“An Open Letter To Our Small Corner of the Internet…” – by Squaw Valley

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image: squaw valley alpine meadows, today
image: squaw valley alpine meadows, today

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows wrote an open letter to the internet today.

What do you think?

By Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

January 26th, 2017

Hey, it’s your Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows family.

When we first started hanging out on the internet together, things were fun. We had a great relationship. You share your good times with us and we share ours with you.

At some point that got lost. This little bubble of ours stopped being fun. All the sudden our social community became a black hole for negativity. It became a place for trolls and haters to hide behind a keyboard and bash our family. And that’s not cool with us anymore.

We want to remind you why WE’RE here in this funny little corner of the internet. Because the act of sliding down snow is fun. Skiing IS fun. Snowboarding IS fun. We want to share our favorite moments with our adoring fans just as we hope you want to share your good times with us: that season you worked here in ’71, your kickass turns down Chute 75, your kids first turns on Bailey’s Beach. Yeah, those times. We love you passionate skiers and riders. And above everything, we at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will continue creating moments and memories with you and your family. To this we are 100% dedicated.

So here’s where we stand. This social network we built is our home. And it was built for a place to share stoke. When you choose to visit our home, you don’t have to agree with everything you see and you can choose how you interact with it, but if you rant, spew hatred or bully our family and friends in our home we will break up with you. This behavior will no longer be tolerated.

Another friendly reminder (in case you forgot) is we are people who work here. Not robots. Not suits. Not invisible. We are community members that are passionate about sliding down snow. We are just like you! We come to work every single day giving 110%. Why? Because we have passion. Passion for our home, passion for skiing and snowboarding. Remember that all of those team members out on the mountain are human. Just like you. And it is those individuals, with collective knowledge of hundreds of years of combined experience, that open these magnificent mountains.

While the logistics of operations are tremendously complex, one thing is simple. If terrain can safely open, as deemed by Patrol, Lift Mechanics, Groomers and other mountain operation folks, it opens. Team members out on the mountain always are in the best position to use their professional discretion to assess lifts & terrain. Decisions about when to open, and what to open, do not originate in an office or a board room. They originate with the patrol leaders for terrain, and with the lift mechanics for lifts, based on the most up to date information, on the mountain. You would not want it any other way. Safety and readiness guide the actions of patrol and lift maintenance, not management directives about when to open terrain. There is simply no other narrative. There’s no such thing as money hold. There’s no such thing as holding terrain. If the hard-working and professional men and women out on the mountain call in and say terrain can open, we open. If they say it cannot open due to conditions or weather, or other factors, we don’t open. When we say that terrain is “scheduled” it is not a guarantee that the terrain will open; it is a promise that we have brought the staff and material that is necessary to open and operate that terrain, if it becomes safe and possible. Lifts are closed or taken off the schedule when we have assessed that operations won’t be safe or possible.

After this massive 23 foot storm, can we all take a step back from our keyboards and phones and remember why we’re all here? Why are YOU here? We only come back to one thing: the simple fact that skiing and snowboarding here is FUN. We hope you agree. We look forward to sharing the stoke with you here, and at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

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17 thoughts on ““An Open Letter To Our Small Corner of the Internet…” – by Squaw Valley

  1. happy to see unofficial alpine go… the only good thing about that site was all the people that believed the nonsense mark and andy posted on there

  2. Many of us have skied Squaw for 10, 20 or 30 years, We got used to the “Dollar” hold instituted by the Cushings. Our perception is that they would close a lift or two to save some money.

    KSL has taken lift closures to a brand new level. They just close the upper mountain. To market this new operational approach they have invented myriad new “Holds”; Patrol Hold, Maintenance hold, Wind Hold, Safety Hold etc etc

    In the last two years, I have seen more holds than the previous 30 years. Maybe I exaggerate but if the lifts don’t open, we can’t ski. So I have abandoned my Squaw pass and now ski elsewhere. Hoping that operations improve so I can return.

  3. And now Unofficial Alpine is shut down. Interesting to say the least. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story, but it more than likely involves a cease and desist letter and the threat of legal action from Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

  4. After all this record snow KSL is bragging about, you can bank on them closing Alpine in mid May. Weekends only if we are lucky. Sad. Both resorts used to schedule events through Memorial Day weekend. It was about the skiing back then though. KSL doesn’t care about that sort of stuff.

  5. I sat next to a group of people eating dinner at a local restaurant a few weeks ago, and what I overheard was “do you really want to go back and deal with that shitshow again? They were referring to squaw valley. The unbelievable traffic in the morning is the main reason I don’t ski at alpine or squaw anymore.

  6. Professional PR folks know that you can’t argue your way out of your customers’ perceptions. You have to work to change the perception through behavior. This article reflects Squaw’s mgmt opinion that the dissatisfaction is held only by a few naysayers, which is false. It also demonstrates an unwillingness to listen to their customers. Instead they use this article to try to argue that their customers are wrong. The customers are never wrong.

    Despite everything this article has said about terrain opening as soon as possible, it simply isn’t true. Squaw keeps employees’ hours limited so that there is no overtime, which delays openings. And they hold terrain for multiple days for photo shoots, which is why Silverado didn’t open over Martin Luther king weekend, or even the sunny Mon – Tues afterwards.

    Squaw employees are people and like to ski, and squaw mgmt likes to ski as well, but their first priority is their shareholders whose priority is money, and thus they miss the importance of their customers.

  7. It’s Squaw Valley AND Alpine Meadows, dammit!
    See you all on Silverado tomorrow…oh, wait, nevermind…

  8. First, I need to say that I join the ski community in mourning the loss of the paid patroller at Squaw. With that said, I find it repulsive that the author chose this time to complain about Squaw’s reputation that the resort worked so hard to ingrain in the ski community. Squaw is not the only resort that closes down for weather or too-much-snow mornings. Every resort get some folks asking why the resort is not open. The attitude expressed by this author resonates with the Squaw attitude of the Cushing era.

    Background: I learned to ski at Squaw in the late 60s. I grew up thinking that it was OK for “friends and locals” to cut the line. I eventually went to other areas that had a bit more respect for the customers. But Squaw had the terrain so I went there at least once a year and tolerated the “If you are not an employee or my friend then you don’t matter” mentality. In the late 1980s I mentioned this to a friend at work and I found that I was the most tolerant person out of about a dozen coworkers who just plain stopped visiting Squaw. One example From the late 1990s: Getting on the 6-person gondola after a couple put their skis in the outside ski rack we were snaked by a woman who crept in front of us while we were loading our skis and sat so we had to cross over her to get seated while listening to her saying that we should have just gotten into the next carrier and that we should know when to just pull our skis and put them into the next car??? When we sat next to her she said “You really want me to slide over?” I just figured she was a stuck-up customer but I learned otherwise. During the ride, there was a nice conversation between four of the five of us. The couple stated that they had never had a pleasant experience at Squaw and they only came because they had comp tickets. I concurred saying that the mountain was great but the employees were the problem. The couple and my friend agreed. About that thin, radio traffic came from the chest of the woman who had nothing good to say to us. The remainder of the ride was silent, but when we were exiting the couple started to laugh and we joined them. The employee passenger turned around and flipped us off. Her 4 fellow passengers agreed that her reaction was expected of a Squaw employee.

    It took a bit over 20 years for me to return to Squaw. The departure of the Cushings was the key to the resort regaining respect from local skiers who were not a part of the “in crowd.” I am a currently a ski patroller at a nearby resort and I have heard from too many folks who shared my experience. I have also heard from long-time employees at Squaw who have admitted the the past environment was not so good for “outsiders.” I am happy to say the the current Squaw is much more visitor friendly than the Squaw of the past. However, this article is a reminder of past attitudes that the customer is an inconvenience.

    When I see an essay about how folks should not criticize Squaw I can only think that the author has no clue about Squaw’s history. The resort is gradually regaining support from those customers that were mistreated in the past. Given that the resort spent so many years developing the “locals/friends first” attitude, the squaw community should not expect an instant turn about and certainly should not expect to be immune from the questions asked of EVERY Tahoe resort during “dig-out” days.

  9. *We only come back to one thing: the simple fact that skiing and snowboarding here is FUN.”

    Yeah, fun when we actually get to do it. It’s been years and years of late openings, lifts NEVER opening and massive crowds. If Squaw Valley would actually OPEN lifts and spread the people out. We wouldn’t have such huge lines nearly every fresh SNOW day.

    Squaw, you cannot please everyone, But you can definitely please your pass holders as well as the ticket buyers by working on having the mountain ready to go when it’s supposed to open, Ski resorts all over the world do it. Squaw Valley USED to do it. Now you are using this one storm cycle as a shield for years of poor mountain operations.

    We all Love skiing and riding here, however it’s the feeling that we’ve been cheated, year after year that keeps the negative vibes flowing.

    Lets hope you can fix what’s broken.

  10. I just wish the employees would treat us pass holders like they do day ticket people… Im tired of being treated like a lowlife by ksl staff.
    The last few years I have regularly been singled out and treated poorly, later getting empty promises of apologies by supervisors that never came.
    I love these mountains and the lifetime of fun theyve provided me but the poor treatment by ksl staff is getting completely out of hand.
    I worked at squaw for over ten years but had to leave for better pay and better treatment at Northstar and even though alpine and squaw are my favorite ski areas in tahoe I dont think I will buy another pass here for myself or any of my family members, better terrain isnt worth being treated poorly.

  11. Lots of this makes sense. When they say there are no money holds, how can they explain closures of Squaw one, broken arrow, only lady, etc mid week?

    1. No reason to run Oly Lady, SquawOne, etc on midweek days since they access redundant terrain. Why would anyone ride Oly Lday if KT is spinning?

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