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Instructors - what is freelancing? - Page 5

post #121 of 147
BTW, with our current tort system, "right" and "wrong" doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with it. Only "legalman" wins in a court battle, so even the suggestion of one is often enough to "encourage" a settlement. I have been involved peripherally in a situation where one participant mentioned a lawsuit simply so he could "hurt" the others involved, since nobody wins.
post #122 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
BTW, with our current tort system, "right" and "wrong" doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with it. Only "legalman" wins in a court battle, so even the suggestion of one is often enough to "encourage" a settlement.
Thank you, ssh.

All resort employees should read that sentence prior to every shift.

Hem
post #123 of 147
...and this showed up in my e-mail today:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Some Internet Email
DANGER! LAWYER OPPORTUNITY ZONE
Failure to have perfectly adequate warnings that anticipate every
possible hazardous situation, no matter how remote, will result in
litigation by hordes of lawyers who will make even the most innocent
thing appear to be malicious willful intent by your company to cause a
great harm to their client, and will leave you penniless and broken
after wasting immense amounts of your time.
post #124 of 147

They're waiver thin.

As much as some people might wish it, you cannot absolve youself of your legal responsibilities by having someone sign a waiver.

"Yes, your honour. I did cut open his head and eat his brains, but you can't charge me; he signed a waiver!":
post #125 of 147
Yep. A Waiver won't stop someone mounting a case against someone else; if there was negligence, or apparent responsibility, then it's worth a go, and the waiver won't prevent that.
post #126 of 147
I believe most waivers (or disclaimers, as they tend to be known over here) are put in place to prevent claims against the relevant authority in cases of accident or outside interference which were not reasonably preventable - for example, you park your car in a pay-for car park, and someone breaks into it and steals something.

They do not prevent claims where the relevant authority contributed to a problem by negligence or active fault.

I'm not sure how it stands in the US, but a resort, for example, would not be held responsible if someone lifted the bar on a lift and threw themselves off.

But if the bar was faulty, and contributed to the accident, then any disclaimer would be unlikely to prevent action.
post #127 of 147
Most Tennis clubs and golf courses have local Pros. If I know of a golf instructor who works at a golf shop (not for a CC or golf course) or find one through some other means, is there any prescedent saying that if I pay him/her to play a round with me and work on my game, that it would be something the Pro could get in trouble for? I see this as a very valid comparison. I haven't played much golf in my life, especially compared to some of the people here, but I don't remember seeing anything that says you can't bring your own pro. As a matter of fact, I knew a guy at work once who found a golf instructor on his own, and regularly went to a driving range at a local muni golf course with him for lessons. They were above board and obvious about it, and no one cared. Similar to buying a lift ticket, they were buying buckets of balls and paying greens fees (when they played on the course). The ONLY issue I could see would be if there were a speed of play issue, but that's got nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

I also see the same thing in tennis. I don't play, but my parents belong to a local tennis & racquet club which offers instruction. If they were to sign up for court time and bring their own coach/instructor, would that be objectionable?

edit.... Also, are ski areas setting a prescedent by allowing you to bring rental skis rented from a local ski shop? Isn't that taking revenue away from the ski area?
post #128 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
...and this showed up in my e-mail today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Some Internet Email
DANGER! LAWYER OPPORTUNITY ZONE
Failure to have perfectly adequate warnings that anticipate every
possible hazardous situation, no matter how remote, will result in
litigation by hordes of lawyers who will make even the most innocent
thing appear to be malicious willful intent by your company to cause a
great harm to their client, and will leave you penniless and broken
after wasting immense amounts of your time.
I've heard that one of the major hazards associated with falling under a ski lift is that you may suffocate under all of the business cards thrown at you from the lift by contingency fee attorneys. (An old Warren Miller joke, IIRC)
post #129 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
The change in policy has got me thinking...I know, dangerous even on my best days.

So, what do you consider free-lancing?
  • if you are teaching your child or a relative's child on your own at your home mountain, are you freelancing?
  • if you are skiing with a friend on your own time, and give solicited advice, are you freelancing?
  • if you barter your services for something else of (not monetary) value, are you freelancing?
What I'm trying to accomplish here, is to see if there is any kind of consensus of what is ethical behavior for an instructor acting in a professional capacity, and what is not.

Thank you.
A. No
B. No
C. Yes
(assuuming no fee was disussed for A and B. and terms of amplyment did not specifically prohibit this activity.)

Kevin
post #130 of 147
Nice, and very germaine points, JohnH.
post #131 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
Most Tennis clubs and golf courses have local Pros. ..... Also, are ski areas setting a prescedent by allowing you to bring rental skis rented from a local ski shop? Isn't that taking revenue away from the ski area?
John,

From the customer perspective, these are the same things and just don't make any sense. But the tennis and golf businesses differ from the ski business in some significant ways. The biggest difference, I'll bet, is that instruction makes up a far higher percentage of net income in the ski business than it does in golf or tennis. From the operator perspective, there's a lot more $$$ at stake in the ski business. $$$ is often too tempting to resist trampling on the best interests of the customer and the long term interest of your own business.

With respect to rental skis, a closer analogy would be banning someone from renting skis out of the parking lot. Once a resort allows you to bring your own gear, it would be cost ineffective to ban outside rental gear due to the high percentage of owned gear to outside rented gear and the high cost of detection. Detecting "serious" freelancing is a lot like detecting a freelance rental operation in your parking lot. I may be naive, but serious freelancing vs friends teaching friends stands out like a sore thumb to me.
post #132 of 147
the rusty... I don't know zip about golf.... but I grew up at the local tennis club(s).... practically my whole family play/coach/compete...

tennis clubs (at least in Oz) are mostly on public land... and run by members as not for profit.... so I think maybe the coaching is a larger percentage of profit as it will always be bigger than 0... We always charged non-members for court use and they had lower booking priority... members paid membership fees which went towards maintenance costs... We also had fund raising stuff...
As we lived where we could watch the courts we were often made to "play spy" if those on court could not be identified... and had to report on who had not swept/watered etc I never remember any stink about outside coaches coming in... as long as those on court were members or had paid fees... and I remember seing an awful lot of coaching from our kitchen window over my younger years..
post #133 of 147
Disski,

What's the percentage of tennis players taking lessons? At my resort, 20% of visits include a lesson. That's probably a little high compared to a destination resort, but still much higher than tennis or golf (IMHO). Also, what percent of tennis lessons are group lessons? At my resort, I'd guess that 90% of lessons are group lessons. Group lessons are far more profitable than private lessons.
post #134 of 147
yes - more group than private lessons...
Nearly everyone at the club would have taken lessons at some point... some had many.... (I can vouch for this I had HEAPS... in an effort to attempt to train me to be "physical"... poor coach knew the family and thought he was going to get a good player... kept asking if I was adopted!)
Also coaches all came to schools and taught there too (I had lessons there as well as the club). Plenty free coaching from club members for newbies too...

The thing is membership was like $30 a year and coaching about $100 for a season (OK I"M old!!) but they were all quite reasonable... and families got a discount.

What does a golf lesson cost these days? Last time I checked it was about $35 an hour for a private lesson ..... cannot get a ski lesson at that rate in Oz or USA where there are monopoly situations with ski schools.
post #135 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
Most Tennis clubs and golf courses have local Pros. If I know of a golf instructor who works at a golf shop (not for a CC or golf course) or find one through some other means, is there any prescedent saying that if I pay him/her to play a round with me and work on my game, that it would be something the Pro could get in trouble for? I see this as a very valid comparison. I haven't played much golf in my life, especially compared to some of the people here, but I don't remember seeing anything that says you can't bring your own pro. As a matter of fact, I knew a guy at work once who found a golf instructor on his own, and regularly went to a driving range at a local muni golf course with him for lessons. They were above board and obvious about it, and no one cared. Similar to buying a lift ticket, they were buying buckets of balls and paying greens fees (when they played on the course). The ONLY issue I could see would be if there were a speed of play issue, but that's got nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

I also see the same thing in tennis. I don't play, but my parents belong to a local tennis & racquet club which offers instruction. If they were to sign up for court time and bring their own coach/instructor, would that be objectionable?

edit.... Also, are ski areas setting a prescedent by allowing you to bring rental skis rented from a local ski shop? Isn't that taking revenue away from the ski area?
Great comparisons and food for thought JohnH! thanks.
post #136 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski View Post
What does a golf lesson cost these days? Last time I checked it was about $35 an hour for a private lesson

The going rate at my facility in Summit County is $40 per half hour and $70 per hour for PGA members and $30/$50 for apprentices. Do a series of 5 and you pay for 4 with the 5th lesson free. Juniors get a 30% discount.

Group lessons for beginners/intermediates (at my facility) run $95 for 5-1 hour lessons with about 6 students maximum per class. That rate includes a 9 hole round-without the instructor. Junior lesson series are substantially less.

This season I did 60% private lessons/40% groups.
post #137 of 147
OK - so who here would be happy to pay $70 per hour for a full cert and $50 for any instructor with less?

How does that $95 for 5 hours group lesson maximum 6 per group equate to ski lessons for groups?

Mike - do you make a living at those rates?
post #138 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski View Post
How does that $95 for 5 hours group lesson maximum 6 per group equate to ski lessons for groups?

Mike - do you make a living at those rates?
Do I make a living? Yes, I make a very teaching good income-if I taught 6 or 7 hours a day it would be a very substantial living. But at our course we have 3 PGA members (including myself) and 1 apprentice and we all teach outside of our assigned pro shop duties (paid at a much different rate-less than my ski instructor hourly rate) which average about 35 hours per week. Full time teaching jobs are not the industry norm. During the peak of our season I have a lot of 12 hour days (both shop and teaching time) so I definitely put in substantially more hours as a golf professional than I do as a ski instructor. And I'll probably earn 80 to 90% more for comparable season lengths.

Comparing the two types of lessons is an interesting exercise. Most golf lessons are 1/2 or 1 hour and very intense in the sense we don't spend time in line or on lifts. It is usually very focused on one or two issues, both because of the time constraint and the realization that working on change will open the door to ownership/improvement but the student will have to spend time on their own working to lock it in. That is a major reason I won't do a series of golf lessons in rapid fire succession. If you, the student, aren't willing to put in the focused practice time your deceiving yourself. Change, be it golf or skiing, is rarely easy.

Sometime this winter I plan to do a little personal study figuring out exactly how much time in a 5 hour group ski lesson is actual instruction/practice time.

And teaching in both industries is a hell of a lot of fun.
post #139 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
Comparing the two types of lessons is an interesting exercise. Most golf lessons are 1/2 or 1 hour and very intense in the sense we don't spend time in line or on lifts. It is usually very focused on one or two issues, both because of the time constraint and the realization that working on change will open the door to ownership/improvement but the student will have to spend time on their own working to lock it in. That is a major reason I won't do a series of golf lessons in rapid fire succession. If you, the student, aren't willing to put in the focused practice time your deceiving yourself. Change, be it golf or skiing, is rarely easy.

Sometime this winter I plan to do a little personal study figuring out exactly how much time in a 5 hour group ski lesson is actual instruction/practice time.
This is a really interesting study, I think, mikewil... I often view lift time as part of the lesson, although it can't be for all students in a group lesson with more than 3 students. Still, though, I try to have my lessons be more on the intense/focused side than not. Is this not the norm?

I'd be interested to see what you find... and happy to contribute the bit of data that I can collect for you...
post #140 of 147
Mike,

I think it's great that you are able to teach golf and skiing to fill up all the seasons and make a respectable living.

However, the questions still remains: At your golf course/club, is there an issue if a freelancing instructor brings a student onto the course, putting/chipping green or driving range? Would the freelancer be escorted off the premesis and not allowed to play or teach there again?
post #141 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
However, the questions still remains: At your golf course/club, is there an issue if a freelancing instructor brings a student onto the course, putting/chipping green or driving range? Would the freelancer be escorted off the premesis and not allowed to play or teach there again?
For the most part the answer is we would not have any objection unless they were 1) tying up limited range stations-obviously they would not have access to our reserved teaching area 2) creating a hazard for other range users thru unsafe practices or 3) slowing play on the course in a playing lesson. There could be other situations that might cause objections but I can't think of any right now.
post #142 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
I often view lift time as part of the lesson, although it can't be for all students in a group lesson with more than 3 students. Still, though, I try to have my lessons be more on the intense/focused side than not. Is this not the norm?
Lift time can definitely be part of the lesson but as you mentioned it is hard to do with larger groups. I often give little "homework" assignments for a lift ride that become the topic for exploration on the next run. But I would also postulate based on 25+ years of teaching skiing and 7 of golf, focused intensity is easier to maintain in a 1/2 hour golf lesson than a 5 hour group or 3 hour private ski lesson. There has to be some down time in the longer lessons.
post #143 of 147
Technically speaking. If I was skiing down the slope, and just some random person(not instructor or employee of the resort) came up to me, and gave me a pointer and it helped me out. If I said "Let me buy you lunch for that tip!" This would not be kosher at the resort?

If an instructor is on a day off. Just going up the lift. Someone on the lift is talking to him finds out he is an instructor. Asks him a question about how he could do something better. The instructor is not allowed to offer his expertise as a gesture? What if he follows the person down one run, and gives them a couple tips, not allowed? If the person wants to make a gesture, maybe has an extra bottle of water. This can not be excepted because of it's monetary value?
post #144 of 147
Poaching and ambassadorship are two entirely different things, MTmind, so much so that I'd call it disingenuous of anyone to confuse the two. Poaching is stealing business from the company and ambassadorship is public relations. The company rightly takes a dim view of the former and probably should consider incentives to promote the latter.
post #145 of 147
Mtmind,

Technically speaking, it all depends on the rules of the particular resort where these hypothetical events take place. While there are technical gotchas that could make nono's for all of the situations you've described, practically speaking, all of these would be ignored at most resorts. The one notable exception would be the instructor giving out tips on his day off. Some (a very small number as I understand it) resorts have rules prohibiting this (primarily for liability reasons). Many resorts specifically cover these kinds of situations by saying it is ok only if there is no compensation requested up front and only if the tips are not significant. A free lunch would be too much. A beverage would be ok.

With respect to US Forest Service rules (which is a major root cause for this thread), they have said that they have zero interest in "little" situations that are not a "problem". They will not get involved enforcing the rules unless a resort requests it and there is evidence of frequent and blatant violation.

With respect to resort rules for employees, some resorts may have zero tolerance or use specific situations as an excuse to get rid of someone they already want to get rid of. However, at most resorts, the worst that happens is a "don't do that". With respect to resort rules for non-employees teaching at their resorts, "good samaritan" tips only become "prohibited teaching" after an abusive pattern has been established. If you're out actively offering tips to every Tom, Dick and Sally all day long with the hope of getting lunch and an end of day pitcher every week, you might be asked to stop or leave.

Despite the frustration over rules regarding up front "commercial" freelance teaching (i.e. where the parties agree to the compensation prior to the services being delivered), the rules that are intended to close the loopholes are mostly applied with a lot of common sense.
post #146 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTmind View Post
Technically speaking. If I was skiing down the slope, and just some random person(not instructor or employee of the resort) came up to me, and gave me a pointer and it helped me out. If I said "Let me buy you lunch for that tip!" This would not be kosher at the resort?

If an instructor is on a day off. Just going up the lift. Someone on the lift is talking to him finds out he is an instructor. Asks him a question about how he could do something better. The instructor is not allowed to offer his expertise as a gesture? What if he follows the person down one run, and gives them a couple tips, not allowed? If the person wants to make a gesture, maybe has an extra bottle of water. This can not be excepted because of it's monetary value?
situation #1-yahoo

situation #2-of course "he is allowed" to offer help. you can lead an instructor to water, however.......

flavored water or plain?

eight ounces or a full liter?

sealed or opened?

if someone was ever so kind as to offer me a bottle of water, me thinks i might thank them, and then politely say i'm doing OK in terms of hydration.

i offer help when asked. the "when asked" part is important. imho there is nothing more obnoxious than unsolicited advice. merely my humble opinion. i make it clear i'll be more than happy to help in return for a smile or handshake. no quid pro quo.

i don't want anyone to see me and the perception be created that i'm teaching under the table.

this horse needs to be buried.
post #147 of 147
Getting an unsolicited tip from someone is hardly freelancing or quid pro quo. If there is a question, don't accept the gratuity. My rule is that if someone wants a lesson, I will teach the lesson through the ski school desk. If they want a free lesson, I politely refuse their "generous" offer.
A tip on the chair? It happens but if I am free skiing (out of uniform) the only way they would know I teach would be if I tell them. Which I don't do.
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