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Ski Beat - the worst ski trip experience ever?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
sanglier, welcome to SnowHeads.

snowymum, I also find the coach journey unacceptably dangerous, and agree with you that things should have been handled better.
The least they deserved was to be met on arrival, no matter how late it was, and offered refreshment, with the opportunity to arrange a meeting with the RM the following evening.

I don't necessarily agree with pandora's method of naming and shaming, but perhaps she felt she had no choice, given their apparently disastrous attempts in resort.


However, most of this could have been prevented by keeping the guests informed at the UK airport. As they were flying with another operator, perhaps this was the airline's fault and not SkiBeat? Their jorney from Italy was a shambles, and a gracious apology from the RM , regardless of who was to blame , should have been given.

sanglier, thanks for your perspective on this, it is good to see opinions from the other side.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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snowymum, In no way should that driver have driven the coach but lets set the scene. Here are some of pandoras comments re the rep at the bus taken from her first post.

Quote:
I politely tell him to get over it and do the job he is paid for.

Quote:
It is a good job as we would probably have eaten him if he had stayed within eyesight of us.

Quote:
He is a rude arrogant tosser who was lucky not to have been shoved face first out of the bus onto the side of the road.


If you were the rep would you wanted to have told Pandora she was going to have to wait for several hours while they tried to get another bus? I think the rep was probably in fear of his life Confused

Personally if I was the rep for her first comment alone I would have made sure someone in the chalet in resort either p*ssed or gobbed in her coffee every morning. Actually I am sure they did.
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@ Snowymum. No, I don't think it is acceptable for a driver to drive a coach when tired or when on his mobile phone. I never said I did. I think it is unacceptable to do so in France, the UK wherever - and regardless of whether you are driving a car, coach, lorry.

I actually said that "This story also raises questions for SB about their contingency planning", so I don't understand why you are suggesting that I do think these actions are OK. What I do think, however, is that there is little the RM can do, other than asking the driver to stop for a break or to stop texting. But if the police can't stop it happening, how can you expect the RM to do so? However, Pandora seems especially aggrieved against the RM and even though I've never met him, I don't know him, I think he's being unfairly singled out.

As for the later arrival, it used to be SB procedure that something fairly light would be left out for the guests (soup, bread & cheese, a pudding etc). But I don't know if this is still the case. As for whether the hosts should still be up at 3:30 then no they shouldn't. You wouldn't expect your bank manager to be up at that time, so why should your chalet host be up then? I don't know whether there were any other guests in the chalet??? If so, the hosts would already have cooked a full meal for them, have worked a full day, and so as long as they leave something for their guests to eat, then I can't see the problem. Chalet hosts are not slaves and can only work for so many hours before needing sleep. Ditto for RMs.

I'm sorry but I think you are wrong about arranging a meeting like this when everybody is tired. Your main aim should be to get people some food and to bed ASAP - for exactly the reasons you have said. The arguments over complaints can wait until later - things often appears different after a good night's sleep.

You said that Ski Beat staff regarded their guests as a nuisance and couldn't empathise with them. What evidence is there of this? Perhaps you should try empathising with the staff a little, rather than expecting them to be working at 3:30 in the morning?
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all bit of a storm in a tea/coffee cup really imv Very Happy
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sanglier
Quote:
I actually said that "This story also raises questions for SB about their contingency planning", so I don't understand why you are suggesting that I do think these actions are OK.


Welcome to snowheads, where people will regularly attempt to force you to eat either your own words or words they have carefully prepared for you, words they will also insist are in fact your own words.

Bon appét!t!


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sun 24-01-10 17:31; edited 1 time in total
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thefatcontroller wrote:
snowymum, In no way should that driver have driven the coach but lets set the scene. Here are some of pandoras comments re the rep at the bus taken from her first post.

Quote:
I politely tell him to get over it and do the job he is paid for.

Quote:
It is a good job as we would probably have eaten him if he had stayed within eyesight of us.

Quote:
He is a rude arrogant tosser who was lucky not to have been shoved face first out of the bus onto the side of the road.


If you were the rep would you wanted to have told Pandora she was going to have to wait for several hours while they tried to get another bus? I think the rep was probably in fear of his life Confused

Personally if I was the rep for her first comment alone I would have made sure someone in the chalet in resort either p*ssed or gobbed in her coffee every morning. Actually I am sure they did.


That's a bit unfair taking all of those remarks out of context IMO

The RM may not have had the authority to grant compensation etc but he's no Manager at all if he can't deal with (rightly so it would seem) disgruntled customers. He's paid to do a job - do it. There's no point moaning about how difficult a job it is, no-one is forcing him to be a RM. I find it quite amazing that people can sympathise with the company and its employees - who are being paid to do a job - yet can find no sympathy for the OP and her children who have endured a journey from Hell and have paid handsomely for the privilidge.

When things go wrong on holiday then I try to just deal with them, put them aside and get on with my holiday but you'd have to have been a saint to have gone through what the OP and her family went through without getting annoyed, and if your being true to yourself, very annoyed.
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
That's a bit unfair taking all of those remarks out of context IMO


Why do you consider them out of context, they are her exact words in reference to the person I mentioned?
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Just cherry pick the things that make her sound like a biatch from hell
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Hi Shimmy

I can't understand why I am getting involved in this, but in for a penny....

Quote:

That's a bit unfair taking all of those remarks out of context IMO


I think the point that thefatcontroller is making is that Pandora doesn't appear to hold back when expressing her opinions and so maybe this didn't help the situation with the RMs she encountered? I don't know, I wasn't there, but I do know I have occasionally been on the receiving end of this - however "unfair" this might be. Despite the validity, or otherwise, of the complaints there's only so much the in-resort staff can actually do to put things right. Issues of compensation are way above the pay grade of an RM and it seems from the OP that compensation was the initial main aim, rather than getting on with the rest of her holiday. All the RM can do in this instance is to take the heat out of the situation, record the complaint and pass it up the line for senior management to assess.

You're absolutely right - I would have been totally devastated if this had happened to me. You've been looking forward to your holiday for months, the kids are getting excited, it's your one skiing holiday a year and then this happens. You pick the one weekend in a decade when airports get closed, flights get delayed and the whole things turns into a nightmare - worse still, there's nobody around to tell you what is happening. I think this is bad, very bad, and needs urgent attention from SB senior management. Ditto, the airport and airline both need to take their fair share of the blame, as reps can only pass on the information that they can find out themselves.

I have a lot of sympathy for the OP, but as I said in my original post, I lose a lot of this because I think she has gone about raising her complaint in the wrong way.

I also have a degree of sympathy for the in-resort staff. It's true that nobody is forcing them to do their jobs - chalet hosts, RM, cook - whatever. People take these jobs because the love skiing, they like the lifestyle and certainly not for the salary! But just because of some seemingly clumsy client handling in this instance (when we don't know the full story, and probably never will) I don't know whether it's entirely fair to say that he's "No Manager at all", just because he couldn't give these customers what they wanted at the time. That said, he should never have shouted at the guests and probably needs a kick up the backside for it - but certainly not naming and shaming on the internet, without being able to defend himself.
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sanglier, that seems like a much more balanced response.

I had a big issue with a TO last season and did all the right things...phonecalls, letters, more phonecalls, more letters etc etc and got absoloutely nowhere. Their member of staff had completely lied to us but as I could not prove this then they decided "sod em" they cant touch us with a bargepole, I'd booked over £20k worth of holidays with that company for that year. TBH, as customers, TO often take us all for a ride and at least on an open forum like this then we can maybe make the TO stand up and pay a bit of attention.

I had a bit of a nightmare journey myself this year, but had been forewarned by the agents I'd booked with that there were going to be changes, the people who had booked direct with the TO were not informed of the changes...despite this meaning that they could have got up at a reasonable hour on Boxing Day instead of getting up in the middle of the night to go and sit in an Airport for a five hour delay. There's a lot more to the story - but it's not for me to post on here about it other than in brief - however it really made me see how much customers are treated like dirt by some TO. As for the OP naming the staff on here - maybe that was a bit OTT but I can understand why she did so, out of frustration in the way she was treated. I shudder to think how hard that journey was with two really young kids - she could have got to Australia and half way back in the time.
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sanglier wrote:
That's why SB likes Resort Managers to eat with guests ... That's why RMs are supposed to have a daily "office hour" ... I think you can count on one hand the number of guests that took advantage of this facility


Something clearly isn't working. Maybe the clients want to sleep with the Resort Managers.
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Shimmy Alcott wrote:
Just cherry pick the things that make her sound like a biatch from hell


They are not cherry picked, they are her exact words in relation to the person I referenced taken from her first post. No cherries picked from me Confused
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Hi Shimmy

And you have very eloquently expressed the flip side of this whole argument - when TOs take the mickey and treat their customers like dirt, which some do. My own experience is that this tends to happen with the bigger companies, rather than the smaller ones - but obviously there are big exceptions to this! Having spent over £20k with your TO, you have every right to feel hugely hacked off with the treatment you have received. You would have every right to feel the same if you had spent £1k with them, but £20k is a lot of money...

But when I was with SB, they had a very loyal customer base and somehow, I really don't think they fall into this category at all. Why would people come back to them year after year if they weren't delivering what people wanted? And a lot of people do come back each year, believe me.

To me, this whole thing boils down to communication. A phone call from SB staff on the day that Pandora was travelling out to France might just have helped diffuse the situation a little. An automated SMS, even, sent to all guests travelling that day - the technology is out there! I believe you have to give a mobile number when making a booking with SB, and what would a call/text have cost them - a few pence per message at most.

Then the guest might have arrived in France slightly less stressed and the whole thing could have been diffused/handled far more effectively, and wouldn't have escalated beyond the abilities of the in-country RMs.

Or perhaps I'm being totally naive Puzzled

PS I should stress again, that I am not a SB "sock-puppet" and have no relationship whatsoever with them, other than having worked for them in the past.
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Ernst Goldsmith, WTF ? Is that meant to be funny or appropriate?

We will never know what really went on here. It is clear that there are issues about the RMs and the way they spoke to the OP, and about coach safety, on what must have been a hideous experience.

I think naming and shaming the RMs might have been better done only if there had been no success in making a proper complaint on return to the UK. It would also be nice to know if the OP attempted to contact SB UK management whilst they were still in resort? But there does seem a suggestion by a couple of others who have met the RMs that their described behaviour is believable. You judge the TO by how well they do when the stuff hits the fan, and whether they treat you as people or as pax.
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stoatsbrother wrote:
Ernst Goldsmith, WTF ? Is that meant to be funny or appropriate?


Inappropriate - it was an attempt at 'mime humour'. I've spent the afternoon working at our Mime Festival, which is inducing loud audience reactions. Also quite inappropriate.
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Quote:

To me, this whole thing boils down to communication. A phone call from SB staff on the day that Pandora was travelling out to France might just have helped diffuse the situation a little. An automated SMS, even, sent to all guests travelling that day - the technology is out there! I believe you have to give a mobile number when making a booking with SB, and what would a call/text have cost them - a few pence per message at most.

Then the guest might have arrived in France slightly less stressed and the whole thing could have been diffused/handled far more effectively, and wouldn't have escalated beyond the abilities of the in-country RMs.


Exactly. Even if they didn't have deffinate answers then a simple "we are working really hard on this and will keep you updated as best we can" would go a long way. I know, from experience now that this doesn't happen. I was informed two days before my trip that there were changes, those who booked with the TO found out when they got to the airport. There were further complications which meant we were stranded in a completely different airport (the third) again but when I phoned the agent there was someone there to answer the phone and help me get a soloution. Ski Beat didn't and that's a disgrace.
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sanglier wrote:
To me, this whole thing boils down to communication.


You've hit the nail on the head there!

Ski Beat provided us with 2 contact numbers - 1 for the UK office, which closed on Saturday afternoon & didn't re-open until Monday am so of absolutely no use to us whatsoever; and 2 for the Chalet, again of very little use as the Chalet Host isn't there for most of the day.

A resort office number would have been helpful. Better still, a representative to meet us at Milan airport when we landed would have been much appreciated, whether it was someone from Ski Beat or a person acting on their behalf wouldn't have mattered. The fact is that we were left at Milan airport for 4 hours with no idea whether or not anyone was coming to pick us up and getting increasingly concerned that we would have to spend the night there. In fact one family made a bed out of their suitcase & put their toddler to sleep in it.

Once we arrived in the resort things didn't improve. Aside from being shouted at a second time (and yes, the RM was the first to raise his voice) we had to organise our own ski passes, equipment hire, lessons etc.
This is the only time I've travelled with Ski Beat and if the journey had gone according to plan I'm sure I'd be singng their praises and planning my next holiday with them. Instead, I'm left with the impression that Ski Beat really don't give a toss about their customers and for that reason I would never travel with them again.
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Snow Joke
Quote:
I'm left with the impression that Ski Beat really don't give a toss about their customers and for that reason I would never travel with them again.


But it was a weekend of travel chaos for thousands and someone was bound to end up with the shitty end if the stick. I would wager that if SB truly didn't give a toss about their customers they would have gone out of business years ago.

Have you been in contact with their HQ since you've been back?


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 24-01-10 19:48; edited 1 time in total
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Hi stoatsbrother

Quote:

I think naming and shaming the RMs might have been better done only if there had been no success in making a proper complaint on return to the UK.


I agree with the vast majority of what you have said, but I still don't think the RM can be held accountable for the holiday going wrong in UK. He didn't make the planes late, or drive the coach to resort whilst on the phone, but he was faced with dealing with this whole mess in resort.

Name and shame the company, sure, but why pick on one individual when putting the situation right is largely beyond his or her direct control?

RMs do not have the authority to decide compensation - for the very good reason that if they did, then every guest would be demanding their money back on the last day of their stay. Yes, he shouldn't have shouted at the guests, and that was totally wrong, but we don't know the circumstances or provocation he was subject to.

I'm a newbie here, but I've already seen several posts saying something like "our host couldn't cook, but she was nice, so we didn't complain". Would you consider naming and shaming a chalet host in this case? At least cooking ability is something the host can influence - but even so, I don't think it is right to publicly name and shame a chalet host in such circumstances, just as I don't think it is right to name the RM in this case - regardless of the outcome of the discussions with the TO.
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Any word yet on why the thread with the same long OP as this thread on Mumsnet is now not available? Puzzled
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sanglier, Sorry - I should have been more specific. Name and shame them specifically about their behaviour/customer-handling skills if SB had failed to take effective action, and an apology had not been secured. Shouting at a punter is always wrong unless it is to stop them doing something which puts life in imminent danger. Walk away.
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Stoatsbrother - agreed Very Happy
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Boredsurfing, you'll just have to stick to the threads about lactation and nappy changing wink
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Boredsurfing wrote:
Any word yet on why the thread with the same long OP as this thread on Mumsnet is now not available? Puzzled


From the mumsnet rules:

Quote:
Our policy is to keep intervention to a minimum (we don't have formal moderators) and let the conversation flow. Having said that, we will remove postings that are obscene, contain personal attacks or break the law.
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stoatsbrother, It's the ovulation calculator that makes the site wink Laughing

PJSki, hmm that could give the conspiracy theorists a difficult choice wink
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Boredsurfing, Toofy Grin
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Boredsurfing,

Also:

Quote:
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[quote="PJSki]Have you been in contact with their HQ since you've been back?[/quote]

Yes - I spoke to them over the phone and have been told to put my complaint in writing, which I'm working on, and I've returned the customer satisfaction questionnaire and ticked the box asking them to contact me but haven't heard anything yet.

They have also e-mailed the letter from the airline confirming the timings of the delay.

Other than that nothing....not even an apology Sad
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Snow Joke, ifirc you posted into the now missing Mumsnet thread, do you know why it has been removed Puzzled
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Snow Joke, did you receive a verbal apology at any time while you were out there?
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Boredsurfing wrote:
Snow Joke, ifirc you posted into the now missing Mumsnet thread, do you know why it has been removed Puzzled


Puzzled No idea - I don't use Mumsnet.....why does it matter?

PJSki wrote:
Snow Joke, did you receive a verbal apology at any time while you were out there?


Honest answer - yes we did.
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Quote:

In fact one family made a bed out of their suitcase & put their toddler to sleep in it.


An absoloute disgrace, yes we've been stuck in airports and have slept on the terminal floor (including my 2 and a half year old) but to do so after about a 30 hour journey with no knowing when the end was in sight Shocked
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Snow Joke wrote:


PJSki wrote:
Snow Joke, did you receive a verbal apology at any time while you were out there?


Honest answer - yes we did.


Well, one apology is the industry standard. wink
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PJSki wrote:
Snow Joke wrote:


PJSki wrote:
Snow Joke, did you receive a verbal apology at any time while you were out there?


Honest answer - yes we did.


Well, one apology is the industry standard. wink


Ah, well if I'd known that in the first place...what's all the fuss about wink (JOKE)
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Shimmy Alcott, put that Cayenne to a good use and drive to the Alps next time wink
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Shimmy Alcott, the OP said that before they flew to Milan that they were informed a coach would be dispatched to take them to their chalet, and the fact that two reps were on it would suggest that it can from France. Not ideal and maybe they should have called the group to update them, but they did know that a coach was on its way.

Snow Joke wrote:
I'm left with the impression that Ski Beat really don't give a toss about their customers and for that reason I would never travel with them again.

SB organised a hotel when they knew the flight was cancelled, organised a flight to an airport where planes were landing (no reps possible to meet the group because SB do not operate there) and told you that you would be transfered by coach to the resort, put two reps on a bus (assumingly from France) to Milan for a round trip that must have been 15 hours and got you to your chalet as soon as they could, yes their commiunication was bad and two stressed empoyees were a bit shirty with you, but are those actions of a company that does not care Puzzled

Some one in Venice once wanted a pound of flesh ..... but I think you want a bit more for your Milan diversion wink


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 24-01-10 21:14; edited 2 times in total
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Boredsurfing, I dont mind being stuck in airports - they have bars wink
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PJSki,

Now I didn't call you an idiot I said you strike me as one, you could still change my initial impression.

My law credentials re defamation and libel are no more than failing Tort twice during a law degree so although I clearly don't know what is right in this area I'm must be well-qualified re what is not. Or nit.



Can anyone confirm if Ski Beat operate a blacklist of troublesome guests?

The developing tone of this thread is very interesting, working in the ski industry I really didn't expect contributors on a holidaymakers' website to come round to defending the resort staff so strongly.
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albinomountainbadger,
Quote:

Can anyone confirm if Ski Beat operate a blacklist of troublesome guests?

Now, that would be illegal, are you suggesting that they do? Shocked
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Why on earth would it be illegal to decline the repeat custom of back bottoms? I know other smaller companies who do so just thought they might as well.
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