survey of the actual situation in Switzerland and abroad by Karl Arsiriy
Introduction highlighting importance of the studied subject:
One cannot deny that tourism is about service. And the concept of service itself means not only being as appropriate and adequate as possible, but also exceeding the customer’s expectations. As for the ski resort, the most fashionable ones must have understood long time ago the importance of accommodating physically challenged people and advertising and public relation’s benefits of such developed infrastructure.
The purpose of this mini-research itself was to benchmark different ski resort and analyse the range of their proposals and possibilities related to the disabled-skiing and other similar activities.
Gathering relevant and complete data might be a task for a special full-sized survey. Our mini-case study limits impose certain shortening of accumulated information in order to avoid data dump.
1. Swiss Way of doing it
Several Swiss ski resorts have been chosen to illustrate the way Swiss snow tourism tends to welcome disabled people and skiers in particular.
The chosen Swiss resorts are Zermatt, Verbier and St Moritz. After a thorough yet rather superficial study it has been established that all three share the same policy consisting of allowing the willing ski and snowboard schools to undertake at their own responsibility the activity of teaching disabled people or providing them with good quality guidance and assistance throughout their holidays and staying.
Such organisations as so-called ES (stands for European Snowsport) Adaptive Ski school, try to take care of their clients treating them equally with common ones. The term “Adaptive Skiing” is a newly introduced one and refers to the need of one to adapt their teaching and security methods for every particular client, and therefore this phenomenon demonstrates spectacular flexibility which we unfortunately lack in several other less complicated sub-domains of tourism industry.
But there is still place for some technical issues. The example of Verbier ski resort illustrates us that not all of ski lifts are suited to respond the special needs of physically challenged people, and so far the author of this article may compare previous years to the year 2012 and tell that the situation is slowly improving. The same applies to the parking lots and other indirect challenges.
Consider the following information for the purpose of benchmarking: in Lombardia the ski resort of Bormio claims ” The parking lots are situated next to the cableway Bormio-Bormio 2000; the reserved spots for disabled persons are indoor below ground and it is possible to reach the cableway level directly by elevator. The BormioSki staff has been educated and the lifts renewed in order to welcome people with disabilities. The accommodation facilities in Bormio 2000 were recently rebuilt and architectural barriers were taken away”.
2. Instead of conclusion:
The main purpose of the study however was to find out whether our local service makes its stand facing North American concurrence.
For instance I found out that in Aspen, USA, the spectre of opportunities is larger than the one we have in our homeland. There are several unique programs
developed there, such as “Challenge Aspen”, which not only provides wounded military with extra quality skiing service, but also aims to accompany them through
the entire process of adaptation to their current new conditions using sport as a proper tool. However, one cannot blame Swiss resorts of lacking this opportunity because of one simple fact: Swiss army positions itself neutral in current war conflicts and therefore the number of soldiers requiring this kind of help happens to be close to zero. But in the long term, introducing such a program even for the fewest military might be perceived as an act of courage and care.