Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Can “Mountain Accord” breeds disagreement?

Mountain Accord is a public process, bringing together more than 20 organizations and nearly 200 stakeholders to create a blueprint for preserving the future legacy of the central Wasatch region, including most of Salt Lake City and Park City.
Last night, I went to their first official public input session in Park City, got an earful from a various bunch of folks who chronically forget that tourism dollars are what makes this place so special and I also heard that “One Wasatch” wasn't front and center.

It should, though, in the effort of easing on transportation needs, making it better for the environment, stimulating the local economy and making our recreational opportunities even more wonderful.

Oh, yes, I also learned that “Mountain Accord” had already cost $450,000 of... you guessed it... Taxpayers' money!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New skis, bad fall and appendicitis

Just 50 years ago, I had purchased my first serious pair of skis. They were Dynastar Compound RG5, an early first torsion box, fiberglass wrapped design, with one-piece hidden steel edges, 207 cm long, and I boy, was I proud of my acquisition.

The third or fourth time I used them, I took a bad fall and managed to cut my right wrist artery. I was bleeding profusely, the ski patrol tourniqueted my arm, put me on a sled and brought me to doctor Vuarnet's office, in Morzine, France. He somehow fixed me, sent me home and that same night the intense emotion, all that gushing blood plus the stress had induced a crisis of appendicitis.

So my parents took me at once to the Thonon hospital were I was operated right away. Skiing can have some dire, cascading and unpredictable consequences!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Are all ski collisions black and white?

If you know the ski responsibility code, it clearly states that “People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.” Seem pretty clear, right? No necessarily.

A week or so ago, I witnessed a ski collision involving two adult males, both traveling at a high rate of speed and evolving on almost concentric paths.

The slope was wide open but its transverse configuration was slightly convex, so they couldn't necessarily see each other until the very last minute when they couldn't avoid the collision. They both fell, but since they were traveling at roughly the same speed in the exact same direction, they weren't hurt and, after exchanging a few strong words, went on their own way.

The take-away from that story is quite useful for all of us who like to ski fast. First, always stick to one side of the run, then keep scanning the periphery at all time and finally, slow down when there are many folks on the run!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Terrain is what makes skiing great!

Often, I'm asked how skiing in and around Park City compares with the Alps. I usually tell them that the European mountains are steeper, the valleys deeper and all this offers more vertical, plus that there are many interconnected resorts, but that the slopes are also far more crowded and lift lines are pure anarchy.

I often forget however that our terrain is every bit as good, if not much better than the Alps, and especially our tree-skiing, which stands out as some of the best. When snow is scarce, like this year, it forces skiers to explore even more, get super creative, and discover unique nooks and crannies that give skiing its wonderful character and make for long-lasting memories.

As I like to say to people, in this record-dry winter, I've never skied as much and also never had as much fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The end of satellite French TV

We've had the French TV5 channel for about 17 years and last week we finally threw the towel and silenced the TV dish that brought it to us. This collection of francophone programing was allegedly a compendium of the least-worst TV shows – mostly from France, some from Switzerland and fewer yet from Canada and Belgium.
At the end, we were not watching anymore because of their poor quality of content, a lack of HD transmission and we simply just grew tired of it. In an age when folks are”cutting the cable cord” and are going streaming, it would seem that TV5 should follow suit, but it may take them another 5 years to realize that it's time to change their business model!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Me and my mobile apps...

If you have a smart phone, you must have downloaded a bunch of mobile apps and I wonder - if just like me - you hardly use 20% of them. You know, along the lines of the famous Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule!

Not only that, but if you use one app much more frequently than the rest, what do you use from that particular one? 10-20%? Just like most of us who use it, take advantage of the potential of an excel table? As for me, my phone is literally cluttered with apps that I hardly know and use.

The challenge is the same old one; each app requires that we get acquainted with it so we can use it, but learning requires efforts and I must be too old for that activity!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tech subscription pricing

I had already experienced the volatility of electronic subscription pricing 18 month ago with my satellite radio subscription and just had the same surprise when I recently renegotiated my internet broadband service and when, two days ago, I canceled my satellite TV service.

These suppliers are fully prepared when you ask them to renegotiate the cost of a subscription and will do anything to keep you onboard. First, they'll try to throw extra free services and if it fails, lower their price significantly.

My internet broadband subscription was simply cut in half after I haggled with the sales rep and as I was canceling my satellite TV plan, the rep who couldn't not take no as an answer offered to halve my monthly payment for a year. A day later, after I had scream a loud “NO”, another rep was offering me a one-year subscription at 40% of its original cost!

What does this mean? It probably that folks have had it with expensive e-services, many are choosing TV streaming instead of cable or satellite service; it also means that a client acquisition cost is enormous and that once in a program, it takes an awful lot for a subscriber to leave.

Finally, it clearly demonstrates that the actual usage cost per client is nil. Try it if you have the time and inclination. It works!