There is actually something cool and desirable about taking lessons from a ski instructor with a foreign accent. Just sayin'
H2B situation. - Page 2
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The H-2B non-agricultural temporary visa is a great idea for ski instructors who want to follow the winter. They don't need to become US permanent residents, and likely don't want to. That's sort of the whole idea.
The H-2B may not be a great idea for the US economy. There seems to be debate as to whether foreign ski instructors take jobs from Americans and it may vary by region. There's also debate as to the quality of American replacements, and the chicken-and-egg thing about experience.
Regardless of all that, I can't help but feel that there's an elite level of international-level ski instructors who are just "that good" and command prices accordingly. The name Martin Heckelman comes to mind; I'm sure there are better examples. It's unlikely that these folks are easily replaceable. And, it's a disservice to a ski school that wants to hire such folks. I mean, if the Houston Rockets could get Yao Ming, can't Vail get whoever they want? Business is business, I guess. It's just that ski instructors don't bring in as much money as basketball players, making an O-1 or P-1 visa probably not worth it.
An interesting angle might be for ski schools to organize themselves into multinationals. That would allow instructors to move around using L-1 visas, which are fairly lenient.
The comparison to NBA elite is so far off base. It's like comparing an examiner to a PGA top touring pro. At best an examiner is a local club pro. Are there a few celebrities who made their name then became teachers? Sure but for every one of them you have tens of thousands of regular Joes (and Janes) who are nowhere near that talent level. That doesn't mean they are bad instructors, the opposite is more common.
So let me say this plainly, All the hard working pros who work in the US system and do a great job every day are being dissed here. They deserve better and I for one am proud to call them my colleagues. If none of us are "good enough" for you, go elsewhere.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 9/16/11 at 2:27am
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Your indignation seems misplaced, JASP. The comments here that have been the most dismissive of top tier ski instructors have, in fact, been made by you. Can't compare a top level instructor with a doctor? An examiner level professional is at best equivalent to a local club pro? Really! Well, at the risk of inflaming you further, let's do a rough analysis. Having graduated from medical school - basically the equivalent of learning to ski and teach well enough to become a level I - it takes 4-6 years to become a medical specialist. The process involves training, practice and examinations. Does it take less time to get from level I to examiner status? Does the process involve training, practice and examinations? Actually, I'd bet that a much smaller percentage of level I instructors ultimately achieve the top level of certification than that of medical school graduates who become specialists. The potential consequences to the patient of a medical specialist screwing up are more serious than those that attend an instructor giving a bad lesson. The intellectual demands of the two are different. The pay scales aren't equivalent. All true, but not germane to the fact that to reach the upper echelons of either field requires commitment, training, hard work over a protracted period and considerable natural ability. So, why no love for the top of the ski instruction chain?
I'm not indignant HDN, nor am I dissing examiners. Your analysis is just off the mark on the high side. The scale is quite a bit lower. Level one is roughly equivalent of grade school (not med school), level 2 is like junior high school, and full cert is roughly equivalent to high school. Take the athletic side of that and the scale follows that same rough scale. So moving onto the examiner accreditation, a four year degree would (intellectually) be similar, along with playing a college sport. Mind you that's just making the team and does not imply you are a starter, or a star on that team. That's why I made my comments about NBA talent being so far above that scale. World cup stars are Yao's equivalent not examiner level teaching pros.
On that same scale Medical pros like you are also far above that (intelectually) but do not have the athletic requirements, so it's an apples to oranges comparison. So with that I hope you see my comments as trying to add a bit of reality to the tangental discussion. Not as a lack of respect, or love for examiner level ski teachers.
So to get back to the idea that the foriegn examiners are on par with you, or any doctor. Can you see why that isn't the case and why the government classifies them under what they feel is an appropriate visa program?
I'm hoping you find a good fit for your GF's next ski teacher, IMO that search should not be limited to examiners though, there are a lot of great teachers out there who are not examiners. Ski well and have a great ski season.