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New Ski Club of Great Britain chat forum

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I was a Ski Club of GB rep / leader, but gave up my membership because I no longer wished to be associated with a club that was happy to have someone like Gerry Aitken onboard.

I found him rude, aggressive and vindictive to others, and I notice from some of his recent comments on other sites that, some 10 years later, he has not changed - a truly dreadful and embarrassing ambassador for the Club.

If true, I find it hard to comrehend that he's now become a Director of the Club.

I hope someone from the SCGB reads this and takes note - I know that I am not alone!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
stephen buck, you are not alone and they won't take note. Several sHs, including me, complained to the Club about his behaviour and the complaints weren't even acknowledged at the time. I can only assume Club members elect/appoint people in their own image.
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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?
Pedantica, looks like he resigned in 2008 and was reappointed in 2011 http://company-director-check.co.uk/director/917326762
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Gerry Aitken was elected as a councillor (director) of the SCGB in 2005, for the set term of 3 years, which is why he resigned in 2008. He was elected again in 2011. At the same 2011 AGM, the Club's constitution was changed to set a 4-year term, so he serves until 2015.

Pedantica's point is, unfortunately, essentially true. This is now a very narrowly-focused organisation which has a tenuous grasp on the requirements and pulse of British skiing, because those who run it principally concern themselves with maintaining the SCGB's expenses-paid resort operations (annual budget £230,000+) and other expenses-paid skiing related to marketing and other (largely) non-accountable activities.

Gerry Aitken's behaviour, 10 years ago, was so out of line that the then CEO Caroline Stuart-Taylor spoke to him to emphasise the complaints. Some of his more offensive postings were deleted. I've been in communication with him on this specific point, and this is what he emailed in response:

Quote:
Three people emailed the Club complaining that I labeled them as 'whiners' and Caroline Stewart Taylor [sic] phoned me to pass on their dislike of the term. It wasn't a reprimand or even a telling off. Not that the CEO was in any position to interfere in a political debate between paid up members. Caroline simply advised me not to get involved in heated online debates because she felt my status as a rep would be used by people, such as the three complainants and you, to generalise about the attitude of reps and the Club as a whole.


Three members of this community - Stephen Buck, pedantica and DG Orf - are on their own record as having resigned membership of the SCGB because of Gerry Aitken's conduct.

Of course - as we've seen over the years, in his own words or those of his suspected usernames - "whiners" is one of the least offensive terms he's applied to those who don't share his outlook or attitudes. More importantly, what is Gerry Aitken actually tasked to do as a director of the Ski Club? For some years he served as chairman of the New Media Task Group, which has promoted huge expenditure (perhaps at least £200,000) on website development. Here's something I wrote in 2008:

Quote:
According to a statement on 30.11.2006 (SCGB AGM) a New Media Task Group led by SCGB director Gerry Aitken was tasked with "working to establish the Ski Club as the source for snowsports news". My understanding from Gerry Aitken is that this task group comprises 9 members.

Taking the phrase "the source for snowsports news" at face value, it's a goal that implies the Club being regarded by skiers and the media as both a primary source and - presumably - the most comprehensive source. To be recognised by Google News as a top-ranking source the Club would have to write exclusives much of the time, and be ahead of the field in delivering news sourced from agencies and other websites etc.

Anyway, all in all, it's a very sensible objective in my view, achievable within the SCGB's resources, and very much in line with the Club's historical publishing aims and traditions.


Source: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=35028&start=480#839443

So, what happened to the SCGB's snowsports news? skiclub.co.uk has no obvious daily news-gathering function at all, and much more snowsports news is posted on this site or Planetski etc. More recently, why has the personal messaging function of the SCGB website not materialised, despite being promised in the Club's magazine (promised as an objective by Gerry Aitken himself on re-election in 2011)?

I've encountered (and once served on the SCGB Council) many highly competent people at the Ski Club. They've had very successful careers and have their pulse on British skiing. Sadly, the 'inner core' of SCGB movers and shakers - who are very determined to spend, spend, spend on airfares/accommodation/liftpasses/food etc. - don't essentially care about the 'big picture' or membership growth. The membership data can always be falsified anyway, which is frequently the case!

Time is rapidly running out for my Club. It has masses of money, so why is it not delivering?

Here's a question: what's happened to the Luttman-Johnson ski race (Zermatt) this year? This is/was the SCGB's longest-running mountain event (38th year in 2012). Can't find any news on the 2013 event, but here's last year's:

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/presscentre/pressrelease.aspx?pressReleaseID=131#.US3FIzd7TTo

And a snowHeads thread on the Luttman-Johnson event, from 2004:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=21672&highlight=luttmanjohnson#21672
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
But it's not only members who resign, is it? It's also the ones who are thinking about joining then don't, specifically due to this person's conduct.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
To be fair, he wasn't the only reason I let my membership lapse (I didn't 'resign') just one of the reasons.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Pedantica, sorry, I got "resigned" off Comedy Goldsmith's post. But crumbs, he's enough to put anyone off joining (to misquote Groucho Marx). OT, how's the bruise?
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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!
maggi, almost gone, thanks! But still a bit painful to lie on that side.
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 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.
Pedantica, ouch. Mine's all gone now....so maybe you win after all wink
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Without wishing to be self-indulgent, things are getting a little worrying. A couple of comments from fellow SCGB members. Gerry Aitken wants me to decompose (hopefully after a gentle form of death), or to burn an effigy (second quote) ...

Gerry Aitken on 22 February wrote:
... for all I care, he can go and rot


... while Helen O'brien is keen to set me alight in person ...

Helen O'brien on 28 February wrote:
If they do let DG back, I for one would be for burning effigies - if we weren't allowed to burn the real thing


One wonders if the new SCGB forum needs a fire officer, rather than a moderator.

Gerry's latest 'reasoning' is spectacular ...

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/membersonly/snowtalk/discussion.aspx/The-Ski-Club?discussionID=14314&page=1#.US-B8jd7TTo

Quote:
He claim the [SCGB leader] service costs £70 per skier day - false


Well, what does it cost then, Mr SCGB director? You have all the figures. The latest SCGB annual report states that the resort operations cost £230,043 (2011-12). The number of skiers who took part was 5230 (including non-members). If 3300 was the net number of SCGB members who took part, the cost was £70 per head. If more took part, the cost was less. You can give us the exact figure.

Quote:
I've been involved in a fair few sporting clubs, in my time, mainly football clubs. In these clubs it was acceptable to say things like 'the teams not performing' 'so and so had a poor game' 'he wasn't trying hard enough' etc. ok, saying that would have caused a 'debate' but what was never acceptable was to say 'you are deliberately trying to lose the game'. Anyone who said anything like that (without convincing evidence to back it up) would have been slung out. Not only would we have slung them out, we would have burnt effigies of them on Guy Fawkes Night.

And this is what I won't take from Goldsmith, the idea that I, or anyone else involved, am/are trying deliberately to damage the Club for our own ends ie, only concerned with maintaining our own 'subsidised' skiing. He's been saying this for years now, with zero evidence to support his view.

Am I just expected to take that and say nothing? I'm just not wired in that way and if that makes me incompatible with a role on Council, or as a Leader, then fine, I'll step down.


No one's asking him to step down, but he could moderate the tone a bit, and present some sort of rational argument. His own rules forbid this kind of inflammatory and offensive stuff, and correctly demand a high standard of conduct ...

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/membersonly/snowtalk/guidelines.aspx#.US-D-Td7TTo

Is it 'one rule for the members' and 'another rule for the directors'?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Oh dear oh dear that does not show the club in a good light does it.
I didn't realise you could read all that without even loging on to the Ski Club forum.
It's very public isn't it.
I assume all those involved post on here as well.
snow conditions
 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.
Charming! Some things/people never change do they... still a great advert as to why you shouldn't join them rolling eyes

Bet that scgb employee was really pleased he started this thread wink
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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
cathy, maybe you mean ex-employee? SCGB's Head of Marketing left in December (this thread started in December). Coincidence? [/wildguessalert]
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Comedy Goldsmith, you're a member, unlike me. Why don't you stand for Council on an anti-gerry mandate?

Or... you could come to terms with the fact that the SCGB isn't what you like any more, and move on...

For what it is worth, if Gerry had got his way I suspect MO day would not have happened.
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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:

still a great advert as to why you shouldn't join them rolling eyes


Ignoring all of this thread and the history, I still can't think of a single reason why joining would be a good idea for me Puzzled Maybe that's their problem - they don't offer anything which your average Boris can't get from free or at least cheaper.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Bode Swiller wrote:
cathy, maybe you mean ex-employee? SCGB's Head of Marketing left in December (this thread started in December). Coincidence? [/wildguessalert]


25 pages in this thread with 900+ replies, 55,000 views and probably high on a Google search ... all in about 2 months.
Pretty good marketing, no Puzzled
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ALQ, Really? You think? The beneficiary of all that traffic is... wait for it... snowHeads - a search of "SCGB" or "Ski Club" or whatever is likely to throw up a result with this site high on page one. Shirley?
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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?
Search of Ski Club Great Britain gets errr the Ski Club of Great Britain - this thread not even on Page 1, although Snowheads is 4th result
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
ALQ, I wouldn't have thought so when the vast majority of comments are negative.

Social media/engagement is very big at my work & seen as a very important way of engaging with people. Just our main Twitter feed has nearly 400,000 followers & I think the main fb page has 70,000 fans, plus lots of other department/individual engagements. Very rarely do you see negative posts - this takes time & strategy to build such a following & not to alienate people. Perhaps Gerry is in charge of the scgb's social media strategy wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Boris, most people here type SCGB tho - do a google search on that wink
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Boris wrote:
Search of Ski Club Great Britain gets errr the Ski Club of Great Britain - this thread not even on Page 1, although Snowheads is 4th result


Depends what Google searches you've done before. Google tries to please you by delivering results based on your previous sessions. Other people will get a different result but, generally, this thread will have done snowHeads more good than SCGB. You need proper tools to determine how well a site is doing and I suspect the origination of this thread is just an own goal, like an overhead kick from the 18yd line.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Bode Swiller wrote:
ALQ, Really? You think?

No, not really. I suppose it was a compliment to SH that the SCGB would market it's own forum on here. Yes, of course, SH's benefits from the traffic about SCGB. I just find it a bit weird that another forum is being discussed with such intensity (especially as it's not summer).

cathy wrote:
ALQ, I wouldn't have thought so when the vast majority of comments are negative.

Good point! But I have to admit that I did venture over there to see what all the fuss was about.
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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!
ALQ, actually, who cares? It's two bald men fighting over a comb.
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 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.
Bode Swiller wrote:
ALQ, actually, who cares? It's two bald men fighting over a comb.


Laughing Laughing Laughing

Couldn't agree more.
Now back to that Ligety clip for the 6th time tonight (thanks for that by the way...it made my day)
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Bode Swiller wrote:
ALQ, actually, who cares? It's two bald men fighting over a comb.


spot on Laughing Laughing
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

ALQ, actually, who cares? It's two bald men fighting over a comb.

Very Happy I now have a strange urge to see a picture of Comedy Goldsmith, w/wo beer
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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.
Buy, Sell or Swap over there has an interesting thread running.
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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
Bode Swiller wrote:
Depends what Google searches you've done before. Google tries to please you by delivering results based on your previous sessions. Other people will get a different result


One of the first results was this http://www.schnauzerclub.co.uk/ Puzzled
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Wildsmith wrote:
Quote:

ALQ, actually, who cares? It's two bald men fighting over a comb.

Very Happy I now have a strange urge to see a picture of Comedy Goldsmith, w/wo beer


I'm sorry, I don't do photo requests for people with strange urges, and I don't have a beer/beard. There is a recent group shot of me at the House of Commons in the company of various luminaries of the skiing world (including the chairman and chief executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain, and Sir Steve Redgrave - president of BASI). I'll see if this can be made available, provided that there are no strange urges to see it.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Red Leon wrote:
Bode Swiller wrote:
Depends what Google searches you've done before. Google tries to please you by delivering results based on your previous sessions. Other people will get a different result


One of the first results was this http://www.schnauzerclub.co.uk/ Puzzled


Yes, they are SCGB too. Some of their leaders are right dogs apparently.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So, it's 5pm on Friday 1 March 2013 ... and not a single post has been made on the SCGB public forum today ... with the exception of a witty comment by Mark Hunter ...

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/membersonly/snowtalk/discussion.aspx/Buy-sell-or-swap?discussionID=14228

Posts are currently running at about 2 per minute on snowHeads, as far as I can make out. For those interested in the ongoing (about 10 years and counting) debate about the cost-effectiveness of SCGB leaders (reps) ... Gerry Aitken posted again yesterday evening ...

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/membersonly/snowtalk/discussion.aspx/The-Ski-Club?discussionID=14314&page=2

... but the key question remains unanswered: how many different SCGB members skied with a leader last winter? Once we have that figure, the cost of the service per participating member can be calculated correctly. Over to Gerry ...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It is frankly unedifying and tedious to see this forum and "the other place" being used for personal attacks (whether justified or not). It is perfectly possible to raise and debate serious points with civility. Please put the handbags away.
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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?

Thank you. I've just given my handbag to this well-known politician, so she can put this innocent child into it.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Comedy Goldsmith, at least that is a step in the right direction.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Gerry's found another David to have an argument with ... the action started at 9pm yesterday evening and round two is this morning ...

http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/membersonly/snowtalk/discussion.aspx/The-Ski-Club?discussionID=14314&page=2#.UTHN6Dd7TTo

Gerry Aitken on the SCGB forum wrote:
At least I'm trustworthy and loyal. I don't claim a penny in expenses, either as a Council member or for Leading in resort and my feedback is always well above average.


Not quite clear what this means. I thought that all SCGB leaders had their expenses (travel, accommodation, liftpass, food) automatically covered - either in full or large part - by the Club, without any necessity for a claim. Perhaps Gerry could clarify that ...

Also, in the ding-dong between himself and David Turner, Gerry makes a big thing about the latter not being a SCGB member (though there seems to be some uncertainty about this). But if it's such a big issue in terms of defining an opponent, why post in the public area of the forum at all? Better to preach only to the converted! [free advice, no membership requirde]
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
All expenses need to be claimed for.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
So, are we to conclude that Gerry Aitken represents the SCGB at his own expense? Most recently he repped at Tignes (15-29 Dec 2012). Did he pay for the travel, accommodation and food etc.? According to a SCGB forum posting this morning he departed for Gressoney today, as a leader on a Freshtracks holiday. The cost of that holiday to members is £1275. I assume that the SCGB pay for Gerry's trip - is that not the case?

NUMBER OF SCGB MEMBERS WHO SKI WITH LEADERS (REPS)

Once again, Gerry is posting very odd, vaguely phrased information - bearing in mind that he is a SCGB director and can easily check any data.

Gerry Aitken on SCGB forum 2 Mar wrote:
Again, DG won't accept that 5230 (probably less than 5% were non members) individuals skied with the Leaders last season.


No, I've stated myself (because the 2012 annual report says so) that 5230 people skied with SCGB leaders last season. But the "probably less than 5%" figure is clearly a fantasy. He is a SCGB leader, so he must have a clear idea of how many in his groups - for a start - are non-members.
The Ski Club doesn't usually disclose the net numbers of SCGB members (i.e. excluding non-members) who ski with reps/leaders, but it did so in the following years:

1993: 3505 members in 33 rep resorts (total membership 14,994 paying units)
1994: 3493 members in 31 rep resorts (total membership 14,851 paying units)
1995: 3524 members in 34 rep resorts (total membership 14,995 paying units)
1997: 3813 members in 34 rep resorts (total membership 13,638 paying units)
2001: 3000 members in 39 rep resorts (total membership 16,363 paying units)
2002: 3392 members in 42 rep resorts (total membership 16,544 paying units)
2005: 4162 members in 44 rep resorts (total membership 18,340 paying units)
2012: ???? members in 35 rep resorts (total membership 16,782 paying units)

In 2005, an additional 1366 non-members skied with reps, so the total was 5528, which means 25% of the skiers were therefore non-members - not "probably less than 5%".

So, what do we conclude for last winter? Looking at the figures above, it's most likely that the net number of SCGB members who skied with leaders (remember that the number of SCGB resorts had fallen from 44 to 35) was 3300 to 3900 (the SCGB can confirm the exact figure, if it's generally agreed that this is important to know). The cost of providing the service last winter was £230,043.

Gerry denies that £70 is the cost per participating member of the repping/leading service. I assert that it's a fair estimate, pending precise data for 2011-12.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Sat 2-03-13 19:38; edited 1 time in total
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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!
It begs the question, so what if it costs £70 per participating member?

There's two ways it can go.

1: members are happy with the membership as it is, use what they use, and don't really care how much things cost.

2: They've worked it out the same way you have, in which case they must see it as reasonably value for money.
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 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.
Well, yes, clearly everything's marvellous. But there's just a hint of No. 3:

3: Members may or may not renew their £60 annual subscriptions, according to their perception of value for money. It's just possible.

In the current financial climate, where the SCGB is going to need to retain members who may want to drop out of skiing for a winter, value for money is going to be a critical test. That's why the budgeting is so important ... yet my impression (as a member, rightly or wrongly) is of a big gravy train of expenses-paid skiing. This week the SCGB has reps/leaders in four US ski resorts: Aspen, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole and Vail. It also has a big team of people ski-testing in Kuhtai, Austria. I'd like to know the cost of supporting these operations, how many members benefit from them, and how many new members are recruited as a result.

A club's responsibility is to use its membership fees and other revenues to the maximum possible effect, to optimise value for money and membership retention/growth. It did this very successfully from 1903 to the early 1950s, securing a piece of primary real estate in central London as a clubhouse. The SCGB now accounts for fewer than 3% of British skiers, but I believe that it had a strength 10x greater than this when I originally joined in 1962.

When the SCGB closed its public forum in 2004 it declared a membership base of 17,259 paying units. Strangely, the paying units figure was omitted from the last annual report (unprecedented). The figure obtained from SCGB HQ was 16,782.

In the intervening eight years, snowHeads has obtained over 30,000 membership registrations (a proportion of which are puppets). This may be relevant to the argument.

The Ski Club of Great Britain began as a simple means of skiers getting together, sharing advice and publishing information. The most obvious root essential for any club is for members to be able to communicate privately, publicly or communally ... without fear or favour. As of today, the most basic aspect of that - private messaging from member to member - has not been implemented, despite an announcement a month ago (in the Club's magazine) that the service now exists! This function has featured on snowHeads since Day One - it is standard forum software.

[end of Sunday sermon]
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Comedy Goldsmith wrote:
This function has featured on snowHeads since Day One - it is standard forum software.


AIUI the SCGB isn't using standard forum software.
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