Jerm wrote:
>     >
>     >Mark is right - I don't think many people were using it for its
>     intended
>     >purpose.
>     For the intended purpose of selling more tickets, then no. But you
>     could make
>     the argument that it pulled in revenue from people who would
>     otherwise never
>     buy a ticket. Some percentage of those people do spend money on the
>     mountain in the form of food, forgotten gear in the shop,
>     whatever, at a time
>     of day when most of the skiing public is just getting out of bed.

It would be a weak argument, Jerm.  If I owned a ski area I'd far rather 
have the profit margin on a lift ticket than the profit margin on an 
overpriced cuppa joe.

When I moved to Sunday River in '87 to run the ski patrol there, we had 
the same policy.  We used to jokingly call that first hour "The Telemark 
Hour"  because roughly half of the people on the hill each weekday 
morning between 9 and 10 were over-wintering Outward Bound instructors 
from the base just up the road (not complaining about that - the school 
was a great source of rookie patrollers).  These guys would come in and 
if they did ANYTHING in the base lodge after 10 o'clock it was to grab 
some hot water for their own tea bag (they always brought their own 
re-usable sierra cups, so it's not like they were taking the serviceware).

We replaced the free hour with the ability to exchange your lift ticket 
for a voucher if you didn't like the snow conditions within an hour of 
purchase.  The only people who complained about the loss of the free 
hour were, to be blunt, people who rarely bought lift tickets (or 
anything else, for that matter).  Maybe Okemo's clientele is different, 
but that was our experience at Sunday River.

The snow quality guarantee created its own problems.  People would claim 
they didn't like the snow if it was really cold out, or raining.  It was 
a snow quality guarantee, not a weather guarantee.  Give 'em an inch... 
and of course, the real heartbreakers were legitimate snow condition 
guarantee demands during or just after major dumps.  There's nothing as 
depressing as being stuck behind a guest services desk when there's 
fresh powder out there getting tracked out by the minute, and you're 
looking at an hour's worth of comp writing to people who legitimately 
don't know how to enjoy the stuff but who lack the desire to try to 
figure it out.

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