The last guests of the day, too, get the full attention of our team: more often than not, Skiservice’s main store in Surlej will not close up until past 8 o’clock at night. Lorena Silvani will already be waiting in the background. She has been tending our shop for 13 years as if it were her own. «Skiservice Surlej isn’t just a shop—in many ways, it reminds me of a hotel lobby,» Lorena says. The Italian lady used to look after the most beautiful holiday apartments.
«Our guests are the focus of our attention; they should feel at ease when they are with us,» Karin Conrad explains. «Having clean and well-kept floors, windows, mirrors and lavatories make a big difference.» Lorena is well aware that her work behind the scenes is important: «The guests appreciate our well-cared-for facilities and the nice smells. I am proud to have this responsibility at Skiservice.»
«MINDING DETAILS IS CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS.»
Two floors down, Andrea Huber is making headway with a pile of stocks that have just arrived. She opens up one box at a time and checks its contents against the shipping documents. «It can get very cramped down here,“ the former world-class cross-country skier says laughingly. In 2002, she won the Olympic bronze medal in Salt Lake with the Swiss relay team. At Skiservice, she is accountable for an important part of the logistics, and she advises guests in cross-country skiing matters.
«Competing in sports, I learned that minding details is crucial to success. Translated to the job I do today, it means that the teams in all our shops must be able to rely on faultless deliveries,» she explains while scrutinising a down jacket. «We only work with first-rate suppliers; we will seldom get defective or damaged goods. If we do, though, we have to spot them before they go to the shop, or, worse, end up in the hands of a guest.»
Besides attending to the supplier shipments, Andrea is also in charge of the logistics between the shops. On an average day in high season, she will get dozens of requests; for example when a shop needs a garment in a particular size or colour but no longer carries it. «If it’s very urgent, I will get in the car and deliver the requested item myself—occasionally, the guest will be waiting for it on the slopes.»
ENJOYING THE APRÈS-SKI
«Having our guests’ gear at the right place at the right time is key to our service chain,» Patrik Tragust emphasises. Patrik runs the Skiservice subsidiary at the Signal cable car station in St. Moritz. «Our guests can drop off their skis at any of our shops at the end of the day and pick them up on the following morning at any shop they chose.» This service can only be achieved thanks to a complex system that we have put in place—and quite some extra rounds.«It is worth the effort,» Patrik believes. «Our guests should be enjoying their après-ski and not have to lug their gear around!»
«St. Moritz at night has its very own charm,» Paulo Melo observes. «On my nightly errands, I see holiday guests on their way to dinner or on their way home from the nightclubs.» Paulo, originally from Portugal, is in charge of transporting all the rental equipment and the skis of the clients. All told, he will do up to 20,000 kilometres every winter driving his delivery van from and to the branches, storage and tuning centre. «On some nights, there will be more than 1,000 pairs of ski that I have to pick up at the 13 branches, bring to the centralised workshop, and then return to the shops a few hours later.»
ST. MORITZ AT NIGHT
HAS A CHARM OF ITS
80,000 SKIS – 2 TONS OF WAX
At Skiservice’s centralised workshop in St. Moritz, Paulo is greeted by Nils Roth. The German has just started up one of the 10-meter-long computerised ski tuning machines and is making the final checks. At Skiservice, they are called «robots» because the ski tuning is fully automated. «The job doesn’t get done totally on its own, though,» Nils, who toils in the workshop every night, says, laughing. «First, you need to inspect every ski and fit an adapter to the binding to keep it shut. It is physically tiring work.» The two robots at Skiservice tune 80,000 skis a year and use up to 2 tons of wax in the process.
Most of the skis being tuned are part of the Skiservice rental equipment. «We have upwards from 2,000 pairs of alpine skis ready to be used,» Lukas Häusler, Skiservice’s rentals manager, explains. Every time the skis come back from having been rented out, they will be tuned at the workshop. «We want our guests to enjoy their skiing, and for that you need perfectly tuned skis,» Lukas sums up.
«Sometimes, it isn’t easy to work at night. Instead of going out with friends for dinner or to the pub, I will be at the workshop,» says Nils, but immediately reflects: «It has its advantages too: Whenever the morning wakes to fresh powder, I will be the first one up on the mountain.» Like everyone else at Skiservice, Nils is a very keen sportsman. «Off-piste skiing is my passion. Sleeping will have to wait until after lunch.»