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Ski Club of Great Britain Chief Exec resigns

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Mike Pow wrote:


Head meet nail


Always use the right tool for the job.
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's a valid source of annoyance that the ESF simply doesn't provide good value for money compared to their equivalents in other Alpine countries. And they actively target fully qualified foreign instructors (even if they have French certification). I didn't like the instruction we got from them, and I object to British friends of ours who were ESF qualified ending up in jail overnight because of their predatory and unjustified actions. But I don't think that any UK organisation, SCGB or whoever, is going to change this. I don't ski in France by choice any more and if I did, I certainly wouldn't employ anyone from the cartel that is the ESF. This is partly because of our ESF experience and partly because I don't enjoy the rudeness, jostling and crowded facilities in French resorts. I'm sure the French ski industry couldn't care less about me deciding to go elsewhere, but at least this is an action I can take myself. I wouldn't criticise the SCGB because it failed to shift the embedded practices of the entire French ski industry.
ski holidays
 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?
@LaForet, valid, but off topic.

Changing the French culture to remove vested interests, protectionism and overt cartels is a multi-decade project which no-one in France seems to want. Complaining about it won't make it go away. People either grumblingly accept it, or as you have done, move on.
snow report
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'valid, but off topic'

Certainly long-winded, in retrospect! But on topic in terms of replying to the person criticising the SCGB because they didn't stand up for UK skiers against the ESF and citing such as a reason not to renew. It's not something you can erasonably expect the SCGB to spend Member's money on, I would have thought.
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
SCGB pulling guiding from France but keeping it elsewhere may have kept membership numbers stable rather than free falling
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r11s wrote:
SCGB pulling guiding from France but keeping it elsewhere may have kept membership numbers stable rather than free falling

The % of members who used the leader service wasn't that high. I'm not convinced the changes to the leader service can account for the reduction in membership. There are people leaving for other reasons.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
sugarmoma666 wrote:
r11s wrote:
SCGB pulling guiding from France but keeping it elsewhere may have kept membership numbers stable rather than free falling

The % of members who used the leader service wasn't that high. I'm not convinced the changes to the leader service can account for the reduction in membership. There are people leaving for other reasons.

A number of reasons comes to mind:
    Decline of leading
    Overall decline in popularity of skiing and ski holidays
    Older members who stop skiing (or pass on)
    Decline in membership and advertising revenue causes reduction in services resulting in declining membership vicious circle
    General decline in popularity of "clubs"
    Less compelling value proposition as people can now self-serve on the web for things previously done through the club
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
sugarmoma666 wrote:
r11s wrote:
SCGB pulling guiding from France but keeping it elsewhere may have kept membership numbers stable rather than free falling

The % of members who used the leader service wasn't that high. I'm not convinced the changes to the leader service can account for the reduction in membership. There are people leaving for other reasons.


Yep and the democratisation of information and the fact that it is pretty easy for people to organise for free on a peer to peer basis through this thing called tinterweb must be a factor. Plus old people die or stop/reduce their activity and I'm not sure SCGB ever understood younger people. It certainly seemed to take them a long time to understand snowboardists and most of the early board generation must be well into 40s or 50s now.
snow conditions
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
15-20 years ago if you asked the question "What do I get for my Membership fee that I can't get as a non-Member?" I'm guessing you'd get a fairly convincing reply, including a range of useful services. You might not take up some or any of them, but their availability would be what you'd sign-up for adn they'd have real value to you.

I get the impression that SCGB are struggling to give a compelling answer now.
snow report
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
... It certainly seemed to take them a long time to understand snowboardists and most of the early board generation must be well into 40s or 50s now.
Aye.

I think the whole unqualified guiding thing is a distraction, another attempt to resist change.

As a snowboarder... Well the RYA managed to deal with windsurfing pretty well, and the CTC
did the same with mountain biking. The SCGB apparently saw snowboarding as a threat, rather
than an opportunity to reach a new demographic.

Quote:
The mistake was fighting
The change, was staying the same
It couldn't adapt so it couldn't survive
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
philwig wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
... It certainly seemed to take them a long time to understand snowboardists and most of the early board generation must be well into 40s or 50s now.
Aye.

I think the whole unqualified guiding thing is a distraction, another attempt to resist change.

As a snowboarder... Well the RYA managed to deal with windsurfing pretty well, and the CTC
did the same with mountain biking. The SCGB apparently saw snowboarding as a threat, rather
than an opportunity to reach a new demographic.


Quote:
The mistake was fighting
The change, was staying the same
It couldn't adapt so it couldn't survive


Where is that written down and evidenced apart from on the exalted pages of snowHeads? Or is this some strange oral history of unknown origin that you feel the need to pass one? Seems to me that you are inventing facts to fit with your desired narrative.
snow report
 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.
@Gerry, So you must have to hand data that captures how many SCGB members identify as snowboarders each year. And the number of snowboarders on rep led guiding and on holidays. Surely any competent organisation was capturing this data so the hypothesis is easy to disprove?

And if they weren't capturing the data how on earth were they able to form a view on how to cater for snowboard members' needs?
snow report
 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
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
how many ~~ identify as snowboarders each year. ~~~~ Surely any competent organisation was capturing this data
oops Embarassed
Quote:
And if they weren't capturing the data how on earth were they able to form a view on how to cater for snowboard members' needs?
I just figured they must be masochists to want to do that to themselves and assumed they'd keep turning up if I carried on being mean to them - seems to be working so far Evil or Very Mad


Last edited by 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 on Sat 18-04-20 13:19; edited 1 time in total
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It's "The great British mistake" @Gerry
One of the great ski-themed punk anthems.

The Adverts wrote:
Something had to give
The people take a downhill slide into the gloom
Into the dark recesses of their minds


Where were you in '78 ? rolling eyes

Wink
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@admin, to be fair your specific meanness to snowboardists is compensated by the wider equality in which many other sHs treat them with the exact same contempt as they reserve for other skiers wink
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
admin wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
how many ~~ identify as snowboarders each year. ~~~~ Surely any competent organisation was capturing this data
oops Embarassed


Yeah, enough to make you shake your head, isn't it. It's like some strange gender identity rant. Quick, call Liberty, boarders aren't having their data captured and are therefore being oppressed and ignored! rolling eyes

I self identify as a boarder, BTW. I ski as well, of course, but deep down inside, I've always known I'm a boarder.
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Comprehension skillz strong in this one they are.
latest report
 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?
Gerry wrote:
... Where is that written down and evidenced apart from on the exalted pages of snowHeads?
Referenced and discussed in this thread, this report, compiled with the scgb points out specifically:
Philip Warwick, DU Business School wrote:
..Ski Club members are disproportionately wealthy male skiers from the south-east of England aged 45-60.
Younger people, women, snowboarders, people from the Midlands, North of England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland may perceive the club is not for the likes of us.
(Their italics, text edited for clarity only)


Gerry wrote:
...Or is this some strange oral history of unknown origin that you feel the need to pass one?
Seems to me that you are inventing facts to fit with your desired narrative.

Philip Warwick wrote:
..[the scgb] has to offer relevant and up to date multi-media technology services to members; provide the UK's most popular snowsport website...

And yet you're here, being rude to random strangers from behind the safety of your keyboard instead.
ski holidays
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Whichever way you cut the mustard they are clearly doing something wrong.
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@philwig, snowHeads is disproportionately wealthy male skiers as well. That reports could just as easily been written about snowHeads.

Of course the other thing to remember is that although a lot of members live in London and the South East, they come from all over the place ordinary.
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Yebbut this thread isn't about snowheads and their need/or lack of need to recruit new members to sustain themselves. sH membership seems to be doing just fine with more than enough members to sustain bashes, casual peer to peer skiing and social meetups etc etc. Plus there is little risk - no one has to pay a bean to hang around and determine whether they might be people they like or have similar ski/board ambitions etc.

And the wealthy male skiers of SCGB or formerly of SCGB seem to be unhappy about what SCGB has to offer these days as a value proposition. You're on the Council - why not put your manifesto out on how you are going to turn it around for all demographics of snowsports enthusiasts and the snowsports curious?
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Yebbut this thread isn't about snowheads and their need/or lack of need to recruit new members to sustain themselves. sH membership seems to be doing just fine with more than enough members to sustain bashes, casual peer to peer skiing and social meetups etc etc. Plus there is little risk - no one has to pay a bean to hang around and determine whether they might be people they like or have similar ski/board ambitions etc.


Plus if some new branch of snowsports became popular it could find its niche here without someone needing to validate things. At most a new forum would start up. Beyond Admin there isn't anyone who makes a living out of snowheads.

The site also runs on the clunkiest old software from the era of BBS systems, not something thrown together by some expensive web agency (it's the members, stupid).

That said the SC are offering more services and run more holidays AFAIKS and they still persuade 20K+ people to stump up their annual membership, so they must be doing something right (unless those members have died or gone senile and forgotten to cancel the standing order).
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
davidof wrote:
Whichever way you cut the mustard they are clearly doing something wrong.


A LOT wrong. I don't think anyone involved loves it, it just looks like a sad and unloved organisation. Just start by looking at the website situation - £471,000 and that sort of IT over-run only happens when people, and especially the board of directors, don't care enough. They can't even be ar5ed to update it - the CEO left 3 weeks ago and he is still in there as the CEO https://www.skiclub.co.uk/about-the-ski-club/ski-club-staff-and-council and it doesn't even bother to biog the council or many of the staff. There seems to be no shortage of staff but basically nobody cares enough.

The Council seem to be preoccupied with re-establishing leading everywhere despite the legal advice. Might be better to focus on everything else that needs fixing first and make joining a compelling decision for anyone keen on sliding down mountains. In theory most GB skiers should be able to find benefits in being a member of the national ski club. So why so pathetically few members? Because there are no compelling reasons to shell out £70 a year, that's why. Simples.

The BMC do many things that SCGB should be doing, and I only pay £39.95 a year and feel like I'm supporting something worthwhile. I'm a bit the same with The National Trust and a few others. I don't worry about whether I can make my membership pay for itself, whereas a lot of Ski Clubbies seem to. BMC has over 80,000 paying members, SCGB says it has 25k (and decreasing) but how many of them pay or even aware they are members?
ski holidays
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Does the SCGB have any feeder clubs, say the Hemel Branch or the Hillend Branch, or even the Glencoe Branch. It seems to be that the clubs reason for existing is to get people to ski or snowbord. The website makes it all look very London centred. I'll bet they don't even know that the Northern England club tows exist. These are the grassroots areas of British snowsports.

Most people in the UK are once a year holiday skiers, would it not be beneficial for them to have a rep at most snow domes or dryslopes organising social skiing at a local level, these people then feed in to the overseas part of the scgb as they become more experienced skiers. A social scene at local level helps cement the roots of a club like any other sporting club. Perhaps each artificial slope already has a club so they may have missed a boat there.

Looking at their website, there is nothing to inspire me to join. Looking at my kids, there is nothing for them either.

They do seem to be wedded to the idea of keeping the resort rep and guiding from yesteryear. If guiding is so important to them, why don't they look at employing an in resort guide qualified to the local country standard to take people off piste. I know that will cost more money, but if you want to provide a good product, it is going to cost.

For the yoof, how about a freestyle or park guide in certain resorts again suitably qualified to the local standard.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Having done a lot of SCGB Instructor Led guiding days and spent some time in the bar when the PSB is in Tignes, I would say the demographic is very similar. Mostly middle aged men with some brass about 50% of which live within 70 miles of London. Of course, youngsters and ladies do appear on both. And yes I have been on ILG days with snowboarders but as a lot of the off piste routes in Tignes that are not immediately tracked out require a hike or a long traverse they have to work hard!!!

As for guides the reps in non ILG resorts still organise them. Though most SCGB members are more than happy with the ILG instructors in the resorts where that scheme is in operation as they get taken to places they would never go and get instruction. To go further than that would really require touring, a burgeoning discipline, but not many one seekers up for that. For the really adventurous there is the Mountain Tracks offering.

Someone mentioned no risk with snowheads, if I didn't have an apt I would be happy to pay for an unprotected bash as I have shared a beer or a coffee with admin a few times, but others prefer the full protection, horses for courses.

I for one get a lot out of both organisations and am more than happy to put time and effort into both. Yes there are problems with the SCGB as Gerry has identified. He has stuck his head above the parapet and I wish him well in his endeavours.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Gilberts Fridge, I think that every artificial slope has at least one club of its own.

One advantage the SCGB has is its size, other UK clubs can struggle to get enough kids on a trip to have the numbers to be able to run a representative race or freestyle event. If the SCGB could create another pathway into more formal UK competitive snowsports then it could have a useful role.

As an example, the ESF run races have a defined overlap with FFS (French federation) ones.
snow report
 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.
I do think the concept of stopping membership fees entirely ( or droping to something nominal like £10) then appraising what they offer on a pay to play basis would rather focus the mind on should they be doing something. If the answer to anything members wouldn't see value in paying for it, it should be dropped.

Won't ever happen of course, wonder how many membership fees are paid through inertia of the DD?
snow conditions
 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
@rjs, I thought that might be the case. Perhaps they could offer the local existing clubs affiliation to access the benefits of the SCGB and expand the exposure of the current SCGB partners or sponsors.
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Gilberts Fridge, The existing local clubs are typically already affiliated to Snowsports England which provides various benefits including (I think) club and athlete insurance.

One thing UK skiing doesn't need IMO is yet another organisation claiming to represent/train athletes and running competitions.

There's already massive fragmentation - just in our region, our club athletes even at age 12 can potentially compete in ERSA, LSERSA, Southern, Club Nationals (often on the same slopes, sometimes even run by the same people, but with minor nuances in the rules and different scoring/seeding/trophies). When it comes to snow races, there's countless clubs & private training organisations (Impulse, Ambition, Evolution, Precise, Kandahar, BSA & I'm sure I've missed some) and a wide variety of races again with different scoring/rules/seeding. ISSC, English, Anglo Scottish, Anglo Welsh, British, BSA, SSE, ESKIA, Interschools...

In contrast, the French FFS and ESF competitions/seed points eventually feed into the same Etoile d'Or and Coq d'Or competitions at a national level. e.g. it's possible to rock up at broadly any ESF race, be given an appropriate bib number, and ski a course set to relatively familiar rules with a nationally-valid result.

Edited for awful spelling


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Tue 21-04-20 7:45; edited 2 times in total
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@rjs,

It's a big step for SCGB to start attracting kids into ski racing when there are already the home nations. What would they offer that's different?
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
stewart woodward wrote:
@rjs,

It's a big step for SCGB to start attracting kids into ski racing when there are already the home nations. What would they offer that's different?

No idea what they would offer. But Gerry suggested that this was an area that they were thinking about, I was trying to find out more.
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@snowdave, I wouldn't say that UK snow racing is fragmented, everything uses BASS seeding and rules. It does have the problem that you don't get enough kids with previous results in many races so the calculated results for that race are inaccurate, this is worst for girls.

There are private training organizations in France too, like Orsatus.
latest report
 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?
@snowdave,
You sound like another father running up and down the country every weekend.
This lockdown is providing a well earned break for us snowHead
ski holidays
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stewart woodward wrote:
@rjs,

It's a big step for SCGB to start attracting kids into ski racing when there are already the home nations. What would they offer that's different?


Add to that who has the competence and the credibility within the organisation to run this? If it doesn't already exist in the member pool with those members willing to offer their services for free or expenses only then it's another service they have to buy in. Hmm doesn't feel like a realistic ambition.
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It seems that SCGB is facing an existential crisis and bankruptcy without radical changes.

It has two forms of income; subscriptions and Freshtracks. Previously subscriptions funded the clubs substantial overheads, expenses and leader programme. Freshtracks was self supporting with a relatively modest profit.

The Council has always been made up largely of Leaders who benefited from the subscription model of funding their activities. The subscribers were happy because enough of them got value from the leaders.

Loss of the leader programme as much of the membership would want it removes the benefit for many to maintain their subscriptions (discounts and insurance are not enough in themselves), and certainly any reason for new members. Although Instructor lead Guiding offers good value to participants, the ratio of subscribers to beneficiaries seems unsustainable. Therefore it is inevitable that subscription income will decline further.

The only tangible benefit to prospective new members is the Freshtracks programme. The annual subscription added to one or two holidays still offers good value for the sort of package that it’s customers are looking for. It is now the only practicable way for new members to get to know each other in a club type environment.

My advice to the SCGB to survive is drastically cut the overheads and slim down the organisation to the minimum needed to run Freshtracks on a sustainable and marginally profitable basis. Slim down the leadership programme to that needed for holiday rep/back marker duties. Sure you will lose members but only those who will probably leave anyway. Keep the leader training/assessment fortnights but rebrand them as competence awards with the possibility of getting a holiday rep gig. I think some people will still be up for this.

With the above you will have a much smaller but viable club/not for profit business. This can then be a base to grow and evolve organically and adapt to whatever changes and challenges come in the future.

Will the Council accept change or would they rather go down with the ship?


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 21-04-20 9:26; edited 1 time in total
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This was asked/discussed in 2003:

http://www2.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/forum/discussion.aspx/Skiing-And-Snowboarding-general?discussionID=4081&show=all
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
rjs wrote:
@snowdave, I wouldn't say that UK snow racing is fragmented, everything uses BASS seeding and rules. It does have the problem that you don't get enough kids with previous results in many races so the calculated results for that race are inaccurate, this is worst for girls.

There are private training organizations in France too, like Orsatus.


Orsatus are part of the FFS structure though. You can think of them as a a ski team and ski school/coaching if you like. AFAIKS. I don't know what would compare in the UK alpine ski but in cross country the equivalent would be rollerski.co.uk. Inside-Out might be similar.
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Are there models for SCGB in other countries or pursuits?

Which one's and what is the model?
snow conditions
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
davidof wrote:
Orsatus are part of the FFS structure though.

And the commercial groups listed by snowdave are part of the UK structure.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
rjs wrote:
davidof wrote:
Orsatus are part of the FFS structure though.

And the commercial groups listed by snowdave are part of the UK structure.


He'd mixed commercial and non commercial and listed so much in his post I didn't know what was what.

anyway it is a crowded space with many established players in a niche market
snow report



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