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Private lesson price? - Page 17  

post #481 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Here are my facts. Please show me where my claim that skier visits are level or declining is wrong:



How about you just tell me? You've only made a claim that runs counter to my experience, but you haven't provided anything of substance.

Well, to borrow a concept from you, you don't seem to believe what I've written so far and you don't seem inclined to, I'm not sure what more I can provide. I refer you to the graph I provided above.

I also refer you to Ghost's post above, especially the part about "hyperbole, obfuscation, red hearings, straw-man arguments, introducing new elements like liability insurance with conjecture...":
http://epicski.onthesnow.com/t/121714/private-lesson-price/450#post_1620903

I've already conceded you can cherry pick the numbers to make whatever case you like. 

Yet you also insisted that I was wrong. And then you go on to insist that your numbers are better than mine. Make up your mind.

Quote:
The page I linked to has 30 years worth of data instead of 10. At that scale of your chart, the data does look flat. But two years ago 2 years ago we had the winter that wasn't. This view does not show that the three highest visit years ever have occurred in the last 6 seasons. That's not a big increase from the previous 4, but it is an increase. Which is why I see a rising trend over the last decade. This also does not show the comparison to the previous 20 years, which I already noted shows significant growth. Coincidentally, the Model for Growth was introduced in 2000. 

Did you take any college-level statistics classes? When I did, I learned that going all over the place like you just did doesn't give a meaningful interpretation. I highlighted the part that made me laugh.

Quote:
At my resort we use instructors at line ups, in the discovery zone (for first timers), in the children's center (campers and lessons), for privates, for multi week groups and assisting special events (e.g. I do Boy Scout merit badge testing). There are times when we have left over ski instructors at line ups but we are short of snowboard instructors and vice versa. There are times when we are short of experienced pros for teaching upper level lessons (that is really weird to me but it happens). We may have leftover instructors in one place that get used in another. We may have plenty of instructors at noon, but be short of pros at 9AM or 7PM (yes we have night lessons). We may have plenty of pros on Tuesdays, but not Thursdays. On an given day we could be short of adaptive, freestyle or foreign language speaking instructors. There are lots of times when I go to help out at a line up or the private desk, but I'm unable to teach because of a commitment to a different task so I'm a leftover, but not really instructor. There are times when we hold instructors back so that they are available for a later "peak" time. In the early part of the season we need lots of "extra" pros so we can handle lessons, train the newbies and get the refresher training for the experienced pros done. Throughout the season, we need "extra" pros to conduct ongoing training. But the biggest thing is our overall staffing strategy. Because full time pros make up only 10% of our instructor staffing, and free skiing is more than working to some, we have to give our part timers enough free skiing time to keep them happy.

^Obfuscation.

Quote:
This is for an Eastern day resort. A Western destination resort is going to have a different set of issues. Many things are going to be far different at your home resort. But even resorts that have instructors grumbling about not getting enough work have times when they run out of instructors for something. I know of one resort that used to do "opportunity hiring" only (Alta), but I've seen them advertise openings now and then. It's certainly possible your resort is exceptional, but how can you know if you're not involved and not talking to them (you could be, but you have not indicated so)? I go to regional and national instructor clinics where I get to talk to instructors from all over the country. I'm pretty gullible. I suppose they all could be lying to me.

^Red herring.

Quote:
Come to think of it, after writing all of this BS up, I must confess. Everything you suspected is true. Squaw has half of their instructors free skiing instead of working. They charge exorbitant rates for private lessons because the Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley millionaires are idiots and will pay anything not to have be near anyone who can't afford a Rolex. Those high prices let them work less and ski more. They could care less about the health of the industry and the last thing they want is to have more people get good enough to track out KT-22. They're making so much money they don't need any more. They are either too stupid or too lazy to realize they could be making a ton more money if only they cut the price of a half day private 38.36%. Oh, and it's worse than that. All the big resorts have conspired to slowly turn their areas into carbon copies of the Yellowstone Club. And they are paying off stooges to get on social media and keep the 99%ers from discovering the truth. Damn - I've been busted! You can have what I've been smoking.

^Hyperbole.

nonono2.gif Ghost called it.
post #482 of 663

Thanks Bob,

 

You made my day.

 

Why do you ask about whether I took statistics in college? That's a bit condescending don't you think? Why don't we go with "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"?

 

You asked about why leftover pros could be misleading. I answered with specific examples. That's obfuscation? I knew it was going to be a waste of time.

 

I attempted to show that, in my experience, excess instructor staff is not a common problem in this industry. You seem to think that there are plenty of instructors available to teach more private lessons at Squaw if only they could sell more at a lower price. My comment is a red herring?

 

Hyperbole (exaggeration)? You're too kind. I was going for total BS. I think my edit after your quote says it even better.

 

Only 3 more pages till we hit 20! Come on CT 'ol buddy. Fish on!

post #483 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Thanks Bob,

You made my day.

Why do you ask about whether I took statistics in college? That's a bit condescending don't you think? Why don't we go with "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"?

You asked about why leftover pros could be misleading. I answered with specific examples. That's obfuscation? I knew it was going to be a waste of time.

I attempted to show that, in my experience, excess instructor staff is not a common problem in this industry. You seem to think that there are plenty of instructors available to teach more private lessons at Squaw if only they could sell more at a lower price. My comment is a red herring?

Hyperbole (exaggeration)? You're too kind. I was going for total BS. I think my edit after your quote says it even better.

Only 3 more pages till we hit 20! Come on CT 'ol buddy. Fish on!

roflmao.gif Well, if you're proud of all that...oookaaayyy then. Takes all kinds.
post #484 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

...

Only 3 more pages till we hit 20! Come on CT 'ol buddy. Fish on!

Well, on the one hand, the themes driving this thread, namely economic resentment, lack of workforce-issue and economic literacy, and lack of statistical literacy, could be good for another 100 pages, particularly if expanded to global warming and whether the hockey stick really is or is not collapsing (this actually would be an example of why your point as to sample size and random noise over shorter periods might actually have been pretty statistically literate as far as skier visits -- and since we've touched on racism already, climate change and Squaw's responsibility for it really begs to be examined). We could talk about teasing out different factors like snowfall and such and a lot of other big statistical gyrations, and even discuss whether Tahoe-area resorts really can ever capture many more skier visits even with negative lesson prices when the snow there sucks (j/k).

On the other hand, I think the themes driving this thread have been not just identified, but fleshed out real well. And, if I'm Squaw, I can chalk this one up to internet pot-shots stemming from economic resentments that, as a fairly ritzy place, Squaw would never be able to appease even if they decided to try to do so.

BTW, since I'm dabbling in Tenkara now, http://www.tenkarausa.com/ , talk of actually having a fish "on" kinda fills me with something like dread if the fish is over 9 inches. More a judgment of me than the technique, to be sure...
post #485 of 663

It all depends on how long it takes for Godwin to manifest...

post #486 of 663

I didn't read all million pages....

 

Mt Peter:  FREE with lift ticket on holidays and weekends

 

http://mtpeter.com/Free_Lesson.htm

post #487 of 663

       This whole thread is pointless. I should never have posted in the first place as I knew what a shi*show it was gonna be--I'm unsubscribing now, maybe I'll see some of ya on the slopes soon!!! Later...:ski

 

     zenny


Edited by zentune - 10/2/13 at 8:14pm
post #488 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post


Well, on the one hand, the themes driving this thread, namely economic resentment, lack of workforce-issue and economic literacy, and lack of statistical literacy, could be good for another 100 pages, particularly if expanded to global warming and whether the hockey stick really is or is not collapsing (this actually would be an example of why your point as to sample size and random noise over shorter periods might actually have been pretty statistically literate as far as skier visits -- and since we've touched on racism already, climate change and Squaw's responsibility for it really begs to be examined). We could talk about teasing out different factors like snowfall and such and a lot of other big statistical gyrations, and even discuss whether Tahoe-area resorts really can ever capture many more skier visits even with negative lesson prices when the snow there sucks (j/k).

On the other hand, I think the themes driving this thread have been not just identified, but fleshed out real well. And, if I'm Squaw, I can chalk this one up to internet pot-shots stemming from economic resentments that, as a fairly ritzy place, Squaw would never be able to appease even if they decided to try to do so.

BTW, since I'm dabbling in Tenkara now, http://www.tenkarausa.com/ , talk of actually having a fish "on" kinda fills me with something like dread if the fish is over 9 inches. More a judgment of me than the technique, to be sure...

 

 

Oh stop with the veiled quasi political righty-lefty bull shit. This is a ski instruction forum, not a place to go all cable news opinion on us.  You're a troll. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, I flagged you. 

post #489 of 663

:snowfight

Did not, did to, did not, did to...

You're wrong, no you're wrong...

 

No were all wrong for not settling this by agreeing to disagree. The issue won't change one bit because of anything said here. No matter how many time the same opinions get repeated. Squaw charges a price for that half day private that is pretty much comparable to their competition. Call it socially unjust that some can't afford that option but who's to say a lower price wouldn't still exclude part of the public so many here claim to represent. Wage inequity is a pretty ugly topic but as more middle class folks see their discretionary income evaporate, they are exposed to what lower class folks have been feeling all along. Groceries and rent swallow a disproportionate percentage of their earnings and working two jobs is one of the few way these folks can combat inflation and avoid becoming homeless. Doesn't leave much time for skiing, or other costly recreation. Even affording the gas to get to a ski area would be a stretch. So do we drop the private lesson price to a point that these folks can afford to ski and take private ski lessons? Or do we drop it only far enough for everyone here to afford private lessons. Regardless of how you answer that question, any line drawn would probably exclude some parts of our society. So IMO claiming to be more socially just and fair rings pretty hollow when some of us here state that it's really about them being able to afford private lesson but those below them on that social economic ladder are still excluded. The reality is not everyone can, or will be able to afford to ski regardless of what Squaw and other resorts charges for lessons.

post #490 of 663

Squaws' half day private for passholders is $335. Get 4 friends - who have season passes - and it's $67 each. Or drop into the Masters for $75ish. If you want free, follow someone else's private....but you will get strange looks when you tip the instructor. You will tip the instructor won't you :)

post #491 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

Squaws' half day private for passholders is $335. Get 4 friends - who have season passes - and it's $67 each. Or drop into the Masters for $75ish. If you want free, follow someone else's private....but you will get strange looks when you tip the instructor. You will tip the instructor won't you :)

If you and 4 friends hire the instructor it's a group lesson.

post #492 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

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.

 

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.  

 

Ghost, I don't think anyone would dispute your desire to extend the reach of quality instruction.  However, there are some tough economic realities that I don't think you have conceded.

 

I'll admit not having read the whole thread here, but I've read a fair bit of it so I don't think I'm repeating stuff that's already been said.  Yes other posters have talked about insurance, but I don't think anyone has presented specifics.  It's not like the insurance industry is in cohoots with the ski areas; they are independent businesses attempting to make a profit.  Insurance costs are so high that that is the factor that caused the failure of the Epic Ski Academy (ESA).  ESA was a novel concept in that it brought together top instructors from around the country to offer high quality affordable ski camps in a group lesson setting.  But because the cost of liability and workmen's comp insurance rose so significantly, the camp became financially unviable and the ESA had to quit.

 

Similarly, the PSIA national demo team has run a number of clinics for PSIA around the country.  As I understand the situation, they'd even like to extend their outreach, yet the cost of liability insurance and workman's comp has risen to the level that PSIA has considered (perhaps is still considering?) cutting the demo team lose.  

 

So, even highly skilled instructors, with a significant track record and a buying pool, find obtaining insurance cost prohibitive.  One of the factors of insurance is that as you expand the pool of insured participants, the cost drops as diversity in the pool tends to reduce the volatility of claims and reduces the cost of insurances.

 

Countries that have independent guides also have far different liability statutes than we do in the US.  Try recovering anything from a guide in France.  Not saying that you should be able to do so, but the laws in the US are such that the guide/instructor has a much different liability profile than in Europe.

 

And as others have alluded to, areas with leases from the US government pay fees to the government for sale of services on their property.  It's not only the ski area operator who enforces the pursuit of privateers, the US Forest Service goes after those privateers with a vengeance as well.

 

Do I think that ski schools are missing tricks to a) improve the reach of ski instruction, b) increase the quality of ski instruction, and c) increase the reach of skiing to the general public?  Absolutely. Yes, the cost of private ski instruction is part of the issue, but I don't realistically see private instruction becoming less expensive. What I'd like to see is a) better vetting of ski instructors, b) better pay for ski instructors based on a), and c) better matching of customers to instructors based on what the customers really desire.

 

Mike

 

Perhaps the insurance companies would be interested in providing group rates to PSIA members were the situation to evolve into a free-market for private ski lessons.   With the numbers to warrant it, rates would be a lot cheaper than for one-off events.   

 

I agree that so long as supply is limited by the resort, they can charge what they want, and they are perfectly within their legal rights to do so.

post #493 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

If you and 4 friends hire the instructor it's a group lesson.

It's a semi-private. Your average group lesson is 8-10 guests.
post #494 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post


It's a semi-private. Your average group lesson is 8-10 guests.

Yep, and if the 5 of you are similar standard, the 5 will get better value imo than a out of a hotchpot of people who 'think' they're your standard but are not. Suffice, it's better value if a full private is unaffordable.

post #495 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

Squaws' half day private for passholders is $335. Get 4 friends - who have season passes - and it's $67 each. Or drop into the Masters for $75ish. If you want free, follow someone else's private....but you will get strange looks when you tip the instructor. You will tip the instructor won't you :)

 

One difference between this and a group lesson is that one has the option of choosing the instructor. But it does address the original point - Squaw should lower the price. Unfortunately for the OP, this is only being done selectively. This relates to one of my earlier points. Modern marketing has variable pricing designed to manage demand vs capacity. Except that this looks more like using lessons as a perk to sell passes, which is kind of backwards from the original point. Here they're selling (and discounting) lessons to people who are already skiing frequently. 

 

Will we see more of this applied to private lessons? Would it be sufficient if people could get less expensive private lessons the same way they get less expensive airline seats and upgrades to first class? A full time instructor with guaranteed pay and no lesson to teach is just as fungible as an empty first class seat on a plane ready for takeoff. I see this as much more likely than an across the board price reduction. But we did get across the board reductions in season pass pricing with the Colorado price war and that concept did spread to other resorts. Who knows?

post #496 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

snowfight.gif
... So IMO claiming to be more socially just and fair rings pretty hollow when some of us here state that it's really about them being able to afford private lesson but those below them on that social economic ladder are still excluded. The reality is not everyone can, or will be able to afford to ski regardless of what Squaw and other resorts charges for lessons.

Claims about social justice and such often do boil down to special pleading. Part of the palpable resentment in this thread has been explicitly stated as "I can't afford it," with the implication being that "I can't afford it" means that there's something wrong. Of course, as already noted, in reality I think everyone on here COULD afford Squaw's privates, if we made them a very high priority. Even if someone doesn't have the cash in their pocket now, they can take an evening and weekend retail job or similar and save the cash for that private pretty quickly. "The Great I Am" and what it wants is not a good gauge of policy, but particularly so when people simply want something that they can already do a bit easier or a bit more cheaply than they can get it now.

I actually had a version of this conversation with a single mom recently who does quite well economically, but is very stretched for time with three active kids. I.e., she is poor in time, and by the end of the week poor in energy. She doesn't ski or ride herself, but as with golf and tennis, wanted to "expose" her kids to skiing because she thought it would be good for them to learn. My advice was, given everything I knew about her situation and the other commitments the kids have, to let it wait for a while, and maybe take the kids a few times when they were junior high/high school age so that they would feel less out-of-it if they had a chance to do a ski trip in college. She told me a week later that she'd thought about what I'd said, and felt relieved, and realized that she'd been dreading the time hassle of getting the kids ski clothes and figuring where to put everything, without even thinking about the hassles of the trip. Poor or rich, or just a cool mom having to make choices? Is it "unethical from a social justice perspective" that Squaw and other resorts don't do more to reduce the time cost of skiing for a cool mom like that?

In terms of attracting talent to sports, the cost can be an issue, and this is something that golf and tennis also deal with and have tried to address in part to build more talent here than we do currently. But, what they don't do is go and give lots of underprivileged kids private lessons in Palm Beach as a means of trying to develop that initial level of talent. That would be a stupid waste of time and money, and not a good way to grow the sport.
post #497 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by zentune View Post
 

       This whole thread is pointless. I should never have posted in the first place as I knew what a shi*show it was gonna be--I'm unsubscribing now, maybe I'll see some of ya on the slopes soon!!! Later...:ski

 

     zenny

 

 

Quote:

“All I know is that the hours are long... and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which ... may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit.”

post #498 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

.... Except that this looks more like using lessons as a perk to sell passes, which is kind of backwards from the original point. Here they're selling (and discounting) lessons to people who are already skiing frequently. 
...

Think about this in terms of structural soundness. Passholders (and a full Squaw pass is pretty cheap) already have made a commitment to the resort and by extension the sport. They help make the "scene" that keeps skiing fun. Helping them enjoy the sport more makes total sense, and contributes to the scene. If a party is fun enough, other people outside the party are inevitably going to want to join. It seems pretty rational, and a good way to build a skiing scene just as with a nightclub, to give your regulars a break in one way or the other and ask the new arrivals and fly-bys to pay a bit more for the cost of entry.

Put differently, think about a resort that decides it's read this thread, and is going to dive headlong into focusing on never-evers and people who ski 5 days or less per year. So, season passes go way up, no discount on lessons for passholders, no freebies for passholders like tickets to other resorts. But, it puts on its website that anyone who purchases 5 or fewer lift tickets there or at it's affiliated resorts gets a free private, free lift tickets to sister resorts, and a free massage at the luxury spa. Consider it an anti-loyalty, all-new-business program. Yeah, privates taken by people unlikely to ever build the sport will go way up, and the resort will shortly have alienated key stakeholders and fall apart financially. Not a good way to increase overall skiers or overall skier days.

Structural soundness matters when trying to build something.
post #499 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

 

One difference between this and a group lesson is that one has the option of choosing the instructor. But it does address the original point - Squaw should lower the price. Unfortunately for the OP, this is only being done selectively. This relates to one of my earlier points. Modern marketing has variable pricing designed to manage demand vs capacity. Except that this looks more like using lessons as a perk to sell passes, which is kind of backwards from the original point. Here they're selling (and discounting) lessons to people who are already skiing frequently. 

 

Will we see more of this applied to private lessons? Would it be sufficient if people could get less expensive private lessons the same way they get less expensive airline seats and upgrades to first class? A full time instructor with guaranteed pay and no lesson to teach is just as fungible as an empty first class seat on a plane ready for takeoff. I see this as much more likely than an across the board price reduction. But we did get across the board reductions in season pass pricing with the Colorado price war and that concept did spread to other resorts. Who knows?

 

I posted earlier somewhere that Copper looks to be doing something like this with its "Last Chance Privates" from 1-3, bookable only the day-of. Drops cost from $150/hr for  a half day to $100/hr. 

post #500 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

Squaws' half day private for passholders is $335. Get 4 friends - who have season passes - and it's $67 each. Or drop into the Masters for $75ish. If you want free, follow someone else's private....but you will get strange looks when you tip the instructor. You will tip the instructor won't you :)

 

Interesting, not in the concept of sharing the lesson though, that option has been mentioned several time. It was a dismissed since it didn't provide a cheaper way to get one on one instruction. Mostly by Sibby because finding four folks needing to work on the same issues. But the dollar amount being discussed is a 30% reduction offered to a passholder eliminating the need to "share" the instructor. It would be helpful to know the pass costs as well. But discounts from "bundling" products is one way to create that tier so many here say is needed. It also directly addresses the idea that lessons will create more frequent skier visits. It's worth noticing that Squaw already has this program in place, in spite of the erroneous claims posted here at Epic that Squaw isn't doing things to make private lessons more affordable. So thank you VET for sharing this information, it points out that with a little investigating how the whole argument that Squaw isn't offering discounts on their private lessons simply doesn't hold up.

BTW, I want to expand on a point I made earlier about customer needs and expectations and how that relates to private lesson clients. My experience is that many families purchase private lessons and use it as a way to take a group lesson as a family. At least on the first day. If Mom and Dad like and trust that coach they book them to continue to work with their family but the number of students often varies and in a way Mom and Dad have a built in babysitter which allows them the option of participating in the daily lesson (something we don't allow in group kids programs because of the security problems concerning kids), or they can go off and do other things without worrying about which one of them must watch the kids. So as much as many here want to suggest these folks are fools, their concern for their kids, or having the option to share a lesson with their kids, or the option of the kids spending time with a trusted nanny / tutor instead of an unknown, and randomly assigned line instructor (in kids group world) is not only possible it sells quite well. My point is private lessons typically involve kids just like we see in the group lesson world where 85% of the lessons sold involve kids.

 

That means the remaining 15% of the lessons sold is a combination of adults working on their skiing, people wanting a guide on a powder day / line cutting privileges , a layer of insulation from paparazzi, and even a way to book a lesson outside the rigid schedule we see in group lessons. Especially in Aspen where reserving that pro for the entire day allows the customer to arrange that lesson when it fits best into their schedule. At Keystone, night skiing expands that option even further. If night skiing isn't your thing maybe a half day private is a better option and it allows our customers to take a lesson in the morning (assume a powder day) and still attend an afternoon conference, or maybe get some learning and skiing in and still attend that important business meeting on line, or maybe go do things with the kids / spouse. Even the fact that a full day of skiing is too physically demanding for some of our guests has been a contributing factor in some of my customer's choice to purchase a half day private lesson (or take a half day to rest in the case of the multi day lesson customers). This higher level of customer service obviously cost more but like I've been saying all along it's up to that customer how they spend their money and if it make sense for whatever reason they feel it does, the options are there. If they don't make sense for you that's fine as well. The fact that you and I have those options doesn't change because you choose not to exercise those options. Nor do I feel they should, I would hate to see options taken off the table because someone somewhere mistakenly interprets the existence of those options as willful and thinly veiled elitism, or class bases exclusionary practices.

 

Again my experience dealing with that private lesson customer base is why I feel the way I do. I don't expect anyone to agree with me but I have tried to share the idea that in my world the decision to buy that particular product has everything to do with that customer's needs and nothing to do with the sinister social issues being suggested here in this thread.

With that like Gary (the OP) and congruent with my last post and the sentiment to agree to disagree, I am done here. The point / counter point hasn't cover any new ground for quite some time and I doubt anything I say carries much weight with the folks who long ago labeled me an elitist and my schools pricing of half day privates (it's similar to Squaw's) as socially unjust. IMO, nothing could be further from the truth.

Ski well everyone,

JASP


Edited by justanotherskipro - 10/3/13 at 10:00am
post #501 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

 

Interesting, not in the concept of sharing the lesson though, that option has been mentioned several time. It was a dismissed since it didn't provide a cheaper way to get one on one instruction. Mostly by Sibby because finding four folks needing to work on the same issues. But the dollar amount being discussed is a 30% reduction offered to a passholder eliminating the need to "share" the instructor. It would be helpful to know the pass costs as well. But discounts from "bundling" products is one way to create that tier so many here say is needed. It also directly addresses the idea that lessons will create more frequent skier visits. It's worth noticing that Squaw already has this program in place, in spite of the erroneous claims posted here at Epic that Squaw isn't doing things to make private lessons more affordable. So thank you VET for sharing this information, it points out that with a little investigating how the whole argument that Squaw isn't offering discounts on their private lessons simply doesn't hold up.

BTW, I want to expand on a point I made earlier about customer needs and expectations and how that relates to private lesson clients. My experience is that many families purchase private lessons and use it as a way to take a group lesson as a family. At least on the first day. If Mom and Dad like and trust that coach they book them to continue to work with their family but the number of students often varies and in a way Mom and Dad have a built in babysitter which allows them the option of participating in the daily lesson (something we don't allow in group kids programs because of the security problems concerning kids), or they can go off and do other things without worrying about which one of them must watch the kids. So as much as many here want to suggest these folks are fools, their concern for their kids, or having the option to share a lesson with their kids, or the option of the kids spending time with a trusted nanny / tutor instead of an unknown, and randomly assigned line instructor (in kids group world) is not only possible it sells quite well. My point is private lessons typically involve kids just like we see in the group lesson world where 85% of the lessons sold involve kids.

 

That means the remaining 15% of the lessons sold is a combination of adults working on their skiing, people wanting a guide on a powder day / line cutting privileges , a layer of insulation from paparazzi, and even a way to book a lesson outside the rigid schedule we see in group lessons. Especially in Aspen where reserving that pro for the entire day allows the customer to arrange that lesson when it fits best into their schedule. At Keystone, night skiing expands that option even further. If night skiing isn't your thing maybe a half day private is a better option and it allows our customers to take a lesson in the morning (assume a powder day) and still attend an afternoon conference, or maybe get some learning and skiing in and still attend that important business meeting on line, or maybe go do things with the kids / spouse. Even the fact that a full day of skiing is too physically demanding for some of our guests has been a contributing factor in some of my customer's choice to purchase a half day private lesson (or take a half day to rest in the case of the multi day lesson customers). This higher level of customer service obviously cost more but like I've been saying all along it's up to that customer how they spend their money and if it make sense for whatever reason they feel it does, the options are there. If they don't make sense for you that's fine as well. The fact that you and I have those options doesn't change because you choose not to exercise those options. Nor do I feel they should, I would hate to see options taken off the table because someone somewhere mistakenly interprets the existence of those options as willful and thinly veiled elitism, or class bases exclusionary practices.

 

Again my experience dealing with that private lesson customer base is why I feel the way I do. I don't expect anyone to agree with me but I have tried to share the idea that in my world the decision to buy that particular product has everything to do with that customer's needs and nothing to do with the sinister social issues being suggested here in this thread.

With that like Gary (the OP) and congruent with my last post and the sentiment to agree to disagree, I am done here. The point / counter point hasn't cover any new ground for quite some time and I doubt anything I say carries much weight with the folks who long ago labeled me an elitist and my schools pricing of half day privates (it's similar to Squaw's) as socially unjust. IMO, nothing could be further from the truth.

Ski well everyone,

JASP

 

Fair enough.

post #502 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post


Think about this in terms of structural soundness. Passholders (and a full Squaw pass is pretty cheap) already have made a commitment to the resort and by extension the sport. They help make the "scene" that keeps skiing fun. Helping them enjoy the sport more makes total sense, and contributes to the scene. 

 

I was just observing how this could not be more opposite of the thinking of the OP. Morpheus told me I was living in a dream world.

post #503 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post
 

But discounts from "bundling" products is one way to create that tier so many here say is needed. It also directly addresses the idea that lessons will create more frequent skier visits. It's worth noticing that Squaw already has this program in place, in spite of the erroneous claims posted here at Epic that Squaw isn't doing things to make private lessons more affordable. So thank you VET for sharing this information, it points out that with a little investigating how the whole argument that Squaw isn't offering discounts on their private lessons simply doesn't hold up.

 

 

To be fair, the OP was not about discounting. The recommendation was to reduce the list price to stimulate demand for the product and even more long term demand in terms of future skier visits. 

 

Given that the fact that Squaw offers free "lessons" on Tuesdays was deemed "not good enough", I don't see how requiring someone to purchase a pass costing $500-780 (early season price) to get the discounted private lessons would satisfy. Still, would this "deal" create more skier visits? Would people buy the pass in anticipation of skiing more because of the lessons (seems a stretch)? Aside from the food sales, what extra value is created for the resort by encouraging season pass holders to ski more? Maybe they will get so drunk on the high of skiing well, that they will get a room and stay the night? I suppose it creates more skier visits because pass holders tend to visit more often than would have if they had to purchase tickets on each visit and the added value of discounted lessons encourages more people to buy a pass?

post #504 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

I was just observing how this could not be more opposite of the thinking of the OP. Morpheus told me I was living in a dream world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

... Aside from the food sales, what extra value is created for the resort by encouraging season pass holders to ski more? Maybe they will get so drunk on the high of skiing well, that they will get a room and stay the night? I suppose it creates more skier visits because pass holders tend to visit more often than would have if they had to purchase tickets on each visit and the added value of discounted lessons encourages more people to buy a pass?

Yes, you're essentially outlining the new customer versus loyalty program/alliance loyalty marketing issues lots of businesses face. For many businesses, loyal customers, in the case of Squaw passholders, are in fact much more valuable than new business. That can seem surprising since we always hear how important "growth" is, but hear much less focus on what good growth and bad growth are at the level of the customer base. Think about all the other ways passholders spend money. Just like building a nightclub scene. Morpheus may have been confusing colored financial pie charts with colors off of something else.
post #505 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View PostI s
 

Maybe they will get so drunk on the high of skiing well, that they will get a room and stay the night? I suppose it creates more skier visits because pass holders tend to visit more often than would have if they had to purchase tickets on each visit and the added value of discounted lessons encourages more people to buy a pass?

 

Yep. I can't afford a DUI so I stay in village with people who stay over instead of driving back to Donner or Heavenly. Bar One was full just for one party.

 

when a resort can turn passholders into moral owners or a 'club' (especially a tax exempt one) there's money in it flowing from booking out whole bars for parties and functions, paying team programs, buying condos, hosting charity events or sponsoring whole groups of intermediate kds for a ski holiday. People I know won't fork out for other people's privates but will pay buses, lifts, rental gear , lifts, and budget lodging for high school intermediates. And when those high schoolers come back every year because they had their own resort-hosted parties. It's off topic, but my hills' tax exempt accom clubs and the taxed hotels fill more beds than Squaw's 6,700 beds and most revenue is tax exempt under laws very similat to your s501 (3).

 

The discount on lessons was enough for me and a friend to book 2 private 'tour guides' and my daughter for a clinic with, iirc, Backstrom and Women of Winter. Discounts off the lodging entices me to book maybe an extra 7 nights in total per season, eg to stay for a Gartmann clinic, stay in village for a big birthday party. One accom deal included free lift tickets, which I gave to 2 of 3 newbies who came over from Heavenly for an impromptu  weekend. Dinner one night was $300. Takeout at Mamasakes was $100. Those Squaw discounts  are just evil ways to part people from their money. :D

 

At heavenly, the discount was enough to lure a group of kids and moms to take a day private in powder. We ended up in Motts Canyon for a genuine lifetime memorial day. Oh and we tip.

 

But that's off topic.


Edited by veteran - 10/3/13 at 4:40pm
post #506 of 663

Well TR, assuming that customer is only going to ski that half day is a bit incongruent with the idea that they are taking a private lesson. Maybe so but it seems curious why they would take a lesson if they only planned to ski one day, or that half of one day all that season. But who really knows. The cross over where the two different options become equal is somewhere around three, or four days plus the half day lesson. So if a vacationer is there for a week and they ski more than the three or four days I just mentioned, the deal with the season pass would make a lot of sense. It would also allow them to do the Tuesday lesson gig all season long for no additional money spent on lift tickets, or lessons. Of course that requires having Tuesdays available for skiing. Does that represent trying to bundle services and thus increase perceived value? Yup, is it inexpensive? No but if you ski ten days the money you would spend on ten non consecutive day passes would be somewhere around $1000. If you add the $479 for one half day private that is almost $1500. So at that point the $834 dollars for the Bronze pass gets you those ten days plus the half day private lesson. Not cheap but it's almost half what you would otherwise spend for ten days and a half day private. Even at the gold pass level ($789) the total is $1124, or $112 a day. Again not cheap but still well under the $1479 ($148 per day) for ten days and the lesson. So it incentivizes the customer to return because the more they return the better the value becomes. Twenty days plus the lesson would drop the per day expense to $56. Would those people spend additional money on dinner, drinks, or lodging? I believe that is the hope but compared to the $550 for a half day lift ticket and private lesson, I know if I had a season pass I would be much more likely to return several times. It really depends on having $800-$1100 dollars to spend though. Again not cheap up front but if you plan on skiing ten or more days a season the per day cost is quite economical. At least I think it is a good deal for both sides...

Leaving again...

JASP

post #507 of 663

Does this article about Squaw's marketing focus help explain why things are the way they are?

post #508 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

...the $834 dollars for the Bronze pass gets you those ten days plus the half day private lesson..... Even at the gold pass level ($789) the total is $1124, or $112 a day...not cheap up front but if you plan on skiing ten or more days a season the per day cost is quite economical...
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

Does this article about Squaw's marketing focus help explain why things are the way they are?

With the different levels of pass, there's also already quite a bit of choice built-in, with the ability to buy up, or not, based on perceived value. And, someone only planning on skiing two days a year can still not purchase a pass. Athletically, it's pretty clear to me that there's little athletic value to a 2 or 4x/year skier from any type of lesson once they can make it down mellow blues, though other reasons for taking lessons may still be quite valid (the number of days of practice to avoid an early plateau just aren't there at the level of athletic skill). So, the argument that Squaw and others need to worry about lowering the rack rate of their premium lesson product to specifically cater to the most casual or never-ever skiers as a means of helping the sport seems... ?

There is a need, even for a Squaw, to spend a certain amount to acquire new customers, of course. That amount and the best way to get those customers is going to vary from resort to resort, so I think Squaw is well-positioned to figure the best way to do that. Just as Squaw is probably best-positioned to figure out how best to incent passholders.

None of this is at all limited to skiing. Indoor skateparks use many of the same models, including some pretty neat cloud-based customer software, and at a very micro level balance things like lessons, food, passes and memberships, etc. REI has a portion of the same model. The local indoor skatepark doesn't have to allow under-the-table lessons any more than Squaw does (and won't).

Rusty, skateparks also have been known to go for nice couches, food, and other "premium" ways to get more business. So, while I can't read the article you linked about Squaw, I infer it's saying Squaw went up-market as a means to win more business -- and yeah, that makes sense.

I also infer that you subscribe to the WSJ, and so have access to the article. Capitalist!

At the level of the individual instructor, there's a similar issue on the loyalty front, in that repeat privates are actually worth more to the instructor over the long term than just random ones. They generate their own advertising and tend to repeat in future years rather than the instructor starting each year at a complete zero. The repeat nature of the business also affords the instructor the info to give more value-added than is possible in some cases for a first lesson. The way of the world.
post #509 of 663
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Does this article about Squaw's marketing focus help explain why things are the way they are?

"Available for WSJ Subscribers" is what I get clicking that link LOL!  :ROTF

post #510 of 663

I guess I've been ratted out then. A synopsis: 

Alex Cushing's wife has been running Squaw since 2006.

Squaw is evolving from a "skiers" mountain to be more family oriented.

Initial changes to upgrade the food and customer service and slash season pass prices by 60% + some good snow increased visits by 40%.

50% of  about 600K visits come from the Bay area.

In 2010 Squaw bought the resort village so they could offer ski+lodging deals.

But still "terrain" is a big reason why people choose to ski at Squaw.

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