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Do you tip your peers? - Page 2

post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki
At least a waiter knows that 97% of the time they will get some form of tip. Here in the lower east an instructor may only get a few ten dollar tips a season from those random and rare privates since 97% (at least it seems this way) are 1st' timers who won't tip at all.

Last season my net was about $700 for the season and I spent about $400 in fuel getting to the hill, had to "rent" my jacket from the hill for $75 and buy the vest and appropriate patches.

The last area that I worked at paid minimum state allowable wage of $5.15 per hour.

My PSIA renewal is still sitting on the breakfast table and every day I debate if today is the day that I'll put it in the mail or just say the hell with it?
Interesting point. As a part-timer....... I would have to say it COSTS me about 1K/season to work as an Instructor! By the time you factor in all of the traveling expenses...place to stay.....equipment.....etc. There are many reasons that I keep the gig.....Obviously, financial independence is not one of them
In addition, just to move forward as a PSIA member is not a cheap endeavor. Look at the prices that are charged for 'events and training sessions'. I understand that the training is PERSONALLY worth the money....but without a supplemental income ......it is financially difficult for many to advance their education/training level. Most mountains do not reimburse for the cost of the events(although it is benefitting their 'product').....add in the UNPAID time off that must be arranged .....and then the lodging at the event site.....this adds up to quite a bit of money, quickly.
Based on the incredibly low wages compared to a fairly large over head.....No wonder attracting a new breed of Instructors is a difficult task.
I have also noticed that many of the perks of the industry are rapidily disappearing. Even local area mountains that usually extended a reciprocal day pass are now begining to charge ~$25/day.
I see the attraction of saying the heck with it....and buying an 'early bird' season pass....and just skiing!!!!
post #32 of 79
We have been down this path before.

I stated above I don't accept tips. I have this strange idea that in my situation it drives additional business. I just did a 401 clinic with level III certs fron Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, and Taos. They all agreed a substantial portion of their income is derived from tips.

Base wages for level III certs out here range across the board. If my memory serves me correctly here is a sampling.

Loveland $11.00 per hour/ no ticket pay/ 40% of private requests gross
Eldora $14.50 per hour/ no ticket pay/ $8.00 to $15.00 per hour added private request
Steamboat $21.00-$26.00 per hour base and it goes up based on hours taught.
Winter Park $14.00-$18.00 per hour base/ time and a half for request private.

Those are all close. So at Eldora, under certain circumstances I can work six hours and make $177.00 per day. Work varys by time of the year. We're not a destination resort so I rely upon building a clientel much like a personal trainer at a gym. If I do a good job someone tells a neighbor or co-worker.

It's not a lot of money and I rarely am fully booked all day. It is more often than no a $50.00 to $100.00 day. There are days I don't make more than "line-up" pay.

We don't pay for jackets, we get food at half price, we ski elsewhere for free, and our resort reimburses us for exam costs.

It still beats sitting in a cubicle.
post #33 of 79
I would agree that I generally dislike tipping (not to say that I dont do it because I actually give good tips). It is so inconsitent..... while one time a person may really need the tip (ski instructor as an example here) but there are other times when that is just not the case, I have known totally unskilled people in unskilled easy jobs which have a high people turnover..... simply on the basis that a tip is manditory, they get a small sum from maybe 10 people per hour..... maybe 60 tips per day..... even were that $2, this unskilled person suddenly is getting a fortune! As mentioned, it should work that the initial costs rise but tipping is done away with..... the ones who deserve more will get more, and the ones who are getting too much will get less.... but we all know it wont happen within our lifetimes

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post #34 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
Use a Plumber as an example. Who tips the Plumber?
Apparently, you don't live in NYC. Most in house service/delivery expects and sometimes demands a tip there.
post #35 of 79
Thread Starter 
Marmot_mb:

I totally agree with you that the whole tipping thing is stupid but be that as it may that is a tradition throughout the globe and it's not going away any time soon.

As for ski instructors, I think you'll have a hard time finding an average one who is counting on that income (at least solely) to feed the family. Also, most of us do not expect a tip in our profession (unlike waiters, valet parking attendents, hair stylists, etc). But, the question here is "why not?". We provide a service that is much more valuable, rewarding and life fulfilling/enhancing (not mention the hard work) than something like valet parking.
post #36 of 79
I am a golfer and pay for lessons. I (and most others) dont tip because the instructor gets the majority of what the lesson costs. Golf/country clubs are not a million times removed from a ski resort. The punters have to pay to be either members or have a pass to use the facilities. Why then can a golf club consider you have paid your dues and the cost of the lesson be the cost of the instructors time while in skiing, you must pay to use the mountain AND pay to use it a second time as well as the instructors time?

To ask another question that may be important for my arguement, are ski instructors professionals?

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post #37 of 79
I seriously think PSIA should head down the organized-labor path.
post #38 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by buns
are ski instructors professionals?
Of course, they train like one, they act like one, they are viewed like one, they dress like one, and they are paid... Nevermind!!!
post #39 of 79
Yeah..... ok so they cannot take part in amateur competitions and all the other jazz that professional status brings?

That makes it even more rotten......

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post #40 of 79
Ummm...being a member of a profession that works while wearing skis does not make one a professional competitive skier.
post #41 of 79
Well you dont have to be a competitive professional..... like golf, you get playing pros who you see on the tv and who earn their living through winnings, you also have other 'teaching' professionals who spend their time coaching etc..... a teaching pro will have the same professional restrictions as the competition pro.... so no playing in amateur events

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post #42 of 79
Tetsuma --
You asked, "Is it normal for a big mountain -- say Whistler/Blackcomb -- to pay their instructors 1/10th of what they take in for private lessons?"

I just got back from Whistler and was shocked to find out how poorly they pay their instructors -- especially the top ones. My instructor told me that she is making less today for a private lesson than she did 18 years ago.

Example:

A full day private lesson at Whistler/Blackcomb ski school costs $575.00 Canadian. Plus tax, so it's about $615.00 total.

Of that, if you're a Level IV (highest) instructor, you get $140.00.

If you're a lower level instructor, you get something like $5.00 less.

When she first started teaching there she made $185 for
a full day.

So here it is 18 years later, she's one of the top people there
and she's actually earning 35 dollars less than she did when she started.

There's going to be a meeting with one of the Intrawest bigwigs very soon to
discuss all that, but the attitude I'm told is, "If you don't like it, maybe you
should go somewhere else."

And she told me as far as tips, it's never a sure thing. She said she's only been
tipped a few times since the season began. She says a lot of Europeans don't know that they should tip. But regardless, she told me that most people assume that the instructor is getting 1/2 of the lesson fee, so they either don't tip or tip very little.
post #43 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryptica
Tetsuma --
You asked, "Is it normal for a big mountain -- say Whistler/Blackcomb -- to pay their instructors 1/10th of what they take in for private lessons?"

I just got back from Whistler and was shocked to find out how poorly they pay their instructors -- especially the top ones. My instructor told me that she is making less today for a private lesson than she did 18 years ago.

.....

There's going to be a meeting with one of the Intrawest bigwigs very soon to
discuss all that, but the attitude I'm told is, "If you don't like it, maybe you
should go somewhere else."
Cryptica -

First, that's a great name/handle.

Second, your comments from your guide at Whistler were totally in-line with what I heard from an instructor there last season. Intrawest is public and traded and they are squeezing everything, and tell their employees to go elsewhere if they don't like it.

The sad part is the pay difference is really far bigger. She'd have to be making $314 for the work today to be making the same amount in terms of purchasing power (at 3% annual inflation).

Third, how was Whistler? Did you guys get blasted with the rain as well (I'm in Seattle, and have watched 6" of rain in 24 hours shut down everything here).

I second the idea of plastering lift towers with stickers saying better pay / tips for instructors...
David
post #44 of 79
A bit of trivia for folks since we're talking about gratuities...

Does anyone know the root of the word, "tips?" Where it comes from and what it means?

D
post #45 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetsuma
A bit of trivia for folks since we're talking about gratuities...

Does anyone know the root of the word, "tips?" Where it comes from and what it means?

D
Last I knew it was a highly debated topic. Some think it went back to the Romans, where you would provide some sort of gratuity to your inferiors for providing service. I also heard that it came from the phrase "to insure promptness" <not sure on last word>, where gratuity boxes were placed in bars/taverns, but this is highly unlikely. I'm not any word-type-forensic-scientist, but I'm pretty sure abbreviations and acronyms derived from them weren't common until the late 1800s-1900s.

I think the most popular explanation says it started sometime in the 16th or 17th century, as this is when the word 'tip' started to appear as a verb?
post #46 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacrNut
Last I knew it was a highly debated topic. Some think it went back to the Romans, where you would provide some sort of gratuity to your inferiors for providing service. I also heard that it came from the phrase "to insure promptness" <not sure on last word>, where gratuity boxes were placed in bars/taverns, but this is highly unlikely. I'm not any word-type-forensic-scientist, but I'm pretty sure abbreviations and acronyms derived from them weren't common until the late 1800s-1900s.

I think the most popular explanation says it started sometime in the 16th or 17th century, as this is when the word 'tip' started to appear as a verb?
Rare before the mid-1800s. And acronyms as words (like snafu) date from post-WWI in the 20's.

-http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19990317


Only after becoming a bear did I have a clue how poorly paid instructors were. I tip now. Wish I could go back in time and tip every instructor I've had (except for the one that was worse than useless).
post #47 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacrNut
Last I knew it was a highly debated topic. Some think it went back to the Romans, where you would provide some sort of gratuity to your inferiors for providing service. I also heard that it came from the phrase "to insure promptness" <not sure on last word>, where gratuity boxes were placed in bars/taverns, but this is highly unlikely. I'm not any word-type-forensic-scientist, but I'm pretty sure abbreviations and acronyms derived from them weren't common until the late 1800s-1900s.

I think the most popular explanation says it started sometime in the 16th or 17th century, as this is when the word 'tip' started to appear as a verb?
You pretty much nailed it. It's an acronym, "To Insure Promp Service," appeared in British pubs and coffee houses starting (I think) in the 1800s! And it got "verbed" sometime thereafter.
post #48 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Plumbers have a union. I got yer tip right here.
I would never use a plumber let alone an overpriced union plumber. Any idiot can learn basic plumbing to cover anything that would come up in their house. Hell, my teenage kid plumbed the entire addition to the house, including the heating system. It came out perfect.
post #49 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
Apparently, you don't live in NYC. Most in house service/delivery expects and sometimes demands a tip there.
You are correct I do not live in NYC. Expects and sometimes demands a tip for what? doing their job that they are paid by the hour to do. Just showing up.

Again tips should not be considered standard. they should be awarded for going above and beyond. All tips do is let teh employeer make more money by charging the same amount out but paying the employee less and dangle the carrot on the string.

A comment was made re: Plumbers have a Union. yes and no. not all plumbers work under a union. Some sectors of that industry cannot survive as Union contractors. without going into detail I am in a position to state that plumbers do not get tipped 99.9 % of the time in our area. so why not?

why not tip the Walmart guy? he is making $5.00 an hour the same as a Waiter is making $5.00 so why does the walmart guy not get tipped.

From the info here I would say Ski Instructors are getting screwed royaly. They have the PSIA organization why isn't there more uproar about this and demands for higher pay? charge out $75.00 and only get paid $12.75 HUH??

I Charge out $75.00 and my guys get paid $26 - $32 + benefits depending on the man and time with the company but they get no tips.

Mark
post #50 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake777
I would never use a plumber let alone an overpriced union plumber. Any idiot can learn basic plumbing to cover anything that would come up in their house. Hell, my teenage kid plumbed the entire addition to the house, including the heating system. It came out perfect.
Do you have a point? I mean some point that's actually germaine to this conversation and the context of what I said and why I said it?

Perhaps you're making an analogy. One might infer that you feel that it's not only idiocy to tip ski instructors, but to hire them in the first place.
post #51 of 79
That's why I've heard of some instructors offering lessons under the table for half the cost the guest would pay to the mountain. A win-win situation. The resorts hate this, but f- them!!



Usually, just go around to some of the local ski shops and ask the employees there. Often times, there's some instructors working part time there that will hook you up. Same service. Half the cost or less!!
post #52 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Perhaps you're making an analogy. One might infer that you feel that it's not only idiocy to tip ski instructors, but to hire them in the first place.
I don't need a ski instructor and never have. I was merely trashing you for your foolish comment.
post #53 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by lnester
That's why I've heard of some instructors offering lessons under the table for half the cost the guest would pay to the mountain. A win-win situation. The resorts hate this, but f- them!!



Usually, just go around to some of the local ski shops and ask the employees there. Often times, there's some instructors working part time there that will hook you up. Same service. Half the cost or less!!
As an inexperienced guy in this whole arena...... this is what I would be tempted to do

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post #54 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by buns
As an inexperienced guy in this whole arena...... this is what I would be tempted to do

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This could work if the Instructor already had a pass to the mountain......If you want to bring the Instructor to a mountain of your choosing....Then lift access would most likely have to be provided (additional expense).

There is no doubt that this is done. It is done on a larger format on this very forum.
post #55 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson
is hourly for when I work only. No "standing around" pay. That's also a pretty common practice.
Of course, that is also against the labor laws in the states that I have checked. If an employer requires an employee to be available at the site of employment, the employer needs to pay the employee for the time that they are required to be there. Also, there are break requirements for non-exempt (hourly) employees that are not followed by most ski areas/resorts. I hope it is from ignorance.
post #56 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by buns
To ask another question that may be important for my arguement, are ski instructors professionals?
From Dictionary.com:

pro·fes·sion·al ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pr-fsh-nl)
adj.
    1. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
    2. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.
  1. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.
  2. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.
  3. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.
n.
  1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
  2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.
  3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.
Given these definitions, then, I think that you'd be hard-pressed to call a ski instructor a "professional". Very, very few can earn their living doing it (I don't know of anyone who only teaches skiing and earns a real living--even if they do it year-round).

I suppose in some ways instructors conform to the standards of a "profession", but, again, calling it a "profession" implies both extensive training and ability to support one's family by the fruit of one's labor at it.

There is further evidence in observing the treatment and attitudes in and around the locker rooms. I have been a professional for my entire post-graduate career (engineering and management, primarily), and I understand how professionals treat one another and approach their professions. I do not see this in ski teaching (unlike, for example, teaching golf!). There are far more teachers in skiing, too, and far lower expectations of new hires and the rank-and-file instructor. I think that these are directly correlated.

Our own Joan Rostad (Nolo) has an article in the current issue of The Professional Skier discussing the process of training new-hire instructors and understanding their motivations. In my two years involved with ski schools (last year as a paid instructor, this year as a volunteer guide), I have not once had anyone ask me why I was doing it! Fascinating.
post #57 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake777
I don't need a ski instructor and never have. I was merely trashing you for your foolish comment.
You don't say.
post #58 of 79
Tetsuma -- (that's a nifty name, too -- what does it mean?)

In answer to your question, Whistler was disappointing for the people I went there with who were all expert skiers and found the Black runs icy or in so-so condition and a lot of the off-piste areas closed. For me, though, I was taking lessons and we were in terrain that was more geared for teaching -- a lot of drills on the Blue-ish trails. And they were mostly fine and cruisey. We finally got about 3 inches of snow and though it was only a little, it really helped high up and Sunday the skiing was quite good. But Sunday night the heavy downpour started and we couldn't ski at all on Monday and it was still going strong when I left on Tuesday. All the ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates on Whistler TVs were stations in Seattle, so we watched your lousy weather as well as ours!

Re the thread about instructors giving lessons outside of ski school, I'm told that it has gone on in the past at Whistler, but that Intrawest is actively gunning for blood and looking to nail someone, so people are being very circumspect these days.
Those meanies.
post #59 of 79
I have a 5 year old boy who has been skiing for 2+ years and a 9 year old girl who has been skiing for 5+ years. Every year, they both get 15-20 1/2 day private lessons. They each ski 25+days/year. $275/lesson X 2 X 20. Not cheap. Although expensive, I tip the instructors $20/day each. I know that it is appreciated, and they probably deserve a better tip. The bummer is that there is just so much green to go around! BTW, my 9 year old rips!
One more thing: 1/2 day privates in Austria cost $125/day. 1/2 day in Utah cost $275. Although my kids speak German, the european instructors speak english. My daughter's instructor in Utah is Aussie; my son's is pure Ute! My kids seem to do better with the Utah instructors. The point is that the instructors probably deserve more than a $7.50/hr. tip for private lessons. However, unless there is a tree full of $100s in your back yard, the ski areas make it cost prohibative. I guess that you can always opt for group lessons, but eight 5 year olds skiing over each other is really no option if your goal is to really have him/her learn something good. One bad apple can spoil the whole experience. To me, group lessons suck.
post #60 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyons
I have a 5 year old boy who has been skiing for 2+ years and a 9 year old girl who has been skiing for 5+ years. Every year, they both get 15-20 1/2 day private lessons. They each ski 25+days/year. $275/lesson X 2 X 20. Not cheap. Although expensive, I tip the instructors $20/day each.
That's pretty expensive! $11,000 for lessons and $800 in tips for the year. Do they each really need 20 lessons per year?
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