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On Monday, April 03, 2000 4:16 PM, Dave Higgins
[SMTP:[log in to unmask]] wrote:

> groomers and the general borification of skiing at some ski areas.  This
> reminds me (oddly enough) of a book by Brock Yates called "The Decline
And
> Fall Of The American Auto Industry."  As Yates saw it, a key factor in
that
> decline was that American auto execs first thought the surge in import
sales
> was due to cheapskates looking for cheap cars.  Hence, we got the Ford
Pinto
> and Chevy Vega.  However, Yates pointed out imports first caught on with
the
> social trend setters - the wealthy (Mercedes, BMW, etc.) and young
college
> students (Toyota, Honda, etc.).  These are the people that tend to set
the
> trends of what's In and what's Out in the cultural scene.  And they
weren't
> looking for what was cheap - they were looking for a level of quality and
> style Ford & Chevy didn't offer.  This misread of its customers nearly
led
> to the downfall of the American auto industry.

        For the past 6 weeks or so, we've been babbling on about the state of the
industry and most of the posts have been presumptuous, wander off course
and are loaded with so many misconceptions,
misinterpertations and erroneous assumptions that they are almost
impossible to respond to.  However,
Dave's post really hits the nail on the head about what "anti-McSki" REALLY
is.  IT'S ABOUT QUALITY,
DAMMIT.
        Widen, straighten and flatten the trails and bury them under Lo-Quality
snowmaking sludge so that customers can scrape - not ski - down a boring
icy slope.  Then throw on a high speed Octuplet lift
and exacerbate the problem even further with a higher crowd density on that
trail !    If the experience gets miserable enough, it can be then rated
and marketing-hyped as a quadruple black diamond trail !!   .... and with
the new snowmaking and lift, management now has an excuse to increase the
ticket price to a price of $59.  Gee, decreased quality of the primary
product line and increased price - funny, I spent 13 years in the aerospace
industry and if we ever took that approach to quality, we wouldn't be
"slagged", we'd be SHUT DOWN by the F.A.A., DAMMIT.  Then these ski areas
invest millions in golf courses and other miscellaneous crap which has
little or nothing to do with skiing and do very little to improve the
quality of their primary product line.  HUH ?????????????????
        Sounds pretty obscene, don't it?
        Alright, granted crappy skiing doesn't have the same dire consequences as
an outta' control crowded B747-400 meeting its demise in a fiery ball just
short of a runway, but the point is that quality is critical in any
business.  I would applaud the ASC if they announced that they were gonna'
make heavy investments in improving the quality of their snowmaking rather
than real estate - how do you ski on a condo?  Is there powder or packed
pow on interesting terrain on a condo?

On Tuesday, March 28, 2000 10:55 AM, Leigh Daboll [SMTP:ldaboll@14CHURCH
STLAWOFFICE.COM] wrote:

> "During his tenure he increased visits by 16 percent, revenues by 20
> percent, and EBITDA by 24.6 percent."
> -------------
> And this is supposed to be a bad thing????? Here we go again. I'm hard
> pressed to think of any other business/leisure activity where so many
> people seem to want the industry to whither and die.  Isn't it kind of

        HUH ???????? Who the h_ll gives a sh_t about profit & loss?  Leigh, I
enjoyed meeting you on Sunday, so I'm gonna' help you.  You just might not
be 100% dialed in to the workings of a free-market
economy <g> - after all, Canada is a little on the left.  Please listen to
me, comrade, as I have an MBA and have spent much time in Systems, Finance
and Accounting in mega capitalist corporations like
Fidelity Investments and United Technologies, hence I can help you see the
light <g>.  You see,
Comrade Daboll, in a free market economy, the CONSUMER RULES !!  We as
skiers are consumers
and for the most part, we don't care about the state of our producer.  What
we care about are  our friggin
products and they better be delivered to us and it better be what we want
and the quality had better be
acceptable or else we all but start taking hostages.  We don't care if
revenues go up by 20%+, we don't
care if he/she/it only breaks even or that the business is run at a loss by
some rich pig as a hobby for a
tax write-off.  Heck, Mr Spock can beam some money outta' nowhere to keep
the place going as far as
we're concerned.  What we do care about is getting our demands served and
it better be done with quality. Is this new guy at the ASC gonna' do that?
 Does he have a quality ski track record? Got all of this, comrade?  <g>
 .... <chuckle> <chuckle>  <g>
        Gee, are ski areas becoming too much like theme parks? HUH?????? Let me
get this straight,  ski areas compete with each other ... so what do they
do?  They decide to take on even MORE competitors by going against theme
parks and cruise lines in addition to each other.  Then they expect to
increase their returns on investment.   HUH ??????????????  Real
businessmen/businesswomen like Bill Gates and Jack Welch - as opposed to
total buffoons like Les rOtten - can't stand competition and they do what
they can to avoid it and look how Microsoft and GE have done.  For the most
part, as competition increases, profits tend to decrease.  That's how
economics work.  DUH.
        Otten goes out and leverages his firm to the hilt while his revenue stream
is volatile and
uncertain.  HUH ?????? Wall Street must be in hysterics over Otten - it
sure doesn't think he has any
credibility as evidenced by the fact that his stock was initially offered
at roughly $18/share and is now in
the terrible twos.  Businesses thrive when they provide a quality product
that satisfies a demand .... they
experience explosive growth when they do this with a unique niche product
line as opposed to a product
that is extensively offered elsewhere.  Geez, it seems that skiing in
itself is pretty unique - think about it, skiing by itself truly is unique
and special !  Hey, I see an investment opportunity !
        I don't want to go on a cruise .... I don't want to golf .... I don't
wanna' go to a theme park.  I'm a skier and I wanna' go skiing and do it on
quality snow in a quality environment that is not some hyperdeveloped
eyesore (i.e.: low quality sights & sounds).
        Manmade snow?  What a joke that is.  I gotta' laugh at those who say that
manmade snow makes great corn in the Spring.  HUH????????????  Suffer
through scraping - not skiing - down machine made Frozen McSludge on the
wide, homogenized, straight, flat featureless Porcelain Pastures for 3-5
months just so that you can enjoy maybe 2 weeks of corn in the Spring?????
 I hate to tell some
of you this, but the best corn is found in places like the eastern Sierra
Nevada, the North Cascades or
the Presidential Range and it ain't machine made.
        Some in the industry are figgerin' it out.  MRG's GM, Bob, came to us from
the Evil Empire of McBush and hence, has seen "both" sides.  One thing that
he told us on Saturday night is that the industry is noticing  a trend
where skiers don't care about "fluff" & "glitz" and that they want a
quality SKI experience.  I read where Vail - can you believe this, I'm
actually gonna' salute VAIL - opened up an area called "Blue Sky" which is
supposed to be very lo-impact, scenic and simple and was created in what
Outside Magazine said is a response to the growing backlash against the
tacky, tasteless
commercialized crap that is being offered in the ski industry.  Then
someone on this list - I forgot who -
dissed this adventure ski/pristine/non-Mc concept by saying that it was
analogous to a McLaren in the auto industry.  HUH???  It ain't a McLaren,
it's QUALITY and it's a trend in the ski industry.  Why do ya'
think that MRG is thriving or that other areas are opening up "adventure"
terrain or that Magic was
created with a "non-Mc" orientation?  Even at Killington, Pres - though he
did create a mess before Les -
created the "non-McConcept" Fusion Zones (one of these is rated as
intermediate) and "Wild Things"
which I understand was in response to Killington surveys which revealed
that the customer - he/she/it
RULES, remember - is in effect, overdosing on McSkiing.
        It's about QUALITY - the quality of the primary product of snow & terrain
on trails/slopes/glades of all degrees of difficulty and the quality of the
surroundings.  That's what anti-McSki is all about.  DUH.
        Sorry if this was a bit disorganized and I rambled a bit out of control,
but I had to get it off of my breasts in response to the posts over the
last 6+ weeks.

Mark

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