5 years later...

PMTS Forum

5 years later...

Postby -- SCSA » Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

I thought this was worthy of its own thread.

5 years later.

I think I was Harald's first "highly vocal" customer. I found Harald and him and I instantly bonded. He was just like me, an entrepreneur who started with nothing. He was an old hippie just like me and he was changing an industry, as I was. I like to think HH took me under his wing. He'd send me email at 2 in the morning and get a response minutes later. I'd write him about the successes I was having. We went bike riding.

So I showed up on epic full of attitude and bravado. I had a chip on my shoulder which has since been transplanted to my skis. : wink:

Anybody who was there who claimed to have any knowledge of skiing; I basically told them they were full of it. Some of these people were/are PSIA members. Then, once I found out about the PMTS sentiment, which in truth was probably only held hard by 4 or 5 of members there, the gloves really came off. That's when I pronounced the infamous, "I can ski better than 97% of all skiers." I then challenged anyone there to show up, to a ski off. I think Todd M. was the first one I challenged, or maybe it was Barnes. Oh. I called Todd M's writings crapola. That didn't help matters either.

Then, to pour more gas on the fire, I anointed Bob Barnes the CEO of epic, then proceeded to tear into the guy, and his beliefs. What's crazy is that I had no idea who Barnes was or WTF an Examiner was. I just thought he was dumb bunny ski instructor. Then, I come to find out he trains ski instructors! These he/she/its buy his book and rely on his advice!

Uh, oh.

I instantly became the enemy of every ski instructor on epic, then some. Why? Because I was basically telling them they don't know squat, their leader didn't know squat and the organization they were all members of, needed a complete makeover. That's when I pronounced that it couldn't be an organization, because there was none. So I called it a Gang.

Then AC had had it and booted me.

So it's no wonder, the anti-feelings about PMTS over there. For those of you who've wondered where "97%" came from (some of my slang is still in use over there, i'm kinda proud of that), there ya go.

My fantasy is that all the ranting and raving I did turned into something positive. I'd like to think that by slapping ski instructors in the face that motivated them to hone their craft. I'd like to think a few changes have taken place somewhere that allows ski instructors to succeed, not fail. *One note here. I was contacted by more than a few, and they'll forever remain he/she/it, that I was right. That the system really does need a makeover and that's the reason why so many have left. I ski with a guy now who in my opinion is the best technical skier I've ever seen besides HH. He taught for years, then left, for these same reasons. He'd never go back under the current model. I've always like to fantasize that my ranting and raving lead to somebody, getting a great ski lesson.

So 5+ years later, what are the facts? Tipping is now where it's at. More skiers are starting to think about skiing with their feet and alternative ski instruction books/videos rule the roost. They're the #1 seller's. Skiers are starting to see that great skiing really is within their sites, because teaching and equipment have come so far. More skiers and teachers are starting to think outside the box. It's all good.

What hasn't changed? I think it's terrible that the Forest service only allows one ski school at an area. It stifles competition and competition is what creates great products and services! It is doing the paying customer no good. I'd like to see this rule gone before I leave this mountain and go out of bounds. Everywhere we go in life as a consumer, we are faced with choices for products, goods and services. Just go to 7-11 and look how many different bottled water choices there are. But when we go to a ski area, we get just one choice. This rule should be changed so competition can be allowed and so paying customers can have some choices. It is beyond the pale.

I also see far too many personal feelings, not enough business decisions. Ski or Skiing hasn't written about PMTS -- not even to slam it. The reason why in my opinion is that the editors come from the old school -- and HH has peed on their school colors. I understand that these mags have complete control over their editorial content. But I also feel that not reporting to their readers about the #1 ski instruction product (according to book sales) is not in their reader's best interest.

Skiers pay what I feel are exorbitant prices for lessons, yet don't leave the hill with anything to study from. To charge someone $500 bucks for a lesson then not send them home with study materials goes completely against how humans learn. Yet, this is what happens.

Then, there's no continuity, which also goes against how humans learn. A customer can pay for a lesson at ski area A, go to ski area B, pay for another lesson and be taught something that completely contradicts what they paid for at ski area A. A McDonalds burger tastes exactly the same in Detroit as it does in Vail. Order a Dominos pizza, no matter where, and it tastes the same every time. While this analogy may not be tit for tat, successful businesses operate pretty much all the same. Therefore, I think it makes sense from a business point of view, to teach skiers 1 through 9 from a manual. Provide them with books and videos, or at least, an interactive website. I think it makes complete sense to standardize lessons for all skiers across the board, levels 1 to 9.

I know if I was in charge of a ski area, the first thing I'd do is license the PMTS product and brand it the "Vail Ski School System." I'd make the ski school a priority. I'd fire the laggards and recruit the pros. I'd convince my pal to come back to work. I'd work with instructors every day, because they spend so much time with my customer. This past season, I bet I rode up with 20 ski instructors. Only 2 of them spoke a word to me. Most of the other 18 were flat out snobbish (have uniform and hair, aint I cool). I'd immediately fire the other 18.

I'll let you guys dissect this, have at it. But you'll never convince me otherwise. I know a little too, and what I've seen in these past 5 years or so, well, I'd never run my business that way.

So I hope I've put some stuff to rest. I've done my best to post something that's based on facts and findings. I've not attacked anyone and if readers of this post still feel ill, or are offended, quit whining and get over it. We've all admitted to our mistakes and I think it's time the other side does too. I think it's time to focus on the customer and putting forth the best possible product @ the best possible price.

Customers are starting to speak out fer cryin out loud! Matter of fact, if book sales are an indication, they've already spoken. How much longer can their feelings be ignored? There's nothing wrong with admitting to faults, trashing a model and starting over. Leaders of successful companies like Microsoft and Macromedia do it all the time! Remember "Bob", the OS that Gates wife had dreams for? Millions were spent on development, yet the product never went into production. A great company is a culture of employees that are entrepreneurial, nimble and lean. Non-profit means just that. No risk is too great if the risk is being driven by customers. Always, do what's best for the customer.

So it's 5+ years later. What have you done for your customer today?

How can you trash Bob like that?

Postby John Mason » Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:34 pm

How can you trash Bob like that? He was helpful, you didn't have to know anything! I loved Bob!

(you and I may be the only ones on this forum that even remembers that.)

(watch some people think your talking about Mr. Barnes - (which he/I am not))

Good comments. I didn't realize that forest service rule. That is probably the biggest structual problem for competing systems of any kind. Of course, the forest service and the resorts have the public and liablity issues to think of. If any type of teaching was allowed, some teachers may teach high speed GS to beginners. By limiting it to one ski school everyone knows and has a level of confidence in what is being taught. It's just a poor antiquated excuse for a ski learning methodology.

Like I mentioned in my other post, I have 2 family members that I'm going to have to drag back on the hill sometime after their terrible experience in their first lesson. Wedging is hard. You have only limited control, your knees hurt, you get tired, if you get to something a tad steep, you can't slow down enough. You can learn a side slip as a beginner. You can learn a garland 2 footed release as a beginner. You can learn to link 2 footed release turns as a beginner. Just boggles my mind why people don't see this or why the resorts like to lose skiers like this.
John Mason
Posts: 1050
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:52 pm
Location: Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Postby -- SCSA » Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:38 am


Did Bob ever make it into production? I remember reading about the plans for this "really friendly OS that thinks for you" (which is a complete departure for any MS product! :wink: ) or something like that. Then I remember going, "Okay, Bill is just trying to get his wife off his back."

Then I read Bob's obituary a few months later, nary a comment from Msss. Gates.

I don't think so

Postby John Mason » Sun Mar 28, 2004 3:14 pm

I don't think Bob every made it past the dog and pony show stage.

I often wonder if the annoying assitant in MS's office products are the genetic equivilant of Bob.
John Mason
Posts: 1050
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:52 pm
Location: Lafayette, Indiana, USA

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