Tuesday December 1, 2015
Skiing has been a part of my life since I have been able to walk. People think I’m crazy when I tell them I’m excited for winter, especially after the record snow that New England received last year. Now that I am working and in “the real world”, as many people in their early 20’s like to say, skiing is a little different because of the price tag attached. A single day ticket at my favorite mountain costs $80 (this is cheap for most mountains in New England) and a meal at a mountain costs the same as at professional sporting venue, usually totaling around $20. Adding other expenses like gas and lodging, I find myself counting how many times I plan to ski this year on one hand. This means that every time I book a ski trip, I want to get the most skiing in as physically possible.
I recently read an article that tracked how skiers spend their time while at the mountain. The numbers are pretty shocking; the average skier spends only 25% of the time skiing! 35% of time is spent in line or on the chairlift, while 40% is spent doing other things like resting, eating or getting warm in the lodge. If a mountain is open for 8 hours a day, this means that the average skier is only spending 2 hours of the day actually skiing! Through experience I would say the average time for a ski run is about 10 minutes, which totals out to only 12 runs for one whole day of skiing. Divide the price of the ticket and food and that 1 run costs $8.33!
This of course does not sit well with me; I want to spend the majority of my time on the slopes …not in the lodge. Luckily, I have found ways to utilize my time better while at the mountain so that I am maximizing the amount of time spent skiing and getting in the most amount of runs possible. By doing so, I am getting more value out of my money and more enjoyment out of my trip! One thing I do is bring my own food and not buy the expensive food at the lodge; which saves me both time and money. I save about $10 in food costs and about an hours’ worth of time by avoiding the lunchtime lodge lines and tables waits, opting to eat mountainside instead. To cut down time at the beginning of the day I get suited up by the car, again eliminating the process of going to the lodge and finding a spot to get ready and a place to leave personal belongings and ski equipment. This way I can buy a ticket and hop right on the chairlift wasting no time. The last, and probably the best, way that can save time when skiing with other people is to use the singles line for the chairlift. Chairlift lines can be brutal during the busiest times of the day and as noted above, skiers are spending 35% (or 2.8 hours) of their time waiting for rides! I’ve found that the one way to get around the huge lines is to hop in the singles line, which moves at a much faster rate, landing you to the top of the mountain faster.
Doing these small things I have been able to cut my chairlift wait times by 20% and nearly double the number of runs I take, spending only 5% of my time resting in the lodge or eating. Recalculating my costs, I am only spending $4.29 per run (compared to the average skiers $8.33 per run)!
Like my skiing example, it is important in healthcare to get the most value out of products. Every time we throw away a disposable blood pressure cuff instead of keeping it with the patient for their length of stay, or open multiple styles of internal staplers when only one style is needed, or use an 8 pack bath-in-a-bag to wash a patient’s hands, we aren’t getting the most value out of those products. Utilization is not only about saving money, but getting better value out of every dollar spent.
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