It’s been over 10 years since I first met Barry Allison on the Yes Improvement Programme in Whistler. At that time, i’d taken a career break to spend some time in the mountains and train as a ski instructor. Barry was a ski coach on the programme, and leading operations in resort. His job was to pass on his expertise, coach me through my CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) exams and make my stay in Whistler a memorable one. He did a great job!
The years have flown by, so I thought it was about time I caught up with Barry to talk about skiing, his boot fitting business Ski Connexions, and learn more about his philosophy for delivering a personalized service for his customers…
I hope you enjoy our chat!
Barry Allison on delivering an end-to-end personalized service…
My approach — which has evolved over the years — is being clear with my clients on what I want to do to help them with their skiing and their comfort and what that will feel like to them. It’s important to understand what their expectations are and the issues they have had in the past. If we both can be open with what I plan to do and the expectations they have, and what they want, we end up with what I think is a great product
Barry started his skiing career in the Ottawa area in 1987. After achieving his CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance) level III. In 1990 he and some close friends decided it was time to head west. What was originally planned to be a couple seasons wound up being 15 years!
During this time, Barry achieved his CSIA level IV and became an active Course Conductor with the CSIA. He also worked full time as a trainer and supervisor with the Whistler/Blackcomb Ski School.
Barry moved back to the Ottawa area in 2005 and slowly began building what is now Ski Connexions. He spent quite a bit of time trying to find the resources that he took for granted in Whistler, in particular getting his boots fit the way they should be!
He quickly found out that if he wanted his boots fit properly he was going to have to do it himself. After begging and borrowing tools at the ski shop, he decided it was time to get some tools of his own. He started with a boot punch to stretch ski boots, and eventually worked towards buying equipment for making foot beds and checking his alignment. At the time, no one in the area was doing it and many of Barry’s colleagues were curious about what he was doing and the impact it was having on his skiing. One ski boot punch in a friend’s boot quickly turned into a pair of foot beds and then an alignment.
Within a short time, word of mouth spread and the purchase of more boot fitting equipment soon rivalled many ski shops in North America. What became apparent was not only the high standard equipment but also the high level of commitment and service that came with each boot fitting…