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Should Ski Schools be granted Monopolies on Public Land?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@emwmarine, Never been told that I have to carry a gun, but Ski School Supervisors (and some customers) expect us to carry a mobile phone that we have to pay for from our own pocket. Remember, in the US, phone plans charge you whether you make OR receive a call/text.

An interesting article about Snow Business in North America- http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/no-business-like-snow-business-the-economics-of-big-ski-resorts/252180/

"Vail and Whistler are considerably more profitable than large ski resorts in Europe precisely because they've embraced mountain monopolies. In Europe, the mountain is like a strip mall, with restaurants, rental shops, and service centers mostly owned by different companies renting space. At Whistler and Vail, the mountain is more like a cruise or amusement park, where vertical integration means vertical integration. From village to peak, Vail and Whistler own all the key businesses -- equipment rentals, food and beverage, and snow school."
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Fairwages, in Europe, most resorts I know, the Mountain is very unlike a strip mall. Much of the property has been in old family hands for generations, putting brakes on vertical integration and creating barriers to entry.

I am not convinced this is better than either the vertically integrated Whistler (c.f. Chamonix for a European example) nor the strip mall idea, which, frankly, I have never encountered.
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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?
ansta1 wrote:
pam w wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, one advantage for the public might be that competition would reduce the absurdly high price of lessons.


Its entirely up to the paying joe if they wish to pay those high prices, if they are not happy they can go elsewhere.

Where else? Europe???

Isn't that the point Fairwages was raising, the monopoly?
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
"Instead, both Vail and Whistler have devised and refined a business that keeps income as constant as the weather is variable. It comes down to two smart hedging strategies. Strategy One: Own the skiers. Strategy Two: Own the mountain."

I have to say that sounds dire. I like the fact that I own my apartment in VT and that all the various small businesses lease their premises. I like the fact that in summer I can wander and VTT all over the mountains and randonnée in the Parc de la Vanoise if I so wish without someone who 'owns' the mountain telling me where I can and can't go.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@emwmarine, You raise a good point. In theory, Vail's Ski Area SUP is "non-exclusive" with requirements that the mountain must remain open to the public, but at one time the theory was that the prices of gov granted monopolists on public land would be regulated, so I think the public needs to stay vigilant to protect their rights.

Vail has also been making attempts to own the media as well- Epicski.com, a very large US based ski forum that had been founded independently of Vail Resorts prior to their introduction of the Epic pass was purchased by Vail Resorts about 3 years ago. VR said that they would not interfere with the running of the site and that the opinions expressed there would remain independent. However, last week, they terminated the couple who had run the site prior to the VR purchase. No reason was given publicly, so we are only left to speculate- maybe it had to do with the fact that the annual Epic Gathering was to be held at Aspen this year after being held at Jackson Hole last year (2 non-Vail Resort properties), or maybe there was another reason altogether. I do know that most posters are unhappy about the "staffing changes" http://www.epicski.com/t/143310/staffing-changes-at-epicski

I recently started a thread on tripadvisor that asked for opinions on Vail's new tipping policy- after 23 replies, many from long time and frequent tripadvisor posters, the thread vanished with no explanation.
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