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July 2021

Mountain Spy :: July 2021

"Can your bike park accommodate our tandem mountain bike?"

Written by Dave Meeker | 0 comment


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general inquiries.

First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: (laughs) I have no idea. Actually, I’m going to transfer you over to patrol to get the right answer, OK?

SAM: OK. Thank you.

Staff: Yeah. I can’t wait to hear the answer for this, to be honest. (transfers call...)

Second contact: Male.

SAM: Restated question.

Staff: So, it’s a tandem, like you both ride it at once?

SAM: Yeah.

Staff: Ah, nope, sorry. We only allow one rider per bike here.

SAM: OK. Well, thank you.

Staff: Alrighty, you’re welcome. (long pause…) You can ride on our cross-country network, though, but on the lift it’s only one rider per bike.

SAM: Oh, OK. That’s good to know.

Staff: Alright?

SAM: Yeah, thanks. 

Staff: You’re welcome. 

Rating: 5

Comment: Not too shabby. The first staffer laughed at my question, but I’ll chalk that up to more surprise than disparagement. She did the right thing transferring me to someone who could help. “No” is an acceptable answer, but if the rule is one rider per bike, does that mean I can ride the tandem bike solo? The 11th hour mention of XC trails helped the score, though. 



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose 0 after none of the menu items presented an obvious choice. 

First contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: When were you—OK, so the mountain will open on [mid-June date] for summer activities. (pause…)

(SAM and staff speak at the same time.)

Staff: Go ahead.

SAM: I was just asking, when it does open, will we be able to use our tandem mountain bike on the lift-served trails?

Staff: That would be a question for our ticket office. May I transfer you to them?

SAM: Absolutely. Thank you.

Staff: You’re welcome. Um, now, someone is in the office. If they do not answer, I do suggest leaving a detailed message, OK?

SAM: OK. Thank you. (transferred to voicemail)

Rating: 4

Comment: Cordial, but a bit awkward. More importantly, though, I didn’t get an answer to my question—a major challenge many guests face when trying to connect with resorts during the shoulder season. And getting transferred to voicemail is a bit frustrating.



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.

First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: That’s a good question. If it’s by a known manufacturer that’s usually a good sign, and also weight capacity. We can only lift bikes that are under a certain weight on the lift. I believe it is—let me look (searching). They don’t allow anything over 50 pounds, so that might be something. Let’s see (searches for more info). And it’s designed specifically for mountain trail use?

SAM: Yeah. It’s full suspension, has disc brakes, all the good stuff. 

Staff: OK. OK. So, I mean, according to this email that I have about what is and isn’t allowed, it sounds like it pretty much is allowed as long as it’s not over the 50 pounds and can be loaded on. I can get you over to the rental shop just to make sure. They technically don’t open until [time], so there might not be someone at the phone yet. But I would double check with them before coming all the way up here and then not being able to ride it. Do you want me to get you to them? Or I can give you their direct number if you want to call at [time]? They would know.

SAM: If you want to transfer me, that’d be great. Thank you.

Staff: OK. Yes, one moment. (…transfers call. Voicemail picks up.)

Rating: 8

Comment: An incomplete answer, and I was sent to voicemail. But, hey—she tried! She was awfully nice about it, too, and warned me that the rental shop was not open yet. Most of all, I appreciate that she recognized her information was incomplete and advised me to get more details so I didn’t show up only to learn my tandem was a no-go. 



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose information. 

First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: (at low volume) OK, let me just go there a minute. (searches for information) OK. All bikes are required to have front suspension, disc brakes and ability to lower saddle. Fat bikes with tires over 3.8 inches cannot be used. Those are the only rules that we have.

SAM: So, does that mean we are good to go?

Staff: I don’t know the type of bike you’re talking about. If it has the front suspension and the disc brakes and you can lower the saddle, yes.

SAM: Yeah, it’s full suspension, but it’s a tandem, so it’s a two-person bicycle.

Staff: Oh! I don’t know that I’ve had the question. Hang on a minute. (on hold...)

Staff: OK, that took a while (laughs). No, we do not because they have to fit in our lift carriers, and the tandem bikes do not fit.

SAM: Ah, OK. I can see how that would be a problem.

Staff: Yeah. OK?

SAM: Well, alright then.

Staff: OK. Thank you. 

Rating: 7

Comment: She found the answer to my question and gave me a legit reason why the answer was no. Two wins. However, her tone and demeanor were, ah, blah—until I clarified the nature of a tandem bike. If she’d opened with that level of enthusiasm and interest, there may have been three wins.



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose other inquiries.

First contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: Uh, one second. I’ll double check for you.

SAM: OK. Thank you. 

Staff: Thank you. 

(on hold…)

Staff: Hi there. Thank you for patiently holding. Unfortunately, um, yeah, unfortunately, they are not allowed on the mountain. I’m sorry.

SAM: OK. Is there are reason why?

Staff: I was just told by two managers that they’re not. 

SAM: OK. Thank you for your help.

Staff: Thank you. Have a nice day.

Rating: 2

thumbs downComment: “Because I said so” is hardly a satisfying answer to any question, and that’s how this felt. The managers (two of them!) should have armed the staffer with more information, or he could have offered to connect me with someone able to provide more details. This exchange was superficially polite, but it felt dismissive nonetheless.



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose office manager. 

First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: A tandem?

SAM: Yeah.

Staff: Hmm. So, it has two seats on it?

SAM: Mm-hm.

Staff: I don’t know if that will go on our lift. I’ll have to get back to you. Can I have your phone number?

SAM: Sure. (gives number)

Staff: (repeats number) And your first name again?

SAM: [Name].

Staff: Let me ask the operations guys and see if we can handle that, and I’ll give you a call back.

SAM: OK. Thank you.

Staff: Alright, thanks. Bye.

(Calls back 2 minutes later. SAM let’s it go to voicemail.)

Message: Hi, this is [Area Name] returning your call regarding your tandem bike. Unfortunately, we’re not able to allow you to ride the tandem bike at our bike park. Our lifts and our trails are not designed for a tandem bike, and we have to keep in mind, you know, the safety of you and our operators and everyone else on the trails. They’re just not designed for that bicycle application. But thanks for calling in with that. We will clarify on our website now that you’ve asked that it’s for single rider, single bike use only. I’m sorry about that, but I hope you find a place that you can ride your bike. Thanks a lot. Bye. 

Rating: 10

thumbs upComment: You never know when you leave your number with someone whether they’ll actually get back to you. This staffer found an answer for me straight away and reached out within minutes. And, I mean, that voicemail—prompt, clear, consolatory. Also, how great is it that they took the call as an opportunity to add info to the website, instead of dismissing my inquiry as an eccentric one off? The Spy’s mission is accomplished. 

Identity revealed: Little Switzerland 



Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose general information.

First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: (pause) Umm, you know, I don’t know. Hold on just a minute. Let me send a message.


Staff: (typing, doesn’t put me on hold…) I’ve never had that question yet.

SAM: Yeah, they’re not super common.

Staff: (laughs) uh-huh. Um, my answer is “no, for safety reasons.”

SAM: OK. Do you have any more information?

Staff: Yeah. It says, “no, for safety reasons. Plus, it will not fit on the lifts.”

SAM: Ah, that makes sense. (pause…) OK. Well, thank you.

Staff: Thank you. Bye, bye. 

Score: 5

Comment: I had to pull a fuller explanation out of her—why not offer me all of the available info unprompted once she had it? And it’s awkward to be on hold but not be put on hold. Speaking of awkward, those pauses …