In light of recent bus delays and recent increase in size of the Club, we have decided to initiate a SMS system for broadly sharing important information, without the need to use a third party application or download an applet. Specifically designed for the myriad of sports teams out there. we found this application, Rainedout.com to meet the majority of our immediate information needs. Simply go to: Join Blizzard Ski & Snowboard School text alerts on RainedOut to sign up.
Yesterday was Blizzard's turn. Sub-zero weather and buses are natural enemies. To have to rely on a bus to operate in sub-zero weather is a heavy gamble. And we lost in River Forest yesterday. I apologize as I should have cancelled the route from the very start. We didn't have any experienced supervisors and had to deal with a very late replacement bus with a driver who wasn't familar with the route. But my thought was, that our lack of supervisors wasn't fair to the kikds who did want to go skiing and boarding. So, I crossed my fingers and let the trip go as planned (or not planned as the case may be.) The River Forest route is designed for two buses such that any one bus makes no more than two additional stops. For the first few trips we have had too few members to fill two buses and wound up with one bus covering all 4 stops. At least I can tell you that this won't happen again.
December trips are always a bit of a trial. Leading up to the Christmas week; the traffic is different, everyone is a little more anxious, and we have limited snow coverage. Things tend to smooth out after the holidays and life at Blizzard reaches a state of normalcy. New processes we put in place this year should run more smoothly. For instance, no badges were mailed out this year. We are hand delivering them on the member's first trip. That's been a point of confusion for returning members. While our rental proceses with Wilmot have changes almost every year for the past 5 years, this year is the first time we have actually listed rentals as a purchaseable item as you sign up from our website. Also, another tactical point of confusion. And, finally, when Vail purchased Wilmot last year are we graciously decide to honor their Epic Pass, we still have gaps in our knowledge about who actually purchased passes, what kind of passes they purchased, and where they purchased them from. And all of that matters, as we only accept Epic Seasonal Passes, not day or weekly passes (too hard to track), and we need the pass numbers. Most of the other clubs are sponsored by a Ski Shop. Our independent not-for-profit club lacks the infrastructure and mass production of the other clubs, while still being just as large and more focused on education. This is good and bad. No one is paid full-time to ensure our 24/7 uptime. When something happens we are reactive rather than proactice and we can't put in place some of the stop gaps and fixes we would like to have. We are also the oldest club in Chicagoland, and the largest not-for-profit, I believe, nationally. So, while it can sometimes be frustrating when you can't reach us by telephone, know that cellphones are recent as is a website and this club has been around for 60 years (almost) and withstood all that has been thrown its way.
Under the "More Info" section of our website is a Calendar and Bus Schedule listing. This tells you what days we have trips planned. (This is a hint as we are off for the next two Saturdays.) I heartily advocate reading our website end-to-end to find answers to your questions before firing off an email (which I know is easier.) All of the pertinent information relating to the operation of Blizzard is on our website with a few exceptions. Fundamental information about our trip schedule, when to sign up, and the rate of payment, is all found on our webpages. If you'd like a detailed review of the website, let me know, and I will do a one-on-one tutorial for you.
Each new season of Blizzard brings a fresh, healthy perspective on the reality of hosting a club of this size; it is not without its challenges. For our first week, there was a lot of excitement, new friends created, new adventures, and the tedium of finding your place in the group. It was a bit brisk on the hill, but the snow cover was good on the open terrain and the crowd was fairly light.