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Ski Club of Great Britain, SCGB. Are you still a member? Why / Why not?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Latecomer to this discussion and so I admit haven't read every page.
Am I a member of the SCGB-yes. The only reason these days is the ability to sign up to very good value guided off piste days in the 3V-which we did last season 3 or 4 times. That's the only reason Mr P joined too. It also meant that on the odd day when either I or Mr P were in the resort on our own, there was an option of joining people to ski with. (Though we have to ski over from St Martin to Meribel or drive up to VT to make it to the meeting point). The OP crowd were a friendly bunch and I have subsequently skied with people I have met on the days out-though there is often a lonely ski nerd lurking in the group (probably me!!!). Fair to say that many seem to be mountain property owners/long term renters/semi retired-and yes-we have just joined the former demographic....
There is no ski club rep in St Martin, so I can't go and join the social events in the evenings when I'm on my tod-which is a shame, as a post ski beer would be nice. Instead we have to peel off and head back down to our side of the hill.

The SCGB discounts are quite handy and I can usually find something in SlushandRubble or Cotswold Outdoor at least once or twice a year with a reasonable price reduction-even though most of my kit these days is bought online elsewhere. I admit we are also apparently in the current age range of the average member. When I told a 40yo skiing friend of ours that we were going offsite for the day with SCGB she queried whether I and Mr P were lowering the average age! Very Happy . I hate to say it, but I think we did!

I agree that promotional video above is rather cringeworthy. Do I think the average skiing family on a week's trip use them? Not sure they would think it was worth it. The ability to research holidays, weather, ski conditions and resorts online directly, or join forums like SH's renders their one stop shop a bit generalist (says she, who hasn't visited the SCGB website for years).
Back in the day when there was still "ski club leader on piste guiding" for a day, I went with a friend (who was a member at the time)-I found it slow, and the leader a bit of an odd bod. A few years later, pre the amateur leading being banned, I joined a couple off piste leader led days. He was a bit of an odd bod too, and I did not feel as confident of my safety as he appeared to be in certain parts of the mountain.

Needless to say, I've also met and skied with a couple of SHs last winter and hope to meet a few more this coming winter, plus still hack over to Meribel for SCGB guided off piste sessions for £60 a day.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
paulecrisp wrote:
Just stumbled across this thread and I'm puzzled by the animosity in some of the posts.
I've been following this thread and I'm puzzled by your perception of animosity.
There have been a lot of posts by snowHeads explaining why they are members of the Tea Club and enjoy being so.
There have been posts by others explaining why they are not members or are considering ceasing to be members.
The OP asked for input from both, out of what seems to be a good positive intention, and the snowHeads community has provided generously - as it tends to.
Quote:
I am a SCGB member and have been for about 15 years. Joined mainly for the in-resort rep/leader/rep and I am dismayed by the pathetic hyper-risk averse behaviour of the current oligarchy in trying to unravel this service. Insurance is useful (and I have medical conditions - which I found them less bureaucratic about than other cover providers). Have done a Fresh Tracks which was OK if you want instruction most of the time. Expensive but still good value given what it includes. Discounts neither here nor there but it can be substantial when it's off the actual trip cost. Mattered to me when I had to book well in advance in peak periods. Now I tend to get late booking discounts which are bigger.

AFAICT, none of this is offered by Snowheads so I don't understand any kind of comparison let alone an unfavourable one. Even their website (which is rubbish BTW) is better than this old piece of 1980's memorabilia (which still looks like a dial-up forum).
Ooh, owch... now who's sniping? rolling eyes
1) PHP hadn't even been invented in the 80's. Even the WWW wasn't invented until 1989. So if this is your recollection of the 80's, I assume you have white hair and drive a DeLorean?
2) Web forums became prevalent in the early/mid noughties - they worked. This is why they (some) still exist.
3) The whole point of this website is to support the community it hosts. While that community is thriving, reinvention for the sake of it is a waste of everybody's time and effort. If you can show me a forum that thrives better than snowHeads as a result of some fancy 2019 style bells and whistles, I'm enthusiastic to see your example(s)*. In my experience those bells and whistles usually just hamper the primary function, which you have enjoyed today.

*Although please provide them via PM or start a new thread so as not to derail this one.
Quote:
The crucial difference is perceived membership (might be actual membership but I don't think anyone's got the data) and the form of engagement. The SCGB membership is about 42% over 55 but the people who run it give the impression of being 155. A significant fraction of Club members live in (possibly retired to) the Alps and, though many are individually friendly people, they might be suffering from the common ex-Pat problem of being out of touch with 'back home'. My impression (but I have no firm data) is that this attitude is overly influential in the way the Club operates. the Club seems to set up communications with the membership to repel boarders not to encourage engagement. The website, Facebook pages, the crap app are all transmit - there's not much receiving going on.

People on this forum assert that membership is much younger
They do? I mean, I'm not aware of it being expressed particularly although I do think that's so: not by a huge amount but perhaps a meaningful margin.
Quote:
but I don't see any data to confirm this. It's a great deal more interactive than the SCGB is I'll definitely give it credit for that.
Why thank you.
Quote:
As you provide nothing more than a forum for people to talk to each other
Funnily enough, I just spoke to a snowHead on the phone today who has been on the forum for quite some time although this is the first I've communicated directly with her. She was most enthusiastic to tell me of the friendships, opportunities and real world benefits that she and her husband have reaped from snowHeads over the years. As I say, this is the first direct interaction I've had with her: just because 'snowHeads.PLC' isn't ramming products down your throat for money, doesn't mean it's not providing stuff.
Quote:
(and a valuable facility that is) you will get young people with no money trying to get on the snow as cheaply as possible. The membership profile of the SCGB means they are not sufficiently interested in that issue to do anything about it. It's also dominated, IMV, by very competent and experienced skiers who obsess about skill level gradings when they should be worrying about getting new people on the snow.

There's a lot wrong with the SCGB and, if it doesn't do something about it, it will be an ex-Club. But there's a lot of ignorant snipping from members of this forum who know nothing of which they speak.
Quite frankly, I'd say there's possibly more sniping in your post than the rest of the thread so far. The OP asked for opinions that by their nature need, in some part to be critical - I've not seen anything that's more antagonistic or snipey than your post.

Yes there are small areas in which snowHeads and the Tea Club overlap and huge areas that we don't. As one of the Club's council members said to me on the phone, within a few days of snowHeads birth, "You appear to want to run a forum, we don't. I don't see why we can't all be happy here."
Unfortunately, some people confuse the fact that 'snowHeads allows people to express critical opinion of the SCGB' with 'snowHeads being inherently anti-SCGB' and think a thread like this automatically means an 'us v them' scenario. It doesn't. Disagreement does not imply enmity and neither does providing a forum for members and non-members of the Club alike to express themselves.
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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?
@admin, well said. Very Happy
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@admin for PM Cool
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've been a member of the SCGB so long, that my Membership Card has only 3 lowish numbers on it. Why am I still a member? I'm not sure - it must be Gerry's friendly approach.

I enjoy being on here as well.....and I don't see why there should be animosity. Skiers should stick together - which has been my experience, almost without exception, when meeting them over nearly 50 years (yipes!) of skiing.
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A few points in response:
a) I'm pretty critical of the SCGB and I'm allowed to be - I pay for the privilege. And I do so with some knowledge of it's current offer. My 'ignorant sniping' (though I think I typed 'snipping' which is a whole different concept!) jibe was directed at those in this thread who criticised with no such knowledge. I accept that is only some people and others were speaking as members or as ex-members. They have as much right to do so as I do
b) it's fair to say that I have less knowledge of SH so any criticism is a lot less justified (though I still think the site is antiquarian)
c) I don't think I've actually criticised much about SH per se (other than this website), I was mainly pointing out, as the previous poster does too, that their offers are quite different
d) I understand the 'ain't broke, don't fix it' logic about the forum platform. It's certainly better than the SCGB approach which is 'it ain't broke, let's break it and spend £340k doing it'. But, it works for those who already know how it works. New comers will struggle to find stuff (listing with newest last for instance). You might be able to argue that you have a sign-up rate to refute this and what do I know to gainsay you? [Final point here, migrating from here to a more modern platform would no doubt be a major PITA so I see why you might be reluctant]
e) I'm not sure I do need about the history. My criticism of the SCGB is, in part, that it is trapped it its history. I don't especially need to know about yours. Given what I know about the Club's attitude to interacting with its members now, I'm not surprised about earlier attitudes to forums
d) my jibe about obsession with grading was aimed at SCGB not SH (AFAIK no-one cares about it like some SCGBers do)
e) you are right to note that I am one of a number of members both critical and worried about the SCGB's direction of travel. Some decisions may get made at the upcoming AGM which could determine its fate. I care quite a lot about that so I'm taking the opportunity to air those concerns where members might be present

And picking up on your final point, I wasn't conflating 'Snowheads' with 'the views of some people contributing to this thread'. I think I can respond to the latter without posing a challenge to the former
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@paulecrisp, yes it would be interesting to see a few referenced examples of ‘the animosity in some of the posts’ and ‘sniping’ you perceive.

I think there are more posts that show genuine concern about recent setbacks for SCGB, their current position and future challenges.

I’ll admit to a sideswipe at one piece of management-speak in their annual report. I’m averse to the type of BS I quoted and would mock it wherever it cropped up.

Generally though, this thread seems to show a lot of goodwill towards the club, coupled with frustration that governance, leadership and management seems short of what’s needed.
snowHead
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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!
Alastair Pink wrote:
@admin, well said. Very Happy


+1
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@paulecrisp, Welcome to snowHead
So you didn't like my coffee n cake idea then?

Have you been on the Brexit thread yet? Madeye-Smiley


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Tue 12-11-19 23:02; edited 1 time in total
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@Alastair Pink,
Quote:

@admin, well said.


+1
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:
...
frustration that governance, leadership and management seems short of what’s needed.


...and for most of UK Plc.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
There's one big positive of this "antiquated" forum: it doesn't hog bandwidth!

When I'm on a phone in the woods with barely reachable cell signals, snowhead is always the fastest to load! In fact, this site is sooooo very reliable I use it to check connectivity!

I understand online contents needs to be paid for, in one form or another. I LIKE the way snowhead is supported: NOT by bandwidth hogging banner ads!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@philwig,
Quote:

Does anyone have stats or a chart showing SCGB membership over time? I'm curious as to see where in the life-cycle they are.


Not a chart, but an estimate over the last 10 years, based on what appear reliable figures.
2009: 32900 members approx. 2019: 24800 approx. About 8100 reduction over 10 years, or 25% down. Reduction has accelerated over the last two years (-3000).

Broadly mirrors the decline in snowsports participation by UK residents over the same period.
latest report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
To be fair, paulecrisp has challenged the oligarchy quite openly on the SCGB forum, so I think the sniping (if any) is travelling in both directions.

Personally, my Bash experience this year overshadowed any recent FreshTracks or Instructor-Led Guiding trips, being a great eclectic mix (yes, you know who you are) of like-minds, any one of which I would ski with again in a heart beat. However, I have also had some truly amazing days with SCGB, although I lay credit with the guides or individuals coordinating those days. Which is why the retraction of the "on-snow" participation is such a shame.

My commitment to renewing membership is very much wavering now - it does seem as though senior officials have been asleep at the wheel and, now being called out, are attempting to surround themselves with newly-recruited individuals, rather than expose themselves to the onslaught that would result from having people like pisteoff or Gerry voted onto the Council.

The difference between sHs and SCGB is now clear - the former is truly a club responding to the needs of its members, while the latter has now lost that plot, rapidly becoming a specialist tour operator that charges £60+ for its holiday brochure.

I'd love to be proved wrong, but I suspect that any dissent at this week's AGM will be snuffed out (the CEO could run a promotional webinar but, apparently, the AGM cannot be broadcast - go figure).

Sad days, as there are some great people in the SCGB Sad
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

I suspect that any dissent at this week's AGM will be snuffed out (the CEO could run a promotional webinar but, apparently, the AGM cannot be broadcast - go figure).


Yes - well those of us agitating for the membership to be listened to always face the little problem that too large a fraction of the membership say nothing, doesn't vote or just supports the status quo. Even trades unions and professional associations are treated by lots of members as a service provider not a membership organisation.

The trouble is this is not an disagreement about about a policy direction, it's about facing and dealing with an existential threat.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@paulecrisp,
Quote:

The trouble is this is not an disagreement about about a policy direction, it's about facing and dealing with an existential threat.


I think you're right, club's at a crossroads. A major positive is that with total equity of £3.3m, the club at least has time to refocus, meet the needs of current members better and work out ways of attracting potential members in future. Whether it has the will, attitudes and capacity to do that remains to be seen. But I wish members well and hope for some positive news from the AGM.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We joined the SCGB about 6 years ago when the hubby bumped into a leader on the train back to Grindelwald late one afternoon. Skied with them the next day & joined in resort. The discounts on both ski & sailing trips were fantastic over the first few years but have quietly been whittled away to few that we can personally use now. We’ve skied with the groups when in Grindelwald/Wengen & on the whole enjoyed the experience, although some of the seasonnaires from Wengen were ‘an interesting bunch’. Being considerably younger than most (mid 40’s) when I joined, I was somewhat ignored by a few of the old guard on ski days which was a real shame for both them & me. We’ve decided to let our membership lapse at the end of Feb as leading now withdrawn & neither of us ski off piste any more. Was shocked to recently read of the financial losses & overheads of the club.
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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?
Super comprehensive reply
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Joined the SCGB a few years ago for the comprehensive ski insurance. Then last year i was informed that as I wasn't currently residing in the UK I couldn't apply for cover.

From a recent query it seems that they have reversed this policy again.

That said I look forward to an updated thread of the best winter sports Insurance policies for 19/20 season.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
[quote="Charliee"]I ditched membership for the family a few weeks ago. I just wish Snowheads admin would do a deal to sell insurance, I'm sure it would be popular and lots more would ditch the SCGB.[/quote

Considering the number of skiers the SnowHeads forum reaches would it not be worthwhile for you to tie in with an insurance company and put together a decent winter sports policy and you guys get a £ commission to help support the website etc
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[quote="KKGerro"]
Charliee wrote:
I ditched membership for the family a few weeks ago. I just wish Snowheads admin would do a deal to sell insurance, I'm sure it would be popular and lots more would ditch the SCGB.[/quote

Considering the number of skiers the SnowHeads forum reaches would it not be worthwhile for you to tie in with an insurance company and put together a decent winter sports policy and you guys get a £ commission to help support the website etc


Was tried, was never quite nailed down and TBH I'm not sure sHs are a big enough pool to spread the risk. Don't know if it failed because it was a project of admin's "worst people ever" person.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Off topic stuff about snowHeads site performance now removed to here
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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!
Ooo! A snowHeads thread being kept on topic! By dadmin, no less. Will this be a precedent?
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
martinm wrote:
@admin for PM Cool
achilles wrote:
Ooo! A snowHeads thread being kept on topic! By dadmin, no less. Will this be a precedent?
dadmin for precedent!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Dave of the Marmottes, in some cases Snowheads dont spread the risk they ARE the risk.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
@Dave of the Marmottes, in some cases Snowheads dont spread the risk they ARE the risk.


Does that come with a caring piste-side/bedside manner?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Just wondered if any news from the SCGB AGM, which was scheduled for yesterday evening?
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
paulecrisp wrote:

it's fair to say that I have less knowledge of SH so any criticism is a lot less justified (though I still think the site is antiquarian)

Very rarely to be honest however if you're looking for this info you could try this thread.
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=139597
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
paulecrisp wrote:
... I'm pretty critical of the SCGB and I'm allowed to be - I pay for the privilege. ..
Perhaps that's the problem. I mean, if the views of people who aren't already signed up don't count, then maybe those people will never be signed up?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
PeakyB wrote:
Just wondered if any news from the SCGB AGM, which was scheduled for yesterday evening?

Some feedback here
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=149442#3474630
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
PeakyB wrote:
Just wondered if any news from the SCGB AGM, which was scheduled for yesterday evening?


See below from the other thread....

Quote:
Whitegold wrote:
Lol.

I am always "shocked to discover" I lost $1 million and never saw it coming wink


It might still get worse if you read into to news from the AGM. This from the forum

Quote:
Approx 80, mainly over 60s attended. Meeting almost 3 hours. 40 + questions from the floor. Incredulity expressed at 1 million pound loss. Heads should have rolled. Who accountable for loss? Treasurer now CEO - "it was on your watch". Treasurer should be a chartered accountant. Total management failure. Lack of scrutiny. Independent review required and strict monitoring of performance and rebuilding of accounting system. Website to be replaced eventually. New in house accountant unable to give last 6 months results or full year forecast due to rebuilding systems. How new social skiing with the rep will hopefully work. Legal opinions re leading not available to members, maybe a summary will follow. IH outlined various plans for future membership recruitment/partnerships/social events/holidays/social media. About 500 members voted.


Pretty incredible that New in house accountant unable to give last 6 months results or full year forecast due to rebuilding systems. To me it feels like there is more bad news coming down the pipe.

Then another member urges the newly-appointed-to-Council-attack-dog Gerry (yes the Gerry you all know and love)

Quote:

Now you have to make sure:
1. that you carry on as you started in communicating with members
2. that you don't get encysted by the oligarchy hoping they can quarantine your disruptive influence
3. you man-mark the CEO. He was part of the problem and needs to be squeaky-clean in demonstrating that he is also part of the solution


The 'man-marked CEO' won't be enjoying this and anyone with any experience of business will tell you that the performance level is more likely to drop than soar. Man-marked CEOs tend to polish up their CVs and hit the company they leave for the maximum compensation.

It's a death spiral. I'm out.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Shocked
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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?
@AL9000, thanks. Doesn't sound too clever. At least there's a 'critical friend' on the Council, by the looks of it.

I'm still wondering who 'fleeced' them for the apparently jettisoned website redevelopment project.
I know that, as the client, SCGB is ultimately responsible, should have done due diligence etc etc. But there are quite a few convincing and plausible ICT snake-oil sales people out there and bamboozled clients are numerous.
Mad
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^I'm definitely not going to make a Brexit gag, especially one about "due diligence" involving a big red bus! Madeye-Smiley

I'm sure the 'critical friend' will make a big song n dance about it. Can't wait to see his moves... Madeye-Smiley


http://youtube.com/v/_au0UUHI2aI
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@AL9000, could do worse than David Brent.

This genius hasn’t made an acquisition for a few weeks and his empire sells snowsports kit.
Shocked

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sproggski wrote:
rapidly becoming a specialist tour operator that charges £60+ for its holiday brochure. Sad
That very nearly sums it up.

Plus side is instructor led stuff- went with my eldest son in Argentiere 2 years back- excellent value, but there were only 3 of us in all and so I suspect that there are some days when there are fewer or even none. Which is a pity.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ed123 wrote:
sproggski wrote:
rapidly becoming a specialist tour operator that charges £60+ for its holiday brochure. Sad
That very nearly sums it up.

Plus side is instructor led stuff- went with my eldest son in Argentiere 2 years back- excellent value, but there were only 3 of us in all and so I suspect that there are some days when there are fewer or even none. Which is a pity.

If they don't have enough people (3 I think) the whole day gets cancelled.
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