Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Deer Valley Use Technology

An article over on SkiPress is that Deer Valley is going to put new technologies to use over the summer to help riders find the pow. Using some GPS and stuff... quote from the article:

But before skiers even hit the hill, Deer Valley’s new Snow Scan Ground Penetrating Radar, combined with a GPS system, will provide color coded maps of snow depth on any part of the mountain, so that it will be even easier to find the best powder.
Not much else to the article though. Anyone know more details?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pro-Forms Commentary

Following up on my Alpenglühen: Industry Pro-Forms post, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the whole deal.

The idea of a local rep who rides on the same mountains showing off the latest and greatest from company XYZ is rather out-dated. The number of times I've actually run into a specific company rep on the mountain in the last five years can be counted on one hand. I'm fine with this position disappearing with one caveat; ensure that your authorized retailers have a full line of demo skis (models and sizes) for use. I'm not sure if all local reps do this, but when I was looking at purchasing Volkl's a few seasons ago, the local rep not only knew the skis very very well, but more importantly knew who had them locally (and who to ask about for second opinions). This made a huge difference in my decision to buy anything. This will put more overhead on the ski shops but potentially return the sales to them as well.

In my mind, ending the Pro-Form system as a whole isn't the best idea. As employees on the mountain, the management constantly encourages us engage the customers throughout the day, especially as we directly deal with customers. Often this involves riding a lift as a single with a group of other riders for the day, helping fallen riders, or cleaning up some of the trails. Since a lift ride can be long and boring, it's more fun to talk about something; the riding for the day, or the equipment someone is using. I've never considered myself a sales person for the gear, more an ambassador of the mountain, but I've had on numerous times been quizzed on my gear and my preferences. I've even seen the results of such recommendations, a student or rider coming back days later to complain or thank me for a recommendation.

As of this past season, I've stopped recommending my favorite ski shops to people for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they're too damn expensive. I've printed out little business cards to hand out that have a list of local ski swaps, meets, and used gear retailers. I point out that ski shops are great if you want to be sure of a purchase that day. Outside of that these alternative methods are much cheaper and depending upon your purchase time frame, can be a much more lucrative purchasing option.

Industry Pro-Forms

I haven't kept on top of the whole debate, and I'm fairly certain I don't know enough of the details to make a solid opinion. But it seems one of the better deals for being an instructor, the Pro-Form, is going away or at least being drastically re-designed.

I had heard from the Volkl rep (owned currently by K2) towards the end of the season that K2 was going to discontinue it's Pro-Form deals. Rumors abound that Elan/Dalbello will be following with some unspecified changes (most likely similar) too. The NSSRA Message posted on the PSIA website confirms some of these statements:

At the membership meeting, Tim Petrick of K2 Action Sports announced that K2 is eliminating all proforms and shop employee forms. Petrick said that, in the future, K2 prostock dealers will be listed on the K2 website. PSIA and other pros will be directed to that list. An official announcement and policy statement will be forthcoming.

As I have always understood the issue, it's not so much the Pro-Form itself that is an issue, it's the "Bro-Form" deal. Some have suggested it's not so much the Bro-Form as it's the local shops complaining about being undersold. Maybe things aren't as dire as they initially sound either way some clarification really needs to happen with this.

There seem to be a large amount of Internet debates regarding this already. Check out Epic Ski or Teton Gravity Research's community boards for some nibbles of information. ]

Friday, June 1, 2007

Free Ski

Looks like the fine folks at Crested Butte figured out something good again; the return of the Free Ski. There's no mention on the site yet about the changes, but to me this seems like a no brainer. Get a few people in on early season where they can see what the mountain has to offer. Get them psyched up, addicted, and then cut them off and charge for that ticket.

Make a Ski Film

Looks like the good times won't continue to be rolling for the wonderful guys at Teton Gravity Research. In a now rather lengthy post on their forums, someone outted the news that they were for sale. A follow up post on SkiPress had no more details but significantly less juvenile name calling.

If you've ever wanted to have your name on the big screen, or even small screen, now is your chance. Put in a bid for the company and make some great films.