Mountain Spy

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Mountain Spy Liz Eren poses a question about the Bring a Friend Challenge. Sadly, most resorts were unprepared.

Question: I’m planning to buy a season pass this year and want to bring a friend who’s never skiied before. Are there any discounts or coupons for bringing a friend? 


Mountain 1, NH

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Not for bringing a friend, unless you buy the gold pass. If you buy the gold pass then you get four $50 tickets you can use for anyone, anytime of the season. But if you get the silver or the bronze that is not included. Has she ever skied before?
SAM: She hasn’t no, but she would really like to try so I’m want to help her out. I just didn’t know if there were any coupons or incentives for bringing a friend that’s never skied before?
Staff: No, but sometime at the end of October we’ll have our pricing for the season and we usually have a pretty good deal for our learn to ski—it’s like a lift/lesson/rental package. So I would check back on that. We’re pretty competitive. We have some of the better offerings around.
SAM: Great.
Staff: So yeah, sometime at the beginning of October and then she could do that and hang out with you in the afternoon.
SAM: That could work, thanks!

Rating: 6
Comment: Good tip on the gold pass and learn-to lesson.


Mountain 2, NH

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose “season pass” option.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, no. Unfortunately. (silence…)
SAM: OK. Well that was my only question.
Staff: Are you thinking of getting her a season pass as well?
SAM: No. I’m going to, but I wanted her to try it first.
Staff: Well what she should do is, like, we have a three-day, learn-to-ski package. A hundred and...it’s very inexpensive. I’m not in winter pricing mode yet, let me see…
SAM: Sure, we can look into that. I just want to check if there were any coupons or anything like that for bringing a friend that’s never been before?
Staff: Um, no. Not as far as that, no.
SAM: OK, then, thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Started with an awfully fast No...at least she had that learn-to package ready to sell.


Mountain 3, VT

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I don’t really know off the top of my hand. I mean my head, ha ha, yeah. But let me transfer you to ski and ride and see if they can help you with that. Holding…
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Um, you are a season pass holder?
SAM: Going to be.
Staff: Sure, for any of our passholders we’re going to give you a 50% off friends and family coupon that you could give to her so she can get 50% off a full-day lift ticket.
SAM: Cool. That’s great.
Staff: Yup, when you purchase your pass and we mail it out we mail those coupons with it.
SAM: Perfect. And how many do I get?
Staff: Just one. One per pass. (Ouch.)
SAM: Sounds good, thanks so much.

Rating: 4
Comment: Friendly customer service, but just one coupon?


Mountain 4, MA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, not that I’m aware of. Not anything they’ve given us information on yet, no. If you buy online you save money.
SAM: OK, we can do that.
Staff: Yup. (silence…)
SAM: Alrightly then, thanks.
Staff: Yeah, bye.

Rating: 1
Comment: 1 point for the online discount. -9 for talking two million miles per hour. I barely understood a word she said—not that she had much to say. And “they” should give you information on it, especially when your state ski association logo is proudly displayed on the Bring-A-Friend website.


Mountain 5, PA

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, when you, um, purchase your season pass, on your season pass will be one visit where you can offer to bring a friend and they will get a class package that day.
SAM: OK.
Staff: OK. What you will do is take your season pass to the lift ticket window and tell them you are using your first class, um, your beginner, your, um, bring a friend, um, benefit on that, and they’ll swipe it and they’ll give your friend the learn-to-ski package for the day.
SAM: OK. What does that package include?
Staff: That package includes the lift ticket to the beginner chair lift and the beginner ski area, rental of their equipment and a beginner class lesson.
SAM: Awesome. So they get to do all that for free?
Staff: Mmm hm.
SAM: Great, thanks so much.

Rating: 6
Comment: Slightly confusing, but now we’re getting somewhere.


Mountain 6, MI

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, um, this time of year we’re offering our season pass at a discount. So it’s 10% if you buy it by October 10. And as far your friend is concerned, if she is just learning, our beginner area is free for anyone at anytime. So she may not want to purchase a pass right away. Depending on how fast you think that’s going to happen.
SAM: Well she’s not planning on buying a pass, that’s just me. But how is the beginner area set up?
Staff: It’s a hill, and it’s a chairlift. It’s built for beginners so it goes a little bit slower. And it’s a very wide area with a very gradual slope so you can go through several different degrees of difficulty to learn.
SAM: And she can go there for free?
Staff: Yes. And that would be my suggestion until she decides, I would hate to have her purchase a pass and not like it.
SAM: How many times can she go to that area for free? Is there a limit?
Staff: No, nope. And it’s open whenever we are.
SAM: Well, that’s quite a discount, thanks.

Rating: 9
Comment: Short and sweet and to the point. I guess there’s no need for the Bring A Friend promotion. Minus one for not upselling a lesson, though.


Mountain 7, MI

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: I’ll transfer you to that department. Hold please. Transferred…
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Well, we don’t have anything specific for that. Um, uhh, she’s never skied before so we’re not looking for a season pass product…
SAM: Nope. I was just wondering if there were any coupons for bringing a friend?
Staff: Yeah, no, there’s not currently. We don’t get calls for that very often. We do certainly appreciate it.
SAM: It’s OK. (Silence…)
SAM: OK then, thanks.

Rating: 1
Comment: I can tell you don’t get calls for this very often…


Mountain 8, IN

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, I’m sorry there’s not. But when they actually buy a ticket here, they can receive an introductory lesson at no cost.
SAM: OK, so if she buys a ticket she gets a free lesson?
Staff: Right.
SAM: OK, just seeing if there were any discounts.
Staff: Um, you might watch, sometimes, at the very beginning of the season and sometimes at the very end, we’re not very consistent about it, you can bring a friend, but you’d want to watch our website because it’s not something we do every year.
SAM: Hmm, OK. What does that entail?
Staff: Usually it’s a discount on their ticket. If you have a pass that might be an option for you. I do know if you buy an X pass you can bring up to ten people and they will receive $10 off their lift ticket. If you buy a Y card, you can bring up to 5 people and they get $5 off their ticket. And both those are valid Monday through Thursday, non-holidays.
SAM: Hmm, OK. I can think about those options. Thanks.
Staff: You’re welcome. Bye.

Rating: 5
Comment: A free lesson, or $10 off, or sometimes I can bring a friend for another discount. A little too confusing for my taste.


Mountain 9, NV

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose season passes.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, we have some specials during the season for pass holders. Sometimes we do that. It’s like a $20 ticket, but I don’t have details on that yet. In the spring we offer a beginner pass. And that’s a great way of doing it. Of course that doesn’t happen until the spring, but it’s a good way to get them started, because it includes unlimited, like, lessons and rentals for the rest of the season. And then last year we had it where you could apply $99 of that pass to the following season’s pass. But that’s not offered until spring. And we don’t really have any other discounts. I mean we have ladies days, but that’s on a Thursday.
SAM: What’s that?
Staff: Well the ticket price is… have you been on the website to look at the daily specials or anything?
SAM: No, I haven’t.
Staff: Well, we have a few of them.
SAM: I’ll grab a look.
Staff: Well, ladies day is probably going to be the best day. It’s $29 lift tickets and then we have ladies day clinics for $20. But if you’re going to teach her yourself that would be a good day. That’s going to be the cheapest lift ticket during the season.
SAM: Sure. I’m not sure if I’ll be teaching her every step of the way but...
Staff: Well, once she gets into it, she might just want to continuously do this ladies day clinic. And then when spring comes around, if we have the beginner pass again, that’s what I would suggest for her to buy. That will definitely get her into it.
SAM: Sure, that’s a good deal. But there’s no discount for me bringing up someone who’s never skied before?
Staff: No. We have our first-timer package, which may be the first thing you suggest doing. It’s just a basic general lesson. And then after that, well that includes a ticket, lesson and rental. So that’s always a good deal to look at.
SAM: For sure, thanks!

Rating: 8
Comment: No discounts, but nice up-sell on the ladies day and beginner pass.


Mountain 10, UT

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose ticketing.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, not like on your pass. Um, how many days do you think you’ll get up here and ski?
SAM: Um, probably like 20 to 25.
Staff: 20, OK, have you looked at what you might get. What kind of pass?
SAM: No, I’m not sure yet, sorry.
Staff: So if you’re going towards 20 or more days of skiing you could look at the full season pass for $999. Otherwise there’s the X card, which you would pay $99 and it gives you a $25 discount on your day tickets. It gives you some flexibility if you’re going to come up in the afternoon you get $25 off our PM or late afternoon ticket. So if you came up at 2:30, you could ski for $5 for two hours.
SAM: Cool, thanks.
Staff: So for her, is she beginner, like never skied before?
SAM: Yeah, exactly. I’m just trying to help her get into it. So I was just wondering as a pass holder if there were any incentives for bringing up a buddy?
Staff: Yeah, nothing like that. Um, there is the X deal where if you had the X card then you would be free on the Z chair and she could come up and ski. If she just wanted to come try it out that would be $10 and after that it would be $5. And the rope tow is free for her every day, all day.
SAM: OK, well we can at least start on the rope tow.
Staff: Sure! And we have a really, really good lesson package. If she likes it, she should look into this. It’s the learn-to-ski package and it costs $199 and she just picks four days through the season where she gets a two-hour class each time, rentals and a lift ticket. So if she wants to try it a few days in a row that’s a really good package to try out.
SAM: Great, thanks so much.

Rating: 8
Comment: We got a little off topic on my pass, but at least she sold just about everything they have to offer.


Mountain 11, CO

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, where might you guys go skiing?
SAM: X area. (…Like I just said)
Staff: Oh, OK. So if you go with one of the season passes you have the six buddy tickets that are around 15% off the ticket window rate. The only thing would be, on the lift tickets, if you order them at least seven days in advance you get a discount or if you have a season pass they can just use the ski-with-a-friend tickets off of your pass. And it’s around 15% depending on the day and resort. (What?!)
SAM: And that’s good for every kind of pass?
Staff: Yeah. On all of the passes we have. All of them will come with the six buddy tickets. And the six ski-with-a-friend tickets are just electronically loaded so you would just go to the window and they just sell the family or friend the discounted ticket for the day.
SAM: Great, thanks so much!

Rating: 4
Comment: I’m so confused. Buddy tickets, ski-with-a-friend tickets, seven days in advance…I think I need to call back. But at least they ackowledged the bringing a friend concept.


Mountain 12, CO

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, no, unfortunately not.
SAM: OK. Well that was my only question so I just wanted to make sure…
Staff: No. With your pass you get the discounted lift ticket coupon, but that’s it. (silence…)
SAM: OK, what’s that discount?
Staff: Um, depending on what type of pass you have you get a number of discounted lift tickets either $59 or $69 depending on the time of year.
SAM: Sounds good. That’s at least a little bit of a discount. Thanks.

Rating: 2
Comment: So, first response was no, except for the fact that they do offer a discount. Yikes.


Mountain 13, WA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, nope, not per se. We do have that easy-to-learn ski program, which is the best thing we have for beginners. It’s two...let me check the price real quick… Um, the price hasn’t been determined. Last year it was $125 and it included three days of lifts, lessons and equipment. It was kind of an introductory program. And so the day you want to take that person skiing you just walk into the learning center and sign up for that class. And the first class would begin on that first day. And if they actually like it, there’s some graduation incentive packages to keep them skiing throughout the year. Get it?
SAM: Sure, yeah.
Staff: So, like, the first day you come in, and then wait two or three weeks, you can come back and try it again. So those three days are yours to use whenever. And whenever you complete them you’re entitled to the graduation incentives.
SAM: Cool, well I will tell her about that. Thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Points for mentioning the beginner package, but still no coupons for season pass holders? :(


Mountain 14, WY

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Just for like a day ticket do you mean?
SAM: Um, yeah. Just for bringing someone who’s never been before or just bringing friend?
Staff: We have, I’ve got a couple different things, let me see what we can do…friends and family...I want to say they do. Sorry, I have to look at all the rules…OK, so yes. If you’re a season pass holder they have a friends and family program. So if you purchase four friends and family tickets per day, well that’s four a day, but you get them at a discounted rate. Let me see here, it looks like from the way they set it up it has to be like four tickets, but if you do they get them at $55 instead of the $69 window price. Um, and that looks like that’s it for now.
SAM: OK. So there’s not much for just bringing one friend?
Staff: Yeah, not really, unless you, like, bring four friends. It looks like it has that stipulation. Sorry about that.
SAM: No worries, that’s why I was calling.

Rating: 7
Comment: Friendly and patient, but only a discount with four people? Come on, every newbie makes a difference!


Mountain 15, CA

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose season pass information.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, when you purchase a pass you get the option of six ski-with-a-friend discounts. And that will get you between $10 and $15 discounts on an adult lift ticket. And the discount depends on when you come.
SAM: OK.
Staff: I don’t have the exact dollar amount, but last year the tickets at the end of the season were $99 and a ski-with-a-friend ticket was $86. So that gives you an idea of what the discount would be.
SAM: That works. It’s not a huge discount, but I guess it’s better than nothing.
Staff: Right, well, and then you have six options to do that.
SAM: Sure, thanks so much.

Rating: 5
Comment: $13 off a full-price ticket? You could make the welcome a little warmer than that for newcomers.



 
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