Treble Cone Ski Area, NZ, Threatens to Revoke Skier’s Season Pass After He Shared Tips With His Beginner Buddies

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wanaka, New Zealand, treble cone revoke pass skiing tips
Treble Cone threatens to revoke skier’s pass for giving skiing tips. Credit: Treble Cone

Treble Cone Ski Resort, New Zealand, has warned a skier that they could revoke his season pass after he shared skiing tips with his friends on the beginner slopes.

Last weekend, James Sorrenson, a Hawea resident, shared skiing tips with friends on Treble Cone’s learner slope. To his surprise, resort staff approached and informed him that such actions might jeopardize his pass. Expressing his astonishment to NZHerald, Sorrenson dubbed the incident as “super strange.”

“Hey everyone, just wondering if anyone else has had this issue up either TC or Cardies. Had the head instructor up TC threaten to take my pass off me for teaching some friends. Is this normal? There was no money exchanged, and they couldn’t afford a lesson. It’s pretty hard to get people to pick up skiing when they have to rent gear and get passes (and supposedly, pay for a lesson too). Any insight would be great.”

– James Sorrenson posts in a local Facebook group

Witnesses later revealed that Sorrenson had been seen offering technical advice on multiple occasions, which alerted the resort to the fact he might be providing coaching without proper authorization. The resort has confirmed that an investigation is underway. Treble Cone’s rules strictly dictate that only individuals with formal coaching permits or those enrolled in official skiing programs can instruct on their slopes.

Real NZ, managing the ski area, underlines in its terms and conditions that any group skiing or snowboarding at Cardrona or Treble Cone with an instructor will be seen as engaging in a commercial coaching scenario reports the New Zealand Herald. This stance is reinforced by Laura Hedley, the Real NZ GM of Experience, who stated that the challenge lies in differentiating between casual tips and commercial agreements. For her, the recent crackdown on unauthorized lessons is about ensuring public safety and protecting their profession.

Local ski instructors have voiced their support for the resort’s strict enforcement of its policies. They argue that proper training is essential not just for skill development but also to ensure the safety of all resort visitors.

The incident has sparked debate within the skiing community. Some argue that such stringent measures could hamper the spirit of camaraderie often seen among skiing enthusiasts. This sentiment has found resonance on social media platforms, where the fine line between friendly advice and formal coaching has become a subject of hot debate.

Treble Cone
Treble Cone Trail Map. | Picture: Treble Cone Website

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7 thoughts on “Treble Cone Ski Area, NZ, Threatens to Revoke Skier’s Season Pass After He Shared Tips With His Beginner Buddies

  1. I first got certified as an instructor in my country of birth, Switzerland at age 19.
    I’ll be 61 this winter and have lived in the US for the past 30 plus years and gotten certified in the US as well in Alpine, Cross Country and Telemark…. Yes it cost money to do that but it was worth every penny just to improve my personal skiing alone!
    So if James Sorrensen is giving “technical advice” to his beginner buddies without having any proper training and possibly also being a beginner then maybe there’s an issue.
    Frankly I have lost count of how many folks have given up skiing after a few days on snow because an idiot buddy taught them something silly that got them hurt.
    Some parents should be “avalanched” for doing that to their kids by the way…..

    I don’t believe this is a safety issue, it’s pure greed on part of the resort. Many of the ski resorts regardless of which part of the world they may be in are short sighted with quarterly earnings calls being more important than developing their own future clientele with inexpensive beginner packages restricting access to beginner lifts and areas only.

    If safety is their concerns then make beginner lessons so cheap nobody wants advice from their well meaning unskilled friends and go overboard and issue a free repeater pass for lesson takers so they come back and buy lift tickets and food and drinks and bring their friends and some of them will pay for lessons and become lifelong patrons.

    Just some thoughts from a 40 year plus professional in the industry….

    I’d take my business elsewhere and tell everyone about my experience, start a ski club and go places and take business from them if they are indeed that asinine about not being able to help your friends. Just be sure you are truly helping!

  2. Les dix lieux où jamais pour des raisons d’étique j’irais skier viens de trouver son numéro un.

  3. Kudos to Doug, I taught at a local mountain in PA for 9 yrs and it was exactly the way he’s describing it with the exception of our training. They encouraged us to continue advancing our training to be our best upon every opportunity and took advantage of those opportunities.

  4. Skiing in 2023: expensive equipment / clothing + overpriced lift tickets (in the US – $150+ daily lift tickets not uncommon; not something an average family can afford) + expensive ski lodge food (eg, $15 hot dogs) + now ‘forced’ lessons (where else do you see this? Tennis court? Bowling alley? Swimming beach? Golf course? Climbing wall? – all privately-owned entities) = skiing becoming an ELITE past time, for wealthy people only.

  5. I have been a ski instructor employed by a nearby resort for 5 years. I find the resort’s actions objectionable, but not surprising. In my opinion, even if this person is getting paid by his “friends”, he is doing nothing wrong, as long as he’s not claiming to be something he’s not and there is no fraud.

    Why do I feel this way?

    Too many resorts are over-charging for lessons provided by so-called “professional instructors” whose only qualifications are that they can get down an intermediate trail and got maybe 16 hours of training their first year. This is exactly how I was hired 5 years ago.

    The bottom line is that resorts cheap out on instructor pay and training. Many get paid minimum wage plus tips, and their resort seldom pays for more than basic training each year. An instructor who wants to be a true professional ends up shelling out thousands of dollars for travel, accommodations, classes and certification. This has been my experience.

    Why do I teach? Because I love to ski and I love to teach. I find it insane that I could be tossed off the slopes for helping a friend or relative to ski when I am not on duty.

    This sport needs to encourage people to take up the sport.

  6. It sounds kind of chicken-shlt to me, on the part of the ‘RESORT’.
    They sound like they’re ‘SPECIAL’ people.

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