Why is it so hard for resorts to have a decent policy for cafeteria tables?

Brad J

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Covid has taught me one thing , Eat late !!!!, I had lunch at 1:30 to 2:00 and It was great , I know it was a different year but going to try it next year. I had a funny (now) experience at Burke Mt in Vt 5 years ago . Sat at an empty table with my wife that seated 8 with benches , well It was our first time there and had no Idea that we had sat at the table that a group of people seat must have sat there for years . They were friendly enough and as more of the party arrived kept moving us down to we had reached the last 6" of the bench. Before more of the party sat down forcing us on the floor we left. They were so self absorbed in their conversations that they had no idea how rude they were. I wish I could blame it on race kids , or race parents , but they were race grandparents. As I was leaving I apologized for sitting at their table . They had no idea that the may have been inconsiderate.
 

Prosper

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I’m probably in the minority, but I liked the table reservation system at Keystone, Breck, Vail and Beaver Creek. Reservations could only be made same day starting at 7:30am with a 45 minute limit at a table. It worked well for us. I did not miss the looking for a group who was close to done and then hovering. I’m assuming table reservations will go away next season but who knows?
 

mdf

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Simple solution......ask or just sit down.
I did that at the Killington Summit Lodge when there was a table with just 2 guys. They were fine with me sitting there. As I was finishing my lunch, a bunch of their friends came in and gathered near the table. One woman introduced herself to me, saying "you may not remember me, but we met at Bob's birthday 2 or three years ago. That was a great..... <quizzical look> you aren't part of this group, are you?"
 

Nathanvg

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"OK, great. I'll eat quick and leave when they get back. Thanks for sharing!"
Exactly right. I do this all the time and never had to leave. If I get unlucky in the future it's no big deal to move. Similarly, I won't let an unattended bag hold a table either.
 

jt10000

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Simple solution......ask or just sit down. If I see a table with vast numbers of open chairs and no equipment suggesting that people are using but just not there I have no problem asking if I can sit with my daughters for a break or for lunch. Most people are cool.
This will work better if the lodge has posted signs/policy saying saving seating (perhaps for more than 5-10 minutes) is not allowed.

If I see a table with vast numbers of open chairs and no equipment
Part of the problem is the seatholders spread out equipment to make it seem the seats are being used. I've got no problem if they're doing that to save for someone coming right back from buying food, using the restroom, etc. But people do it for hours - saving for people out skiing. Not cool.
 
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Goose

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Oh yea this issue has always been one the most negative things when it comes to skiing. Ive always found it rude, disrespectful, lacking in common courtesy and outright "all about me" kill or be killled atmosphere. Its just plane ugly. And i always feel bad for the dad and or mom (or both) with a couple little ones who walk around the lodge round and round forever with trays of food looking for somewhere to sit the family. And if your one who has a very respectful and passive personality you will basically eat standing up with your kids. Its sometimes sad when i see folks not know what to do with thier kids to sit and eat. Ive actually told people to come and sit.

While at the same time I'll see a family of 5 sitting at 2 tables they placed together. I hate that complete selfishness because instead of having some courtesy for everyone else via squeezing 5 at the one table, they instead place 2 together loosing two whole sides of each table and takes away an entire table. and yet mom or dad is walking around with trays of food looking for where they can feed thier kids. Its so terrible imo. Often society just sucks and nowadays it gets worse and worse.

As mentioned the leaving of items on/under/around tables is at some places i recall an excepted action. Im not even talking soccer mom holding tables but just common practice to leave your stuff and go out and ski. And you come into sit you have to basically sit between on top of and next to other peoples coolers and gear and etc. And there isnt any room to temporarily put your own crap down.

But yea,...then ya got the soccer parent each one holding for a table of 8.

Ive gotten to the point where i hate lodges so much for this reason. I never could understand why things are not set up much smoother and with rules enforced etc.
It is such a terrible environment that I just keep a lunch cooler on my vehicle and walk there to sit and eat in the piece of my own space in/at my vehicle.
Doing that even when the kids were relatively younger even a good walk away was still better, lees stressful and more pleasant than dealing with the rude selfish ugly chaos of the lodge not to mention spending a small fortune for mostly crap food. Problem was though there was a limit as to how far you had to walk especially with young kids.
The key is getting early parking close, skiing early, eating early, leaving when the chaos is at its worst. But that was not always so easy to do when you have little ones. Youd often be stuck having to endure the ugliness and dark side of a ski day with our young families.
 

Marker

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In normal winters (not this one obviosusly), there has always been plenty of space midweek at the Killington lodges. I usually would go upstairs in the K1 lodge or the large room in Snowshed. The Peak lodge is always busy during the luncy rush due to limited size and the views on clear days.

Weekends are another story. Hint: eat early and ski during the 12 to 1 lunch hour.
Since we ride the shuttles to Snowshed, that usually has been the base of operations with the large backroom and free bag check. A great place to people watch, especially the instructors from the snow school that routinely eat there in a large group! We occasionally have hit the Peak Lodge with visiting friends to give them the great views. That can be a bit of a creep show, but we usually can arrange a table with a little patience.

I have seen the worst table manners at the Pocono resorts closer to Philadelphia. This is usually on the weekends and there simply are not enough seats to go around to hold the crowds. Elk has the picnic tables end to end so no one can reserve a table or leave bags, but their bag nooks are limited due to old nature of the lodge. You have to find your spot and let someone else get your food while you hold it down with helmets and gloves.
 

mdf

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As mentioned the leaving of items on/under/around tables is at some places i recall an excepted action. Im not even talking soccer mom holding tables but just common practice to leave your stuff and go out and ski. And you come into sit you have to basically sit between on top of and next to other peoples coolers and gear and etc. And there isnt any room to temporarily put your own crap down.
I'm a big fan of places where there is somewhere else to put bags. Some have formal bag checks. A lot of eastern lodges have cubbyholes -- a bank of about 2 foot wide wooden squares. Others have hooks up on the rafters. And some have a local tradition of stacking bags over on one side of the room.
 

DanoT

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I've successfully done the "I'll leave as soon as your friend shows up" deal, but these days I skip breakfast, show up early at the mountain, get a good parking spot, go in for a break at 10:30 or 11.
 

HardDaysNight

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My recommendation is to eschew on-mountain dining entirely thereby avoiding the overpriced, venomous muck they serve, and saving one’s health, money and temper!
 

scott43

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My recommendation is to eschew on-mountain dining entirely thereby avoiding the overpriced, venomous muck they serve, and saving one’s health, money and temper!
It's not just the bought food..it's the bring your own food area too. Especially when you have kids, you need some place to eat. Car gets old fast..
 

johnnyvw

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At Shawnee ski area, there were families that brought rice cookers and plugged them in....
 

Choucas

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None of this exists in Europe. There are self serve/cafeteria type places, but no brown bagging. If you want to bring your own, toss some food & drink in your pack and find a nice picnic spot on the hill. Basic food is reasonably priced and good to very good most of the time. You can sit there as long as you like. You can opt for sit down dining which is pricier but often some of the best food you’ve ever had. You will often be asked to share a table with others. Everyone is cool with that. Euros aren’t as weird about their space as Americans. For years we brown bagged it and picnicked in some of the most spectacular setting in the alps. Nowadays, the longer lunches, often served outside, are my favorites. In the US, I usually do not eat at a ski area. Not worth the time and aggravation. A few snacks in my pocket. A drink from the drinking fountain. I’m good for the day. Afternoon snack/tea holds me ‘til dinner time.
 

rustypouch

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I avoid the lodges, except when I'm lazy and forgot a lunch. There's plenty of space in the pro room.
 

PinnacleJim

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I'm a big fan of places where there is somewhere else to put bags. Some have formal bag checks. A lot of eastern lodges have cubbyholes -- a bank of about 2 foot wide wooden squares. Others have hooks up on the rafters. And some have a local tradition of stacking bags over on one side of the room.
I agree. The east is much better than the west in this area. Killington has lots of free cubbys and also free bag check. The Summit Cty CO resorts are the worst. Only crazy expensive pay lockers or bag check.
 

East Coast Scott

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I agree. The east is much better than the west in this area. Killington has lots of free cubbys and also free bag check. The Summit Cty CO resorts are the worst. Only crazy expensive pay lockers or bag check.
Yes, I wasn't use to this. At most of the mountains in the East there are large lounges with tables and many cubby holes as lockers to store your stuff. I ski'd at a mountain in Colorado and there was no lounge and the lockers were expensive. Barely any place to put your boots on. I was wondering why everyone was walking from the parking lots with their boots on. I just thought it was normal to have a big lounge and free lockers, lol. I can't imagine booting up a bunch of kids in the parking lot when it's -10F out. I guess I was spoiled.
 

BS Slarver

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When we weren’t doing our van as a base lodge I would simple take the stuff off the saved table and sit down.
I have no problem telling the person who’s holding the large table that this establishment doesn’t take reservations ! Ive gotten some push back but oh well, I don’t see your name on it, perhaps you need to go get the manager.

Only time has really been is a problem was at Waterville Valley in the 70s with the section roped off for the Kennedys with their white tablecloth‘s and Secret Service. That was a a problem and quite a different story
 
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