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For the intended purpose of selling more tickets, then no. But
you could make
>Mark is right - I don't think many people were using it
for its intended
the argument that it pulled in revenue from people who would
buy a ticket. Some percentage of those people do spend money
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
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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