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Only 15% of 1st time US skiers try it a second time

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
According to this article in the Summit Daily news

Suggestion - hit the 'Outside US' button to skip registration.

Quote:
Being "nice" goes back to Berry's suggestion of stepping into the boots of a rookie skier.
The British Army take this to the ultimate. When they train their ski instructors they are apparently told to unclip their boots completely. "Now you know how a beginner feels".

Quote:
Buhler said instructors used to make students side-step for hours before getting on the lift, but it just wore them out and took away from the exhilarating feeling of sliding down the mountain.

Breckenridge had nine magic carpets on ski school slopes this year for those beginner skiers not ready for the lifts.
And one slope only open to beginners. They are trying. Hope it succeeds in boosting the %age.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Interesting, the 85% figure for those who never return to the slopes after their first visit does surprise me. Similar figures in Europe, I wonder?
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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?
Wow, I'm really surprised. Although I've never skied in the US (can't see the point of flying all that way when I can drive to the world's best skiing in less than 12 hours!), I'd assumed that with America's high standards of customer service repeat business would be much higher than that. Are us SnowHeads really that unusual in our passion for skiing and boarding?

Regards

Rob
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Yes I found it surprisingly low. From the article.....
Quote:
Surveys were compiled with nearly 400 responses at 12 test sites, including Breckenridge and Winter Park and 10 other ski areas around the country.

So they have done their homework but it's not a very large sample. But since Breck is actually doing things to get the average up they must be convinced it's reasonably accurate.

And it was Keystone which dedicated a special 'beginners only' area. Not Breck as I wrongly implied in the topic posting. Like you Rob I have no personal experience of skiing the States. Still lots to do in Europe before I'll feel the need to pond hop.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
This medical survey indicates 4% of first time boarders and skier are injured. That would put some off trying again. But what about the other 81% ? Anyone able to find any comparable figures for areas outside US ?
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High standards of customer service in the USA - PAH! Was there for 8 months a few years ago. They're only nice to you get a big tip, but it's all so false, if you don't tip then suddenly you are the worlds biggest villan.

"Have a nice day!" Evil or Very Mad
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Ah, now here's a thought...
Winter Park, along with a few other resorts are very popular as student destinations during President's week.
A student will try anything once - particularly if it involves alcohol, so you may find that a lot of college kids would fall into the 85%.

I won't rise to rob's bait of driving 12 hours to the world's best skiing, because it's all relative, but I've yet to see powder in Europe to compare with that in Colorado or Utah (which you can get to in under 12 hours, and without having to do all the driving!), or get the customer service that is offered in US/Canadian resorts.
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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!
I did hear that the American Skiing Company (who own Steamboat, The Canyons & 5 East Coast resorts) did a similar survey a few years back and got a similar figure (17% if I remember rightly) so this current of 15% is probably not far off. Like the army, Vail ski school now makes all its new instructor recruits spend a day skiing in beginner rental boots and skis.
Wear The Fox Hat, I think you SHOULD rise to the bait and start a new thread on "the world's best skiing"! Sounds fun...
Dan, having lived in the US for 5 years, I agree there's some truth in your statement - that attitude is mainly the case with waitstaff in restaurants. What you perhaps don't know is that the IRS assumes, in all cases, that all waitstaff make tips equivalent to 15% of the food value that they serve, and taxes them on that - whether or not they have actually made those tips. According to my (American) wife (who is a staunch Democrat) this legislation was brought in by the late lamented Ronnie.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
kuwait_ian, as some of that 4% who were injured may come back, it probably leaves a higher remaining percentage than 81. Though the difference is probaby within the margin of error.

I rekon that the large amount of side stepping will be a major factor. I know a few people from the UK who've gone once and not again. There were two main reasons:

finding it too knackering - a combination of a lack of other exercise and the fact that it is a very tiring when you're beginning.

lack of progression - not sure exactly why but thinking they were too crap. They weren't but they may have had false expectations based on going with intermediates or it may have been poor tuition or something else I couldn't work out.

Those were based on using lifts and very little side stepping. I can see it would be worse if they had to inordinate amounts of walking.

Martin Bell, they are also paid wages on the assumption that they'll get 15% tips, too.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Could this figure have anything to do with the accessibility (location and cost) of skiing in the States? Presumably if it is more accessible, more people might try it to see whether they like it. If it's fairly easy to get to the slopes and comparatively cheap to have a first go, then more people will give skiing a go and possibly a good deal more will reject it.


From those that I've met who have skied I'd say a good 90% have said they enjoy it and go regularly, or would given the chance.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

Could this figure have anything to do with the accessibility (location and cost) of skiing in the States?
Good point Mark. From the original article it did rather look as though there were many turning up for a try in 'day clothes' without giving it much thought. If you only go for one day, that can be pretty off putting. Most of us over this side of the pond are more likely to go for a week for our first trip, with ski school, and are therefore more committed to making it work. And once you're off .......... look out. Hooked for life. Cool
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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.
I don't think the 15% return figure came from the survey of 400, as if they are being interviewed at ski resorts (where these surveys were being conducted) how can you find those that did not return? On the sample size, a random sample of 400 would give a confidence interval of approx. +/- 5% (at the 95% confidence level).

kuwait_ian, good point about commitment, I think in Britain the proportion of dryslope beginners that return would be a comparable figure.
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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
Days skiing is extremely expensive in the USA. There are small hills that are very accesable but so expensive. WIth getting there, hire, lift pass, lessons (if they even bother) food, drinks you are talking in excess of $100 for even a small hill.

I witnessed lots of "day trippers" just turning up on the slopes (small resorts in the Pocconos), not bothering with lessons (due to cost on top) and just seeing how they got on. I guess this results in a lot of injuries and frustration. Not to mention most turned up in jeans and an old rain coat so they weren't equipped to do it properly, and so were soaking wet & freezing cold after a few miuntes of falling over. rolling eyes
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Which may account for such a low return figure, I suppose. Mind you if I lived within fairly easy access of a slope and could get a day's real skiing for about £60.00 I know I'd do it snowHead
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Dan,
Quote:

I witnessed lots of "day trippers" just turning up on the slopes (small resorts in the Pocconos), not bothering with lessons (due to cost on top) and just seeing how they got on. I guess this results in a lot of injuries and frustration.

So should, perhaps, all ski areas should make lessons compulsory for beginners? (As is already the case at most UK dry slopes after the fatality at Wycombe Summit a few years ago.) Presumably non-beginners could "prove" their competence with a 5-minute aptitude test (turn left & right, stop) before being let loose on the slopes.
skanky, no doubt: low wages are certainly closely related to the US tipping culture.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Martin Bell, good point, I've no idea which came first, but it's now got into a bit of a difficult dependancy to break without minimum wage legislation.

Anyway, I've found US customer service about as good as any other country. Like all national stereotypes, they are reinforced because people tend to colour their experiences based on their expectations, which are formed by said stereotypes....though I'm sure there's a less ugly way of wording that sentiment.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Martin Bell, a month on and we are back to the Ski Aptitude Test. This came up in What is an expert? soon after you joined snowHeads (May 29), but was greeted with some disdain. I think in time it will be the norm, and we will look back on days without it much as we look back in amazement at the time (pre 1935) when there was no Driving Test.
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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?
Quote:

think in Britain the proportion of dryslope beginners that return would be a comparable figure.

In my experience most folk who come to the slope for their first experience return for more. The difficulty is getting those who subsequently go to snow to return. Only a keen few seem to do that.
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Looks like the "some disdain" was my comment and there was no more said. If you answer my main point we could carry on. I'm not clear what you were wanting to test and how.
I agree that some blue slopes should be for beginners only, but in some resorts there would be a problem because other runs end up near the resort by joining the easiest slopes.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Martin Bell, definately! Where I went they had ski rangers - basically a piste police service, who if they saw any one acting like a tit they'd confiscate their lift pass, your kit or even call 911. Beginners were also ("supposed" to be) isolated to a certain area, but the majority of them were teaching themselves by trial and error, so they were a danger to themselves and each other.

I don't think these guys were paid much, but they got a free lift pass, kit and food while they were there, and obviously they got to ski as much as they wanted. It was a small compact hill (32 runs off about 800m vertical drop) so easy to manage..........not sure easy it would be on a bigger hill/resort?? But there should be some sort of ski patrol and judgement made on ability before being let loose on the rest of the hill - either by lessons or independently????
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Jonpim, I agree with snowball that you couldn't devise a test that would guarantee that every skier would be in control in every situation. But what I suggest is simply that lessons should be compulsory for ALL beginners, and the resort should institute a check that those who claim NOT to be beginners are able to, say, turn left and right and stop on a green run. I believe this already happens at some dry slopes, Alan Craggs, what's the policy where you are?
snowball, the "limited number of skiers" principle is already in place at most Colorado resorts, because they're situated on US Forest Service land and their permits for the use of that land state how many skiers/SBers they're allowed on the area in one day (I believe Vail's maximum is 20,500). How do they keep within those limits you ask? Whenever they're getting close, as they were 3 or 4 years ago, they just raise price of lift tickets and/or parking (the big numbers are Denver day skiers) - that works pretty well!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Well I "learnt" without taking a lesson and I have to say that my more dangerous time (to others and to myself) wasnt on the green slopes. It was on the difficult bits of the blue slopes and the red slopes. It was my lack of skill and experience on a slope where a fair bit of speed could be built up. But that was after I could turn left, right and stop on a green.

I guess I would prefer others to have the same chance I had to learn by doing. Unfortunately I think Jonpim has the right idea about the way things will proceed.
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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!
Martin Bell wrote:
you couldn't devise a test that would guarantee that every skier would be in control in every situation
This is of course true, but would apply equally to the car driving test. Nothing is perfect, we can just try and make things a little better.

snowball, you're right: it's always easy to come out with glib-sounding comments like "access to the slopes requires a Skiing Test", but real hard to come up with the details.
I think it quite unfair of you to ask for them. Confused
However, here goes....
1. Control is only possible through the lift pass and insurance
2. Lift passes would only be given to those who had gained a Basic ski school certificate (so compulsory ski school as suggested by Martin). This would esentially be a blue slope permit.
3. Black and red slopes would require an Advanced certificate. More tricky to enforce. Modern electronics might assist in stopping skiers without this certificate going up lifts to red/black runs, but of course many of these lifts also give access to blue/green runs. So skiing down red/black runs without an Advanced certificate would invalidate your insurance: you would have to pay for the rescue, medical care, and any compensation.

I am sure there are lots of holes in this, and I will probably get shot down in flames, but it might well come to this eventually.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Already, there are certain lifts leading to off-piste areas where certain requirements must be met (ie. you need a guide to ride the Valluga; you need transceiver, probe and shovel to ride the Lone Peak Tram) - perhaps this could be extended to all lifts which lead to areas where the skiing is predominantly off-piste. You would be required to carry a certificate which showed that you had attended a briefing on avalanche danger and how to avoid it. If it only saves one life surely it's worth it?
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Jonpim,

Over-regulation is the curse of the age. Let's not burden the rest of the skiing community on account of the very small number of idiots who try to ski slopes way beyond their ability.

Let's face it, how many novice skiers REALLY want to ski down a double black diamond? (How many intermediate skiers want to, for that matter). I can remember from my earliest days of skiing being taken to the top of a GREEN slope by my girlfriend and telling her that there was NO WAY I was going to try and go down something as precipitous as that!

Sure, there are people who will try - usually suffering from testosterone overload - to attempt something way beyond their ability, but they are a very small minority. To my mind, the most dangerous group of skiers on the mountain are the intermediate skiers who think they know it all, and try to ski too fast for their ability (they're a bit like pilots, who have enough flying hours to be confident, but not enough to have a realistic appreciation of the hazards and safety precautions).

Getting back to the original point of the thread, I'm actually one of the 15%: I first learnt to ski in the US, and I lasted more than a day. - What were the factors that converted me from someone who started with a "too old a dog to learn new tricks" attitude to a gung-ho fanatic?

Well, first was the fact that I learnt to ski by being coralled into a 1-week stay at a ski resort (by the girlfriend who tried to kill me by sending me down double-green circles). Not much else to do on days 2-7 if you don't ski.

Second was the truly excellent standard of instruction for a new skier. I can't praise US ski instruction too highly. Clear explanations in (almost) the same language, absolutely no marathon sidestep sessions and an emphasis on skiing as something enjoyable.

Actually, I suspect that the most important factors are internal. Either you are willing to embrace a new physical challenge, or you're not, and a lifetime's devotion to athletic pursuits of one kind or another is a major determinant in choosing whether or not you'll keep it up.

Incidentally Mark Hunter, in response to "Mind you if I lived within fairly easy access of a slope and could get a day's real skiing for about £60.00 I know I'd do it"

If I lived within reasonable distance of a ski resort, there's no way I'd pay $60 a day. I'd buy a discounted season's pass Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Acacia, you're quite right about idiot intermediates. I was once one myself. I think the only solution is a series of ray guns throughout the resort which will vaporize anyone skiing in a dangerous manner on piste (it's collisions that do the damage). Off-piste we should be allowed to be as crazy as possible (I also detest over-regulation, but I can see no other way of protecting the innocent).


Why did I keep skiing? Fresh air, snow, sun, dressing up, learning a new skill, with lots of other people: adults at play. Not had so much fun since school playground.
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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.
Jonpim,
Quote:

Off-piste we should be allowed to be as crazy as possible (I also detest over-regulation, but I can see no other way of protecting the innocent).

fair enough, but remember that there are also off-piste situations where the incompetent can quite easily kill the innocent - setting off an avalanche above another group being the main one.
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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
Acacia wrote:

If I lived within reasonable distance of a ski resort, there's no way I'd pay $60 a day. I'd buy a discounted season's pass Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


$60 dollar would be about 75 CHF, local tickets here around 55-60 CHF so not much different.

Discounted season passes are not common in Europe, they require very local residence ie 10km or a little more. Some stations have reasonable deals, we pay around 350 euro for the Grand Massif for example but that's pretty exceptional.

So, I actually do live a reasoable distance (45 mins) and I do pay nearly $60 a day, cheaper than golf though Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Martin Bell, setting off an avalanche: I hadn't thought of that.
Back to the drawing board.
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