|PSIA does an excellent job of making better ski Instructors. It does a lousy job of helping those instructors get work and a decent salary. Mountains prefer to use the non-certs at lower hourly wages and the public does not realize they are getting screwed. The new "Go With a Pro" program is a step in the right direction. I would like to see as bold a campaing as "Demand a Certified Pro or Demand Your Money Back!"|
In my heart I know that there (on average) is a difference between cert levels and it is significant. But if I had to explain that difference to a guest in the lift line, I couldn't do it. And I probably could not do it on a chair ride either. For pros vs non-pros, I do have a "lift line" answer: "We have lots of tricks that make learning easier." If I had to make up an answer for certified pros, it would go like this:
"With each advance in certification, a pro has more accurate movement analysis diagnostic skills, a larger tool kit of developmental exercises that can be employed and a better ability to match the most effective drill to a student's needs. As a students skiing level or amount of learning disability increases, these differences are more apparent and more effective. The result is that the more certification a pro has, the more likely it is that a student can learn more effectively and at faster pace than from a pro with less or no certification."
The "Go with a Pro" marketing campagin is very slick and professional in the sense that it directly addresses customer problems. For example, here are two of the poster messages:
"Terminal intermediate? Want to be a terminal expert?"
"Your equipment is full of potential. Are you?"
These sound like effective sales pitches to me. But there is no meat behind this program (yet). There's nothing that says "here's what a pro does for you" that you can't get anywhere else. Of course this fits the intent of the campaign to push lessons by any instructor in order to pursue the "rising tide lifts all boats" strategy. But it does not support Stache's desire to push certified pros. Where is the "Value Statement" for certified pros? How does the public get screwed just because they are getting a lesson from a non-cert?
On one of my rare "stupidvisor" shifts this year, I sent a rookie pro out on his first level 4 snowboard lesson. If it was a guest, I would have had him shadow me as I taught it. But it was an employee lesson (which normally would only occur if there also was a paying guest) and I wanted my pro to get paid for his time - so I shadowed him. The employee had fun, improved their riding and walked away satisfied. When the lesson was over, I briefed the pro on the things that went well, why certain things were going on and what I thought could have been done differently (e.g. less talk - more movement, end on time and show up for the next line up : ). Although the student was happy with their lesson, I know that I could have done a lot more for them. If it was a guest, I can clearly see how this experience would have been screwing them. But I'd have a hard time coming up with something like "with a certified pro, this person would have fallen less than one time per run instead of 3 times per run, been riding 20% faster down the hill, been riding 25% more efficiently, and developing edge angles of 45 degrees instead of 25 degrees".
In my heart, I believe these kinds of things are happening. I just don't know how to prove it. If we could, then it would be a lot easier to get more work and more money for certified pros.