Sierra Club Outings Informative - Unprofessional handling of a loyal club member

Review by JeepLvr on 2007-12-27
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- I signed up for a trip and met the PUBLISHED guidelines. In casually emailing the trip leader for gear advice, her husband wrote me back a week after I booked and said he was refunding my money because I need to be an experienced, advanced skier. The itinery for this trip (below) did not say that. Itineraries for the club's other skis trips sometime do note they are expert or advanced, so they can communicate it.

I was NOT told to not book airfare, so I secured a $400 non refundable ticket. Then I was thrown out of the group like a piece of dirt on Christmas Eve, when I filled out no paperwork or application listing my experience (just paid $1200 is all and spoke with an outings rep who was 100% positive about my trip, I was in, and she took my money) when I committed the next 2 months to skiing and booked a week trip in Jay Vt to practice. "Too bad" was the atitude.

REI offers trips. Their itineraries are clear. They don't take people on, have them pay, then throw them out. They are professional to speak with. The Great Canadian Adventure Company runs these hut to hut trips, but on a regular basis. That company interviewed me for a hut to hut trip and said I would do fine. Only the Sierra Club accepts than rejects a person who runs 4 days a week and works out 3 days a week, and is a downhill ski instructor, from an intermediate level cross country ski trip.

The itinerary (where does it say you have to be an advanced xc skier?):
The average daily distance between huts is 10 miles, with a maximum of 13 miles. The terrain is variable and the daily distance gives the trails intermediate status; weather conditions may make them difficult. ***You will need to be proficient in the basic techniques of cross-country skiing.*** In addition, you must be fit enough to ski up to 13 miles per day, for six days, while carrying a day pack of extra clothing, food, and shelter. You should be able to ski in normal backcountry conditions, uphill and downhill, at an average speed of two miles per hour for at least six hours.

How about respecting your members? I'm a paid for life member too and an activist. wtf. All I got was a curt admission by Tony (who was useless and just a mouth piece for the trip leader who had an agenda to get me off) at the club they made a mistake with the itinerary.

I don't care that last year a woman my age (40) couldn't handle this trip, as Tony mentioned. She wasn't me. And I meet the written requirements. Tony tried to get trip leader to wait to decide until I filled out my application, but said the leader didn't trust me to prepare physically for the trip...Tony bent to him (Catherine McLaughlin (leader in name only) for her husband Ed Lawrence).
Comments:7 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-12-28
Posted by topher63076 on 2007-12-28:
You asked
where does it say you have to be an advanced xc skier?

You answered your own question
You will need to be proficient in the basic techniques of cross-country skiing.
Posted by JeepLvr on 2007-12-28:
Is that the rude Sierra Club person Tony? The one who called me a liar by saying he couldnt trust that over the two months before the trip I would not become "familiar with the basic techniques". I already have. Basic techniques means basic. That could be learned in a week. Xcountry skiing is easy. Much easier than downhill.
Posted by JeepLvr on 2007-12-28:
You aren't Tony from the Sierra Club. Why don't you stick to what you know? Do you go hut to hut skiing on your vacations from Wendy's? I doubt it.

From one of your many comments on my3cents reviews:

topher63076 (11/09/2007)
Working fast food as a cashier I understand mistakes happen

Posted by B. on 2007-12-28:
You sound pretty bitter maybe they don't want you because your not a nice person to be around. I'm voting this not helpful.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-12-28:
JeepLvr -- I think you have some growing up to do.
Posted by JeepLvr on 2007-12-28:
Yes, I'm pretty upset. I expect to be treated professionally by the Sierra Club who runs trips that cost up to $6,000. My last trip with them was great.
Posted by kmcnam on 2007-12-28:
This information is very helpful. I love the outdoors and have thought about joining sierra for the trips but it seems quite shady that noone is pre-screened before shelling out money.

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