Turmoil at Sunshine Village

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Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:45 am

As reported by FTOL, there is some trouble at Sunshine Village.

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/2 ... g-Protest/

This story seems to be getting more interesting. The Sunshine Village Facebook page seems to be a hub of discussion, mostly in favor of the ski patrol.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:48 pm

I must say, for such an opinionated group, no one response is surprising.

This is big news. Does anyone know if there has ever been a documented case of ski area employees protesting against their employer?
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby rfarren » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:12 pm

soulskier wrote:I must say, for such an opinionated group, no one response is surprising.

This is big news. Does anyone know if there has ever been a documented case of ski area employees protesting against their employer?


I wouldn't know, but I didn't think it was a big deal that they were protesting, or that a few of them were fired. Both side's reactions seemed reasonable.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby Mike Bernstein » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:57 am

Hard to have an informed opinion with so little information to go on (as if that's ever stopped me before!).

We have no idea of the nature of the original confrontation. Where was this group? What was said? Was there a member of the owner's family there? Were the original 5 fired due solely to that incident? If so, that would seem to be weak sauce on the part of Mr. Scurfield, but it's hard to comment with such a small window on the facts of the story.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby EMSC » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:17 am

soulskier wrote:This is big news. Does anyone know if there has ever been a documented case of ski area employees protesting against their employer?


Moderately big news, perhaps. Ski patrollers are highly trained in several specialized fields and thus much tougher than average to replace (vs say a lifty). It could directly effect operations over an extended period.

As to job actions, there have not been a ton of them, but there have been several in the past and many of the ones I have heard about involved patrollers (at The Canyons a few years ago for example). However I don't recall large numbers of patrollers being fired previously, though I could be wrong since I'm going off memory, not specific facts.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:50 pm

EMSC wrote:Ski patrollers are highly trained in several specialized fields and thus much tougher than average to replace (vs say a lifty). It could directly effect operations over an extended period.

That's what I was thinking.

Sunshine seemed to be such a laid-back place when I was there three years ago, but who knows what goes on in the patrol shack or in the exec boardroom.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:17 pm

EMSC wrote:
Moderately big news, perhaps. Ski patrollers are highly trained in several specialized fields and thus much tougher than average to replace (vs say a lifty). It could directly effect operations over an extended period.

As to job actions, there have not been a ton of them, but there have been several in the past and many of the ones I have heard about involved patrollers (at The Canyons a few years ago for example). However I don't recall large numbers of patrollers being fired previously, though I could be wrong since I'm going off memory, not specific facts.


Keep in mind this was the most senior staff, with something like 70 plus years between them.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby Mike Bernstein » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:29 pm

After reading up a bit more on this topic, it's hard not to come away with a negative view on Sunshine. The timeline that has been resported/rumored seems to go like this:

1) Owner's kid Taylor Scurfield get caught going into an avi closure and is made to hike back up and out.

2) Shortly thereafter, the patrollers involved, and some other long-tenured employees, get canned.

3) Two other patrollers take it upon themselves to speak to the media about the situation, and are shortly canned.

4) The "sick out" happens, and still more are fired.

I might have some of the pieces wrong, but it started with the incident with the owner's son. Apparently, if Interwebz rumors are to be believed, he is a d-bag of epic proportions and is being taught all the wrong lessons by his Dad. It's all quite surprising in light of the fact that the owner's father was killed in an avalance with a heli-ski op a while back. When his family sued, he was found to be 100% liable for his own death based on the the outcomes of the original case and an appeal. You would think the family would know better than to play fast and loose with the rules.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby berkshireskier » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:48 pm

Yea, if I owned a ski resort, the last group of people I would want to piss off is the ski patrol. My belief is that, at most ski areas, the ski patrol are a very tight group of people who perform a a highly necessary function to keep the ski area running successfully. I'm also guessing that it is not that easy to replace a group of patrollers on short notice. In fact, I think most ski areas have a hard time finding qualified individuals who want to patrol.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:05 pm

berkshireskier wrote:Yea, if I owned a ski resort, the last group of people I would want to piss off is the ski patrol. My belief is that, at most ski areas, the ski patrol are a very tight group of people who perform a a highly necessary function to keep the ski area running successfully. I'm also guessing that it is not that easy to replace a group of patrollers on short notice. In fact, I think most ski areas have a hard time finding qualified individuals who want to patrol.


I couldn't agree more.

BTW, if you haven't check the Sunshine Village Facebook page, and especially the "Just others" tab of the Wall, it is a case study in itself.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sunshine- ... 167?ref=ts
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:00 pm

They started a Facebook support page that is quickly becoming viral. Just hit the refresh button on your browser and watch the fan count grow.

http://www.facebook.com/SupportSkiPatrol

I predict this will be a big story for a long time to come. Like others have eluded to, it would be one thing if they fired the burger flipper. But it was the most senior staff of ski patrol, during the middle of winter, with a sketchy snowpack.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby soulskier » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:20 pm

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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby Mike Bernstein » Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:29 pm

soulskier wrote:http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/2011/2/1/Lawsuit-Contends-that-Sunshine-Village-Owners-Son-Prompted-Ski-Patrol-Firings/

Note to Admin - towards the end of the story, you wrote that "all but Chevalier were questioned about ....". Remember there were two Chevaliers - the older was the mtn risk mgr while his nephew was the lift ops mgr. From what I've read elsewhere, it was the younger one who wasn't questioned about this incident, and it seems like his firing was more of a collateral damager situation b/c of his relations.
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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby Admin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:01 pm

Good catch, Mike - thanks.

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Re: Turmoil at Sunshine Village

Postby EMSC » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:05 pm

soulskier wrote:They started a Facebook support page that is quickly becoming viral. Just hit the refresh button on your browser and watch the fan count grow.

http://www.facebook.com/SupportSkiPatrol

I predict this will be a big story for a long time to come. Like others have eluded to, it would be one thing if they fired the burger flipper. But it was the most senior staff of ski patrol, during the middle of winter, with a sketchy snowpack.


Soulskier, I guess I am curious as to why you are so extremely interested in this? I would think it has little to do with your MRA work or etc... and more of a distraction than real substance as it relates to attempting a 'start-up' or 'buy-in'. Is MRA's resort of the future in Alberta and you want to pick up some highly experienced employees quick? Or are you just a sucker for "as the ski turns" stories? :popcorn:

Either way, sounds like a bit of a mess for Sunshine in the short term. I wonder what turnover might look like over next summer too.
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