Chad Fox is guest services manager at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, one of Canada's premier skiing resorts. He tells Emily Manson about the hotel's new ski concierge service
Where did the idea for a ski concierge service come from? It started because we had so many guests during the winter season who needed a place to store their skis other than in their rooms. We thought we could provide a better service than simply storing them in a cupboard.
How does it work? We used to offer guests just storage facilities but now we've formed a partnership with Whistler Blackcomb Mountain, the guys who run the mountain. They supply all the expertise and we provide a large space at the bottom of the mountain within our hotel. Together we can offer not only storage, but rentals, lift tickets and shopping. We train all their staff through our hotel training scheme to make sure everyone involved understands our standards of service.
What makes the service so special? We have a snow host during the day who starts by assisting guests with skis or to the mountain shuttle in the mornings. In the afternoon we have a big tent set up at the base of the mountain so guests don't have to carry their skis back to the hotel and they can also get more information about what's going on locally. We also give out complimentary lounge passes in the afternoon so people can try our special après-ski drink, hot apple cider. It's probably one of the nicest places in town, as it has a patio with fire pits and entertainment every day.
What's the worst part of the job? There isn't really a worst part, but the biggest challenge is getting the storage right. We can store 13,000 sets of skis and 150 snowboards down there at one time, so skis do sometimes get mixed up. It does happen daily but we've got pretty good at figuring out quick solutions.
What reaction do you get from the guests? They love it because they don't have to worry about anything. It's just a one-stop shop at the base of the mountain where they can dry their boots, store their skis, buy lift tickets and organise everything from private guides to heli-skiing. The best bit is, it's all a 30-second walk to the ski lifts. Our guests have an expectation of phenomenal service and we're really trying to make sure we provide that. They shouldn't have to exert themselves, apart from their skiing.
Do you get to do much skiing in your spare time? I don't get to do as much as I'd like. We've had close to 200cm of snow in the past couple of weeks, so the conditions are phenomenal, and it just keeps on coming.