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Foreign snowboard (and ski) instructors are "in".

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

a press article is good news for foreign instructors. It says:

Are snowboard instructors key to American immigration policy? Well, they're important enough to be specifically included in the Senate bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration reform bill.

How did that happen? The original 844-page Gang of Eight bill, released in mid-April, granted a break to certain foreigners who come to the United States to work but do not wish to settle here. The Gang -- which includes Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet from the nation's skiing capital of Colorado -- gave one of those breaks to anyone who is "a ski instructor seeking to enter the United States temporarily to perform instructing services."

That was in mid-April. A couple of weeks later, the Gang released an 867-page substitute bill filled with changes large and small. Among those changes was new language adding snowboarders to the ski-instructor clause.

post #2 of 19

Hmm. I suspect it sucks for Americans ski instructors, but it's either neutral or good for the rest of the world. 

 

My concern is that such legislation further cheapens the value of ski instructors. Are the resorts using this bill to obtain cheaper foreign labour the same way as has been done in the IT industry? (How much lower can instructor pay go though? Will they be approaching minimum wage? Or is there a lack of ISIA-level instructors in the US?)

 

Is the bill passed?

post #3 of 19

I'd like to think it could be good and add a certain level of professionalism.

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hmm. I suspect it sucks for Americans ski instructors, but it's either neutral or good for the rest of the world. 

 

My concern is that such legislation further cheapens the value of ski instructors. Are the resorts using this bill to obtain cheaper foreign labour the same way as has been done in the IT industry? (How much lower can instructor pay go though? Will they be approaching minimum wage? Or is there a lack of ISIA-level instructors in the US?)

 

Is the bill passed?

 

Flip side is there are a lot of countries where skiing is a much bigger sport and would have well trained instructors who see $$$ potential in the US. Also may get instructors from the Southern Hemisphere during the off season there. Plus the assorted mix of cheap foreign labor, but it brings in skilled labor too. 

post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'd like to think it could be good and add a certain level of professionalism.

I tend to agree with this^

 

JF

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'd like to think it could be good and add a certain level of professionalism.


Probably true. That is, if only the current instructor pay isn't so low (for the training and skill required) to begin with.

post #7 of 19

I suppose my question is... if ski resorts paid higher wages, say on the neighbourhood of $25/hr to instructors, would resorts be able to attract enough US-based level 3 instructors to meet demand?

post #8 of 19

I think that we should only allow workers from countries who allow our people to work overseas.  For example, if a Canadian instructor wants to come down and work, I should be able to legally work in Canada.  My SS used to have a fair number of foreign instructors working under H2B visas.  When that went away there was a lament from some quarters about "who are we going to get to teach these lessons"?  My response was, and is, "I'm standing right here and I'm a citizen of the US who owns property and a business in the community".  I don't think we "need" foreign instructors.  Some of those people were very good and I think that the international feel their presence brings to the resort is attractive, but I also want the work and used to have a hard time getting my hours.  Some of the foreign instructors didn't have great English language skills and I would occasionally hear complaints about that.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

I suppose my question is... if ski resorts paid higher wages, say on the neighbourhood of $25/hr to instructors, would resorts be able to attract enough US-based level 3 instructors to meet demand?

Is there even enough wage differential to motivate instructors to achieve level 3? 

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I'd like to think it could be good and add a certain level of professionalism.

 

My recent experience has been that the foreign instructors have mostly been young South American students on summer vacation with a low commitment to ski teaching as a career.  I haven't seen a highly qualified European instructor since Stein Erickson was at Boyne.  The visa program is all about cutting costs. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

I suppose my question is... if ski resorts paid higher wages, say on the neighbourhood of $25/hr to instructors, would resorts be able to attract enough US-based level 3 instructors to meet demand?

$25/hour is not much for a high skill seasonal job, particularly one in which one occasionally needs to judge peoples' skills to manage a harsh dangerous environment, or be responsible for young children there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

Is there even enough wage differential to motivate instructors to achieve level 3? 

Nope.  It's all about goal setting and the need for recognition and confirmation.  The money has not much to do with it.

 

BK

post #11 of 19
I know a lot of ski schools have problems getting enough multi lingual instructors.
How many yanks speak Russian? You want them to come right?
post #12 of 19
Considering that the history of skiing in this country is full of imported ski instructors, it seems a bit odd to me to suddenly start saying it's inappropriate. Now, if you're importing them from somewhere without its own ski industry, that's nuts.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Considering that the history of skiing in this country is full of imported ski instructors, it seems a bit odd to me to suddenly start saying it's inappropriate. Now, if you're importing them from somewhere without its own ski industry, that's nuts.


The South Americans who come here on temporary work visas are hardly the same as Hannes Schneider, Ernie Blake and Sepp Ruschp and the other Europeans who brought the sport to North America.  Those guys built the ski industry.  The temporary visa program is just suppressing resort wages.

 

BK

post #14 of 19
I guess the only foreign ski instructors I have run into were Australians and Czechs. South American lifties? Sure. Instructors? Not that I've run into.
post #15 of 19

We used to have 2 or 3 S American instructors. We could use more. Either that or intensive Spanish language training. In the past we mostly had Kiwis, Aussies and Brits. They worked full-time and they came here to work and make money. They also tended to work through certification rather than just stagnating.

post #16 of 19

The foreign instructor I remember best was from Ireland.  That great alpine skiing powerhouse.

 

Great drinker - not so great instructor.

post #17 of 19

The foreign instructors who I am thinking of as an asset are mostly Kiwis & Australians, at least here in the west.  They are for the most part highly motivated, certified & as epic says here to teach skiing full-time as a profession.  They fill a niche that is hard to come by these days.  Hopefully they are only hired in situations that they are filling a requirement that a citizen cannot, not taking work away from someone like TPJ.  I know that this was a problem in the past & the laws changed, consequently shutting out a lot of foreign instructors who had been coming over for years with an established clientele who brought $'s to the resorts.  Ideally hiring highly trained professionals drives wages (& revenue) up NOT down.

 

JF

post #18 of 19

Being British, and working in North America, I welcome this bill. Of course I understand immigration issues, with the current issue we are having in Canada with Canadian's not getting work first, minimum hour requirements for sposnored visas and now another change that costs employers more to sponsor, it's becoming difficult to be a foreign ski pro in North America. Hopefull the U.S do it right. 

post #19 of 19
How many Russians
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I know a lot of ski schools have problems getting enough multi lingual instructors.
How many yanks speak Russian? You want them to come right?
how many Russians speak English ? 3% . It works both ways
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