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I'm with the complainers and the pow'ers

on this one.

 

and not to rail on ron mc'd too hard, but

I'm sure he is a marketer. After all it's

people in the market who I'm constantly

complaining to.

 

When I think about the service that gets

provided at just about any business -

restaurants, car washes, credit card co's,

telephone co's, banks, mechanics, etc. etc.

I ALWAYS HAVE TO COMPLAIN . . .

in order to get the service that I desire

(the service I'm paying for)

 

Think about it, how many times have you been

on the phone with someone in marketing, or

face to face with some manager, and it's

always "no we can't do that for you, sorry"

but if you complain loud and long enough,

you always seem to get your way - right?

 

Market peoples' bottom line is always to

get your dollar, and give you as little as

possible (including their time). Sometimes

a simple rational argument or request gets

you what you want, sometimes you need to

explain your side, and sometimes you just

have to b!tch.

 

I wish it didn't have to be so difficult,

but the complaining works in so many

situations:

 

when you didn't want cheese on your pasta.

when you don't want to pay that $25 bad check fee, or $20 late fee

(not because you weren't at fault, but because it's too much money for chrissakes)

when you don't have phone service for 4 months, but they want to charge you anyway.

when they try to charge you for repairs on broken equipment they installed - that should be under warranty anyway.

 

and yes, you gotta complain when there is untouched waist deep powder on a navigable slope.

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 Quote:
Originally posted by danz:

maybe we should start a massive campaign...
Snow Riders For Better Snow Riding in Japan
flood every ski resort with email complaints...would SJG sponsor this?



how blind are you guys?? smile.gif
just think about, how much pow each of us gets, when we duck the ropes, and how much pow we would get if there where NO ropes and everyone could "try" to ride pauda!

you know, in europe thinks almost every beginner, who can make a turn without falling, that HE is an absolutely powder junkie.
the reason is that everything, if save or not, is tracked, a day or sometimes just hours after the snowfall!
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There was a headline up in the onsen I went to yesterday about another two people being lost out of bounds. I didn't see the story, so any news appreciated.

 

A guy from got lost off Kurobishi at Happo last week, to add to the couple that got lost off Usagidaira on Jan 8/9. Last week's guy was all by himself. I've never been in a search party, but it must be one helluva pain in the ass. I don't suppose a hiker who went off unprepared into a strange part of the mountain in winter would get much sympathy, and it's questionable whether a boarder/skier should be treated any differently.

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NoFakie your point is valid. I would not like to be in a search pary either. Nor would I like to be the subject of one.

 

However, the case at hand is not skin strapping, shovel, probe, beacon back country powder. It's in-bounds roped off areas that people are skiing/boarding where I can see a double standard.

 

Sure if you wanna go in the backcountry you must accept the risk, but as long as I am paying 4,500 yen or so for a ticket I want my money's worth. I don't know about anyone else, but when I am putting down my hard earned cash on a day or weekend's skiing and roll on up to the feild only to find half of it is roped off or inaccesible I am p!$sed.

 

What are we paying for at a ski field? Hte patrol don't do avalanche control, there is not lift lines as such for the lifties to organise, the price of food and drink is highly inflated, even the price of a locker is way above market value!

 

God, it sounds like I shouldn't go skiing huh. NEVER!

 

I am with Ocean and Barok! Complaining is the only way to go!

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Now that you've made it clear that we're not talking "serious" backcountry here, just good off-piste riding - I'm definitely supporting the cause (especially after last weekend's race with the patrol guy Nat already mentioned.. smile.gif

 

I probably haven't been in the country long enough to know how well complaining works on these kinds of issues, but I can promise my full support - by riding all accessible terrain where there is at least a glimpse of powder in sight, in every resort I visit, whether it involves rope-/fence-ducking or not, until I get stopped by patrols (at which point I don't have a clue what the guy is saying - after all, neither English nor Japanese is my first language..).

 

Keep on riding! Looking forward to seeing you fellow-fighters on the slopes

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Kuma, speak to the patrol in Bear, that should see them off quick enough.

 

barok, I see you take a dim view of marketers, but my point is that real ones have sympathy with their potential customers' wants (which is why I doubt ronboy is a practioner). My local weather news has resort-sponsored background video of people riding in prime powder, and features images of helicopters flying overhead (meaning: freedom, access to inaccessible locations). This is of course fraudulent advertising, as most places won't deliver on that, but it at least recognizes that powder and freedom are things that customers might secretly want.

 

Finally, shall we agree to mean 'off-resort' when we say 'back-country', and assume that if we don't say 'back-country' we mean 'on-resort'? That would save us some confusion.

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I agree with that marketing bloke. You guys are just talking about what you think should be great - you are not thinking from the point of view of the resort business - which I am sure none of you really know anything about (especially resort business in Japan).

 

Yes, if the resorts are to market their resorts effectively maybe they should open up more? But there are surely REASONS why they don't.

 

Yes, curry rice might be expensive at resorts and you ask "where the hell does my 5000 yen go?". Well can you see many resorts making much cash right now? (Even back in the bubble days). Their costs are enormous (I don't know, but my Japanese colleagues brother is a manager at a popular resorts), and they are hurting. "But make it cheaper", "But open up more", "But, but, but", you ask - but frankly you do not know the constraints/environment in which there people are working.

 

Anyway, just wanted to add a bit to the other side.

 

And for the record, I too hate seeing cordened off and no go areas - it sucks. Just want to hear a balanced discussion on it all.

 

Go on, start the flames!1 smile.gif

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well...this is turning into an interesting

discussion indeed...

 

as much as I may not understand what goes

into to running a resort...I am not blind...

clearly, there is no money put into upgrading

all those slow double/single lifts to high

speed quads...clearly there is no money going

into maintainance (i.e. unropping runnable trails)...clearly there is no money into training lifties (lift lines here is more like sheep hearding)...clearly there is no money going into making any facilities modern...

 

i've been to 10 different resorts here, and i really feel like i'm skiing in the 80's (fashion aside)...given the proximity of some of these resorts to one of the worlds largest metropilisis, it doesn't add up (at least in my brain)...

 

I haven't done my research, but I am willing to bet that many resorts in japan get much more volume than many US resorts in the rockies...and there is no comparison as to which resorts are better...

 

my 2 cents

 

danz

 

------------------

pray for snow

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Yeah I know what ya saying danz, but have you ever wondered WHY money is not being put into those facilities.

 

The answer to that one is real simple - they do not have the resources to do that. They really don't have the cash.

 

And please don't anyone come back with the "well it costs 5000 yen for a day out there". Remember that from April to November their income is - oh - close to zero.

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I think the only restrictions on the resorts is the b-sh!t Forestry and Angricultural Ministry's protection of forests and fauna that they would gladly give up if it meant a new highway was to be put in so they could make huge bucks off the over-tender.

 

I disagree with what you say about these places hurting, having many restraints, etc. If they have a consumer oriented business mind they would act against these restraints.

 

They can drop prices and get more people in. Afterall a 1000 people at .5 yen versus a 100 people at 1 yen means more Yens in the pocket. Add to this the giving to the people something to come back for and the begining of the resolution to your problem begins.

 

No resort will drop prices becasue as far as they are concerned the other charge this much so we can too. Perhaps if one resort dropped parking charges, lift ticket prices, food prices, made the whole experience that much cheaper for everybody then they could grab a substantial size of the market.

 

My company is in the same boat - in trouble and near bankruptcy. We no longer run the same parameters as when we healthy. We can see a need to make money and so we find creative and inventive ways of doing this that benefit and hopefully satisfy the customer, but at the same time our company.

 

BTW, I am in marketing, but I say power to the consumer!

 

All it takes is a bit of creativity and a more consumer oriented business mind on the resort's part

 

[This message has been edited by mogski (edited 30 January 2002).]

 

[This message has been edited by mogski (edited 30 January 2002).]

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Agreed with you too mogski, although it is not quite as simple as you make it out.

 

As a matter of interest, some resorts have reduced charges this year. And from what I have heard it has had little or no effect on the number / market share for that resort.

 

Fact remains that the majority of people are willing to spend a bit more to enjoy their "ski life" at their PREFERRED resort rather than save a little bit to ski somewhere they don't really want to.....that is not the mindset of many ski and board consumers. After all we are talking about a pastime that is considered a "luxury" or at least an "expensive fun thing to do" - so the same rules do not apply to it as they do to cheap consumables (ie, the consumer will be more fussy). Hope that ramble makes sense!

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mogski, not at all surprised to hear that you are in marketing. So am I tangentially.

 

I expect that many of these places are indeed hurting, and I think the reason lies in the relatively greater sophistication of Japanese consumers. In the bubble time, you could throw up any crappy attraction and people would go to it, and have their nostils surgically widened so the money could be pulled out of it in bigger volumes. Now, though, the successful attractions are highly branded and very sophisticated productions.

 

Personally, I'd rather slip through luscious powder between nicely spaced trees than go to a facsimile of Spain in Mie. If this experience became widely available, at the right price, and with appropriate promotions, it would take off. And it needn't cost the resorts a penny more to provide it.

 

Personally, I won't be going to 47 again now that I've developed a taste for tree runs, and I've heard that they make it miserable. They's made their bed, and they can lie in it. Instead I'll go to the more relaxed places that I know, and defend my perogatives as a consumer if they're threatened.

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how about some ideas for action?

 

*if any of you are journalists or have contacts at winter-sports periodicals

(eg Yama-kei, etc), start writing articles about the virtues of powder,

off-piste, tree-runs. I'm sure that there will be more than one of us

who will be influenced to take a visit up to Hakkoda by Hutch's upcoming

article about it.

 

*contact various resorts and let them know our feelings about this.

And, instead of framing it as complaints, think of it as constructive

suggestions to help improve their resorts, and our sport. It could be

another way that they differentiate their resort from others.

 

*start compiling a list, and publicize it, of resorts that are and are not

off-piste friendly. For example, in the Yuzawa region, Kagura vs. Kadatsu, etc.

 

any more?

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Then that is your choice and their loss isn't it Ocean?

 

But in the minds of the business bods behind the resort, your "non-mainstream" tastes are not worth it. The reason for which I do not know and neither do you - as we are not running a ski resort business in Japan and so we could not know.

 

The fact remains that it's their choice, they want to make money, and they do the best they can with the resources available and the constraints they are working to.

 

And to say that they are all just crap marketers is just a bit naive, and too easy to just say.

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my fellow comrades in powder...

 

i would love to take some action...

anyone in here proficient enough

in japanese to put together sometype

of generic letter to send to the resort

of our choice??

 

I'll give it a shot, but it will take me a

while...and i don't think i can do it during

work (i have to spend my time reading this board instead... smile.gif)

 

danz

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brit-gob are they really doing everything they can?

 

From my amatuer point of view I beleive not.

 

I wish not to blame it on marketing and business strategies, but what else is there too blame it on?

 

Look at all the complaints and observances so far. There seems to be a continuous trend of the same nature.

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Any legal experts out there? I've heard that the resorts only lease their land (heard this i Hakuba). If this is true would they be legally permitted to only the on-piste terrain. If so it might make them liable to lawsuits or whatever else if they were friendly to any out-of-bounds ski/boarding. Also, I've wondered if they might be liable for not making accessable terrain safe, but Mogski's original example of beginners allowed on huge kickers makes the possibility moot. Anyone know if laws, as well as economics, do not come into play somewhere here.

 

Keep off-piste suggestions coming. I've always gone to 47 for its trees. I've heard Tsugaike is has a good, little used area as well, and that Iwatake is the most off-piste friendly these days though quite flat. Don't really know for myself yet though...

Maybe crude Mr. Ocean11 can say, or any of you more blessed than the rest with nearby resorts.

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It strikes me that one thing you guys may be forgetting here is that you are in a fairly small minority.

 

Of course many on this forum will think alike, but what about the non-hardcore Ms Suzuki and Kenichiro-kun who just like to ski/board for the fashion of it and are not people who spend hours on a winter sports website every day thinking about their beloved boards etc.....

 

Ms Suzuki is not particulary interested in what you are talking about.

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You ask if they really are doing everything they can?

 

Well in their minds they are, otherwise they might have done this before. My main point is that it is nice and easy to site here and write about how we would do this and that as a big manager, but we do not know all the huge amount of variables etc etc etc etc involved.....

 

That's all I am trying to say.

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There are some resorts that have programs to ride in the ungroomed and/or get to back country stuff (submitting “üŽR“Í in Japanese may be required)

 

Hokkaido:

Asahi dake

Niseko

Shiribeshi

 

Aomori:

Hakkoda (gueded tour highly recommended)

 

Yammagata:

Zao

Tengendai

 

Iwate:

Hachimantai

 

Niigata:

Arai (In bound powder areas)

Kagura Mitsumata

Myoukou

 

Nagano:

Happo

Tsugaike (Shizen en)

Amakazari (Otari onsen)

 

Toyama:

Tateyama

 

These are only a few ones comes to mind. There are bunch of books sold to describe a lot of classic BC tour routes. Borders be aware, since they are developed skiers in mind. So check the routes with topo maps for any possible long traverses.

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 Quote:
Originally posted by NoFakie:
There was a headline up in the onsen I went to yesterday about another two people being lost out of bounds. I didn't see the story, so any news appreciated.


It was a couple of guys that got lost on a (maybe 2, unclear sing/plural) snowmobile up in Iwate. One didn't make it back unfortunately.

Like Ivo says, it's thanks to the ropes that it takes so long for the inbounds pow to get tracked. You may get a bollocking and lose your pass now and again, but that's a small price to pay. If there wasn't such a risk, the snow would be tracked out in no time, especially for you weekend people.

Anyway, riding pow isn't everything, even for boarders. It's much more of a challenge and a noticeable skill to ride steep hardpack or mixed conditions well. The powder-or-don't-bother attitude sucks if you ask me.
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so brit-gob, what are you saying ?

 

i've worked at two resorts - smaller resorts

and talked with alot of people. The resorts

do just fine. They set it up so that they

break even with the winter break crowd alone.

The rest is profit. Now granted that might

not be true for all resorts - but it's the

standard investment and return model.

 

The resorts certainly have the cash to update

their facilities, but will not do so, unless

the resort down the road gets the new detachable

quad or new chalet.

 

And are you saying we shouldn't complain, or

organize some type of mail-out ? Why would

you advocate us to remain silent ? The ski

resorts' desire is to make money, so they have

to cater to their customers' wants. By

complaining, or expressing our wants in print,

we make the resorts more informed sellers.

 

and what is this argument that it is so

complicated, like there are all these

mysterious forces that the owners have to

deal with. Starting a resort is a piece of

cake. There's a guy in California, who this

year, opened up his very own backcountry

resort for less than $1million US. At

the bigger resort I worked at, the owner

never even showed up. He was too busy

running his other business, and counting his

money. And as for added hassle & costs

maintaining an extra trail - think about it.

Move the ropes, remove any rocks & logs, and

send the grooming cat through (or in this

case, don't).

 

and as for contro, saying that powder-chasers

make up a very small minority, thats BS.

what was membership up to in that double-

black diamond club ? something like 1000

in only 2 years and little to no promotion ?

 

 

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by barok (edited 31 January 2002).]

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