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How much $$ do you spend on PSIA every year?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

instructors, how much do you normally spend?

 

--membership fees

--fee for at least one clinic every two years (or do you take more?)

--lodging, food, etc spent while taking clinics away from home

--subscription to the movement matrix 

--books & cds/dvds

--other stuff

 

post #2 of 17

It depends on whether you want to move up a level or just stay where you are.

 

-membership is like 85 for college students and like 120 for regular people (don't quote me on that).

-if you only take one clinic every two years then its only like 100-150 for that.  But if you want to move up from like a level I to a level II your are going to be pay for and online test, practice exam, skiing exam, teaching exam... and that is going to cost you a lot more. 

-I have never taken a clinic too far from where I live, so I don't know about lodging and stuff... but I do know that you can get special PSIA discounts for that kind of stuff... just not sure how good they are.

-movement matrix is pretty cheap only like $15.

-The books and dvd's can be expensive, but you can borrow some of the books... so that will make it cheaper.

 

I am probably not the best dude to take about this, because I have only been an instructor for one year.  But like I said at the top, it kind of depends if you want to stay at a lower level or move up.  So if someone is a level I for ten years, they are not going to spend nearly as much as someone who went from a member to a level III in ten years.  Because the level III guy is buying the books and pays for all of the exams.

 

...That's all I have to say... hopefully someone else who has more experience will correct me if I am wrong smile.gif

 

post #3 of 17
Quote:

--membership fees=$114 + donation to the education foundation

 

--fee for at least one clinic every two years (or do you take more?)

usually one five day clinic a year- sometimes more clinics on top of that ($200-$600)

 

--lodging, food, etc spent while taking clinics away from home

$600-$2000

 

--subscription to the movement matrix 

zip

 

--books & cds/dvds

$20-$100/year

 

--other stuff

zip on average?


It works out to at least 1/2 of what I make teaching. When you factor in mileage expense, PSIA expenses and wear and tear on gear, I end up spending money to teach. I consider it money well spent. Sane people might disagree.

 

post #4 of 17

I pay my dues, and I do at least one clinic every year. Usually it's a trip out West to visit family, then a clinic.  PSIA clinics are the cheapest high quality coaching I can find, plus I have a sponsor that pays my clinic fees, and, unlike most instructors, I deduct most of my skiing expenses and PSIA fees.  I spend more on equipment and lift tickets than I do on PSIA stuff, and way more on travel, but I would spend all that regardless.

I spend more than most, but I get more out of it.  It's a good value for me. YMMV.

 

BK

post #5 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

I pay my dues, and I do at least one clinic every year. Usually it's a trip out West to visit family, then a clinic.  PSIA clinics are the cheapest high quality coaching I can find


Isn't there something wrong with the business model when it's cheaper to learn to become a teacher than to be a student? It's also in part why I initially joined the CSIA. In addition to wanting to be able to teach friends. (Though over time I started really enjoying teaching skiing to the general public too.)

 

Membership: $130 (mandatory)

Courses: $700-$1200 (I've done at least one course per year for three years, sometimes two)

Development days: $0-40 (They're usually like $20 each, but free sessioning as an employee)

Housing: $0 (moved to the hill)

Opportunity cost: $45,000 (income difference if I'd kept my old job)

Experience: priceless

 

Now, the membership includes one development session per year for free. And mine is higher as I'm dual certified. (Will increase next year for being triple certified now. sigh) Each regional division offers cheap sessions too; BC has "ignition days", which are full day sessions for free. Ontario has PD days, which were like, $20 or similar. 

 

There are sometimes cheaper ways to become a good skier. Whistler offers unlimited lessons for $949 or $1779, depending on if you want 8 or 3 person max in your group. The cheapest I know of though would be the High Park Ski Club and North Toronto Ski Club, which are under $200 and include a free lesson on every day trip. Gotta live in Ontario tho. Still, CSIA is a really good value for the training you get. 

post #6 of 17

I'm about tired of giving my money to PSIA.  I'm at the point where I pay dues and take a clinic every year.  I feel like I've learned about all I need to from PSIA through directly taking clinics from them.  I am lucky and have access to lots of free training through the MSS.  Most of these are taught by PSIA DECLs anyway.  I've paid plenty of money to PSIA for clinics, certification, and training materials over the last 5 years.  I'm currently a dual cert and will someday be a triple cert.  

post #7 of 17

Metaphor- I'm a triple member and I only pay $120...maybe email head office about the fees....

post #8 of 17

 

Quote:
Isn't there something wrong with the business model when it's cheaper to learn to become a teacher than to be a student?

 

While I think group lessons should generally be a bit cheaper (or instructor salaries should be higher), commercial ski schools are for-profit operations.  PSIA isn't.  They're not directly comparable IMO.

 

To me, the biggest benefit from membership is the cheap clinics you can take.  USD$120-150 for two full days of instruction from examiner-level pros including lift tickets?  Hard to get that on the open market.  Sometimes you can get close if you own a pass somewhere and buy multi-lesson packages.

 

If you're just taking a clinic every other year to keep your membership up, the benefit is pretty limited.  Unless you get extra pay or privileges at your ski school for maintaining a certification level.

 

Quote:
...unlike most instructors, I deduct most of my skiing expenses and PSIA fees.

As a part-time gig, my biggest expense is gas driving to/from the mountain, and you can't deduct normal travel to your work site.  Didn't think about deducting my PSIA membership, though... I'll have to do that next year.  Can you deduct travel expenses to attend PSIA courses or exams?  Those are substantially higher than the actual payment to PSIA for me...

post #9 of 17
Matthias you may deduct travel and lodging for exams clinics and events. Or use the IRS per mile deduction. Didn't think about it til now, but may even be that if you go to an unpaid training clinic at your ski school on a non work day, that mileage may be deductable ?
post #10 of 17

Hmm.  May need to amend my 2011 tax return.  smile.gif

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 911over View Post

Matthias you may deduct travel and lodging for exams clinics and events. Or use the IRS per mile deduction. Didn't think about it til now, but may even be that if you go to an unpaid training clinic at your ski school on a non work day, that mileage may be deductable ?

The problem with deducting ski expenses is that most instructors are employees, and employee expense is deductible only if it exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross.  For me, 2% of my gross is more than my W2.  If I deducted ski expenses as employee expense, in effect I would be saying my expenses exceed my wages.  That looks like an invitation to an audit to me.  OTOH most of my income is on 1099's, and there's no threshold for deducting against those on Schedule C.  But DON'T FOLLOW MY ADVICE.  I don't really know anything about taxes, I just run Turbotax and hope I don't get audited.  The only individuals I ever knew who were audited were ski instructors who deducted employee expense.

post #12 of 17

Another thing not to overlook is the value of Pro deals.  For example I am a Smartwool pro member through PSIA.  Their stuff is great, but SO expensive.  Getting it for 1/2 price saves me a lot of money.

 

I've bought Leki poles, skis, bindings and other things right through the national site Shopatron interface for 40-60% off this year's models.  Shipped fast. The days of looking for deals on skis are over, no one can touch the prices I get through PSIA on skis.  That alone more then pays for my dues.

post #13 of 17

As a 40+ year dues payer (my first PSIA dues payment was $10) and a septuagenarian,  my PSIA dues were reduced to $75.  I spend $2-400, depending upon location, every other year for pin polishing.   I get wonderful training at work, mostly conducted by examiners.  I deduct the PSIA training fees and travel expenses.

 

Back in the day, when I worked nights and drove to the ski hill after leaving the night job, the IRS let me take off the mileage between the night job and the ski hill.  I lost that when the night job ended twenty years ago.

 

I deduct some sort of equipment purchase most every year--skis/bindings/boots/gloves/socks/tuning gear, etc.--but I've always worked full time and had sufficient income from skiing to justify it.  

post #14 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post

The problem with deducting ski expenses is that most instructors are employees, and employee expense is deductible only if it exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross.  For me, 2% of my gross is more than my W2.  If I deducted ski expenses as employee expense, in effect I would be saying my expenses exceed my wages.  That looks like an invitation to an audit to me.  OTOH most of my income is on 1099's, and there's no threshold for deducting against those on Schedule C.  But DON'T FOLLOW MY ADVICE.  I don't really know anything about taxes, I just run Turbotax and hope I don't get audited.  The only individuals I ever knew who were audited were ski instructors who deducted employee expense.


From some cursory digging, it looks like things like PSIA dues and travel and expenses related to events/exams should be deductible business expenses if you are employed as a ski instructor.  As you mentioned, the amount of these expenses (plus some other itemized expense deductions that get lumped together) that is over 2% of your AGI can be deducted.  These are filed on a form 2106 or 2106-EZ.

 

I'm less clear about other expenses related to training.  For instance, it looks like I might be able to deduct mileage from attending clinics on days I was not scheduled to work, even though the training was at my regular work site.  I'm not sure if I could deduct something like the ESA event I went to.  That was ski training, but not explicitly training for ski instruction.

 

It does seem like it might raise a red flag if your business expenses are a significant percentage of (or more than) your actual wages/tips income.  It doesn't seem like this is actually disallowed, though.  e.g. someone working part-time while taking classes towards a job-related certification or college degree could easily have legitimate educational expenses that exceed their wages.  Someone with a part-time job trying to get a side business off the ground might be spending more than they make.  But it certainly could look suspicious.

 

IANAL either, particularly not a tax lawyer...

post #15 of 17

Mathias,

 

For the record, I am not a tax expert and the following opinions are worth what you pay for them.

 

You are on the right track. The questionable expenses you mention are in the "gray area" where whether they are legit or not will depend on who you talk to, who you get for an auditor if you get audited and how far you go fighting in tax court if you choose to fight a denial. The stories I've heard/what I've read is that there is a lot of leeway when your job is viewed as a job and a lot less when your job is viewed as a hobby. Hobby gets defined when you consistently claim expenses that exceed your income from that activity. Good tax preparers will be able to cite official IRS and Tax Court rulings on similar cases to justify the deductions they take. The bottom line is how aggressive you want to be. If you get your taxes done, once the preparer signs it, it's his problem.

 

ESA has a fairly good chance of holding up as legitimate instructor training expense for two reasons:

-Most of the ESA clinicians are active PSIA clinicians. There's a good case to be made that with respect to skiing skill development, PSIA and ESA are functionally identical.

-Development of skiing skill is a requirement for instructors

Some divisions will allow for education credits for non-PSIA training (typically this will not count towards minimum requirements though). If PSIA recognizes the training, it will be hard for the IRS to deny the expense.

 

Mileage for training on days off is a little more questionable:

Con-mileage to your regular place of work is generally not deductible

Pro-if you're not getting paid, you're not working. If training is "expected" or "required" and it's not paid for, all expenses are deductible. 

 

If you're going to go for the mileage for training on off days, you might as well go for mileage on days where you are required to appear but don't work/get paid.

 

I've had friends tell me they write off mileage to and from the hill and never got audited. That makes them lucky, not right. I'd put writing off 100% of gear expense when you use your gear for free skiing in the same category, but I'd feel comfortable arguing that 100% of on snow time is training for an instructor job and use my resort training that we are all ambassadors whether we are on duty or not as part of the argument that at least any expense related to free skiing in uniform should be deductible. All travel expenses for clinics are deductible unless you spend "extra" days, in which case you have to apply percentages to airfare, etc. for the unrelated days. But is an extra free day at altitude before a clinic "unrelated"? Although I'd again feel comfortable arguing that day(s) before warming up/getting altitude adjusted and days after "practicing what was learned" are related, this is one of the areas that is red meat to auditors.

post #16 of 17

I average about $200 a year.

 

I think part of the confusion over dues is that different divisions have different dues in addition to the national component. In eastern you can be a division only member, and save the national dues.

post #17 of 17

I got 2 free days of skiing at Kirkwood this week with my PSIA cert, thanks Kirkwood!  If I add in the $1000's of dollars I have saved on the 3 Subaru's I have owned over the past 20 yrs., PSIA dues are a drop in the bucket.  There are plenty of other places over the years that PSIA & ISIA membership have saved me money.

Way cheaper than most professional organization dues.

JF

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