It’s hard to put into words how disastrous this season has been at their Northeast properties. How is it even possible to fail so catastrophically? Put a Colorado millionaire bro in charge of the areas, who’s literally brain damaged from the NFL, and has never skied the east, and there really is no rock bottom!

Make snow? Why bother, these eastern savages will ski anything! I have so much *respect* for it!

Staff lifts? Nah bro what we really need is six cafeteria monitors to make sure the antivaxxers have a forged picture on their phones.

Maintain the lifts? Why? You think breaking half the bones of that guy we dropped ten feet at wildcat will stop him from skiing next year? I mean these people ski the *east*. Adaptive bro. Break the eggs to make an omelette. Gotta have scrambled brains from CTE for the verbal diarrhea I’m spewing to make any sense.

I wonder just how many people will be maimed this year by Fail before they replace him with someone that has an IQ above room temperature.

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Hey Tim why was my 15 yo discriminated against for employment bc we refuse to get vaccinated due to religious reasons???! Looking into suing vail resorts for this.

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Truly unbelievable how disconnected Tim seems to be from the on the ground guest experience

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Dec 4, 2021Liked by Stuart Winchester

My local ski area wasn't mentioned at all (Paoli), not that I'm surprised or even particularly offended; it's small potatoes. I have some concern that they were just part of the deal and hope that they don't get completely ignored by Vail. They have aging infrastructure and are a small ski area, but it's all I have available in my area, so it's important to me.

I can tell by their pass offerings currently that they don't seem to know what to do with Paoli. They advertise the 4 day pass on the Paoli website, praising the $70 something dollar per day value, while also selling Paoli day tickets for $37.

It was a lot to integrate, and while I hope for upgrades or expansion, I'll honestly be satisfied with simply remaining open.

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Nov 7, 2021Liked by Stuart Winchester

I came here with a version of “great podcast but the corporate speak was over the top” but prior comments beat me to it. He was an earnest guy, and I’m not trying to knock him at all, I hope he succeeds in every way imaginable, but he’s so clearly wrapped up in a very specific kind of corporate culture that rewards a certain style of management and vocabulary that sounds like an insincere foreign language outside of that bubble. I actually think this may be one of your most important interviews because it allows us (listeners) to see the stark contrast between this and the dozens of independent mountains you’ve featured in the past, without you trying to aggressively make that point. Night and day, and fully living up to the tired “corporate takeover” cliches: on one side, people who have emotional attachments to their mountains and communities; on the other, a large corporation who puts a former real estate salesman who has literally never skied in the East region, in charge of the East region. Again, I liked him and hope he succeeds, but you have to scratch your head. Also makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my decision to go Indy pass this year.

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Nov 6, 2021Liked by Stuart Winchester

As both an Epic Pass and Indy Pass holder I was really looking forward to listening to this podcast. You did a great job as usual but I was already expecting this to be kind of short on detail. I felt the Jay Peak question caught Mr. Baker off guard but he did a good job with the standard corporate answer. He never really did answer your question about why Vail does not inform people about less expensive day pass options. Goes with the territory of being part of a large company I guess. Thanks again Stuart!

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Alpine Valley is in Wisconsin

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Ah, maybe I can talk about a few issues with Mr. Baker here. I hope he's checking the responses, or somebody close to him. Won't get lost in that active email box of his, I'm thinking.

Last year I bought the Northeast midweek pass thinking, well, if there is no season at all (which was possible in September of 2020), no big loss, and Hunter was a day trip, so, drive up, lunch in the car, you know, safe, drive home. Better than nothing. And a few days at Stowe and Mt. Snow. Cool.

So, I drive two hours up on January 5, a Tuesday, after reserving my spot (always had to reserve), and, no Skiing! Wait around until 10am, and then informed of such. Huh. No email on my phone, just some guy saying, nope, no skiing. Staff issues. Huh. I get home and Facebook is telling me that a bunch of ski patrollers were "excluded out of work" relating to Covid and you would be shut a few days, and it turned out to be three, I think. Huh. That's an Orwellian phrase if I've ever heard one in corporate speak. "Excluded out of work" Huh. So, anyway, what irks me to this day is that I received no emails or any sort of contact from Vail Inc. after that incident. Yeah, I think I deserved some sort of semi apology and explanation, along with everybody in that parking lot and line, but, nothing. It would have been nice. Nothing. That, sir, is very poor customer service, And, you had a list of everyone who reserved that day, along with enough info to email everybody, at least! I'll bet that list still exists. But, your company decided to hide behind a weird phrase. Not good. Try to do better.

Also, I really have to say, your website(s) are just awful. Who decided to do that? You have homogenized every mountain in your eastern portfolio in your branding. Every mountain's website is the same! And the front page of each is basically an add for the Epic pass! Cmon. You stated in this interview that you admired the "diversity" of the hills you now own, and the "vastly different" and "charming cultures" of these mountains, which is admirable. Yes, these are places that sometime four generations of easterners have skied in, and each has developed it's own clientele and fan base. Mt. Snow is not Wildcat is not Stowe, and none of them are Hunter. And yet your marketing department has totally ignored that! Amazing. The icing on the cake is that, from what I can gather, you, Mr. Baker, have barely skied any of this mountains. Do you have somebody at your side who has, or, at least, half? That runs contrary to what I've learned about a lot of mountain managers and executives Stuart has interviewed. Most of them have skied their hills.

I didn't renew my Epic pass, for the reasons above, and I'm not very fond of your overcrowded hills in Summit county where I have lived for a few seasons recently. But, hey, overcrowded says a lot of people like your brand, so, whatever. The more there, the less at non Epic hills. Just don't buy everything. Do better with what you have.

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Have def considered it and would love to make it happen at some point. I love trailmaps!

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Great podcast as usual Stuart! Unrelated, but have you ever considered interviewing some of the ski industry's map makers, like James Niehues, his protege Rad Smith? Or the folks behind VistaMaps, which seem to be rapidly increasing in popularity?

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I feel like all he did was talk around in circles or avoid questions. Basically vail does plan to acquire more places in the Northeast and would totally want Jay, but that he doesn't want to say that... Add partners: Basically any place that would create more pass sales, but won't mention the place... Window tickets, totally walked around it. Lift upgrades: "We'll reassess over time"

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