Originally Posted by Ghost
You still don't get it?
1. It's not about us. It's about the majority of the skiing population who obviously would benefit from private lessons, but can't take them
2. I expect that a professional should be paid a fair price
for his or her services, not a beer, but not a ridiculous fee either.
3. If fair prices
were charged, then the majority of the skiing population could afford private lessons.[emphases added]
I already stated that I get the folks who benefit from the monopoly will not give a warm reception to anyone coming to kill their cash cow. That is well understood. I also understand the lengths they will go to to defend that cash cow (hyperbole, obfuscation, red hearings, straw-man arguments, introducing new elements like liability insurance with conjecture, and no doubt more still to come). Open up the field to real competition lets see where those atmospherically high fees land (including liability insurance). If engineering firms and cat ski companies can afford liability insurance without charging their clients $160/hr (not including lift tickets), ski instructors could too.
This continues the use of emotionally loaded terms like "fair" or "unethical" to discuss simple pricing issues. I understand that economic resentment can be a powerful thing, even fun, but the facts just don't hold up.
First, your assertion that the majority of skiers can't take privates. Well, completely false. If you look at the discretionary spending of the majority of skiers, you'll see much bigger tickets than a half-day private even at Squaw. The majority of skiers may not CHOOSE to spend their money on a half-day private at Squaw, but they may spend more than that on the same vacation gambling in NV, or may go on a long weekend to some winery in CA, or go to their cousin's wedding, and in each case spend more.
As far as the "need" of the majority of skiers for half-day privates at Squaw, well, I don't think Bode Miller or Shaun Palmer took a lot of half-day privates at the ritziest resorts in their local markets, and they have done ok on skis, to take just two examples. So, even in purely athletic terms, the alleged benefit of this luxury good to the average skier as regards their development and retention as a skier seems rather speculative at best.
In terms of "fairness," is it unfair to Squaw's instructors if not enough of the skiing public buys privates? Is the public unethical if they don't do more to subsidize the access of ski instructors and the resort to their cash? Are they racist and choosing not to spend money at a resort with a name derived from First Nation languages? No, it's simply a purchasing decision (or in that case, a decision not to purchase).
Likewise, Squaw pricing one small part of its broad range of lesson offerings at a certain point isn't fair or unfair, or in any way unethical, as regards the skiing public. It is true that Squaw could drop the price, or even pay the public to take privates as an extreme example. That also wouldn't be fair or unfair, it would just be a pricing decision (and, generally, if they one way or the other pay you to take a lesson, generally some sort of marketing gimmick where they expect to make their money back elsewhere). They could price a private at $20 for the half-day, and make people pay by being willing and able to stand in line to buy the limited number of privates available, but there's no indication to me that people in ski towns with the leisure time to be able to do that are in any way more important to the sport of skiing, or to Squaw, than those who can pay through a simple cash transaction.
Finally, since it's clear on other fronts that you and Bob don't understand the business aspects here (look at how right-to-work was completely whiffed), it's even more clear that there is no issue for Squaw, or the sport, to be concerned about. Skier retention and recruitment certainly is an important issue, but there's no indication that it's negatively driven by the luxury end of private lesson pricing.
Other than the fact that the loaded, negative language directed at Squaw -- unethical, racist, not "fair," etc. -- in this thread was very unfortunate, this thread is actually a good thing insofar as Squaw has a luxury product that has people talking. There will always be under-informed people taking potshots on the internet, but a business model that tries to give a lot of deference to those kind of pot-shots isn't likely to be more successful than one driven by what customers actually will pay for.