What will happen in skiing [if resorts are forced to allow competition in ski instruction]? Better insturctors, better lessons, leading to more satisfied customers, leading to more lessons, leading more satisfied skiers, meaning more skiing days, and everyone would win.
If it was so obvious that having better instructors directly led to more money being spent at the resort they would be doing that already. Note that "more skiing days" isn't necessarily the goal for a resort, at least in the short term. I do think that investing in the ski school is something that can help with guest retention in the long run, but this is harder to show in the bottom line.
I think it does make some sense to ask that resorts on public land open up to competing commercial activities like independent ski instructors. Or they could bid out the lift ops, ski school, and other concessions separately rather than bundling it as one package. Maybe this would help in some cases, if a resort feels it doesn't have much local competition and thus can act like a monopoly. In areas with a lot of comparable resorts I doubt it would make much difference.
Why would [mandating something WRT instructor experience levels for lessons] be so hard? We have standards for just about everything else...ISIA and many European countries have these standards, and takes these standards very seriously.
Sorry if this becomes totally rambling.
A lot of people would argue we have too many intrusive regulations and standards already. IMO a hands-on government approach is needed in some areas, but this is not one of them. It's one thing to demand that, say, car companies include seatbelts and airbags and antilock brakes and meet crash test standards when tens of thousands of people die in car crashes every year. It's another to demand that lessons for recreational activities be tightly regulated because some people feel they're not up to snuff or that ski instructors aren't being paid enough.
It sounds easy to do this, but the devil is in the details. Who sets the standards? What level of qualification/certification is needed? Does it vary based on the student's "level"? If so, who decides the definitions of the "levels" and what "level" the student is? Does it have to be PSIA certification, or does it have to be something else (say, PMTS)? If you legislatively say that all instructors must be PSIA certified, you're basically giving them a monopoly on ski instruction in the US... and good luck getting everyone to agree on an independent standard imposed from on high.
Trying to mandate legally that ski instructors don't suck is a bad approach. There are some lousy instructors with all the certification you can get, and some great ones that don't have any official badges. There is enough choice in the market that people can generally vote with their wallets and/or feet (and skis).
Yes, it's hard to make a good living as a full-time ski instructor in the US, even ignoring seasonal factors. (It's hard to make a living on anything you do only four months a year.) It's a relatively fun job that doesn't require a lot of formal education, and lots of people want to do it. It's hard -- really hard -- to be a great instructor or coach, but not that hard to be a halfway decent one. And a lot of customers aren't willing to pay for the price difference between "great" and "decent". Hell, a lot of people are fine being terminal intermediates and wouldn't necessarily want "great" lessons even if they were free. So unless you're so awesome that you're constantly booked for private lessons and camps or clinics -- and there are only so many of these to go around -- you're relatively easily replaceable and therefore not worth that much.
A resort that develops a reputation as having a lousy ski school is leaving money on the table. Nothing is stopping ski resorts from paying instructors more and requiring more uniform certification and training. If the market will pay more for better and/or 'better certified' instruction, they'll make more money doing this.
Nothing is stopping PSIA from becoming a union and trying to collectively bargain for better wages and that ski schools that employ PSIA members become 'closed shops'. I suspect many resorts would balk, as would many experienced instructors who don't want PSIA certification for one reason or another.
Nothing is stopping the instructors at a particular resort from forming a union and demanding better wages. Again, I suspect many resorts would balk.
If the free market won't support those sorts of changes then mandating them is a bad idea IMO.