Mountain Spy

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In this month’s Mountain Spy, we tackled straightforward customer service. When a mother is bringing her brood up to your hill, how easy are you making life for her? A special shout-out to the French Canadians who nailed this one.


QUESTION: DO YOU OFFER VALET PARKING AT YOUR RESORT?


MOUNTAIN 1, IN

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No, we do not.
SAM: OK, um, is there preferred parking or anything or even a drop-off zone where I can leave my gear?
Staff: Um, well, we have a 15-minute parking out front and then you can take your stuff—you’re talking about your equipment?
SAM: Right. It’s me and my kids.
Staff: Yes, you cannot bring your equipment into the lodge though. You would have to take it down to ski check or we have areas where you can lock it up. And then you can go inside with your bag to change clothes or whatever. You just can’t take equipment into the lodge.
SAM: Sounds good. So there’s no valet or premium parking of any kind?
Staff: No ma’am, I’m sorry.

Rating: 5
Comment: Sounds like I’ll be covering some good ground between the car, the ski check and the lodge?


MOUNTAIN 2, VT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, yes we do! On the weekend there is valet. It’s, I believe, it’s $30 per day.
SAM: OK, great. And that’s just right there by the main lodge?
Staff: Yup! You would pull into the top parking deck for the valet service.
SAM: Perfect. And that $30 is for all-day parking?
Staff: Yes it is.
SAM: And I assume that’s per car?
Staff: Yup! Per car. And then we also have free parking in all of our lots and then you take the shuttle back and forth.
SAM: Right. OK. So that’s the other option. Is there a time limit to the valet parking or a certain time it starts or ends?
Staff: Yeah, um, let me look that up for you. One moment…(Hold time: 45 seconds.)
Staff: OK, so it looks like valet is from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it’s $30 on the weekends and $35 on holidays.
SAM: Thanks so much. Is there valet during the week?
Staff: There’s not, I’m sorry. Just on the weekends and holidays.
SAM: No problem, thanks for your help!

Rating: 8
Comment: Fact-checkers always get extra points.


MOUNTAIN 3, MI

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, we do not.
SAM: You do not. OK. That’s too bad. So it’s general parking for everyone? Is there a drop-off zone?
Staff: Um, yeah, there is an area you can do that. Silence...
SAM: OK, so there’s no premium parking of any kind?
Staff: No there’s not.

Rating: 2
Comment: No tips, no enthusiasm, no high score.


MOUNTAIN 4, CA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do!
SAM: Awesome. Even for just a regular day of skiing?
Staff: Sure do! It’s $45.
SAM: No problem. And where exactly is the valet area?
Staff: Well, when you come in on the resort drive there will be signs pointing you in the right direction, but when you come in on the access road you’ll come to a stop sign and shortly after that you’ll take a left into the valet parking area.
SAM: Great. And is it close to the lifts then I assume?
Staff: It is close. It’s not right next to the chairlift, but it’s much closer to the village and lifts than the free parking.
SAM: OK. And are there any time constraints for when it starts and ends?
Staff: Um, let’s see, the timing is—you do have to pick up your car by a certain time. Um, the lifts close at 4 p.m. so I think you have to pick up your car by 5 p.m. And then it opens at 8 a.m. in the morning.
SAM: Hmm. So if I stop skiing at four and then want to have dinner I have to pick up my car and move it?
Staff: Um, I’m not completely positive, but I can transfer you over to the transportation department and they can help you…
SAM: Sounds good, thanks!
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: I was transferred over to you regarding valet parking. She explained the whole process, but said I had to pick up my car by five. So if I finish skiing at four and want to eat anything in the village afterward it sounds like I have to pick up and move my car by five?
Staff: That is a very good question. I’m actually the dispatcher for the bus system so I don’t have much to do with parking, but let’s see what I can find.
SAM: Thanks. I’m just trying to figure out what I can do with my car after five.
Staff: I don’t know for sure, but it’s likely they have an end time so they can release the valet attendants, but I would say that if you got done by four and they wanted you to pick it up by five you could close your transaction with them and there is a lot directly below the valet area that at that point in the day even if it had been a paid lot during the day, it would be free at that point. So you would basically be moving your car a hundred yards into another spot.
SAM: OK, so that lower parking after five o’clock is free to anyone?
Staff: Right. I mean they stop charging people or the latest they would charge someone for that lot would probably be around two o’clock.
SAM: OK. That’s great. And I can understand why they need to release the attendants by five. I’ll just keep an eye on that lower lot after I get my car.
Staff: Sure. I think that’s your best bet. Did you want any of the numbers for the parking directors or anything like that?
SAM: That’s OK. You and the gal I talked to before gave me plenty of information to work with. Thanks so much.

Rating: 9
Comment: I really worked them and their resourcefulness and enthusiasm never waivered.


MOUNTAIN 5, PA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, no, we do not.
SAM: OK.
Staff: No, we do not. If, um, our lower lots are full we do have a shuttle service, but no valet parking.
SAM: OK. So there’s no closer parking lot that I can pay for? Do you have an unload zone or drop-off zone where I can unload all my gear?
Staff: Um, for the hotel or the ski area?
SAM: The ski area. I’m just coming in for the day with my kids. It would be nice to have a place to unload their gear.
Staff: Um, not that anyone watches. I mean you’re welcome to unload things there, but I recommend that someone stay with it.
SAM: So it is just a small area in front of the lodge or are their ski racks as well?
Staff: There are ski racks. OK, then?
SAM: I guess so. I’ll just get there early and make the kids carry their own gear.
Staff: Sure thing, have a nice day.

Rating: 4
Comment: Not sure how nice my day at your area will be if I can’t unload anything.


MOUNTAIN 6, NY

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes we do. At the X club.
SAM: Great! That’s the main lodge right?
Staff: No. That’s one of our hotels.
SAM: Oh, bummer. Well do you have valet parking at your main lodge or a drop-off zone or anything like that? I’m just trying to plan the day with my kids and they have a lot of gear!
Staff: Um, at the main lodge there is parking, but there is no valet.
SAM: All right. What about a drop-off area?
Staff: Yes. Silence...
SAM: OK. Well, I guess that’s my only choice.
Staff: Yup. Thanks for calling. Bye.

Rating: 1.5
Comment: Yup, thanks for the driest conversation ever.


MOUNTAIN 7, QC

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Do we offer valet parking? Um, no we don’t, but if that’s something you prefer we can arrange it for you.
SAM: Wow, thank you. I would hate to cause any extra work though. I’m just asking because some areas have valet and some have premium parking or at least a drop-off area for gear.
Staff: Yes, we do have the drop-off zone, but after that each person has to park their own car.
SAM: Right, everyone parks themselves. But if I wanted to have valet parking and would pay for it, of course, you said that special arrangement could be made?
Staff: Sure. Sure. Of course.
SAM: OK. Thank you. Then what I’ll do is give a call back the day before I come.
Staff: When are you planning to do that?
SAM: Most likely this weekend.
Staff: OK, good. I will be here. So ask for Pierre, Peter, at customer service and I will arrange that for you.
SAM: Fantastic, thank you so much!
Staff: No problem.

Rating: 10
Comment: Customer service at its finest!
IDENTIFY REVEALED: LE MASSIF


MOUNTAIN 8, NH

First contact: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No.
SAM: OK.
Staff: The farthest walk besides the shuttle would probably be maybe 150 to 200 yards.
SAM: OK. And that’s based on the cars who get there first and if that lot is full I would have to take a shuttle?
Staff: Yup. When are you coming in?
SAM: Most likely this weekend or next. I’m just trying to figure out parking and unloading my kids and all their gear.
Staff: Yup. What you do is, um, get off exit X and on your left and side you’ll see Y parking and your next left is the main lodge area. And then you’ll see a bunch of little signs, like no-parking-type signs and drop off signs and ski racks and everything will be right there.
SAM: OK.
Staff: And then it’s suggested you drop off your gear and skis, but not your children, and, um, then you can, it depends on what time you come in. You could be in the main lot or the secondary lot across the street. But if you face the lodge, on the righthand side are three additional lots, which are really nice because you can ski back to your car when you’re done for the day.
SAM: Fantastic. Then I’ll keep an eye out for one of those three side lots so we can ski back to our car.
Staff: Absolutely. Thanks for calling and we look forward to seeing you up here.

Rating: 7
Comment: An initial “no” quickly turned into some helpful tips.


MOUNTAIN 9, NH

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not. Silence...
SAM: OK. Is it just up to me then where I park? Do you have an unload zone or anything like that?
Staff: Um, we do have a two-minute drop-off area that you can park in and then park in the main lot after that.
SAM: How far away from the lodge is the main lot?
Staff: The main lot is not very far. It’s a very short walk. Although sometimes on very busy weekends we have an off-site lot that we provide a shuttle for. Well, it’s not really off-site, but it’s a little ways away.
SAM: Hmm, OK. Well, I guess I’ll try to get there early.
Staff: Yeah. Silence.

Rating: 3
Comment: Well, there wasn’t much meat to that conversation.


MOUNTAIN 10, VT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, not valet, but they have a special area for parking that you pay an extra $20 and you get a special spot to park in. We’re talking about the ski area, correct, not the hotel?
SAM: Right, the ski area. I’m just coming in for the day.
Staff: Yeah, you can pay $20 to get this special area to park in. It’s very close to the lift, the upper lot, it’s the closest lot to the lift.
SAM: Awesome. Is it a ski-in, ski-out lot?
Staff: No you can’t ski in and ski out, but do you have a lift ticket already?
SAM: Umm...
Staff: I mean you’re still going to have to walk down and back to get your lift ticket, but it’s much closer.
SAM: Sounds great. So $20 a day and look out for the upper lot, right?
Staff: When you get to the base area it’s the upper level and there will be parking attendants there. Just keep an eye out for them.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 6.5
Comment: Basic, direct info.


MOUNTAIN 11, CA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, no we don’t.
SAM: OK. Bummer. Do you have a drop-off zone so I can unload my family’s gear?
Staff: Uh, no we don’t.
SAM: Oh, OK. Well, hopefully your parking area is close to the lifts?
Staff: It is. And we do not charge for parking either.
SAM: OK. Great. Then I’ll just shoot to get there early to get a close spot.
Staff: When are you coming?
SAM: Probably one day this weekend.
Staff: Yeah. If you get here early you’re going to get close to the main resort and walkway. And because of the weather the walkways are clear and dry.
SAM: Good to know. Thanks.
Staff: OK. Bye.

Rating: 3
Comment: Slightly stale for my taste.


MOUNTAIN 12, UT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hmm, not yet.
SAM: Ha ha, not yet. OK. That will be great when you do! Well, I’m just coming in for the day with my family and if you don’t offer that do you have a drop-off zone or anything?
Staff: Oh yeah! Yup, it’s right in front of the lodge.
SAM: Great. So I can at least do that then.
Staff: Of course! And if you get here early enough you can park in the top lot!
SAM: Sounds good. What’s your definition of early?
Staff: About 8:30, depending on just how busy we are, but that should ensure you a spot in the top lot, which is the closest.
SAM: Awesome, thanks!

Rating: 8
Comment: Perky attitude with some helpful tips.


MOUNTAIN 13, ID

First contact: Female
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We, um, I don’t think we do. We just have three different parking spots and it’s kind of like, first-come, first-served type of thing. But I can ask if you don’t mind holding on for one second?
SAM: Sure thing. (Hold time: 45 seconds.)
Staff: No, sorry about that, we don’t offer valet parking.
SAM: OK, no problem. So it’s just the three lots and everyone is on their own?
Staff: Yeah. Well, we have our parking, um, our, um, parking workers that help and direct people where to park.
SAM: Do you have a drop-off zone or anything?
Staff: We do, um, ummm, we also have a shuttle that runs like from the upper parking lot, like, down to the lower one and then you can just, like, it has plenty of room and spots on the side to hold gear and stuff.
SAM: OK.
Staff: Um, yeah, that should be fine. Yeah.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks.

Rating: 4
Comment: Umm, yeah. Looks like I’m on my own.


MOUNTAIN 14, UT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, no, we do not.
SAM: Bummer. OK. Do you have a drop-off zone or anything like that?
Staff: Uh, yeah! If you drive up you can drive up to the front where the lodge is and drop people off or pick them up there.
SAM: Sounds good. So it’s just regular parking for everyone then?
Staff: Um, yeah. We have people who work the parking lot and like monitor the actual lot so people don’t park too close to each other, those kinds of thing. But there isn’t someone who would park you car for you.
SAM: No problem, thanks for your help.

Rating: 6
Comment: Basic info, but a good attitude always wins.


MOUNTAIN 15, CO

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, for the lodge?
SAM: Well, I’m coming in for the day with my family so it would be parking for the ski area lodge.
Staff: Now, are you staying at the lodge or just coming up for the day?
SAM: Just the day.
Staff: OK, hold on one second.
Staff: Ma’am, what we do have is a paid parking lot with a shuttle so you can take the shuttle up to the main lodge of the ski area.
SAM: OK, so where should I park?
Staff: Well have you been here before?
SAM: I have but it was a very, very long time ago and a friend said I should definitely go back!
Staff: OK, well the parking lot is a ways away from the base area. It’s $10 a day to park there. But you can get a shuttle from where the parking lot is to the base area.
SAM: Do I pay for the shuttle too?
Staff: No, the shuttle is free. OK, so as you’re coming up to the mountain on the main road you’ll pass the main lodge and turn on X road. And then you’ll see where the parking is with a small little building where the people are who will take the money for the parking.
SAM: OK.
Staff: OK, so you just pull in there and he’ll take your money, or she, whoever it is, and then you’ll park and the shuttle will come and get you and take you up to the base area.
SAM: Al right. So that’s your premium parking?
Staff: That’s pretty much our only parking lot.
SAM: Oh, OK. So the shuttle is free but you have to pay to park?
Staff: Right.
SAM: So there’s no free parking anywhere at the resort?
Staff: No, but there’s some public parking by the Y hotel, but it fills up pretty quickly.
SAM: Gotcha. Is that close to the lift?
Staff: Yeah it’s fairly close.
SAM: OK, so I could get there early and park there?
Staff: Right, but there’s no shuttle.
SAM: But I don’t have to pay for it?
Staff: Right.
SAM: Now I get it. So I have a few choices. I guess I’ll shoot to get there early and see what happens. Thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Whew. I’m exhausted.


MOUNTAIN 16, QC

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Do you mean you’re coming for just one day to the resort?
SAM: Right, I’m just coming skiing for the day with my family.
Staff: OK. So valet parking… no, not really. There is VIP parking where you can go, but there is no valet parking. It’s all outdoor parking, as well, there is no indoor parking.
SAM: No problem, but you do have VIP parking then?
Staff: Yes the VIP parking has a gate and you pay when you come out of it. It’s $15 per day.
SAM: Great. So I assume it’s close to the lodge and lifts?
Staff: Oh yeah! It’s just across the street. Ha ha. It’s very close so that’s quite nice.
SAM: Even better. Is it easier to get to that parking lot?
Staff: Oh my goodness, yes! When you arrive it’s going to be the second entrance on your left, not the first. There is a big sign for VIP parking.
SAM: Perfect. Thanks!

Rating: 9
Comment: Good info with a good attitude.

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