Thankful this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving is quite different than any of the one’s I have had the last three years. For the first time I wasn’t up before the sun, getting ready to run the ski lifts for the day. This year I was able to sleep in, read a newspaper and enjoy breakfast on my own time.

Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the ski industry. If the weather allows, resorts will do everything they can to open up for this holiday weekend because it can mean big business for them. November does seem a bit early for skiing, but last year on Thanksgiving, guests got to make turns at almost every mountain at Tahoe that were incredible for only being late November. I made history last year at Mt. Rose on Thanksgiving. Mt. Rose opened up from top to bottom including the chutes on Thanksgiving day. It was the first time in the history of the resort that they were able to completely open entirely that early in the season.

The mountain is like my second family. I’ve never once wanted to be anywhere else, even on a holiday, but this year is different. I am so thankful that today I will get to spend it with those I love. As much as I love skiing and working in the fresh air of the mountain, the Thanksgiving lunch we get up there won’t even compare to the feast I will get to enjoy later tonight.

This year I am thankful to be healthy, happy and supported by so many loving people. It is something I will never take for granted.

Tahoe Snowcial

Recently I started seeing some talk on Twitter about a Tahoe Snowcial. I was curious as to what this was because it sounded like something interesting for those involved in social media in the ski industry. I looked up the website for the event on Google and here’s what I found.

Tahoe Snowcial’s website describes the event as,

“Snowcial is a one-of-a-kind winter conference that attracts an elite community of global snowsports enthusiasts who come together every year since 2009 to connect with their passion for snow, link turns with their friends and share their stories online. Created by hardcore skiers and snowboarders and set in one of the world’s most iconic snowsports locations, Heavenly, Lake Tahoe, Snowcial puts as much emphasis on interaction as it does education, providing opportunities to develop personally as well as professionally, both on the mountain and off.”

This year the event is from January 18th-21st at Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe. Every year there is a guest speaker that highlights the entire event. This year they have Joe Fernandez, who is the CEO and co-founder of Klout. There are alos many other events including a VIP poker night, ski days at Heavenly, and after parties at different clubs in the area.

This event is very appealing to me. I think attending something like this would be a good opportunity to put my foot in the door in the industry and develop relationships among those already in the industry. The activities sound like a lot of fun and I think it would be a great way to learn a lot of new skills.

Opening Days!

It’s hard to write this post today with the fire raging through Reno. All the wind bringing the next two storms into the Lake Tahoe region has sparked a fire that has devastated parts of southwest Reno. So while the new snow and opening resorts are exciting, it’s hard to think about having fun with all the horrible news today.

Northstar California marked the opening of their 2011-2012 ski season with five lifts open. Two of them are the gondolas to mid-mountain and the other three access terrain further up the hill. Most of the snow on the mountain  has come from their extensive snowmaking system. Check here for the cheapest lift tickets if you want to head on up there this weekend!

Vail’s other resort at Tahoe, Heavenly, was scheduled to open today but unfortunately wind kept them from doing so today. They do plan on opening this weekend as long as the weather allows it. The snow they have on the mountain is all man made and machine groomed snow from the largest snowmaking system on the west coast.

The opening of these two resorts this weekend starts the opening of all the resorts around Tahoe. By next Thursday over nine resorts in and around Lake Tahoe will be open with limited terrain for guests to ski Thanksgiving weekend. While it wont be the same as last year where most people were skiing feet of powder on Thanksgiving, it is still exciting for winter to finally be here in Tahoe.

Here is a list of all the specific resort opening dates for all the resorts along with trail maps and directions to all the resorts! Be sure to check Liftopia for the best deals too!

Certified or not?

I was talking to come fellow Mt. Rose coworkers this weekend about some changes it seems the mountain might be doing with their hiring for the season. In ski school, they always hired anyone who was able to ski or snowboard, and made it through the tryouts they put on every year. This year, it appears that they are going to be requiring the instructors to get certified and be able to ski AND snowboard. It’s quite a big difference and not many past instructors are happy about it.

I know that there is a big incentive to being a PSIA certified instructor, MONEY! A mountain will pay a high wage to those that are certified versus those who are not. The higher the certification, the more money one can make. I always knew that there was a good reason to be certified but what about those that don’t want to pay the money and go through the testing? They might be a great instructor for small kids and those who want to learn the basics, but should it be required of all staff to have the certification for teaching?

It makes sense for a mountain to want to have a full staff of all certified instructors. The credibility of the ski school program will dramatically increase and the quality of the lessons might increase as well. I think that if a mountain wants to require their instructors to get their certification, they should either host a day of testing, or help the employees pay for the exam. Many times, an employee will have to miss days of work to attend the examination and on top of that, they have to pay for it. There are a lot of employees that work at ski resorts that don’t have they extra money on hand to do this. If the mountain were to host a day of testing, and give some compensation to the employees, it might make the appeal greater.

Regardless of what a resort’s policies may be, ski instructors are very important to keeping the sport of skiing alive today. 🙂

Dashing through the snow!

With most of the ski resorts in Tahoe making snow and Boreal already open, the excitement of the new season is overwhelming. Even though summer was mild and very short, it seems like forever since I’ve been skiing last.
The start of a new season is always the most exciting time. Its a time to test out the new gear that has been bought over the summer and make sure you’ve got your setups all dialed in. This time of the season is my favorite because it’s also time to start working on the mountain again.
Even though I’ve been able to work for the mountain around town, being on the mountain is really a magical place. The fresh air, the beauty, and all the snow that mother nature and the incredible snow machines have made. The excitement is also there in all the employees new and old that share the same passion for skiing and snowboarding.
This season will be a little different for me because I won’t be able to ski till March or April, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am overjoyed with the idea of being around winter and snow again. Its really a part of who I am.

Yelp!

The next assignment that we were given in my social media and branding class involves writing a review on Yelp. I haven’t had much experience with the web site except one time while I was in Palo Alto looking for Gluten Free dining. I thought the website was only for restaurants but after clicking away, there is so much more to Yelp than just restaurants.

I found reviews of ski resorts on their and wanted to see what people had to say about the ones that I frequent the most. When I pulled up the results for Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, I saw a lot of positive results. Most of them seemed to say the same thing. They had great customer service, cheap prices and lack of a crowd compared to Northstar and Squaw.

Seeing these has me wondering if resorts pay attention to the reviews that people post on here. It would be very smart to see if there are things the resort is doing wrong or things that they are doing right. If the results are very positive, they can use this to give their employees a pat on the back or let them know that their hard work is paying off.

This tool should be used as a part of a company’s social media program. Besides looking at what people are saying on Twitter and Facebook, using sites like Yelp can allow a company to see what people liked and didn’t like and potentially find a way to resolve the problem.

Here is a link to the reviews on Mt. Rose. Enjoy!

A great example

To continue what I talked about yesterday, effective social media can be really positive and reap many rewards. Tonight, I joined my boyfriend at the Moment skis/Voleurz movie at the Moment ski shop. They are a local company here in Reno doing huge things in the ski industry.
Tonight is a great example of effective social media and advertising. Moment only uses word of mouth advertising. They use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to advertise upcoming events and create hype about their products. By using all they tools, they were able to gather a few hundred people in the back of the shop yard to show a movie, provide some beer and get everyone stoked about the upcoming season.
This type of advertising showcases social media at one of its finest. Without any of the social media tools, it would be a lot harder to get so many people out there to support the shop and what they are doing.
Everyone seemed happy and excited to be there. I didn’t hear one person complain despite the freezing temperatures and brutal chill in the air. It was really a great night and I hope the snow gods are kind enough to drop a little snow in the mountains to help get this upcoming season started!