Nice Terrain, Accomodations
Lack of Concern/Care and Safety for Children
Let me start by saying we have had our kids in ski camp at Camelback, Smuggs, Mt. Snow and Windham and we NEVER experienced anything like this mess of a ski school! We were not only disappointed in the Skiwee program at Jiminy, but downright DISGUSTED with it!
We had our 4 year old and 6 year old in the camp for two days in January '09. The first day it was about 8 below in the morning, we equipped our children with goggles and masks to keep their faces warm, but the two times we ran into our six year old on the Mt. both were flapping in the wind behind him (as well as the other two kids in his group). We approached his instructor and asked that they please ensure he wear the equipment it's so cold, and we were answered with an annoyed shrug, until pressed did he finally say OK. But when we picked up our son at 3pm - you guessed it, they were still off and his face was raw! Our 4 year old was crying when we arrived to pick her up, but her instructor told us she had a great day and just missed Mom that's why she was crying - very odd for her, she goes to pre-school and has never cried at any ski school but we figured she was just tired, no big deal - WRONG! When we got her back to the house, she told us that they took her on the chairlift for the first time and DROPPED her off of it and it went over her head and they had to stop the lift to help her up. She was fine physically so WHY didn't they tell us???!! She woke up in the middle of the night crying about it and said she didn't want to go back the next day unless we told them she didn't have to do the lift again - her instructors name was Candy BTW.
The next morning when checking them in, I explained to the "Supervisor" (a man who's name I could see completely as it was covered, but I think someone called him Jim), what happened to my Daughter and that we would like to ensure it didn't happen again. I would appreciate if they tried to get her back on the lift. He gave me an eye roll and said are you SURE that happened, Candy didn't tell us? Yes, it happend, my 4 year old who had never been on a lift before couldn't have made up such a detailed story and has no reason to make such a thing up and have a bad dream about it, so please ensure she has a better day today. We also asked that they please mention to my six year olds instructor that his face is raw from yesterday, this was met with yet another shrug. We are very nice to our kids instructors and usually tip them well, but any instructor who is in charge of small children in the elements should take responsibility to ensure they use protective gear!! They need help at this age to get goggles/face masks on properly, that's just basic common sense!!
Pick up on day two was a NIGHTMARE!! First I must say my 4 year olds new instructor (Erica) was great, she got her back on the lift right away and she had a great day, she even moved up a level! Thank you Erica!! She was very sweet and gave us a full report on her day. Now on to pick up my son - we are in a great mood because my Daughter was so happy, so my Husband stayed down the hill to watch her practice skiing a bit while I went up to pick up my son. My mood quickly changed when our son WAS NOT THERE! We arrived on time for the 3pm pick-up and the group he was in that morning was there but he was not! I approached the instructor, who told me he didn't know where he was, he THINKS he was moved up a level. OK, I went to to the next level group, none of the instructors there knew who my son was. I moved on to the "Supervisor" Allison, who was holding a list in her hand - I assumed incorrectly it was a list of names of the children and what instructor they were with - no such luck. She told me they don't keep such a list - WHAT!!!?? You have small children your in charge of, but you don't keep a list of what group/instructor each kid is with??!!
By that point my Husband and Daughter arrive by my side and he can see I'm upset, so he tries to lighten the mood by joking with me and says "what did they lose him - ha, ha?" I didn't even get a chance to answer when Allison turns to him with a major attitude and say "we didn't lose any kids"! Well, YES technically you did, if you can't tell us where our child is!! He told her I didn't get updated from my wife yet, but speaking to us with a bad attitude will not help the situation. She said, he must be with a group that is still coming down the Mt. We said; OK, well perhaps you can radio all the instructors and ASK them if one of them has him, so we can be somewhat comforted rather than having an attitude with us! She radios and about 20 mins after we were supposed to pick up our children she gets a response from his instructor Charlotte, who said they are on their way down and one skiier with them is very slow so it's taking a while (needless to say that was a VERY long 20 mins of not knowing where our child was!). Allison's response was "it's not like he could go anywhere, I knew he was here somewhere". Did she never hear of child abduction???!!! This place would be an easy target since no one even keeps a list of where the kids are!!! OK, at least we know he's fine so we wait. At 3:45pm - 45 mins after pick-up time - (OH did I mention that it was really cold and snowing hard all day and we had a 4 year with us while we waited out in the cold!!??) they finally come skiing in - no, sorry we are late, no, sorry to worry you - nothing!! Allison just says, make sure you check him out with the instructor who then makes us wait while she has a conversation with another instructor and another concerned parent about her day. We finally just said "we are leaving" and then she came over to talk to us. My Sons cheek was cut open and bleeding (no goggles or mask on again!!) so while she is filling in his report, I asked her what happened to his face - her answer, I don't know for sure, but it was bleeding at lunch, so I had him go into the bathroom and wash it with soap and water and then she let him ski the rest of the day with it unprotected - no band-aid, no mask, nothing! After we were home for a day, it was raw and pussy and not getting any better, so we took him to the Dr. and found out that it was frostbite!!! Not only could it have been avoided in the first place, but after the skin opened, to have him put soap and water on it and then ski without it protected, only made it bleed and the skin peel off more and harm his skin further - she should have taken him to be checked by a medical staff member at the very least given him a band-aid to protect it from the elements further.
I have never written anything like this review before, we didn't even bother to talk to another "supervisor" about it all because it did us no good the first time. But if it helps just one parent avoid the mistake of choosing this ski school, it was worth the time. We just googled the school, and see that they are looking for a new director - perhaps things will change when a new person comes on board and they get rid of the old dead wood employees that could care less about our children!