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January 2009

Mountain Spy :: January 2009

Mountain Spy Liz Eren owes this month’s idea to Jen Butson at Ski Vermont. For this question, Liz chose resorts near major metropolitan areas.

Written by Liz Eren | 0 comment



First Contact: Young female. Needed some caffeine.
SAM:­ Stated question
Staff: Uhhh, I guess, you could, uhhh, like fly into Burlington. Or you could take Amtrak I guess. Are you staying here?
SAM: I’m hopefully staying with a friend once I get there.
Staff: Yeah, okay, because we offer a shuttle bus from Amtrak or the airport if you were staying with us.
SAM: And if I’m not?
Staff: Yeah… then we don’t. I don’t know, you could take the Amtrak and then have a friend get you I guess. We don’t have a shuttle from Boston.
SAM: Okay. So I could take a taxi maybe from the train station?
Staff: Uhhhh, that would be, like, really expensive. I guess you could rent a car.
SAM: Okay then, thanks.

Rating: 3
Comment: Not much help, I guess.


First Contact: Automated machine. Put on hold for operator…
Answering Phone: Young female. Laid back and very friendly.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Oh, how can you get here? Sorry, I didn’t hear you.
SAM: Yeah, exactly.
Staff: I’m actually not sure about that. Umm, have you looked into the Mountain Express shuttle?
Staff: No, I haven’t, yet.
SAM: Okay, well they aren’t direct partners with us but we do suggest them a lot. Did you check out our website yet?
SAM: No, I haven’t done that either. Can I find out more details that way?
Staff: Yeah, you can, for sure. I’m right here, though, so I can do it for you. Okay, so it looks like there’s a new system called Gray Line Colorado. “Introducing new shuttle service from….” Yeah, this looks nice and easy. Here’s their phone number for you, too. And then there’s another option, Colorado Mountain Express.
SAM: Great, so maybe I can save you some time if it’s on your website with details and everything?
Staff:Yeah, absolutely, that way you can take your time going through all your options. So if you go to and then “plan and buy,” it’s the first tab, “get here” and you can select “ground transportation” and then it will explain it all. Car rentals, buses, etc. And then there’s actually also Amtrak service, but looking at it now, that might be a little roundabout kind of way coming from Denver.
SAM: Okay, well thanks for your help, I’ll take a look at your website.

Rating: 9
Comment: Friendly, check. Great website referral, check.


First Contact: Female, a tad impatient sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: You’re coming from New York City?
SAM: Yup.
Staff: Well, there isn’t really any public transportation to us. You can get as far as Saratoga on the train, but then that’s it. You would have to rent a car.
SAM: Okay, so there aren’t any buses in the area after the train?
Staff: Yeeeah. (Silence…) No there isn’t.
SAM: Okay then. Car it is I guess.
Staff: Yup. Good luck.

Rating: 3
Comment: Thanks for wishing me luck. That’ll get me there.


First Contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering Phone: Young male. Friendly sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Okay, um, there are some taxi services that come over here from Jackson. Hold on one second and I’ll transfer you to someone who can be more helpful. (Transferred to front desk.)
Answering Phone: Friendly female.
Staff: All right, well there are a few taxi options coming to the resort out of Jackson. I can give you their names and numbers if you’d like.
SAM: Sure, thanks. (Given names and numbers of three taxi companies.)
SAM: I can definitely give those a try. Is there any other mode of transportation like buses maybe?
Staff: Unfortunately that’s about it. And those three taxi companies offer roughly the same rate so that is really your best and only bet. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
SAM: No worries. It’s not like we’re in the middle of a city out here.
Staff: Ha ha ha, good point. Well, thanks for calling and have a good day.

Rating: 8
Comment: Top points for the great attitude and immediate, clear options.


First Contact: Automated machine. Chose “other inquires.”
Answering Phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Young male. Very friendly.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: You can just use Greyhound buses. They’ll go from your city, directly to our resort. You’d just have to contact them yourself, you don’t partner with them at all.
SAM: Okay thanks, so greyhound goes right to your mountain?
Staff: Yup
SAM: Perfect thanks.

Rating: 7.5
Comment: Super friendly attitude and super quick answer.


First Contact: Automated machine. Chose lodging and reservations.
Answering Phone: Young female. Order of Red Bull ASAP.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Umm, well, like the only thing I know, publicly used, is Colorado Mountain Express. But as far as a bus, like, I have never heard of anything.
SAM: Okay, so you’re not exactly sure?
Staff: Uhhh, no. Not exactly… I guess? (is she asking herself, too?)
I would look at Colorado Mountain Express, like that might work. I’m not sure where they would pick you up. They used to go the airport.
SAM: Ookay…?
Staff: Umm, like, you could try Greyhound. That might work.

Rating: 2
Rating: Maybe, like, have the manager step in? That might work, too.


First Contact: Automated machine. Chose 0.
Answering Phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Ummm… I don’t exactly know. So, like a bus?
SAM: Yeah. Or train, whichever.
Staff: Umm, well we have Amtrak in our town, but there would be nothing to bring you from the train station to here. Soooo….ummm.
SAM: Okay, so I can at least get a bus up to you, that’s a start.
Staff: Yeah, you can get to our town and probably take a taxi from there to here. I think that’s your only bet.
SAM: Okay, well thanks so much.

Rating: 5
Comment: Okay attempt, but needed more.


First contact: Automated machine. chose guest services.
Answering phone: Male. Super polite and nice sounding.
SAM: Stated question
Staff: Oookay well. I’m not quite sure we run any public services from Billings, we do offer a shuttle from Bozeman from the county fairgrounds daily. So you could easily do that—you would just have to find a way to Bozeman.
SAM: Hmm, okay.
Staff: I do know there were some group trips than ran from the Billings’ local high school, or you could even check with the ski shops in town for any group trips that come this way.
SAM: So they’re just organized local trips over to your mountain?
Staff: Well, there’s a local company and I can’t remember their name at the moment, but I know there used to be a flyer up. Let me actually make some calls to see if I can track down their information for you. What’s your name and number? (Gave fake name, real number.)
Staff: Okay, great, Sharon. Let me check around and I’ll give you a call back. We’ll figure out a way to get you over here.
SAM: Great, thanks so much.
Staff: Oh, you betcha, no problem.
Our good man called me back exactly two minutes later. Yeah, two minutes.
Our Good Man: Hi, this is Chuck, how are you doing, Sharon?
SAM: Great.
Our Good Man: So, I found the old flyer that the company had up here. What they did was run day trips to [our area] every Sunday in January and February last year. They picked up from Sports Authority and the local high school at 6 a.m. So they would then leave here at 6:30 p.m. and you’d be back in Billings at 7 p.m. I have their number and website and the fellow’s name is Charlie. I’m not sure what their schedule is this year, like I said this flyer is from last year along with this contact information, but it’s what I have at the moment.
SAM: Oh, no it sounds great.
Staff: No problem. And it looks like it was twenty bucks for just the shuttle service option both ways and there’s another package for seventy bucks that includes your lift ticket and two meals that day.
SAM: Oh wow, awesome. Thanks so much.
Staff: Anytime. So, yeah, I would take a look, but if you have any problems just give me a call back, I’ll be here all season.
SAM: Perfect, thanks for all your help.

Rating: 10
Comment: Read all of the above. Also, the only one to give prices!

Identity revealed: Bridger Bowl