Friday, February 29, 2008

First Turns of the Year

Despite my doctors orders, I took my first turns this year on the snow during the week. I took a few precautions before hand: splinting my arm fairly well; ensuring very few people at the resort; sticking only to freshly groomed runs. It felt wonderful!

On the wrist front, physical therapy has returned almost 100% of movement for me. I seem to have lost 10 degrees total of bending my wrist up and down which isn't too bad. Where I'm really hurting is on rotational (aka pronation) of my wrist. I seem to have lost a good 20 degrees which means I can't lay my wrist flat on a table. We're still working on this, but the outlooks isn't too good.

In other news, happy one day extra of skiing this season! Enjoy the Leap Day...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Comments Note

A quick public note to the sudden influx of german readers. I probably will not be accepting your comments as I can not translate/understand them. Post them in english and I have no problem accepting them. Or just let me know how you found the blog. Thanks


In my last post I briefly touched upon management needing to return the professional attitude they expect of their employees. I had a nice follow up to that and then Sat happened.

As my arm is still cast bound, it's difficult to drive in the snow, as such I'm carpooling with a few other employees at this time. I donate in for gas for the G.A.G funding that is required. This particular morning we were going to be delayed by a request to pick up some supplies for the pro shop guys riding in the back. As I'm not on the active duty roster and the driver was the only instructor, we cleared with the base camp that there was an instructor to take the drivers 9am beginner special group lesson class out. There was and we proceeded to run the errand for the rest of the team.

We finally arrived at about 9:10 am with the delivery and everyone ready to get out of a 1984 Subaru Legacy crammed full of gear. Inside the Ski School we find a note from the instructor who was to cover the 9 am class that can be summarized as "So long and thanks for all the fishes."

A note. No goodbyes, no reasons, nothing. Just a short little note written on the back of a car receipt for a muffler change. The odd thing about the whole scenario, this wasn't a first year instructor. Rather this instructor had been with the school for several years and was considered an extremely reliable member of the team.

One more instructor down...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Great Seasons Turned Ugly

"I hate this place."

That single statement represents the regular shift in team morale. It's sad, actually, in that we're having a great season, a ton of snow, great crowds, and business is booming with not just first time lessons. So why the negativity?

We could start with the loss of instructing staff that has happened. Myself due to injury, a senior instructor left due to their business finally taking off, one left due to outside commitments to college, another lost due to injury (although they have already returned to the line), one fired, and one mysteriously quit. Only a handful of people but in a small group each loss has been felt. I personally don't feel this is the reason for the negativity, but it certainly contributes to it.

Could it be the back to back class schedule starting from 8 am until the schedulers deem you worthy of a lunch break and then continued afterwards? Possibly. As it stands right now, most of the instructors start at 8 or 9 am with one hour private lessons that will run 4 or 5 in a row. They'll be given a 1/2 hour lunch break and sent back out for more of the same until the school closes. If you're lucky you'll get group lessons which give you an hour and half to work with people and a theoretical half hour to rest. It's theoretical in that you really never get the time to yourself, rather you spend the time talking to the students/parents wrapping up the class.

In my opinion it's the lack of respect returned from management and this season seems to have an abundance of it. When I wasn't put into the ambulance after my accident, I had to find a way down the mountain. I was in no condition to drive my own car, and had to rely upon the availability of another staffer to help me. Managements immediate reaction could be summed up to "that sucks". Several coworkers approached their managers about helping me, each turned down under threat of firing. Mine isn't an isolate case either, with several other injured staffers reporting back the same behavior when they have been in need of help. But let's not dwell on those points alone.

We're asked to be professional daily while working franticly to maintain a resort-like experience. Most of us actually enjoy it, as odd as that sounds. But after putting in so many hours, a little recognition from management would go a long way. Last season two of us parked a grill outside the ski school and began cooking meats and veggies for the entire school staff. Twice. Out of our own pockets. This season I used a friend working at a local pizzeria to deliver enough pizzas for the staff. In both these case the change in morale for the day immediate and amazing.

I'm not saying management has to do these things on a regular basis, but an occasional "yeah we know you worked hard today, thank you" would make a world of difference. It's returning the professionalism that you ask of us daily.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Helmet Laws

Looks like Michigan is trying to force skier to wear a helmet. The proposed legislature is here
. Oddly enough you don't need to worry if you're a snowboarder.

Being a big fan of helmets, I'm not sold that this is the right solution. I do believe it's a personal choice.