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EDITORIAL: Mending Marble Mountain


No one must feel the pain of the ski season any more than the staff and management at the hill. They are the ones who have to deal with the day-to-day frustrations of only half a facility being open and, likely even worse than that, bear the brunt of a disheartened and angry public who paid good money to ski the entire winter.

There are a lot of people playing Monday morning quarterback with the issues the ski hill faces, and most of them are making great points. The tricky part, of course, is that it was tough to predict the hill would be in its current state when lightning played havoc with the season in August.

The hill announced this week that the new lift won’t be operational until late March. The news was received with about as much enthusiasm as a December downpour of rain. Avid skiers and snowboarders, as well as the recreational ones, wanting to get up for a run were crushed.

When safety is cited as a threat, however, it’s hard to argue against it. If there’s a compatibility issue with the new equipment and safety is at stake, delaying the work until everything is up to standard is the right thing to do.

There’s been a call out for re-imbursement of fees as a result of the delay. This idea has some merit for the season pass holders, as the hill made claims that it would be fully open by mid-January after it put the season passes up for sale.

The guarantee was obviously ill-advised as projects like these rarely finish on time or within budget. But the season-pass holders make a strong case and a rebate on future season passes should be considered.

Of course, it takes much more than half the operating costs to run half a hill so the reduction in future fees can’t be drastic, but a show of goodwill to the season pass holders may be the right way to win back some allegiance to the hill.

Regardless of any such future considerations, Marble was stuck in a tough job this year.

Sure, it repeatedly made mistakes in predicting timelines of the lift solution, but when an end seemed to be in sight, it must have been hard not to scream it from the hilltop.

And when that end came and passed, who bore the onslaught of criticism? The employees.

It’s tough to be in the position of whipping post. Sometimes, regardless of who put them there, we don’t think of that.

After this chair fiasco is settled, let’s hope the rebuilding of the relationship between the hill and its best customers is mended and the hill regains that sense of pride is carries — for the users and the workers.

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