A Ski Town Christmas: 12 Ways to Make A Ski Shop Hate You During the Holidays
Ahhh, Christmas time. The season of charity, love, and perpetual hope. Or if you live in a ski town, the season of traffic jams, lift lines, and city dwelling a**holes. With the massive influx of vacation home owners and five day per year skiers, also comes long lines at the local ski shop. Not to mention a stressed out and volatile staff who has been fitting boots, turning screws, and hardly being thanked for thirteen hours a day. The two weeks surrounding Christmas is D-Day for ski shop employees, and while we know it's coming, it's still impressive how many people seem to feel it's their civic duty to be a stuck up Grinch during the season of jolly Old Saint Nicholas. But just how do these Burberry clad, corduroy craving impostors so thoroughly anger a normally easy going ski bum populous? Well, we're about to tell you. Here are our top tips to piss off your local ski shop during the Holidays.
1. Knock on the door ten minutes before the store opens to pick up your gear. You might be a 4 minute walk from the lift, and the mountain doesn't open for an hour, but damnit you NEED to have first chair. Ski shops are always down to open their doors early, especially if you knock loudly and wave your arms. Early bird gets the corduroy!
2. Arrive ten minutes before the store closes. If you can't make it in the morning, then show up at the end of the day. Beat the dinner time rush and show up to buy boots right before the store closes, and get your heat molding done and foot beds made that evening. Shop employees are always game to stay late and help you out, and they are less stressed out because it is the end of the day.
3. Demand all of your skis be mounted and tuned immediately. What? There are 25 pairs of skis in the to-do rack? That doesn't matter because you're the most important customer of the day. You just flew in from Dallas and you need to go skiing NOW. You deserve on the spot service and you should accept nothing less. Also, you don't believe in tipping, this service should be standard.
4. Balk at the prices of ski service. Sure you might not have much knowledge of ski tuning and you've never actually seen it done, but you're not an idiot and you know when you're being taken advantage of. Just like lift ticket prices at Vail, tune prices are completely unreasonable and you should make sure to let the shop know that you won't stand for this injustice. And don't let them act like they know everything by using fancy words to justify the cost. Pozi-drive? Nice try! That's just the all-wheel drive system on your Audi Q5!
5. Declare yourself a Type 3++ skier. When filling out paperwork to get your bindings worked on, this is the only way. Often overlooked, this is the best way to flaunt how good you are. Not many people know about the 3++ rating, but if you occasionally ski Blacks at Hunter, this is your go to skier type. Go ahead, put the fate of your knees in the hands of your ego.
6. Always consult your "expert" friend. While the guys at the shop seem to know what they are talking about, you better make sure. After picking their brains for the last 20 minutes about new skis, excuse yourself so you're still within earshot and give your buddy Brad a ring. Brad, 5'10" 235 with a prominent apres belly, is an experienced Gear Issue reader and was voted best (only) skier in his frat at University of Miami. He resides in Long Beach, CA where he works as a personal injury lawyer. On the weekends he shreds Big Bear for a few hours, before heading to the sun deck to work on his tan and pick up cougars. Brad has one pair of every generation of Soul 7's, so he knows his shit.
7. Tell everyone where you live. Tell EVERYONE that while your 3rd home is in Deer Valley, you will be getting first chair at Alta tomorrow morning. Seriously, everyone, not just shop folks. It's a great way to make conversation while waiting to check out.
8. Ask for a locals discount. With how pricey tunes are, these guys better hook it up for the loc-dogs. You purchased a home here three months ago, and moved to town last week. Congrats on being a local! Everyone knows that there MUST be a locals discount, so ask for it! And if the shop employee doesn't respond, ask again, and again, emphasizing how you live right here in town, until you get your way.
9. Pay for your local's discounted ski service with your AmEx Black Card. Whoa, they really do have a locals discount! Who knew?! Thank the guys behind the counter for the hookup, then hand them your Centurion credit card. Sure, you spend over $250,000 a year, but hey, gotta save where you can, right?
10. Don't ever tip. Contrary to popular belief, tips are frowned upon in ski shops. If the guys put your mount at the front of the line, it's just because they like you, not because they expect anything extra. Save some coin, and don't touch that tip jar!
11. Ask to store luggage, ski bags, shoes, etc in the back of the shop. There is always a ton of extra room in the back of ski shops around the Holidays, so it's never a problem for them to store any extra gear you have on hand while you hit the slopes. It's a perk most people don't know about, and there is no tip required!
12. If you must tip (we don't recommend it), bring Non-alcoholic beer. Let's be honest, most ski shop employees are alcoholics. Sure you just met them, but they look the part and they work in a ski shop, so they must be drunks. Help them out by bringing in some O'Douls to thank them for the locals discount. You can feel good about helping out their lower class livers.
OR, you could take a breath, check your ego at the door, and remain patient. You're choosing to shop and get your skis tuned during the busiest time of the year, and shop employees are doing their best to make your ski dreams true. Many work second jobs and are away from family during the Holidays. Say thank you, throw them a six pack or add to the tip jar. They will notice, you will receive better service, and you'll both have a more enjoyable interaction.