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What is a ski instructor worth (monetarily)? - Page 6

post #151 of 170

Free or Fair Market

Originally Posted by MTT
The problem is, a ski resort is not free market. You can't teach lessons "freelance" at a resort as an instructor and as a student, you can't hire someone outside the ski school to teach you.

I have never heard about this?? Does not seem to be enforced around here. (Hey JeanCluade, I give you 500$ to ski with me today and tell me what you think) Whos gonna stop it??

MTT – Yes, it is a free market, it is just not our free market. It is a free market of the investors who built the area and lease or own the property, put in lifts, snowmaking, make huge investments, and take enormous gambles. If it was your investment, wouldn’t you protect your investment from a “poacher” who could erode your “profit” center; of course you would and so would everyone else if they are honest with themselves. We tend in today’s world to be too self serving, including large corporations, which then exasperate the problem on a continuum.

Does this solve the problem, well no! The solution is the market place and the market is “fair” for now. We tend to think of fair in terms of “US” and that is not how markets play out. I am in manufacturing and I can surely tell you China is not fair as a subsidized government entity, oops, another story. While I agree we are not paid a “fair” wage for our efforts, we are paid a fair wage in a “free” market place. You hate it and I hate it.

At my area, if you choose and some do, you can hire me for a private at any price we can agree on. I will not be fired as it is understood I can be a free market person. What I can not do, is solicit the areas customers to take a lesson. For instance I would not email my instructor friends or patrol friends and offer my services at a direct pay but I might spread the word on the grapevine as I just did, I hope. Very fine line which I choose to walk very carefully. Point being, yes some areas do allow free enterprise and yes I respect them not to encroach to far into what I am allowed to do. However, remember I work at a successful Mid Western ski area using lessons as a market tool and NOT a profit center. Don’t try this in Colorado!

Have a good day or evening if you will.
post #152 of 170
Talkers earn
Techos burn
The rest pack shelves

I have never had a problem with Ski School hourly rates. You work hard up through the ranks, seek a top notch SS at a large destination resort, earn the returns and the private clients and one can travel the world and live well.

My major beef is that SAM seems to employ the least successful people as lesson allocators who nurture a culture of "instructor cartels" to avoid any real responsibility for managing lessons and the whole lot festers into a bunch of people who will do anything to keep their mediocre jobs just so they can "belong" to a resort. The "belonging" becomes more important than "managing".

If you wanna be a successful ski instructor, remember once you have the ski skills that they are only 10% of the equation. Like any career, a brilliant line in bullshift will produce the biggest returns.

Break away groups such as the ESA team help fracture the entrenched chronism in SS as much as they nurture it. They have to to keep doing what they love. (sorry if this upsets anyone)

Instructors keep instructors poor. SAM just moves the chess pieces.
post #153 of 170

Sorry I haven’t responded to this earlier, but I do have to work in the summer, and don’t have the luxury of making the big bucks in the winter teaching skiing, that would allow me to take the rest of the year off like many professional athletes do.

It is true that there are programs that are offered at some resorts that are not run by the resorts ski school. But you can bet your behind that the Co who owns the resort is getting a cut, a big cut. You mentioned that the Forestry Service might be willing to listen if someone came with a viable plan. Maybe so, but the resort again would not let them on the mountain because it’s a conflict of interest. Now your proposal that ski instructors should run their own business and be independent of the resort and they would make more money, at least that’s what I think you are saying, Iskitoofast4u, might work in a small “mom and pop” ski area or small day area where the pro might only be teaching part time and didn’t depend on only what he or she made teaching skiing for a living. If you were a part time attorney and a full time millionaire, it wouldn’t be a big deal if you didn’t make that much money teaching skiing, and you might want to try the independent Ski Pro plan, and if you made some money, that would be good. But if you didn’t, what do you care, you’re a millionaire. Pros that really love what they do and want to pursue the profession and try and make a living at it in the winter, like me, would I believe, appreciate being paid a wage that pays the bills. I am in a position to ask management for increases in our wage that won’t only benefit me, but all the Pros in our ski school. And what we are asking for is a cost of living increase that is at least the national average.

Ski Pros that work for the Aspen Ski Co are paid pretty well, (for ski instructors) and we really don’t see to much belly aching. Actually much more than the $15hr you suggested being a fair wage. But with the constant cost of living increases and gas prices running amuck, every winter we end up making less than the season before. Now I feel that every season, (28 now teaching the sport) I am a better teacher and skier than the year before, and to be getting paid less for this every season, I got to say, there’s something not quite right about it. So asking for at least the national average isn’t asking too much, no?

You mention that a seasonal ski pass would only cost $1200.00. Better double that in Aspen, and then it still wouldn’t be good during the busiest times because of black out periods, and that would be when you needed it the most. And try to get health insurance for $3000 that’s worth a damm when you tell the guy who’s asking the questions that you are a ski pro and ski everyday. “Well in that case it might be a little more” he will say.

>>“Resort Take: Depending on the situation, I'd allow them no more than 25% of my profit.<<

You’ll allow???? They would laugh you right out of the office. Then when you cut the Forestry Service in to what you suggested, 10% to 20%, no thanks. My bottom line would be less than what I’m making now to implement your plan.

Now Iskitoofast4u, I kind of resent being called a “Ski Bum”, always have because I am a ski instructor. Just like you probably resent the general public make wise cracks about lawyers, no? The staff that work and teach for the Ski Schools of Aspen are professionals hands down and our company hires the best possible talent available out there. All of our full time staff is fully certified and the average length of employment in our school is 10 to 15 seasons with many of our staff being 20+ years as Ski Pros. You said if the public would start demanding better instruction, thinks would change. We offer the best ski coaches and instruction in the world and it doesn’t get any better. I think justanotherskipro can contest to that, and would agree that we are the best trained and staffed ski school in the world. (of course they pay me to say that) I’m sure there are other ski schools that would disagree, but after coming here and seeing what we do here, they change their minds in short order.

So to sum it all up, again I’m not asking for large monetary increases in my pay, although I sure wouldn’t turn it down. I’m just asking that we get fair increases that would at least match the national cost of living increases. Better yet would be cost of living increases in the Aspen area would be the better of the two. And that our benefits stop decreasing, which is another topic. I know there are other ski schools that pay there pro a lot less than what we get paid. Why don’t they deal with it like we did and work with management for a higher wage and quit whining? There are ways to deal with management and it takes time. But it can be done.

Well, its summer time and best spent riding my MTB than talking about winter time employment.----------Wigs
post #154 of 170
OK, So we have established that ski instructors both part and full time feel they are not paid what they think their worth. It's time for realistic actions. Maybe this should be a new thread but if we want change, we need to step up to the plate and make things happen.

Starting with the issue of no respect; Act like a professional and you will be treated as one. When asked why we teach, Do not automatically say
{I was taking a year off from law school because I thought it would be fun to spend a season here. That was 5/10/15/+ years ago and I guess I just never left.}
Whether it's true or not it makes you sound like you never had a real career or any ambition. It sounds a lot more professional to say something like;
{I love to ski and I really love to share that experience with others. That's why I chose to go through all the training to become a (certified) ski instructor.}
Every student wants to know you are qualified to teach them, telling them what your qualifications are, establishes your credibility. Mind you I am not talking about bragging, only the fact that you trained hard for the opportunity to teach them.
Then walk the walk, show them that you are everything you claim to be. Earn their respect.
The same goes for relating to SAM, outperform the next guy/gal, pay your dues without bitching, be the person they wish everyone else was like. Treat you supervisors as one of your most important customers and before long you will see them treat you like the pro you are.
Act how you want to be treated, support you peers by your actions, and stop shooting yourself in the foot. Who's willing to share more "constructive actions"?
post #155 of 170
There are more group lessons than privates and very few group lesson students tip. I've been asked before, "what should I tip the instructor?" I've overheard people who actually think that the instructor gets the entire fee for the lesson minus the rentals and lift portion and that they get this for each student they teach. If that were true we would get paid $20-$25 per student, rather than the $8 - $12 we got per lesson group (regardless of size).

In theory, areas pay by the lesson is to encourage and reward people who actually teach. But at some areas this does not work out as the theory would have it. A lot of times, my area would assign the beginner groups (usually children) to the younger instructors and keep the older, more experienced instructors for adults, privates and more experienced skiers. Unfortunately, this really didn't work out too well (as far as fair distribution of lessons is concerned). My niece, who was a teaching assistant last year, and an instructor this year, would average $100 a weekend for teaching. I was lucky if I made that in 3 weeks (not counting tips), because they kept me for the adults, challenging lessons(those others could not handle) and privates.

Another problem in past years at our small area was preferrential treatment. The person in charge of the ski school for many years had 4 daughters who were instructors. They got all the lessons...unless there were more than 4 groups at a time. The area lost a number of great instructors because of this. He is no longer in charge and his daughters have all grown and moved away.

I think a big part of the problem is that they public honestly thinks that instructors make more than they do. I can tutor or teach instrumental lessons for $25-$30 and hour if it's a money thing. I teach because I enjoy it.

FYI-Many Patrollers get no pay for their services...I bet a lot of folks do no know this either. Their other benefits are at the same level (and sometimes at a lower level) than instructors. As an instructor, I can ski and my family can ski at the area any time it is open, even if it's not my shift. Patrol families can only ski when the Patroller is on duty. (this is one of the things I will be working to change as I resume as a patroller and assume the role of Patrol Director.)

BTW: Justanother... makes some great points.
post #156 of 170
ummm from what I have seen (as a student) my words of wisdom would be

Do NOT work in Australia if you want to make any money.... work here for the experience (great) but not for money...
post #157 of 170

As always the government is to blame..

It's been a while since I've been here.. Hi all!!
Welcome, Jeff Winship.
"You last visited: December 31st, 1969 at 11:00 PM" That is along time.. As for this thread. I think if the US government (USFS) wouldn't require "use permits" that protect the resorts from competition, then instructors might be able to start there own schools and compete in a fair market.. Thats why I moved to Europe.. Get rid of the middle man and I make as much in a week as I can in a month.. .Good luck everybody.
beste, Jeff
post #158 of 170
Originally Posted by Jeff Winship
It's been a while since I've been here.. Hi all!!
Welcome, Jeff Winship.
"You last visited: December 31st, 1969 at 11:00 PM" That is along time.. As for this thread. I think if the US government (USFS) wouldn't require "use permits" that protect the resorts from competition, then instructors might be able to start there own schools and compete in a fair market.. Thats why I moved to Europe.. Get rid of the middle man and I make as much in a week as I can in a month.. .Good luck everybody.
beste, Jeff
Hang in there Jeff and we will keep protecting you so you can make those bucks.
post #159 of 170

And I thought it was the beautiful, blond European instructor.

post #160 of 170

A pay range spread of $10 to $20 per hour is a wide spread given the tendency to want to undervalue people's time.  What are you really trying to say?  If the instructor has seniority and years of educational attainment through PSIA, what do you think they are worth?

post #161 of 170

Holy old thread. I don't think you can buy ski instructors anymore. :dunno



post #162 of 170
Hopefully, pay has increased slightly in the last ten years.
post #163 of 170

@sibhusky as soon as I saw this thread I knew you'd enjoy it! :duck:

post #164 of 170
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Hopefully, pay has increased slightly in the last ten years.


You are correct, just go heavy on the "slightly" part.

post #165 of 170
post #166 of 170

What is a ski instructor worth (monetarily)?

Speaking in terms of ransom, probably not very much. :)

post #167 of 170

The purchasing of ski instructors has been generally frowned upon in this country since 1865. 

post #168 of 170
You can't buy them but you sure can rent them.
post #169 of 170

"I don't want to buy it,

Just want to rent it for an hour or two."

post #170 of 170
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Interestingly enough, over the last 10 years that is about my pay history, but $3 is because of policy induced raises due to adding a level 3 tele (from level none) to my alpine 3.

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