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Skiing4all - what's occuring?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Based on advice here and glowing reviews elsewhere I took my 10 (now 11) year old daughter Mia to Zell am See in late Feb to utilise the skills of Skiing4all. Regrettably all appears not well.

Let's start with the positives

1. The day care offered to Mia from Crystal, in particular, was brilliant. However I felt a bit of a fraud skiing without my daughter whilst she was in what I would term kids club. Mia has downs syndrome.
2. Peter, who is one of the Directors, I believe, was great with Mia and applied a firm but friendly line she followed. She was skiing by the end of the week with ski clips on the nursery slope. She had one hour of lessons a day which I hoped would increase and may have but for what happened during the week.
3. The Award ceremony was fine. Mia enjoyed her experience.
4. The facilities and location were great.

And now some not so positives:

5. Staffing issues. It was unfortunate that on the first day Mia's designated ski instructor was injured and Anna (the owner) was taken ill. What was equally unfortunate but less acceptable was witnessing the injured ski instructor (who appeared to have been sacked a day or two earlier) marching into the centre raising employment issues and outpouring allegations of her poor treatment by Anna in front of my daughter and me. Awkward.
6. Staff turnover. I fear that by the end of Feb Skiing4all lost its other ski instructor thus making it very threadbare. I suspect that the loss of the second instructor was caused by the dismissal of the first but I may be wrong.
7. Promises of a CD with photos etc have not been honoured and I note that neither the website nor the facebook site is responding to public queries. I am still awaiting a response to an email sent on 6th April!
8. Although its literature suggests Skiing4all is aimed at kids with special needs includings downs I would suggest it is more adept at providing a valuable service to those in the autism spectrum.
9. The day's activities were a little limited - for example a promise of husky sleigh ride mentioned as an example in its advertising literature passed us by.

This is NOT to say that Skiing4all should be avoided, just that there are issues present that I would require assurances about before considering Mia's return there. We are going back to Zell anyway next year since she has caught the ski bug and Zell is beautiful but will take private lessons instead. I don't want to discredit the business unnecessarily and maybe I picked an unlucky week. However proud I am about Mia's skiing achievements I feel she achieved what she did herself and for her particular needs Skiing4all was not a perfect fit.

I know that these views were not only mine but were shared in part with another mother and father during the week.


Shocked Embarassed
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Simon, thank you very much for your objective review, we always welcome comments from our guests. I am very happy to hear that you feel Mia has received brilliant care from Crystal and that she achieved so much on skis with Peter. Mia is certainly a talented girl and it was wonderful to see her ski down the full nursery slope after just 5 hours of lessons.

I always expect only the highest standards from all Skiing4all staff members and when for the first time in seven years they did not meet them, I was prepared to dismiss them straight away in the middle of the season, as usual making children's needs and interests our priority.

I am sorry that you were so unfortunate to witness this during your holiday with us but at the same time I am pleased that this has not affected Mia's enjoyment and progress. I made sure that Mia was in the care of our most sought after therapist Crystal and that Mia she was upgraded to lessons with our Skiing Director Peter, the most experienced member of our skiing team.

I would just like to add, for the sake of not misleading others, that we have never offered husky sledging. Among other activities we include sledging (which was offered couple of times) and Collie dog therapy (which was unavailable from the third party that week due to the vaccination schedule but this dog therapy was replaced by other activities, including rock-climbing, adventure playground at the top of the mountain, a trip into the resort, gondola tour around the local mountains, etc.).

Finally, let me apologise for the apparent lack of communication during the last few weeks. This was caused by our website being hacked and consequently our email system completely breaking down. This has also affected our automatic out of office reply during our annual post-seasonal break. I am very pleased to let you know that our IT system is now up and running, we are back at the office and we are preparing our next season as usual. I am working now again with fabulous members of staff and trust that we never experience any of the staff issues again.

We are all very happy to hear that Mia has caught a ski bug and that you are coming back to Zell am See! We do hope to see Mia one day on the slopes, she is a wonderful young lady and hopefully she continues to ski for many years to come!

With kindest regards and apologies for any inconvenience caused, Anna
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks Anna,

Much of what you say is reassuring!

I wish you and your team all the best.

ps Thanks for the photos!

xx
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Awww... that's nice - I like it when it all works out OK snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
admin wrote:
Awww... that's nice - I like it when it all works out OK snowHead

It's a birthday present for you from the interwebs! Happy Birthday @admin
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I feel I need to respond to the original post here as I think some of it was unfair.

I speak as someone with both personal and professional experience. My son is Autistic and I am a consultant paediatrician with 17 years experience of looking after children with learning difficulties.

We've just come back from our second holiday with Skiing4All. It was a wonderful holiday. It is expensive, but the staff/kid ration is roughly 1:1 and as this is the only outfit in Europe I am aware of that does what it does I am keen that it stays financially viable. The location and facilities are excellent. My son has had a great time and almost all the kids there this week were repeat visitors so knew each other and were excited to see each other again - and says a lot for the confidence parents have in Skiing4All. The group was mix of kids with ASD and Down syndrome.

The activities and entertainment for the kids is good, but the main reason we going on skiing holidays is to go... skiing! My son has previously had a few one-off lessons with Disability Snowsport UK which got him used to the equipment, but he wasn't able to really grasp turns or control. This is where the ski instructors (specifically Peter for my son) at Skiing4All come into their own.

I feel that the views of the previous post are unfair on the ski-instructors. Is it really fair to suggest that after a week of 1:1 specialist ski-instruction your child's progress had nothing to do with this? For those of you who are tempted to "wing it" by paying for individual instruction with a regular resort ski school as suggested please be aware of this. The Skking4ll instructors have excellent English and understanding of children with learning difficulties who are individuals and who all learn in their own ways. But most importantly they have buckets and buckets of patience. From my personal and professional experience I cannot stress how important this is in teaching these children.

We accidentally bumped into our son's lesson on the last day of the holiday. We followed him incognito (the company are happy for parents to observe lessons but understandably request that they remain unseen by their kids). He wore clips at the front of his skis to keep a "plough" but confidently followed the instructor on busy blue runs from the top to almost the bottom of the mountain. We caught up with him at the end and apart from being surprised to see us he was happy despite 2 hours of concentrating for the lesson. He'd needed 2 wee-stops (one being frog-marched into a refugio, the other into the piste-side bushes!). This is what I mean by needing patience and understanding. It's their holiday too and if you want your kids to come skiing with you in the future they have to enjoy it and be happy. The joy it brought to me as a parent to see him accomplish this brought tears to my eyes - I was so proud of him!

My son is in mainstream school but has an EHCP (previously known as a "Statement") with his own TA in class. Because of his autism he is one of the less able of his peers and this will start to effect his confidence. On a Skiing4All holiday he is with other kids with similar difficulties and so does not feel left behind and feels more included. The boost in his confidence and happiness he has with friends is worth the money alone. It also means he can come back to school with a skill that other kids don't have.

I would definitely recommend Skiing4All for any families with children with learning difficulties. As the previous post noted - no company is ever 100% perfect. But we have had 2 wonderful holidays with them and will be booking with them again next year.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@amcx, Let sleeping dogs lie
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Skiing4all wrote:
Hi Simon, thank you very much for your objective review

.................

, Anna


red 27 wrote:
@amcx, Let sleeping dogs lie


Agree
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