Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Mass., has set up a "Drive Thru" demo system in Mountainside Ski & Sports which is designed to move people from car to slope with minimal delay.
"The idea is to make the whole process as fast and efficient and fun an experience as possible," Wachusett Vice President Carolyn Stimpson told OnTheSnow.com.
People will log onto Wachusett's online demo page, and provide information about height, weight, shoe size, age, and type of skier/rider, i.e., twin tipping huckster, park rat or type A racer, etc.
"We'll come up with suggested equipment for them to try," Stimpson said, "and it will be ready when you are. All you have to do is walk through the door and grab the ski or board, with your name on it, and off you go."
Wachusett is a popular mountain within an hour's drive of 6 million people in Southern and Central New England.
Stimpson said the drive-thru demo area is possible because of a redesign and expansion of Wachusett's ski shop operation over the summer to serve even more customers looking for top-quality retail with the demise of Ski Market.
The shop offers 150 pairs of demo skis and snowboards as well as a few models of high end boots for the coming winter, reflecting the offerings in the area's Mountainside Ski Shop.
"The brands we sell are all available in demos," Stimpson, also Ski Shop president, said. "Proximity to Boston, Providence, and Worcester gives us a great advantage. People can come here and try before they buy. Instead of a ski area that has a ski shop, some of our customers consider Mountainside a Ski Shop that has a ski area!"
"You should buy the right ski for your ability, and for what you want to do with them. You might be a new skier or a rip-it-up skier. Skis are built for different purposes. Out West you might use a wider/rocker ski for powder. Here you may be ripping up GS turns on the Night League NASTAR course," Simpson said. "The technology in equipment is constantly changing, it's hard for the average consumer to keep up, with a demo experience, you don't have to scour the web sites for hours trying to educate yourself, just come up, strap on a pair of new boards, and let the equipment tell you what you need to know.
"We plan to promote the online signup, so that when you're supposed to be working you'll actually be checking out what equipment you're going to demo," she said.
"This really is a drive-thru demo operation. We want to have an ad where the person calls as he drives into the lot, parks his car, and we run out and put the skis on the snow and the person jumps into his skis and takes off," Stimpson said.
For beginners, Wachusett's rental operation uses the Head BYS System, a color coded system which matches boots and bindings thereby minimizing the time to adjust bindings. Black toes on boots go with black bindings (B); yellow toes, yellow bindings (Y); silver toes, silver bindings (S), Stimpson explained, and noted that manufacturers, not marketers, must have come up with a name that lame for a good system. She said Wachusett was the first area to adopt the BYS Head System. "Head BYS eliminates approximately 950 DIN resettings, saving enormous amounts of time adjusting bindings making our rental shop one of the most efficient in the industry," she said.
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