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On-going instructor training at your mountain - is it off the clock?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

It might be informative to compare different ways mountain ski schools do this.

 

Do you get paid for the weekly instructor training you do (trainer, trainee) at your mountain?

Are you covered by workmen's comp while training?

Are you allowed to attend training while not in the jacket, which I'm guessing means you are not covered by workmen's comp?

Anything else that might be interesting to know about ski school policies regarding their financial responsibility for your job training?

post #2 of 26

Where I work you are paid to teach/coach, not to learn.

Don't know

Coaches don't have SS jackets but can participate in the training.

I never really paid much attention to it, but when we have mandatory employee orientation each year, we are paid for that and I believe that is why aside from new employee training that is mandatory, all training is voluntary.

post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

It might be informative to compare different ways mountain ski schools do this.

 

Do you get paid for the weekly instructor training you do (trainer, trainee) at your mountain?

As the lead Alpine (ski) staff trainer for 13 years during the 2000's I was paid my regular hourly teaching rate, not to say that I didn't do many hours of unofficial, unpaid clinics.  Returning staff were paid at their base rate for their first 12 hours.

Training was ongoing, encouraged & was offered almost daily, whether it was myself or other trainers.  It was 80% of my full-time job!

 

Are you covered by workmen's comp while training?

As trainer I was covered.  Full time staff were always covered.  Part timers were covered for at least the paid 12 hours & I am pretty sure they were also covered whenever attending in uniform.

 

Are you allowed to attend training while not in the jacket, which I'm guessing means you are not covered by workmen's comp?

Personally, I was okay with anyone attending in or out of uniform, the more the merrier!  For some freeski or racing clinics I preferred that they were "off the clock" & out of uniform. I was also very clear that they knew when the "official" clinic was over & they were on their own.

 

Anything else that might be interesting to know about ski school policies regarding their financial responsibility for your job training?

As our areas official NASTAR pacesetter for many years I was also covered when performing those duties, whether it was setting/maintaining the course or skiing it.

I was a little discouraged when during my one minor injury of a nearly 40 year career, our risk manager was more concerned with me taking a pee test than my well being :(

I stopped working there in 2014 & as far as I know the training program has changed significantly...

 

Before working at this particular area, I spent a majority of the preceding years as a trainer & was usually paid when acting in that capacity.  Usually full-timers were also paid not sure about part time.

post #4 of 26

I was never paid for training, even when it was required. I'm pretty sure that was a labor law violation, at least in NY. 

Whether or not you are covered by workers' comp has nothing to do with what jacket you are wearing. On my full time jobs, I always thought I was covered if I fell down in the company parking lot. (I can't be sure because I never tried it.)  Some ski school managers seem to think they are exempt from minimum wage and worker comp laws. I once heard a ski school manager tell an injured instructor that his injury was not work related, and he would take care of the hospital bill.  I've always had good health insurance, but a lot of instructors (at least back then) weren't so lucky. The truth is that those laws weren't written for part-timers doing the job mostly to learn to ski better and/or meet women, so no one takes enforcement seriously. 

Whether you are covered by workers' comp is for a judge to decide, not your boss.  Our ski school director used to tell us to get out and ski when we weren't working, I'm pretty sure that would justify a workers' comp claim, and maybe even a minimum wage claim.

 

BK

post #5 of 26
At Aspen, you get 25 hours of paid training.

We all must wear our uniforms in clinics. No uniform -no clinic.

As BK said, it is up to a judge when you are covered by WC. Some places will voluntarily cover you but employees always can file an application for hearing and ask a judge to determine what is compensable. Laws vary from state to state. Injuries sustained during mandatory training should always be covered and voluntary training may be covered depending on the circumstances.

Aspen has full day cert training two days a week conducted by current examiners and a large selection of other clinics.

There are other 800 am clinics and some impromtu clinics if it is not busy. Employees can take free group lessons and get a 50% discount on privates.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post


As BK said, it is up to a judge when you are covered by WC. Some places will voluntarily cover you but employees always can file an application for hearing and ask a judge to determine what is compensable. Laws vary from state to state. Injuries sustained during mandatory training should always be covered and voluntary training may be covered depending on the circumstances.

 

In New York, if you tell the ski patrol or anyone else that it is work related, it's going to be treated as workers' comp, and it's up to the employer to get a judge to deny the claim.  AFAIK anything that happens on the employer's property is covered (in NY), even after you have clocked out, and it's hard for an employer to deny a claim.  That's one reason why WC is problematic for ski areas.  The law doesn't really take into account of a situation where an employee might stay on the property for a couple of hours just playing with his friends. I always told any instructor who was injured to make it work related, just because some of them didn't have other coverage, but I also always understood I could get fired for that.  Lucky for everyone involved, I was never near many serious skiing injuries. 

 

BK

post #7 of 26

The mountain where I teach  PT, we get up to 2 one hour paid clinics per week.  There must be at least 5 instructors in the group to call it a clinic.   I'm sure we are covered WC during a clinic because we are getting paid.    There was a short time after one of our instructors tried to claim WC injury after doing something stupid in a ski school jacket while free skiing and seriously injuring his shoulder that the ski school didn't let us free ski in our jackets.  That didn't last long.  Now we are back to skiing free skiing in our jackets.  YM

post #8 of 26

Where I work we are expected to take a minimum of six weekly training clinics. The clinic times vary by day of the week so we can pick a day and time that fits our schedule For example, Sunday clinics are at 8AM so PT weekend instructors can do a clinic before starting their day.

We, as a trainee, are not paid for these clinics, however, the trainer is paid.

We are not supposed to wear our jacket while training but this was not strictly enforced. The trainer must wear their jacket because they are on the clock.

It is my understanding we are not covered by workmen's comp which is one reason we are not supposed to wear our jacket. However, since the trainer is in uniform and on the clock they are covered.

I'm not sure it's strictly a financial responsibility but the ski school must schedule enough clinicians to cover the number of trainees who show up. Typically there are two trainers and they split the group 50/50. I always did training on week days and there would be 10 to 12 trainees.

post #9 of 26
Quote:

Originally Posted by RCC55125 View Post

 

We are not supposed to wear our jacket while training but this was not strictly enforced. The trainer must wear their jacket because they are on the clock.

It is my understanding we are not covered by workmen's comp which is one reason we are not supposed to wear our jacket. However, since the trainer is in uniform and on the clock they are covered.

That was pretty much the situation when I worked, but I'm not sure that's the right answer.  Labor law is that if they ask you to do something, they have to pay you.  Ski areas seem to follow the well-supported legal principle that if they don't follow the minimum wage laws they won't have to follow the workers' comp law either.  The ski school managers are probably not the best people to ask about whether you are covered.  I never cared about the pay stuff because I new that if I insisted on training pay and other stuff they might do it but they would have made it much worse for us some other way.   If you trained with me, it was always a WC injury because even a minor injury could cost you more than anyone could earn in their entire ski instruction career.  WC claims last for 18 years (in NY), so if a kid didn't have a stable job with benefits, the WC could be really important if he had an injury that could go chronic.

 

The last few years I worked, new owners started keeping better records of who was training, and they told us that we were covered by WC, but they still didn't pay us for training.  Those guys were really wealthy, so I suspect they were less concerned about WC claims than they were about one of us going after their personal wealth.

 

BK

post #10 of 26

In my experience at my mountain, any activity on the clock is covered by WC. Required clinics are on the clock. 3 required clinics per season. Trainers get paid for teaching all clinics. Trainers get paid for taking "train the trainer" clinics. Impromptu non-required clinics run out of lineups based on instructor interest and trainer availability are not paid. Scheduled clinics (e.g. cert prep, weekends 30 minutes before opening clinics) are not paid. Unpaid clinics are considered a perk. Instructors are not required to be in jackets to take clinics. Instructors in jackets are required to be available to teach. Some clinics with guest clinicians (e.g. demo team members) require a fee to offset the expense for compensating the guest. Employees are eligible to take lessons or attend clinics, Ski school trainers may teach patrol-only clinics. As a trainer I only submitted time for one on one training when I asked by management to conduct the training. I often to "free" one on one coaching for people who ask for my help. I will not accept cash tips from other instructors for such help, but I have accepted food/drink as a "tip".

post #11 of 26

What about the pre season training, especially for instructor candidates that haven't been hired yet?  Before I was hired as an instructor I had to take a 6 week dry land training course in the fall then a couple more weeks of on the snow clinics.  We had to PAY THEM for the opportunity.  But, those if us lucky enough to get hired (maybe ten out of fifty) were reimbursed for the fees we had paid for the 8 weeks of training. 

 

Never got paid for the Thursday night clinics, 2 hours EVERY Thursday, but the resort did provide food and drinks in the bar area afterwards.  It was hella fun, both the clinics and the gathering afterwards.  Helped my skiing as much as anything including 3 years of freestyle team coaching.

 

Never even thought about the possibility of what would happen should someone get injured during the clinics.  Getting injured stumbling though the parking lot to the car from the bar was a bigger concern. Shocking to think about that these days.  So much more risky about everything in the early 80s.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

What about the pre season training, especially for instructor candidates that haven't been hired yet?  Before I was hired as an instructor I had to take a 6 week dry land training course in the fall then a couple more weeks of on the snow clinics.  We had to PAY THEM for the opportunity.  But, those if us lucky enough to get hired (maybe ten out of fifty) were reimbursed for the fees we had paid for the 8 weeks of training. 

 

Never got paid for the Thursday night clinics, 2 hours EVERY Thursday, but the resort did provide food and drinks in the bar area afterwards.  It was hella fun, both the clinics and the gathering afterwards.  Helped my skiing as much as anything including 3 years of freestyle team coaching.

 

Never even thought about the possibility of what would happen should someone get injured during the clinics.  Getting injured stumbling though the parking lot to the car from the bar was a bigger concern. Shocking to think about that these days.  So much more risky about everything in the early 80s.

 

In Colorado and Utah,  if there is no completed employment contract, injuries during the pre hiring clinic would not be covered under WC because that person is not an employee.  Other states may differ.

 

If clinics are not required, there is no obligation for employer to pay for them.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

At Aspen, you get 25 hours of paid training.

We all must wear our uniforms in clinics. No uniform -no clinic.

As BK said, it is up to a judge when you are covered by WC. Some places will voluntarily cover you but employees always can file an application for hearing and ask a judge to determine what is compensable. Laws vary from state to state. Injuries sustained during mandatory training should always be covered and voluntary training may be covered depending on the circumstances.

Aspen has full day cert training two days a week conducted by current examiners and a large selection of other clinics.

There are other 800 am clinics and some impromtu clinics if it is not busy. Employees can take free group lessons and get a 50% discount on privates.

Is that 25 hrs per year or as new hire training?

 

At Vail, for returning instructors there is 3 to 6 hours of paid training, plus some paid meetings, so maybe about 10 hours total. No training is done in uniform except for the clinic leader.

 

For inexperienced new hires (aka un-certs who haven't taught before), there is 10 days paid training at the customer service rate (9.95 last year, maybe $10 this year) plus 1 (or maybe 2) paid shadow days.  Some of the days are half days and indoor days so I'm guessing about 50 hours or so.  Same program for experienced new hires, but it may only be 8 days plus a shadow day. Sometimes there will be some additional "prescribed training" later in the season for new hires or less experienced instructors.

 

Additionally, there are lots of un-paid training opportunities which they encourage participation but make clear that it is NOT covered by workman's comp.  The bench at Vail is pretty deep, so like at Aspen, these are often lead by current examiners and other qualified instructors.  Overall, I think Vail does a better job with training than most other nearby mountains that I have heard about.  

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
 

Is that 25 hrs per year or as new hire training?

 

At Vail, for returning instructors there is 3 to 6 hours of paid training, plus some paid meetings, so maybe about 10 hours total. No training is done in uniform except for the clinic leader.

 

For inexperienced new hires (aka un-certs who haven't taught before), there is 10 days paid training at the customer service rate (9.95 last year, maybe $10 this year) plus 1 (or maybe 2) paid shadow days.  Some of the days are half days and indoor days so I'm guessing about 50 hours or so.  Same program for experienced new hires, but it may only be 8 days plus a shadow day. Sometimes there will be some additional "prescribed training" later in the season for new hires or less experienced instructors.

 

Additionally, there are lots of un-paid training opportunities which they encourage participation but make clear that it is NOT covered by workman's comp.  The bench at Vail is pretty deep, so like at Aspen, these are often lead by current examiners and other qualified instructors.  Overall, I think Vail does a better job with training than most other nearby mountains that I have heard about.  

 

I believe 25 a year.  There are 2 days of return pro training plus several hours of online safety and other training and another day of logistics/Beginner Magic training.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
 

 

In Colorado and Utah,  if there is no completed employment contract, injuries during the pre hiring clinic would not be covered under WC because that person is not an employee.  Other states may differ.

 

If clinics are not required, there is no obligation for employer to pay for them.


I don't recall just how "required" the Thursday night clinics were but I do recall never missing one and most others, even the old timers were pretty regular there.  Pretty sure that anyone that didn't go them had ZERO chance of being picked by the SS director for privates. Privates got HALF of the lesson fee at that place back then too. 

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

In my experience at my mountain, any activity on the clock is covered by WC. Required clinics are on the clock. 3 required clinics per season. Trainers get paid for teaching all clinics. Trainers get paid for taking "train the trainer" clinics. Impromptu non-required clinics run out of lineups based on instructor interest and trainer availability are not paid. Scheduled clinics (e.g. cert prep, weekends 30 minutes before opening clinics) are not paid. Unpaid clinics are considered a perk. Instructors are not required to be in jackets to take clinics. Instructors in jackets are required to be available to teach. Some clinics with guest clinicians (e.g. demo team members) require a fee to offset the expense for compensating the guest. Employees are eligible to take lessons or attend clinics, Ski school trainers may teach patrol-only clinics. As a trainer I only submitted time for one on one training when I asked by management to conduct the training. I often to "free" one on one coaching for people who ask for my help. I will not accept cash tips from other instructors for such help, but I have accepted food/drink as a "tip".

 

I've often wondered about tipping the LIlls at my mountain who offer us one-on-one coaching "off the clock."   I'll be training regularly with one or two this upcoming season for my LIII.  Food sounds good.  Money sounds just wrong.  We are a small school.

post #17 of 26

iMany of the newer instructors are hesitant to ask more senior instructors for help. Some of the senior folks have an invisible wall around them with regards to access to newbies. I tell folks to just ask. I'm not available all the time, and there are times when I need to go home, but I will make time for people who ask for help. I don't get the opportunity to work with higher level students all that often, so it is good practice for me.  It's flattering when instructors offer money for the help I provide (I'm nowhere near as good as an examiner - I'm just recycling the advice/wisdom I've gotten from them), but I tell them it's part of the perks of being an instructor that they get one on one training with the trainers and that's why I don't accept tips. When they insist and I really have achieved some exceptional results I'll give up on saying no when they insist. It is nice confirmation when they say "Yes I know you don't want a tip, but damn it this was really good and you are going to let me pay for this drink. Everybody's different, show enough interest to find out what works for your coach. At the least, a letter/email to the director describing the excellent trainer can do wonders. I suspect that's why they have not canned my butt by now (i.e. because people ratted me out to the boss that I actually gave good clinics).

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

I've often wondered about tipping the LIlls at my mountain who offer us one-on-one coaching "off the clock."   I'll be training regularly with one or two this upcoming season for my LIII.  Food sounds good.  Money sounds just wrong.  We are a small school.

Gift card for local bar/restaurant is nice. I have done that and people seemed to appreciate it.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

It might be informative to compare different ways mountain ski schools do this.

 

Do you get paid for the weekly instructor training you do (trainer, trainee) at your mountain?

Are you covered by workmen's comp while training?

Are you allowed to attend training while not in the jacket, which I'm guessing means you are not covered by workmen's comp?

Anything else that might be interesting to know about ski school policies regarding their financial responsibility for your job training?

 

I split my time between two resorts, one massive one, (Whistler) and one dinky one (Grouse)

 

At Grouse, and Whistler I'd assume, trainers get paid, trainees do not, with the exception of pre-season "refresher" days, but those aren't necessarily geared towards ski improvement.

Workmans comp? Grouse, yes, Whistler I don't know, as it hasn't come up yet for anyone I know! *knocks on wood* Aside from the refresher courses, none of the training sessions are mandatory. They are incredibly helpful for working towards higher levels of certification though, and I suppose if that's what you're after then they are mandatory... 

 

At both hills they prefer we don't show up in uniform, unless of course you're leading the session.

 

At the dinky hill, it's always the same people showing up to the sessions, which leads to a clique-like feel sometimes, not that there's anything wrong with that. At Whistler, with the sheer number of sessions (morning sessions before work as well as daily 6 hour sessions) people tend to show up for a few, then don't, then do. 

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post
 

The mountain where I teach  PT, we get up to 2 one hour paid clinics per week.  There must be at least 5 instructors in the group to call it a clinic.   I'm sure we are covered WC during a clinic because we are getting paid.    There was a short time after one of our instructors tried to claim WC injury after doing something stupid in a ski school jacket while free skiing and seriously injuring his shoulder that the ski school didn't let us free ski in our jackets.  That didn't last long.  Now we are back to skiing free skiing in our jackets.  YM

We  have two scheduled clinics per week and one is directed at teaching and the other is more at skiing improvement.   It's always the same folks who show up.  Some trainers are obviously better than others.  It seems that some instructors who need the most help because of weak skiing never show up.  I'm not sure why.    We also have plenty of opportunity to ski in packs with some of the strongest skiers /instructors at the mountain.  No official training, just lots of higher level skiing.  YM

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post
 

The mountain where I teach  PT, we get up to 2 one hour paid clinics per week.  There must be at least 5 instructors in the group to call it a clinic.   I'm sure we are covered WC during a clinic because we are getting paid.    There was a short time after one of our instructors tried to claim WC injury after doing something stupid in a ski school jacket while free skiing and seriously injuring his shoulder that the ski school didn't let us free ski in our jackets.  That didn't last long.  Now we are back to skiing free skiing in our jackets.  YM

 

No good ... too hard to duck lineup if you have to be wearing your jacket to get on the lifts. That is why a few of the places where I have worked set it up so that if you have an instructor pass you also have to be wearing the jacket to ride up. It is not fair to jam up someone's day off on the slopes with mandatory lineup for ALL instructors present at the mountain ... abuse of power. If you are not on the schedule, you'll be the last to get a lesson but who cares if you are made to waste up to an hour of free skiing time while waiting for some tourist's snotty offspring to ruin your morning off. Clinic? Clinic schminic. It helps to keep a thin wind breaker in your jacket to cover up before and after you load. Have been suspect but never caught red footed. I have to admit going as far as calling in sick while using my privileges at another mountain. It's kind of hard worrying about getting caught doing just about anything while inhaling face shots. It actually feels like you are robbing the system with every turn you make, like you have just made a narrow escape on your most recent bank heist or leaping with abandon and, tentative plans for landing. Similar to the feeling of that kick ass turn you just pulled out of your ass in a sling on terrain that never just hands them over. I can't remember a time when I worked that hard to get a job and then even harder to avoid doing it. I know what you are thinking ... being a voracious skier and a bad instructor has its privileges. :)

post #22 of 26

At Whistler paid training in uniform covered by workers comp. Voluntary training is covered by session insurance, they take the premium out of your first paycheck around $40 for the season.

post #23 of 26

Best thank you I get is home made cookies. I will train all day for those.

post #24 of 26
Ya a burger and beer will work for me wink.gif

zenny
post #25 of 26

mod note: several posts following the above post were moved to a new thread because of the focus on instructor skiing in uniform vs clinic policy.

post #26 of 26

At my mountain, it is a mix of paid and unpaid training. It depends on the focus of the training. Early season clinics and refresher trainings are all paid. Midseason personal development clinics are unpaid, and not mandatory. There isn't a ton of mandatory training at my mountain, but there is an institutional ethos that strongly encourages active participation in trainings. At the end of any given year, our certification rate is pretty much always north of 80 or 85%. Early season mandatory trainings are done in uniform, midsasons aren't. 

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