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January 2010

Mountain Spy :: January 2010

Mountain spy Liz Eren tackles childcare with mixed results.

Written by Liz Eren | 0 comment



First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male. Short sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, we have a daycare. Silence…
SAM: Ookay. Is it just during the day or at night?
Staff: Not overnight. Silence…
SAM: All right, well, do you have any details about it?
Staff: Um, let me transfer you down there. (Good idea.)
Answering phone: Young female, sweet sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well, we’re a state-certified facility and we can take anywhere from 6 weeks up to 12 years old. Um, we have three sections that we break the children into either for infants or toddlers. Yours would be a toddler. It’s just for those in the stage of walking about. And then we have a ratio of one teacher to every four children. We provide two snacks throughout the day as well as lunch.
SAM: Sounds great, just what I was looking for. What are your prices?
Staff: Well two hours is $50, four hours is $75 and anything over four hours is $95.
SAM: Great and what are your hours?
Staff: We are open from nine to four everyday.
SAM: Well, thanks so much I appreciate it.
Staff: No problem and if you plan to come up you can easily go to our website at and go to our childcare site. We have a few forms you would need to fill out, which you can do ahead of time online to save some time.
SAM: Thanks!

Rating: 6.5
Comment: Saved by a well-placed transfer. Might want to check the frontline, though.


First contact: Young female, peppy sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yes! We have a wonderful daycare center over at X village, which is right across from the bunny slope, which makes it easy to handle all your kids in once place! And they take children from eight weeks to five years old. Would you like me to put you in contact with the daycare center? They would be happy to give you all of the details.
SAM: Great. I don’t think I need to speak with them yet, I just wanted to make sure it was available. Is it only during the day or do they also offer night-time childcare?
Staff: That specific center is mostly just during the day until 5 p.m., which is actually past when our lifts close, so it’ll give you time to relax after skiing. For night care, Susy, who’s the director of childcare there, provides a list for us at the hotel of babysitter providers that she’s been in contact with and knows well. So we can use that list to help you find a babysitter at night.
SAM: Sounds great, thanks so much!

Rating: 9
Comment: Upbeat attitude with reassuring facts..


First contact: Automated machine. Chose “mountain specialist.”
Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose reservations.
Answering phone: Young female. Annoyed sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We don’t actually have any babysitting. Umm, we don’t like provide any daycare or anything like that. (Silence…) Umm, however, there is a company called XYZ and they’re up the road off of Main Street. They would be able to send a babysitter to wherever you’re staying or you can drop your child off there for the day.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks. You said they’re up the road, but about how far?
Staff: Umm, about a mile I guess.
SAM: Oookay. Is it close to your base area where I could walk or do you think I would need a car?
Staff: Where are you staying?
SAM: We’re planning to stay in your base area.
Staff: Okay, then yeeeah, you would probably need a car or you could take the shuttle.
SAM: Great. And have you heard good things about this place, do a lot of your customers use it?
Staff: I have. It’s really one of the only childcare facilities in this area so a lot of locals use it, as well as our customers.
SAM: Great, thanks so much.

Rating: 5
Comment: Good info, but not so great attitude.


First contact: Young female. Pleasant sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uhh, we don’t have don’t have babysitting here.
SAM: Okay. Well, I’m trying to visit with my entire family, but I have the baby. And I would love to ski with my husband. You don’t have any other options for me?
Staff: We don’t have childcare here.
SAM: What would you advise me to do then?
Staff: Umm, one adult ski and one stay with the child.
SAM: Right, but then I would only have to buy one lift ticket, I guess. That’s unfortunate for the ski area but I guess it’s our only option.
Staff: Well, each one of you needs to have a lift ticket.
SAM: Right, but if we trade off watching the child, we’ll share the same jacket and only have to buy one. It’s our only option apparently.
Staff: Uh, okay. Silence…
SAM: Okay then, thanks.

Rating: 1
Comment: Anyone else feel a chill in the air?


First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Automated machine. Hold time: 4 minutes. Music: Arabian Nights
Answering phone: Young female, very sweet sounding. “Hello, this is Amber, what’s your name please?”
SAM: Kate.
Staff: Hello. Kate, how are you today?
SAM: Good, thanks. How are you?
Staff: I’m greeeat, thanks for asking! Now, how can I help you today?
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um well, we do, in each of the villages there is a daycare center. They’re open all day for as long as the lifts are open. Let me get that information for you. Are you all coming out to area X or Y?
Staff: Okay, great, where are you staying in Y since there are actually two daycare centers?
SAM: I’m not sure yet. I needed to make this preliminary call to make sure babysitting was available.
Staff: Oh, of course, definitely need to make sure there’s care for the 14-month-old! Well, Y has A and B centers and it depends on where you’re staying and where you’d like to ski to determine which one is easier. Would you like the phone numbers of both of those?
SAM: That would be great, thanks. (Given contact info for both centers.)
Staff: Do you want to book anything today with me then?
SAM: Um, probably not yet, I just needed to make sure babysitting was available and then we’ll decide. Do you offer any babysitting at night?
Staff: Umm, let me look on our website and see what their hours are. Umm, it looks like those centers are only open until 4:30. But Kate, can I put you hold for just one second and I can double-check that for you?
SAM: Sure, thanks. (Hold time: 2 minutes.)
Staff: Soooo sorry that took so long! I talked with one of my supervisors and he said that the concierge wherever you’re staying would probably be able to help you more. Special Services does have night babysitting available, it’s just that neither of us can find that number at the moment. I even tried Googling it and I couldn’t find it. Ha, go figure. However the concierge though, wherever you plan to stay, will definitely be able to get in contact with Special Services. So you may just want to double-check that as you make your booking.
SAM: Great, thanks.
Staff: Oh, you’re very welcome, thanks for calling!

Rating: 9.5
Comment: Stellar facts and presentation. But because Mountain Spy is a tough grader, minus .5 for the lack of number.

Identity Revealed: Vail


First contact: Female. Very sweet sounding.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sure, our day care is available whenever we’re open and it’s a very nice facility. I would let you talk to them directly, but since we’re not open yet, they aren’t actually there yet either, he he!
SAM: Oh, no problem.
Staff: But I can certainly tell you that they’re wonderful people who specialize in early childhood daycare. They actually have a place downtown where they’re open year-round as a typical daycare center and then they come up and work here during the winter. So they’re definitely professionals.
SAM: Thanks, that’s definitely reassuring. Do you know what the prices are?
Staff: Hmm, let me grab a price sheet, here we go. It might just be easier if I read this to you. So they have a 3,000-square-foot facility with 12 creative and active play area environments for children to meet new friends, nap rooms and cribs are available, hot lunch is delivered from our cafeteria for $5 extra, and parents can check in and out throughout the day. A full-day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. is $50, their evening rate from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is $35 and their hourly rate is $12 throughout the day. They also have a Fun In the Snow program for children who are 3 and 4 years of age. I’m not sure if you have other children, but if you do that’s also available.
SAM: I do, yes, and something I will certainly think about.
Staff: Great. So the program is held during the holidays where children go outside and learn and play with plastic skis and other activities.
SAM: Lots of information, thanks so much for your help!
Staff: Oh, no problem. Have a great day and thanks for calling.

Rating: 10
Comment: Wins by a hair. Superb background facts, which always make a Mom feel more comfortable, and she volunteered extra information before I even asked.

Identity Revealed: Nub’s Nob