Respect is a hard thing to earn and an easy thing to lose. We need some science documenting the benefits of certification to guests as well as grass roots stories of those benefits. Personally I'm skeptical that a meaningful quantification can be captured. Will we ever be able to say that it takes X lessons for an uncertified (or lower certified) instructor to do what we can do in 1 lesson? How can we compare two identical skiers with identical Nastar handicaps taking two different lessons? Twins? I think the closest we can come here is through guest satisfaction surveys. This won't be scientific and such things are easily manipulated or miscalculated/misinterpreted. But I'd still like to see a study attempted where an expert observes lessons and rates the results. In the meantime, forums such as Epic are starting to spread lesson success stories for improving "grass roots" communication faster than "lesson horror" stories are spreading.
Personally, I too would rather see level 1 certs referred to as registered members versus certified instructors. But this is a complex issue. With the low level of certification recognition of the public, the harm of confusion caused by mixing certs into one basket is small. Is this a catch-22 where the low value of level 1 harms the growth of recognition of the value of higher certifications but we need level ones to grow the pool of higher certs? Let's assume that there is a measurable difference in quality between an average uncertified instructor and an average level 1 cert. If you look at what lessons a ski school teaches, beginner lessons constitute somewhere around 40-75% of their lessons. Now it becomes easy to argue that having level certs is at least valuable to a ski school and should have measurable results in terms of guest satisfaction. Does a level 1 cert increase the effectiveness of marketing PSIA membership to an uncertified instructor? Does a level 1 certification increase the growth rate of pros into level 2 certs? Is an instructor wearing a level 1 cert pin a net positive for PSIA? Is PSIA a stronger organization because of level 1? I suspect the answer to these questions is yes.
I am unfamiliar with PSIA's desire to become an accrediting body. Info?
School accreditation is one of my pet interests. Unfortunately, my (cough) "test marketing" of this idea has encountered 90% negative reaction for a variety of reasons. I've been trying to package this idea as a win-win for schools and instructors. The primary idea here is to systematically document ski school metrics and best practices to provide a path for increasing guest satisfaction, ski school profitability and instructor job satisfaction. It will be easier for resorts to invest in ski schools if they have a reliable means for determining return on investment. It will be easier for schools to implement programs for improvement if they have yardsticks to measure their progress. But these ideas are going nowhere until a lot more details are put down on paper, an implementation model is shown to be financially workable, a formal proposal is made to a division and some guinea pigs are found. This idea will not work until we can get resorts to divulge confidential data. PSIA, as a neutral third party, can play a vital role in protecting proprietary information. But resorts are going to have to weigh the costs of having their own data help competing resorts develop a better product against the benefits of having other resort's data improve their own product. The good news is that they do this today with NSAA. The bad news is that that data is no where near as detailed as what this effort needs to succeed. My thinking now is that this idea needs to start out as an effort to share best practices and can grow into an accreditation program once the benefits become well documented.
Here's an example of a school accreditation test. Measure school profitability per guest visit, instructor pay per hour worked and guest satisfaction net promoter score. If all values are x% above the nationwide/regionwide average, a certain certification level is achieved. It's easy to increase profitability at the expense of pay and/or satisfaction, but if all 3 are going up then clearly someone must be doing something right.
I think regulate is a bad word for a school accreditation program. PSIA's traditional approach to the industry is a "carrot" vs "stick". The goal here is to make the industry more successful by making schools more successful. We can't force schools to be more successful. We want to help them be more successful. Why do they need our help? How can we help them?