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November 2008

Mountain Spy :: November 2008

Mountain Spy Liz Eren owes this month’s idea to Lonie Glieberman at Mount Bohemia. He often plays practical jokes on his staff with strange phone calls, so we followed his lead. And, in case you’re wondering, yes there really are seeing-eye miniature horses.

Written by Liz Eren | 0 comment

The Question: I’m a legally blind skier and recently got a seeing-eye miniature horse. I wanted to make sure your resort didn’t have a problem with that.

Mountain 1: bc, medium Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Automated machine, waiting for “next available agent.”
Answering phone: Young female. Super friendly.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: It’s a horse?
SAM: Yes.
Staff: Umm, let me check on that for you as I’m not entirely sure. Do you mind holding for just one minute?
Staff: Hi, so sorry that took so long, we’ve never had that question before. So, as long as you have proper documentation for the horse then there’s no problem at all. And we do have a grizzly bear and wolf refuge on the mountain, so you should stay away from those areas with the horse, just because we don’t know how they’ll all react. We also caution you that the horse will experience a significant altitude change and just want you to be aware of that for its safety.
SAM: Thanks so much. And yeah, I don’t think I’ll go anywhere near the bears or wolves. He would guide me around the base and then stay in the lodge with a friend while I skied with a guide.
Staff: Oh, yeah, of course, definitely. As long as you have the documentation for it, there is absolutely no problem.
SAM: Okay great, thanks so much.
Staff: Oh, you’re more than welcome, thanks so much for calling.

Rating: 8.5
Comment: So polite, as Canada always is. And a nice bonus mentioning the altitude and the wild animals.

Mountain 2: wa, medium area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Female. Nice enough sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Umm, I’d have to ask our mountain manager that question. Can you hold on?
SAM: Of course.
Staff: Great, one minute.
Staff: Umm, so the horse. Does the horse go skiing with you?
SAM: No, no, he doesn’t. I would go with a ski guide and then I would have a friend watch the horse, just like I did with my dog last year.
Staff: Okay, so you want to bring him in the lodge then with you?
SAM: Well, yes, that’s one of my questions. It would guide me around the base area and then I wanted to make sure he is allowed in the lodge.
Staff: Okay, hold on one second.
Staff: I guess as long as the horse, umm, doesn’t go, um, to the bathroom in the lodge.
SAM: Oh no, he wouldn’t. He’s totally housetrained.
Staff: Okay, well then, yeah, there shouldn’t be any problem.
SAM: Okay, thanks so much.

Rating: 4
Comment: Next time maybe transfer me to the manager.

Mountain 3: nj, medium Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose Guest services.
Answering phone: Nice-sounding female.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: To bring a horse?
SAM: Yes
Staff: On the property?
SAM: Yes. It’s miniature horse though, so it’s like a big dog.
Staff: You know this is a ski area, right?
SAM: Yes, I do.
Staff: What would you want to do with the horse?
SAM: Well, I used to leave my dog in the lodge with a friend while I went skiing with the guide. So I wanted to see if my mini-horse could go in the lodge.
Staff: Oh, I see. Hold on one second, let me transfer you to someone who can help you out.
Answering phone: Nice female.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Hi. Yeah, we don’t see any problem with that at all.
SAM: Oh, okay then, thanks so much.
Staff: No problem, have a good day.

Rating: 6
Comment: The transfer totally saved this one.

Mountain 4: MT, small Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Female. Nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: A seeing-eye mini horse. How fun. And how big is miniature?
SAM: He’s about 30 inches high.
Staff: Oh wow, how neat. But he doesn’t go on the slopes or anything, he just goes around with you.
SAM: Yes, exactly.
Staff: Okay, great. When you had a dog last season, what did you do in the past?
SAM: He would stay in the lodge with a friend while I skied.
Staff: Oh, okay, so you would do the same with the horse then I understand. Oh, well how fun. Let me actually have you talk with John Doe our owner just because he can help you a little more.
Staff: Hi, this is John, Jane Doe said you’ve been coming up here before with your guide dog?
SAM: Restated question for clarity.
Staff: Ha ha ha, how great is that to hear? How big is he?
SAM: He’s about 30 inches.
Staff: He’s only 30 inches high?! I’ll be darned. Huh, when did they start doing that?
SAM: Well, it’s been going on for a while now. I developed an allergy to dogs, which is why I switched.
Staff: Ha, well I’ll be darned. Will you do me a favor and send me an e-mail, or write a letter, whichever is easier for you, and I’ll respond to you with more detail that way. I don’t see any problems with it at all unless he starts attacking people.
SAM: Ha ha ha, no I can assure you he won’t attack anybody. I can e-mail you if that’s okay?
Staff: Of course, it’s We look forward to having you up here.
SAM: Thanks so much.

Rating: 8.5
Comment: It’s not every day you get the owner. Great attitude and super friendly people.

Mountain 5: WI, small Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Male. In need of a large Red Bull, ASAP.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: You, ah, got a seeing… eye… horse?
SAM: Yeah.
Staff: That you want to bring to the mountain? What would you do with the horse?
SAM: Well, just like when I had a dog, he would stay in the lodge with a friend while I went skiing with a guide.
Staff: Well, we have had dogs here before, but we’ve never had a horse, I don’t know what to say. I don’t really want a horse walking around the chalet.
SAM: Okay. That’s why I was calling to check.
Staff: How do you even bring a horse around?
SAM: I have a miniature horse trailer that we use. It’s the same size as a big dog so you could even haul him in a covered truck bed. They’re pretty easy to transport.
Staff: Yeeeah… I mean it would just be such a spectacle inside with all the kids wanting to pet it, even more so than a dog, you know?
SAM: Understandable, sure. That’s fine. I can have a friend bring him back to the trailer while I ski. Thanks.
Staff: Sure. And when I see a miniature horse, I guess I’ll know who’s it is.
SAM: Sure, guess so.

Rating: 1
Comment: ‘Nuff said.

Mountain 6: ca, Large Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services.
Answering phone: Megan. Sweet sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Oh, okay, that’s a good question. Let me see, I’m going to direct you over to Jane and she’ll be able to help you with that question. Hold on one second. Transferred to Jane. Super kind and patient.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Um well, sure, we’ll make whatever accommodations you need. How would that work exactly, though, as I’m a little unfamiliar?
SAM: Well, very similar to a guide dog. He would walk with me to the ticket booth and lodge, wherever I went basically. And then my friend would stay with him while I went skiing.
Staff: Well, we would make any accommodations necessary and I’m assuming because it’s a seeing-eye animal then it’s exempt from any health codes. If you could just let me know when you’re coming we would be able to have everything in order so it wouldn’t be a surprise for our employees and a hassle to you. How big is he exactly?
SAM: Um, he’s about 30 inches high. So about the same size as a golden retriever.
Staff: Ohh, okay then.
SAM: Oh yeah, he’s not like a large pony or anything. He’s more like a dog.
Staff: All right. Well, um, is he housetrained? I guess that would be our biggest concern. It might be a problem if he decided to go in the lodge.
SAM: Ha ha, of course, that would turn some heads. He is housetrained though, yes. So he won’t go unless he tells me he needs to and with my friend there I’ll have more help.
Staff: Perfect, and of course we’re happy to have you come and ski with us, so why don’t I give you my direct line and cell phone number to call when you come. If you think of it, give me a call a day or two ahead, but if not, that’s fine and you can call me on your way. This way, I can make sure everything is in order for you.
SAM: Perfect, thanks so much. I really appreciate your help.
Staff: No problem, we look forward to seeing you this winter.

Rating: 9.5
Comment: Great attitude, super welcoming and made me feel comfortable. Big points for Jane.

Identity revealed: Sugar Bowl

Mountain 7, Ca, Large Area

First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone:Young woman. Really excited!
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Oh my Goood! That is soooo awesome! Let me check on that for you, that's a great question. Hold on one second.
Staff:: Absolutely!
SAM: Oh, well okay, thanks. Can he come into the lodge then?
Staff: Yup, wherever you go or wherever you need to go, he can go with you.
SAM: Great. Thanks so much.

Rating: 8
Comment: Her excitement and friendless was just soooo awesome!

Mountain 8, Id, Large Area

First contact: Automated machine. Chose guest services
Answering phone: Older woman, very nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: So you are going to bring it to your room?
SAM: Umm, no, I would just have him with me that day when I came skiing.
Staff: I'm not sure, I don't really know. We don't have a corral or anything. Unless you know, you have your own corral.
SAM: Well, yeah, I mean he would just have to come off the trailer and walk with me and then I would have my friend look after him while I skied.
Staff: Well, uhhh yeah, that's a brand new question for me, ha ha, let me ask my manager. I mean I'm a horse person so I wouldn't have a problem with it, but they're not, so hold on one second.
Staff: We're thinking that's going to be pretty hard. When I go riding we tie them up but I mean it'd be hard with a horse in the lodge. Would you have a friend watch it?
SAM: Of course, just like I had friends watch my dog last season. I wouldn't leave him alone. They'd watch him the whole time I went skiing.
Staff: Ok, hold on again.
holding, again...
Staff: I think that can be worked out. We have a large parking lot out back that's part of our land and we have people bring RVs and campers who park there since there's plenty of space. So you could do that too. (How big does she think my MINI horse is?)
SAM:Okay, that'll be fine. Thanks so much.
Staff: Oh, you're welcome.

Rating: 6
Comment: A little rough off the bat, but very patient in her efforts

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