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Mountain Spy May 2015 Ski Safety

 

 

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In this month’s Mountain Spy, we address an idea that many of us have encountered before, but still wonder about its safety.

 



THE QUESTION: DO YOU ALLOW GUESTS TO SKI WITH THEIR BABY IN A BACKPACK?


Mountain 1, VT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hmm.
SAM: I’ve done it before, but never at your area, so I wanted to call and check.
Staff: Hmm. I’ve never had that question. Hold on a sec.
SAM: Sure. Thanks!
Hold time: Two minutes. Yuck.
Staff: Thank you so much for holding. We actually called out just to confirm with the, ah, um, the lift people. And everyone must have a pair of skis that are on. So, no. No. It’s very unsafe on our lifts.
SAM: Hmm. OK. Is that just standard company policy?
Staff: Yup. They will not allow you to board the lift.
SAM: OK then. Glad I checked. Thanks.

RATING: 5
COMMENT: GOOD THING SHE CHECKED WITH THOSE OFFICIAL “LIFT PEOPLE.”

Mountain 2, MN

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Let me place you on hold, one moment.
Holding…
Staff: Thank you for holding. We do not allow that.
SAM: OK, like not at all anywhere on the hill, even if I’m an advanced skier?
Staff: Yeah, nowhere on our hill do we allow that.
SAM: Hmm, even on the bunny hill? Do you have a conveyor lift?
Staff: No, yeah we do, but it’s still not allowed.
SAM: OK, thanks.
Staff: Yup.

RATING: 4
COMMENT: JUST BECAUSE IT’S A BORING QUESTION DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO SOUND BORED TO DEATH, GIRLFRIEND! HAVE SOME PERSONALITY!

Mountain 3, NJ

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Nooo. I don’t, I don’t think they would allow a baby to be up on the lift. I don’t think that’s a good decision. Our resort definitely won’t allow that.
SAM: Hmmm. OK. Well I’ve done this before at other areas.
Staff: Have you ever done it at this resort?
SAM: No, that’s why I’m calling.
Staff: Naaah, the resort will not allow you to do it. Kids have to be able to ski down on their own. It’s the company policy, ma’am.
SAM: OK, so that’s just company policy? Is it an insurance thing? I know other people who have done it at other resorts so…
Staff: OK, yeah, I guess it’s due to insurance reasons. That would be my best guess. I just know for a fact that the policy is that the child needs to be able to ski down on its own.
SAM: OK, but you’re not 100 percent sure?
Staff: No, I am 100 percent sure.
SAM: OK then, I guess. Thanks.

RATING: 3
COMMENT: A LOT OF “GUESSES” AND “DON’T THINKS” DOESN’T INSTILL MUCH CONFIDENCE.

Mountain 4, CO

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not.
SAM: OK.
Staff: It’s for safety reasons.
SAM: OK. My friend said you have a couple conveyor lifts?
Staff: We do. The X surface lift is for beginner skiers, and with your lift ticket you can get on it. And we do have two smaller ones that are used by the little kids in ski school. The large one is about 400 feet.
SAM: OK. Can I take my daughter on the conveyor lifts then, since it’s not a chairlift?
Staff: Just not in a backpack. How old is she?
SAM: She’s only 13 months. I’ve skied with her before in a backpack.
Staff: Right, ah, we don’t allow babies in backpacks on people while they’re skiing on the mountain.
SAM: Alrighty then. Company policy I guess. Thanks for your help.

RATING: 6
COMMENT: NICE ENOUGH ATTITUDE WITH A SIMPLE, CLEAR ANSWER.

Mountain 5, PA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, I’ve never had that question before.
SAM: Hah, OK.
Staff: I think I might say no on that one, but I can definitely ask my manager.
SAM: That would be great, thanks. I mean, I’m a very advanced skier, and I did this with my older child. I’ve just never been to your resort before so I wanted to double check.
Holding… 
Staff: I’m sorry I kept you on hold for so long. I was just trying to find an answer for you. I’m trying to think who else I can ask… OK, one more minute.
Holding…
Staff: Hello! I’m so sorry, but I finally got an answer. They said we do not allow that.
SAM: OK. And that’s a definite, strict “no” policy. No matter where I go on the mountain?
Staff: No, well it’s no if you’re going to carry the baby. It’s basically a no then.
SAM: Understandable. Thanks!

RATING: 8
COMMENT: NO IT IS, BUT BOY WAS SHE PERSISTENT TO FIND THE ANSWER!

Mountain 6, OR

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Oh um, I think so. I’m going to transfer you though to our mountain services who can definitely answer that. Just one moment.
Transferred…
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Just a second, let me check… OK. So we ask that you don’t, but it’s up to you.
SAM: Hmm. OK. Cool. Are there any restrictions of which chairlifts I can go on, or is it just generally not recommended?
Staff: It’s just generally not recommended.
SAM: Sounds good. Thanks!

RATING: 6
COMMENT: NO PERSONALITY WHATSOEVER, BUT AT LEAST SHE MADE THE EFFORT TO FIND A CLEAR ANSWER.

Mountain 7, CT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, no because they don’t allow any backpacks on the chairlift, so I would have to say no.
SAM: Oh! You guys don’t allow any backpacks on the chairlifts?
Staff: No. We do not.
SAM: What if someone has a Camelbak? That’s not even allowed?
Staff: Nope. They don’t allow any backpacks on the chairlifts.
SAM: Wow. OK. Well then, I guess a baby definitely won’t fit.
Staff: Ha ha ha. No, they won’t.
SAM: Hmm. Yeah, I’ve just done it with my older son and have friends that do it. I just haven’t been to your area, so I wanted to double check.
Staff: Yea, No. Sorry.
SAM: OK, thanks.

RATING: 2
COMMENT: NO BACKPACKS AT ALL?! HUH?!

Mountain 8, UT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, yeah, we do allow that here!
SAM: Great. I’ve never been to your area before and am visiting a friend in the area, so I just wanted to double check.
Staff: Yeah, of course! We do allow that for sure. So if it’s like a three-seater chair though, and you have your kid and two other people, you would still only have, like, three beating hearts on that chair. You know?
SAM: Um, I think so. Ha ha ha. So my baby basically counts as a person on the chair?
Staff: Yea it counts as a person on the chair, but it does not need a lift ticket.
SAM: Awesome. Are there any restrictions as to where I can ski on the mountain?
Staff: No, nope! There are no restrictions. Where you go is up to you and is at your own risk.
SAM: Awesome, thanks.

RATING: 9
COMMENT: HIGH POINTS FOR THE GENUINE ENTHUSIASM. IT ALWAYS MAKES THE CUSTOMER FEEL EXTRA WELCOME.
IDENTITY REVEALED: ALTA, UTAH

Mountain 9, VT

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Umm, you stumped me. I don’t know the answer to that question. Let me connect you with guest services who I’m sure will know the answer. One moment…
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Ahh, no we do not.
SAM: Really. Ummm…
Staff: Yeah, unfortunately everyone on the mountain has to be a ticket holder and we do not allow people, you know, who can’t walk or get on the lift by themselves or with little assistance up the lift. Unfortunately that’s considered an insurance issue.
SAM: OK, yeah. I did it there a while back with my older son when he was little, but heard things were changing so I wanted to double check.
Staff: Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s one of them. As long as I’ve been here, I’m pretty sure that hasn’t been allowed.

RATING: 8
COMMENT: POLITE AND TO THE POINT. NO FAULTS HERE.

Mountain 10, MI

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uhh, jeez. Let me transfer you over to snowsports. One second.
Transferred… 
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Ummm, that I don’t know. Who transferred you?
SAM: I just called your 800 number and spoke with someone who transferred me to you in snowsports.
Staff: Ahh, OK. Hold on one second.
Holding… 
Staff: Ah, no, we don’t allow that.
SAM: All right. I mean I’m a very advanced skier and have done it plenty of times before. There’s no way around? I mean it’s my child…
Staff: Um, all I can tell you is that they’re going to kick you off the hill if you do it. Just because you never know what’s going to happen, even if you are advanced, another skier could hit you.
SAM: OK, so basically they won't let me on the chairlift then?
Staff: They wouldn’t.
SAM: OK, well no worries, that’s your policy. Thanks for your help.

RATING: 6
COMMENT: NO LUCK HERE, BUT BIG POINTS FOR TRANSFERRING ME TO SOMEONE WHO KNEW THE ANSWER.

Mountain 11, NM

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, you could, but we really don’t advise it.
SAM: OK. And I completely understand that. I’m definitely not a beginner skier, and I’ve done it plenty of times with my older son. I’ve just never been to your area before so I wanted to double check.
Staff: Yeah, I mean they don’t really, like, say that you’re not allowed, but it’s definitely up to you.
SAM: Alright. Do you guys have Magic Carpet lifts?
Staff: We do.
SAM: Great, and I could ride those as well if I decided I didn’t want to go up on the chair?
Staff: Yeah, of course. That’s always an option.
SAM: Perfect. Well, thanks so much.

RATING: 6
COMMENT: GOOD BASIC INFO, BUT LACKED ANY DETAILS.

Mountain 12, BC

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah sure, let me transfer you to guest service who will have a better idea. One second.
Transferred….
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Restated question.
Staff: Um, I do believe that that is a personal choice, but let me just double check. One second please.
Holding…
Staff: Hi, sorry about the hold there. OK, so basically it is up to your own discretion if you do go skiing with a baby on your back, but the only issue would be with chairs.
SAM: OK. What’s that issue?
Staff: Well, um, it’s um, basically the baby would have to be on your front when riding the chair. And if it was deemed unsafe by the liftie at the time, you might not be able to get up that chair.
SAM: OK, gotcha. I can understand that. Do you have any conveyor lifts?
Staff: Um, we do have a Magic Carpet on the beginner hill, but it’s not very long. And it’s totally at your own discretion, so if you wanted to hike up even then it’s up to you.
SAM: Hmm. OK. That’s an option. Thanks.
Staff: Yeah, it’s mostly just going up on the lifts is the main issue, because the liftie would have to deem that it’s safe, and then there are the other people on the chair with you to consider.
SAM: Sure thing, I understand. Well thanks for finding out for me.

RATING: 7.5
COMMENT: SLIGHTLY UNCLEAR WITH THE LIFTIE DECISION, BUT SHE TOOK THE TIME TO FIND OUT THE ANSWER.

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