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The new genre of ski school supervisor

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I am just throwing this out for discussion, but I was in the grocery store with another ski instructor and he said hi to his supervisor. I could not help but notice the guy was only 12. Well maybe 14.My friend told me the guy just got his level 3. Has about 3 years teaching experience.He hasn't been supervised long enough to supervise (IMHO)


It just so happens my ski school supervisor has been skiing a grand total of 4 years, teaching maybe 3 of the 4, and a brand new level 2. Frankly, this person can not clinic,does not seem to know a thing about class handling, nor can the supe demo.Her demos are embarrassing to watch. I have been teaching for about 15 years, not a know it all, just and observer. When I was ask to show a rotary demo, I presented an advanced wedge crystie, she reprimanded telling me that was not rotary. I swear.


Another thing, so many "associate" instructors? We are referring to them as "corporate instructors" as they get paid minimum wage, they have never taught skiing, the guests never know the difference and then those of us that are certified, just watch which jaw dropping amazement and they can't ski. There is no expectation for them to become certified.


Is this a trend? 

post #2 of 23
Apparently where you are. Here almost the whole school is fairly older people. A ton of level threes, some in multiple disciplines. A good number have been here for years.

You don't say where you are, maybe it's a regional problem due to low wages and lack of compensating tips. People have to eat.
post #3 of 23
Wait what? The guy is 14, and already is level 3, and taught for 3 years? Sounds like your friend has a genius supervisor.
post #4 of 23
He looked like this?

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 23
Where I ski it is not uncommon to see a teenager teaching basics to adults. I always wonder at the quality of that education. I assume the more advanced classes get taught by the certified older folks but who knows.

Our ski area caters to never evers so they have a 4 hr lesson and rental package which is what most people do. They get 4 hrs with a 16 yr old and then they are turned loose on the mountain for the rest of the day. Scary stuff.
post #7 of 23
Originally Posted by jzmtl View Post

Wait what? The guy is 14, and already is level 3, and taught for 3 years? Sounds like your friend has a genius supervisor.

No teaching on our hill until you're 16. No cert testing either. 14 and level 3... sorta doubt it.
post #8 of 23

It's not terribly unusual to purposefully replace older, more skilled/experienced, well paid employees with younger cheaper staff.  Perhaps this is the strategy here. I personally find such behavior criminally negligent, but being a member of the former, of course I'd say that ;)

post #9 of 23

Let's stick to SSD's and Supervisors instead of talking about inexperienced instructors.  It's an interesting subject by itself.


Our former SSD was not young, but not an instructor, nor certified at all.  He was a manager, not an educator.  Our current SSD is a great skier, but not an instructor either.  Also a manager not an educator.


Both did/do the job pretty well, although I certainly wouldn't look to them to evaluate instructors they can run the school, schedule things, oversee payroll, etc.


What do people think of that position being held by this type of person?


My opinion?  Not sure, but if I had to choose between a great skier/instructor and a great manager/leader for that position I might chose the latter.

post #10 of 23
All depends on how well and to whom they delegate.
post #11 of 23

post #12 of 23
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

No teaching on our hill until you're 16. No cert testing either. 14 and level 3... sorta doubt it.

I don't think they were serious, just hyperbolic exaggeration about the fact that it's really just a kid where a seasoned professional belongs.

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Seriously I was exaggerating abut the age, but what I wanted ti emphasize not only the lack of experiencing but these ski areas have people with a history of 20-30 years being over looked as old school, What is old school?

post #14 of 23

It's not unusual to have fairly young instructors move up into the supervisor role. I was a ski school supervisor after I had instructed for two years full-time. I was 24 at the time, and was in charge of one of the children's programs at a major destination resort. The other children's program supervisor was my age as well, and had been a supervisor the entire time I was there, so he became a supervisor when he was 21. We were both Level 1's at the time. That being said, we were both highly proficient skiers, good instructors, and each of us naturally took on leadership roles before being formally promoted to supervisor. Ten years later, I'm still teaching part time in an advanced seasonal program, while my former coworker is a Ski School Director. 


The issue more seems to be the lack of ability rather than age. If your supervisors are unable to supervise, that's a problem. Paired with your talking about associate instructors, it seems that your ski school is very poorly run. At most ski schools, instructors are all held to the same standards and expected to work to a certain level. More experienced and higher certified instructors are held to a higher standard, but there is still a fairly decent bar for performance expectations out of all instructors. This "associate" instructor designation you're talking about seems like a way for your mountain to avoid hiring and paying quality instructors. I've never worked at or heard of any mountain that has a category of quasi-instructors like that. Other than Junior Instructors, who are generally younger kids who assist with lessons, not teach them. 

post #15 of 23
I seem to remember some lower echelon of junior instructors at Camelback. Mostly they seemed to me as a customer to be making jerks of themselves because of the jacket, but presumably they were some kind of assistant for corralling little kids in ski lessons.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh yes, the" cordinators".Lol they also when convenient are referred to as instructors. Where are we headed?
post #17 of 23

At Breckenridge, long time instructors can earn more money teaching than supervisors do. I know a couple of people who returned to teaching after a year or two of supervising.

Between pressures from upper management, customer complaints and various other annoyances, it may be easier and more profitable to teach.   

post #18 of 23

Better tips, for sure!

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Tips....yes...are the other Mrs going the way of" minis"the 3 year olds were my private bread and butter and I would average 45_60 tips per day.now they are group lessons w 3year olds taught by associate instructors. What has happened?
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
My apes skiing spelling needs work.sorry
post #21 of 23
There's an edit icon, looks like a pencil.
post #22 of 23

Ski areas and their ski schools today are interested in making money. If the public doesn't know the difference between quality product (ski instruction) and a pig in a poke, what do you think ski schools are going to do?

post #23 of 23

I'm 40 and have been in the IT industry for about 20 years, and not for small or old companies either.  Some guys who are 21'ish or younger are simply miles ahead of where I will ever be.  Some people are just made to do certain things.

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