Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In response to Take 60 introduction


It is good to see such lively discussion in response to my recent introduction of “Take 60” on this blog.

I’d like to address a few questions and hopefully clear up some confusion.

As with any resort, we are constantly evaluating our business practices and trying to find ways to improve our guests’ experience while improving our business enterprise. “Take 60” is not an alternative to “Try Before You Buy.” It is replacing “Try Before You Buy.” There will be no free hour of skiing and riding during the first hour of operations, as there has been in the past. Although Okemo’s “Try Before You Buy” has been popular with many skiers and riders who enjoy skiing for free, our intent was to invite trial use as an incentive to provide purchase confidence.

This transference is not something that happened overnight. We realized it a few years ago and made a decision, in 2003, to cancel “Try Before You Buy” outright. We learned from that experience, and we are looking at this transition away from “Try Before You Buy” differently; Thus the introduction of “Take 60” as a more complete solution for our skiing and riding guests.

We are confident in the snow quality and surface conditions that Okemo offers skiers and riders. We work hard to provide you with the best possible on-snow experience every day of the winter season, and we empathize with you when Mother Nature interferes with our best efforts. “Take 60” is a more flexible program that appeals to a broader group of our guests – not just those who can coordinate their arrival with the start of lift service each day. It also allows us to better maintain the program’s intent: giving our guests the ability to return another time if they are not fulfilled with their experience on a given day. While we are taking something away, we are providing a more equitable solution for those who accept there is a cost associated with skiing and riding at Okemo.

Our intent was never to inconvenience any of our guests, but we do realize that although change is never easy, it is often necessary. Several people have expressed a concern about lines. We do have lines at our ticket windows and at Resort Services on some busy days. We do our best to maintain appropriate staffing levels to minimize the wait time and we do offer a number of direct-to-lift season pass products for those who find waiting in line to purchase a lift ticket objectionable. In fact, we offer a variety of options to make the overall experience more convenient and economical for frequent skiers.

Thanks for speaking up. We value your input and we do our best to serve you while sustaining a business to be enjoyed by generations to come.

Think Snow

Bruce Schmidt
Vice-President and General Manager
Okemo Mountain Resort


shane12 said...

I do like the new program but the resort should also support the locals and owners. At the cost of unit ownership/rental on the mountain guests should be allowed to have lift and trail access for at least the first hour of daily operations. I say this because many units are located in isolated areas. If you owned a slopside unit, arrived late friday night and had to get into your car to go get a lift ticket how happy would you be? As for the locals...
Many have abused the first free hour but also there are some that have not. Workers in local ski shops are your best asset. There has beena few times that I have been in the Brattleboro area getting lunch and a ski tune. The tech. in the shop made a few runs at Okemo to "give a first hand check" of conditions. A couple from western mass that was waiting for their skis changed their plans and went to Okemo, they were headed to Mount Snow. The tech told them it was the better choice and that the conditions were good, it was spring. I did see them in the sumitlodge the next day.
Sell a first hour season access pass; $180 for ludlow residents, $50 for local ski shop employees.
The ROI on this is positive PR.

Okemo Mountain Resort said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and my apologies for the delay in my response. I appreciate your support, and feel as though we have given our locals, homeowners and shop keeps many options.

Since your post we have opened a new ticket booth at the bottom of the Northstar which opens 30 minutes before the lifts. I hope that helps with the late Friday night arrivals.

In terms of locals, I would encourage a midweek pass, which if purchased early you can acquire for $329. Unfortunately, there was a lot of abuse. And, we do offer a shop program too.

Thanks again for your comment, hope to see you on the hill soon,


DONTctVT said...

The shop program was changed, and not for the benefit of local employees and a midweek pass for people who work mon-fri does not help. There has been a lot of abuse,corporate mountains taking advantage of local towns.
I would be in favour of a "first hour pass". I feel like Okemo is alienating the people that have lived and skied here for years. It is like Okemo does not want locals to have regular access to the mountain but would rather have families from out of state pay ridiculous prices for a few days on the mountain.
I could go on but to no avail. Okemo has changed and has lost respect from me and other local skiers and riders.

DONTctVT said...

Many options? You gave one, a midweek pass?!?!? What else? The shop program? Yeah, you killed that too, or at least wounded it. It's not dead yet but I'm sure Okorpo will finish that off too. Over the years okemo has lost a lot of respect from me and other skiers and riders from the area. Its all about the benjamins, huh Bruce?

Okemo Mountain Resort said...

In regards to your comments concerning changes Okemo has made, I think it is important to note that in changing The first hour free, to Take 60, we did so for a couple reasons. 1. Our new Take 60 program is good all day and not just the first hour. This gives those who honestly don’t feel the skiing or riding is what they were expecting that day, an option to return for another day. 2., Let’s be honest, people were abusing the generosity that Okemo was showing. There were some who would use the first hour as their ski time for the day and then leave. They had no intention of ever paying for a lift ticket and in some cases, would push the issue and continue skiing until their ticket was checked. It became apparent that the real intent of guest service was not working. While our new program may not be embraced by all, we do feel that more guests are receiving better guest service.

As for the ski shop program, Okemo made a decision to revamp the program and try to make the program more equitable. Our ski shop partners are important to Okemo and it is a partnership. Change is not always easy. Most ski shops understood the changes were necessary. We do not expect the ski shops to give our employees free items or services and most ski shop employees realize that the program we have in place is fair and works for both businesses.

Your comment about Okemo "alienating the people who live here and ski here for years and also Okemo not wanting locals to access the mountain and only having families from out of state:", is totally wrong and quite frankly insulting. I understand the local quandary. I grew up in this town. It is all about balance. Okemo works hard at providing a top quality ski resort and this costs money. As a business, it is our responsibility to do what we can to keep our employees employed, help the town and citizens as a neighbor and work towards making money to put back into the resort. While you and others may disagree, I feel Okemo does provide options and those options do not mean everything will be for free.