- Overall Rating 1
- Family Friendly 1
- All-Mtn. Terrain 1
- Terrain Park 1
- Nightlife 1
Pros: None that would justify this many cons
Cons: Too many to mention
Recommended For: Singles
Date Visited: Jan 1, 2012
A copy of my letter to Mountain Creek
Mr. Ed Youmans
Chief Operating Officer
200 Route 94
Vernon, New Jersey 07462
Cc: Bill Benneyan, VP Marketing & Sales
Joe Hession, VP, General Manager
Paul Pennings, Facilities Manager
Dear Mr. Youmans,
Yesterday, we had the distinct displeasure of spending the day at your Facility, Mountain Creek in Vernon, NJ. We are both avid intermediate skiers, and we were keen to visit your resort for the first time after hearing about the upgrades and renovations. While we were expecting crowded conditions, we were most certainly not anticipating the single worst skiing experience in our combined history of ski trips.
We write this letter not in complaint, but merely in the spirit of public service, in the slim chance that one of the many areas of your operation needing improvement has somehow, against all indications to the contrary, escaped your notice, and may consequently be addressed and remedied to the benefit of some future patron, who you can rest assured will be neither of us, nor anyone who values our opinion.
Without further prelude, allow us to list each of the disparate elements contributing to our overall subpar experience:
• We arrived on site shortly after 9AM, to be told by a young gentleman devoid of grace, humor or, indeed, intelligibility, that there is no passenger or equipment dropoff at the base, a first in all of our skiing experience. As instructed, we proceeded to park in the designated lot.
• We were both stunned, (although not literally, by sheer good fortune) to discover that your shuttle buses, with narrow aisles presumably designed for growth-stunted leprechauns, were expected to accommodate adults in ski gear, together with their equipment. Alas, as hazardous as this may be, it was not the most perilous experience of our day.
• It is difficult to discern exactly what the intention is of the video that we were required to watch prior to renting equipment. It appeared to be primarily a commercial for your facility, of which we did not yet have a negative impression, but the logic of advertising to committed customers fails us. Perhaps it is a crowd control device, but if so, it demonstrably failed to meet its objective.
• Upon registering for a rental, we were most surprised and distressed to discover that we were prohibited from using our own boots, as we have done at countless resorts and facilities. We have spent many hours honing and adjusting the fit on our boots, key to a pleasant day on the slopes, and we did not anticipate having to jettison all of that fine-tuning in favor of generic rental boots. Oddly, the "Rental Equipment" section on your website seems to have neglected to mention this altogether.
• The scanner employed to scan the pair of rental boots failed multiple times before succeeding, slowing down the line, and probably eliciting silently murmured threats of bodily harm against ourselves from the hapless fellow skiers in line behind us.
• The line for the cashier, all 25 minutes of it, warrants an entire chapter all to itself. One wonders whether this is an integral part of "the BYS System", featuring "a new streamlined process that is guaranteed to get you on the hill faster". Your words, not ours, from your very own website.
• The locker rental was the smoothest part of the day, but we resented having to shell out $20 for a locker large enough to hold our boots, which we expected to be wearing at this point, the alternative to which would have been an hour-long round-trip odyssey back to our car, parked somewhere just beyond the Outer Hebrides.
• The ladies' room, the next episode in our saga, had 4 working stalls out of 5, hardly adequate for a normal day, let alone throngs of people enduring a 2-hour equipment rental ordeal.
• To add to our delight thus far, the ski pickup introduced whole new categories of unpleasantness. Did anyone consider the wisdom of an outdoor pickup? It doubtless makes sense when the wait is short, but 25 minutes, barely moving, in close to 20-degree weather, is borderline insanity.
• Lo and behold, the front of the ski pickup line, to find a pair of skis, with our name on it, waist-high to a skier considerably shorter than either of us. Come to think of it, at no point during the rental process did anyone enquire as to what size skis we wanted. After an additional 10 minutes of waiting for your crack ski-disbursement team to resolve the problem, a second pair was produced, this one a mere 8-inches too short. Our patience at an end, we took them and headed hopefully for the lift line.
• While the lift lines were long and chaotic, this is, in fact, not one of our complaints. We have attempted to whittle the list down to only those factors which we believe to be within your control. We were thrilled to reach the top of Vernon Peak a full 15 minutes ahead of our Noon estimate, 2 hours after beginning to negotiate your "streamlined process" for equipment rental. One shudders at the very thought of how it was before the streamlining was introduced!
• Our first run, down Upper Horizon, Fox Tail, Red Rock and Doe Run was so overcrowded as to be farcical. Around every turn, snowboarders blocked much of the trail, and the huge mass of skiers caused us to question the safety of the run.
• Our second run, down Southern Sojourn, was pleasant enough, until we reached the crowds on Bakers Field and Cloud 9, where we found ourselves negotiating a demolition-derby race to the lift.
• After 15 minutes in line for the South Peak Express, the lift operators suspended service to allow the crowds on the South Peak to abate. At this point, we felt that our best option would be to return to Vernon Peak, a feat accomplished only by waiting for enough shuttle buses to accommodate the throngs of like-minded individuals.
• After a 3rd run of the day, down Great Northern, Khyber Pass and Cab Ride, we realized that the overcrowding and the general sense of chaos pervaded the entire resort. Feeling that conditions were not only suboptimal, but potentially dangerous and completely unenjoyable, we called it a day.
• The equipment return process was not quite as streamlined as the rental, and although it was quicker (not much isn't!) we felt that the instruction to "just leave it there" gave us little recourse if our equipment return was improperly processed. However, confidence in your "streamlined process" won out, as it was already after 2PM and we were impatient to leave.
• The wait for the shuttle back to our car was thankfully uneventful, incredibly with no injuries to report, but it did take 25 minutes, including the wait and the mad rush for the door of the bus when it finally arrived.
In almost 4 1/2 hours, we managed 3 runs, all of them sub-par, at a total cost of $190.73 (including 2 lift tickets, one set of rentals and a locker), or $31.79 per run per person. We are not certain whether you feel that this represents a bargain, but from the viewpoint of an erstwhile customer, even before we consider the waste of travel and waiting time, the gas and the wear on the car, and the effort required to purge this entire unseemly episode from our conscious, the value proposition seems wanting.
In closing, we hope that some nugget from our modest missive might help to spare some future, bright-eyed skier even some of the letdown that we experienced. If not, perhaps they too might be consoled by the thought that even a day as wretched as yesterday might end on an upbeat note, that of the fading view of your resort in our rear-view mirror.