if you come the day of your lesson, you should be here at 8:30 to get set up.
SAM: Oh OK, I can do that, that sounds more efficient, sure.
Staff: It's fun!
SAM: Great. Anything else you would advise?
Staff: No. Just warm clothes and googles.
SAM: All right then, thanks!

Rating: 7
Comment: $745 for a private!? Minus 3 points for the price and for not including the ticket and rental costs in that mortgage payment. But, still, she was pleasant and had the info I needed.

Mountain 14

First Contact: Automate machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ha ha ha, have you skied a little bit?
SAM: No, not at all, I want to try it for the first time.
Staff: Oh, OK, so just try once, for example?
SAM: Yeah exactly. I've never skied before so I'm not sure, but I'd like to try it.
Staff: You don't even know if you're going to like that! Ha ha. But we have a program for that so you don't have to buy any equipment. It's called the learn-to-ski program and that's probably the best for you. It comes in different possibilities. You can do a morning session, afternoon session or the morning plus the afternoon. And it's including everything-the equipment, the lift ticket and the lesson. So the morning session is from 9-12. And it's really a discovery package so it's going to teach you to turn left, turn right, stop.
SAM: OK, yeah that sounds good.
Staff: So that's the basics. And after that you can practice by yourself. So if you do the morning session the equipment and ticket is good for the rest of the day so that's a very good option. But if you think the time is not long enough you can reserve the afternoon, too. But you have to reserve this in advance. So for skiing it's $115 for half day, the morning, which is $136.19 including tax.
SAM: Perfect, sounds like a good package.
Staff: Yeah and that's something you want to take care of at least a week in advance. And it's all paid ahead of time. We'll ask for your weight, your height, your shoe size, etc.
SAM: No problem, I'll plan to call back.
Staff: OK, sounds good. This is our toll free number so please call back if you have any other questions and we will be happy to help you.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 7
Comment: Solid info and you gotta love the tax included price tip.

Mountain 15

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sure, yes, that's great to hear. The best thing to do is to go to our wesbite, and click on Mountain at the top and then click on Snow School. There you will see all the ski lesson packages. Click on 'adult programs' to see the details.
SAM: Great, I can do that.
Staff: Yeah, and you will see the Level 1, 2 and 3 group lessons and if you complete all three you will get a 4-day X mountain card so you can come back and practice.
SAM: Oh wow, that's a nice incentive, thanks!
Staff: Sure thing. And once you know the package or lesson you would like to do you can call back on this number and reserve your spot.
SAM: Perfect. Is there anything else you would recommend?
Staff: Ah yes. Dress very warmly, hat, gloves, googles, warm socks and waterproof pants and jacket. You will be outside the whole time so you want to be comfortable.
SAM: Great, thanks so much!

Rating: 9
Comment: Only area to lead me right to their website where all the information is nicely laid out and I get to explore the rest of the resorts' offerings. \
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