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David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 07.10hrs on Mon 2 Jul 12
Dear Frank McCusker

Congratulations on your new job as chief executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain, which begins today. At this juncture there is clearly huge potential for growing the organisation and any constructive and inclusive moves that you make will surely be warmly received.

You take up executive leadership of the Ski Club at a time when its membership has been flat-lining at less than 3% of British skiers – a situation that has continued for a considerable time. Therefore, the point you made on 29 May in accepting the role is particularly poignant:

“I am excited by this opportunity ... to ensure a vibrant thriving Club, relevant to all ages and types of snow sports enthusiast.”

Since you are a Scot (perhaps the first to run the organisation) this is perhaps a relevant moment to point out that the Ski Club of GB is currently unrepresented in Scotland and that Scottish skiers are not represented on its board, despite the Club defining itself as “the spokesbody of British skiers” [1995 mission statement] and “the voice of recreational snowsports in the UK” [2008 communications policy].
The percentage of Scottish skiers who belong to the SCGB might therefore be a worthwhile statistic to determine and build upon. In fact, it might also be a good idea to establish, definitively, the Club’s overall membership figure. The following numbers have been published by the SCGB since last autumn: 32,000 (29 Nov 2011), 30,000+ (21 Feb 2012) 31,000+ (22 Feb 2012), 33,000 (1 Mar 2012) and currently (2 July 2012) "around 34,000". Since your performance as CEO will be partly measured by membership growth it would be good to know exactly what you started with.

Relations with Scottish skiers have been affected by mis-reporting of Scottish snow depths, apparently by making them up or accepting false data from other sources. For example, last December the western Highlands were blasted with enormous early snowstorms, to the extent that the snow deposited was still being skied at the end of June 2012. On 16 Dec 2011 the SCGB reported that there was 45cm of snow on the upper slopes of Glencoe. On the same day the Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) dug a 340cm snow pit on Glencoe, and on each of the subsequent days they measured 160cm, 240cm, 60cm, 370cm and 70cm at different locations.

On 6 Feb 2012 the Club reported that there was 50cm of snow on Glencoe’s upper slopes. The operator of the mountain said 150cm would have been a correct figure. There were many metres more snow in the deeper snow-holding gullies where the ski runs are located.

On 3 May 2012 (May proved to be the best month of 2011-12 for skiing on Cairngorm) the Club said there was 45cm of snow on the upper slopes, with the mountain “temporarily closed” (5 lifts were running). On preceding days the SAIS had cut 270cm and 280cm snow pits on the mountain. The Club then ceased reporting the snow on Cairngorm for the rest of May, leaving skiers to rely on other information sources.

As a completely fresh force on the scene, maybe you could take a look at this. If the Ski Club has no reliable Scottish snow reporters, maybe it would be best to link to this site – Winterhighland – and/or the Ski-Scotland site – so that British skiers can view live webcams, videos and photos from the slopes and read reports from skiers who have actually been on the hills.

On a related note ... I’m sure that any visits you make to the Scottish ski mountains would be warmly appreciated, since they are such an important element in the UK ski scene.

Yours sincerely
David Goldsmith (a London SCGB member)


rickmanchester


Posts: 126
Joined: Jan 2011
Last Visited: 09:38
3rd Feb 2019
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 06.53hrs on Wed 4 Jul 12
Well said.

Snowweasel


Posts: 392
Joined: Oct 2006
Last Visited: 13:11
21st Nov 2020
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 11.13hrs on Wed 4 Jul 12
I'd be fascinated to see the reply!

dave-fisher


Posts: 59
Joined: Oct 2010
Last Visited: 19:05
8th Sep 2015
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 19.13hrs on Wed 4 Jul 12
Good effort

cammyammy


Posts: 1362
Joined: Jul 2010
Last Visited: 21:43
8th Dec 2014
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 20.05hrs on Wed 4 Jul 12
Interesting letter. I wrote to them about a particular issue (branding scotland as a place for novices on a particular page)and got a good enthusiastic response saying they would change it. This was 4 weeks ago and I am disappointed that nothing has been done.

Not having a presence in scotland I totally agree with, but it's a difficult one to argue. [www.skiclub.co.uk]

David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 15.33hrs on Thu 5 Jul 12
Obviously I emailed the new CEO of the SCGB - Frank McCusker - to point out that the open letter above had been posted. A very friendly and charming email was received in response, which didn't deal with the specific facts above.

It's hardly unknown for CEOs, and other senior figures, to be wary of internet skiing forums. Winterhighland.info is the only one I currently post to because it's largely free of trolls and sock puppets. I think people who do difficult jobs in skiing generally get a fair and balanced hearing here.

Obviously it's up to Frank whether he wishes to play. The SCGB as currently constituted and operating is not his deed.

He may well feel that actions speak louder than words. We shall see!

-------

As a possibly related note, it's worth reflecting that the Ski Club set the stage for a significant rise in networking amongst skiers ten years ago. The Club's open public ski forum (opened 2002, closed 2004) encouraged thousands to exchange advice and comment. The closure of the forum, in Feb 2004, instantly caused the launch of snowHeads.com. The success of that forum (more to the point, its use of the phrase 'Ski Club' or 'Ski Club 2.0' for search engine optimisation etc.) prompted the SCGB to threaten legal action last May. As a Ski Club member, I dissociate with such buttering of lawyers giving dubious legal advice. Hopefully Frank McCusker - and any other new blood - will do the same. The Club should build bridges with internet-loving skiers and 'skier-networkers', preferably by hosting the 'big discussion'. Internet ski communities are increasingly proving to be the 'new clubs' - the new gateways to bigger and better things.


David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 10.16hrs on Tue 16 Oct 12
In the opening post to this thread, I mentioned ...

"The percentage of Scottish skiers who belong to the SCGB might therefore be a worthwhile statistic to determine and build upon."

Of course, there's also the percentage of SCGB members who live in Scotland. This is indicated annually in maps published by the Club. Looking at the 2011 report this figure stood at 4.8%. But the 2012 report gives the figure as 0.5%.

The first map below is the 2011 map. The second is the 2012 map.

I'll try and find out from the Club's membership dept which figure, if either, is correct!






Edited 3 times. Last edit at 10.23hrs Tue 16 Oct 12 by David Goldsmith.

Attachments: SCGB 2011 map.JPG (30kB)   SCGB 2012 map.JPG (31kB)  
David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 10.46hrs on Thu 18 Oct 12
Having contacted SCGB HQ, it emerged that the proportion of Scottish skiers in the membership is nearer 1 in 20 than 1 in 200, probably to the great relief of the new Scottish CEO!

The 2012 annual report, which contains the map, was a day from printing and has been corrected ...

Attachments: SCGB 2012 map revised.JPG (32kB)  
David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 11.01hrs on Thu 18 Oct 12
On the more substantive issue of SCGB Scottish snow reports, I've done my best to try and persuade the Club that reporting snow depths is not a good idea if they're not measured depths, and that it would be best not to report depths at all until there's a resolution as to how that could happen.

It's over 50 years since the first major lifts were built in Scotland and over 100 years since Scottish skiers were actively engaged in building the Ski Club of Great Britain. Maybe - with the involvement of the SCGB - a network of measurement poles could be installed at the ski areas (e.g. 5 on the lower slopes and 5 on the upper slopes of each mountain, so that averages could be easily calculated?)

This exchange of postings on Facebook took place in early May (follow the two attachments in turn):



Attachments: Facebook 3 May.JPG (115kB)   Facebook 3 May contd..JPG (41kB)  
jabuzzard


Posts: 873
Joined: Jan 2010
Last Visited: 20:27
23rd Nov 2020
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 12.48hrs on Thu 18 Oct 12
I was thinking about this the other year when there was lots of snow about and wanted to record the snow fall in my garden. The upshot is that you can fully automate this, using either temperature corrected ultrasonics or optical measurements. Clearly there is a capital cost involved in setting it up however.

hector


Posts: 225
Joined: Nov 2004
Last Visited: 13:35
19th Jun 2014
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 16.04hrs on Thu 18 Oct 12
Am I the only one who can't see the point in even measuring snow depth data in Scotland. Without taking a huge sample size the results will be skewed hugely by where the wind has deposited the snow...

It is also largely irrelevant to whether or not there's good skiing on offer. I'd take 50cm of packed powder at the Lecht over 4m of boilerplate in the Ptarmigan any day!

Jamie

jabuzzard


Posts: 873
Joined: Jan 2010
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23rd Nov 2020
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 21.59hrs on Thu 18 Oct 12
hector Wrote:
Am I the only one who can't see the point in even measuring snow depth data in Scotland. Without taking a huge sample size the results will be skewed hugely by where the wind has deposited the snow...


You make this sound like a issue that is only relevant in Scotland. However I can assure you that it is just as relevant in the Alps, though it is perhaps only apparent in poor snow years.

On more than one occasion I have travelled to a resort that was offering x cm of snow on the lower slopes to find that literately the only snow at resort level was on the highly maintained and topped up with snow canon's and snow farming pistes, while all around was bare grass.

Specifically the SCGB snow depth figures apply only to the snow depth on the pistes and nothing else.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 21.59hrs Thu 18 Oct 12 by jabuzzard.

David Goldsmith


Posts: 1283
Joined: Feb 2003
Last Visited: 08:28
6th Nov 2018
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 09.24hrs on Fri 19 Oct 12
Here's the exact SCGB snow report definition (from skiclub.co.uk) ...



... to which can be added the explanation of the Scottish reports on the SCGB Facebook page (linked above) on 3 May 2012 ...

"Regarding depths, then there are no official depths available from the Scottish resorts so we aim to report representative depths as it states in our site. We do this through various means including talking to skiers in Scotland as well as people within the ski industry who are in Scotland."

... or for SCGB snow reports generally (quote from SCGB Snowcast video 26 Nov 2010), but clearly not for Scotland ...

"What makes the Ski Club’s snow reports different is that it’s not just automated data from the resorts – we have a team that gathers and checks the information every day. This is how we can deliver unbiased and accurate snow reports to you."





Edited 5 times. Last edit at 11.32hrs Fri 19 Oct 12 by David Goldsmith.

Attachments: SCGB snow report definition.JPG (21kB)  
alan


Posts: 10714
Joined: Nov 1994
Last Visited: 20:10
24th Nov 2020
What's this?What's this?What's this?
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 13.22hrs on Fri 19 Oct 12
Quote:
Specifically the SCGB snow depth figures apply only to the snow depth on the pistes and nothing else.


Is this a change in policy? I was involved in some of the discussions CML had with the SCGB and ITV Teletext over the content of their reports back in 2002. Their justification for the very low snow depths reported were that they were a reflective figure for an average across the whole mountain - but again refused to say how the figures were obtained.

I have measured and photographed a couple of useful and easily identifiable features on the upper mid mountain at CairnGorm and Happy Valley at Glencoe to get some quick indicative depth figures on popular runs this winter, to supplement useful figures from the SAIS. (It wont always be as easy to probe to ground as it was in late April and May on CairnGorm!!)



jabuzzard


Posts: 873
Joined: Jan 2010
Last Visited: 20:27
23rd Nov 2020
Re: An open letter to the new CEO of the Ski Club of GB
Date Posted: 13.30hrs on Fri 19 Oct 12

"What makes the Ski Club’s snow reports different is that it’s not just automated data from the resorts – we have a team that gathers and checks the information every day. This is how we can deliver unbiased and accurate snow reports to you."


Hum, that is factually incorrect as well. I have seen on more than one occasion the Ski Club rep reporting exactly what the resort was reporting. Though to be fair the resorts figures where probably pretty accurate.



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