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post #91 of 147
Amen Bud and Ant.

edit: bud and ant

second edit: amen
post #92 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
AHH... So if someone wants to compensate me in some way to help them with their skiing/equipment and we both PURCHASE a ticket to ride any area's lifts we/I am breaking some kind of law?... What law is that and in what state?
Bad Bud, no bootfitting donut for you!

At private resort, I believe the law is trespassing. This may seem absurd, but it's fairly simple. The resort can create whatever rules it wants. If one of those rules is no freelance instruction, they can ask you to leave. If you don't leave, you're breaking the law. Of course they can ask anyone to leave for any reason whatsoever, whether it is valid or not. If a freelancer returns repeatedly, the resort has grounds for getting a court order compelling the freelancer to stop. As I said before, when the "rules" are enforced, things get ugly quick. The Steamboat case is a wonderful example.

Now, on the other hand, you present a wonderful business case why resorts should not have such rules and why 99% (my guess) of freelancing goes unmolested. My guess is that your "scum" example is why resorts have such rules: to be enforced only for people who blatantly steal ski school business or slander it, etc.

It's funny, I asked my resort marketing honcho what our policy towards freelance instruction was. It's been 3 months and I have not received an answer. The response I got was that the issue was being discussed. Some people say I read between the lines too much, but I say that this alone speaks volumes. My guess is that they want to say no freelancing, but they know we have regular groups that bring their own freelance instructors - especially the Special Olympics people (boy that would be embarrassing - even though I think they are all volunteers). My SSD said it was policy that instructors could not teach their clients at a nearby sister resort (owned by the same company), so if a student said that they wanted to ski at the other resort and wanted you to teach them at the other resort, this would not be allowed. Frankly, this makes me happy in a sick sort of way. If I have not found a silly rule at a place I work at, it means I have not looked hard enough. It's either something to work to change or something to ignore because weighing all the pluses and minuses it's not so bad.
post #93 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post
I think it's a shame that this US law, which many people agree props up an unfair monopoly to the detriment of ski teaching, has to drive "policy" on this website.
Hold on, ant:
There is no blanket US "Law" regarding freelance ski teaching at all resorts.

There are still resorts in the US which DO allow freelance instruction.

Resorts leased on USFS land have to follow the regs of their federal parent, and it appears
Epicski, very prudently, chooses not to encourage solicitation of extrascholastic tutelage.
I think it's very wise of Epic to take this specific tack.


Hem
post #94 of 147
How would the resort ever know this was happening?

I guess the issue then would be for someone at the resort to:

#1 determine and define suspiscious activity and when a conversation between two skiers becomes a lesson

#2 determine somehow that a monetary transaction has taken place

If the activity that makes freelancing an illegal act is determined by some kind of compensation being traded, how in heavens would the ski resort ever be able to determine or prove this? Especially if the transfer was not transacted at the area? Therein lies the rub... Unless I walked up the a resort executive and told them I was being paid by a person to ski with them at the resort, I don't know how anyone would ever know? and....I would bet that even if I did tell most resort officials what I was doing, they would even care!? After all we purchased tickets and spent money in the lodge.

I think your odds of getting pulled over for speeding 5 miles per hour over the limit on a highway, are much greater than being hassled "freelancing".

Now you might say it is ethically wrong. and to that I don't personally feel it is. SSH gave an example of someone going into someone else's studio and using it to make money but not paying to use it. This is different because the freelancers are buying at least two lift tickets to use the ski area's studio!

I would think the biggest issue would be liability assumed by the freelancer and that is a personal choice or responsibility to mitigate.

I will continue to take my clients I meet and work with at my shop skiing at resorts around Lake Tahoe and assess their skiing and help them improve their skiing through boot balancing and technique instruction.

I have frimly believed for many years combining boot balancing with technique instruction is the most effective and efficient way to improve ones skiing. I have tryed for years to get ski schools to incorporate this service into their offering with zero success. Should I turn my back on what I know works because risk management has no desire to pioneer new ground? All of the successful private ski schools like Epic, HH, NASTC, etc. incorporate some type of boot balancing into their curiculum and mark my words one day ski schools in general will begin to incorporate this service into their offerings of lose business to the privatized ski schools that do.

I believe the way I conduct my business and the relationships I have with the local resorts and ski schools will avoid any confrontation. I and the people like me who, as it is called here "freelance", offer a private service that does generate revenue for the resort and does fill a void between what resorts offer and what the client wants, are helping the health of the skiing industry. If this is bad then I don't want to be good!


Baaaaad bud
post #95 of 147
Bud, I want to make something clear: whether you do what you're doing or not is of no concern to me one way or the other. I know that you offer a great service to the people you serve, and I am all for that. My primary area of concern I tried to address earlier in this thread: those skiers who do not understand the implications of liability in these circumstances. For you and your business, of course it is up to you what you do for liability. However, do your students know whether or not you carry liability insurance and whether or not there would be appropriate compensation for any negligence or other liability on your part? Are they likely to think that they would be covered by the resort? Who ends up holding the bag if something happens?

The focus of the policy that we've created is admittedly towards those people who would seek "under the table" instruction at a US ski area for purposes of avoiding paying full boat for their lessons. We endeavored to take into account other situations (different legal issues, different localities including other countries, etc.) by just asking that folks contact EpicSki before posting about it. That is all.

No judgement made. Just an opportunity to discuss it. And, hopefully, find a way to move forward that works for everyone and especially protects those who come here for insight and advice and may not know the implications of it.

I hope this helps, although it seems that some would prefer we just force everyone to fend for themselves. I, for one, don't think that's very helpful.
post #96 of 147
I just think a perception is being created that anyone who is not employed by a ski area is a crook and going to ski you into a tree.....and, not that I want to solicit my services here on epic but that I can not be included on your team because I choose not to color within your lines.

I do not provide ski lessons but provide boot alignment services that can include on hill assessments and experimentation along with some technique help to put the icing on the cake. But somehow I get grouped with scum and that's kinda a bummer. My clients are not trying to spend less on lessons they are trying to improve their skiing!

There seems to be a huge grey area where a black and white line is being drawn. I appreciate your intentions but caution generalities that could inhibit or discourage the growth of the sport and the nuturing of new entreprenurial ideas.

I am sure there are other highly skilled instructors, trainers, coaches, boot alignment specialists who are frustrated with the slow progress to more contemporary methods used by commercial ski schools and coaching programs as well as the poor compensation offered through resorts for their services (if they could even offer them through a resorts' programs).

Maybe you could help with threads that would help find ways to wake up the ski industry manufacturers to create an indemnification program and create ASTM standards for shimming bindings by instructors to provide assessments on hill. Protecting the resorts and instructors from liability concerns just as the binding manufacturers have had for shop binding techs for years, would allow resorts to rethink offering this service. This would ease concerns by risk management departments and allow ski schools to have instructors certified to do on hill assessments and provide these services within the ski school's programs.

Sorry for my impatience Steve. I agree with your goal! I have not and will not solicit lessons on Epic. Perhaps nobody at all should be permitted to solicit lesson business on Epic? I would think that if Barking Bears want to hire an instructor who posts here they can easily PM or email them. Solicitation should not be neccessary just knowledgable posts that create a data base for potential lesson seekers to review and make their own decision to contact the instructor of their choice.

love ya and what you do!
baaaad bud
post #97 of 147
Excellent comments Bud. The point of view you present was a significant motivation for my response to Epic moderation with the Heavy Handed Dealing of Freelance Topic thread. I think there are clearly issues of business, certification, professionalism, etc. that need to be considered here (assuming resort owned schools provide a satisfactory level of service and quality control to the public they are serving on public lands) but there are also issues of freedom of public land use that need to weighed and considered. Additionally, no matter how highly some people may rate the level of service provided by resort owned ski schools they are certainly limited (almost non existent) in the areas you practice. Yet, the type of services you offer serves the public need very well. I also think there are other situations that are worthy of consideration and further discussion.

I hope you will continue to contribute to this discussion.
post #98 of 147
Devil's advocate here:

the process of acquiring a lease on public land is onerous at least. To cut trails and put up lifts requires an EIS and a host of other federal obstacles, lots of paperwork, promises for expensive improvements and maintenance and a hefty fee. for it, the resort gets a concession lease for exclusive use.

It's more difficult than, but not entirely unlike, a food concessionaire in a national park. It would be cheeky to cook up great food, arrange for payment outside the park and then distribute said food near the lousy hot dog stand who went through the appropriate hoops to be there. (this was in fact taken to the extreme in the Gila a couple of years ago when some kids selling lemonade to raise money for some charity got busted for it.)

The resort gets a use permit that includes the ski school. They figure that into their business plan and profit and loss projections. You, Bud, offer a service they do not provide and so i presume they would not be too worried about your activity.

If, however, the freelancing of instruction became obvious and rampant enough to cut materially into their profits, i think they have a reasonable right to be pissed.

Should the forest service grant a ski instruction monopoly to the resort? that's another question and worthy of debate.

Should Epic insist that people contact them to 'discuss' it before posting? I'm not so sure. I think Epic's tush is covered if they simply state that one should not solicit or offer services that are illegal and that it is incumbent upon them to know if it is or isn't. You can educate members by stating that it is illegal in many or most US resorts to offer or seek 'under the table' instruction. and you could even point out to prospective students that they take a risk by employing an individual -stranger at that - without liability coverage. Then let people figure it out for themselves.

I also believe that, if Epic thinks this is being violated, they have the right to shut down a thread. If someone were offering pot for sale on the site, they'd certainly shut that down and no-one would object. I'm not equating freelancing with drug dealing, mind you, except when they are both illegal and that there are many people who think neither should be.
cheers.
post #99 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
I just think a perception is being created that anyone who is not employed by a ski area is a crook and going to ski you into a tree.....and, not that I want to solicit my services here on epic but that I can not be included on your team because I choose not to color within your lines.

I do not provide ski lessons but provide boot alignment services that can include on hill assessments and experimentation along with some technique help to put the icing on the cake. But somehow I get grouped with scum and that's kinda a bummer. My clients are not trying to spend less on lessons they are trying to improve their skiing!

There seems to be a huge grey area where a black and white line is being drawn. I appreciate your intentions but caution generalities that could inhibit or discourage the growth of the sport and the nuturing of new entreprenurial ideas.

I am sure there are other highly skilled instructors, trainers, coaches, boot alignment specialists who are frustrated with the slow progress to more contemporary methods used by commercial ski schools and coaching programs as well as the poor compensation offered through resorts for their services (if they could even offer them through a resorts' programs).

Maybe you could help with threads that would help find ways to wake up the ski industry manufacturers to create an indemnification program and create ASTM standards for shimming bindings by instructors to provide assessments on hill. Protecting the resorts and instructors from liability concerns just as the binding manufacturers have had for shop binding techs for years, would allow resorts to rethink offering this service. This would ease concerns by risk management departments and allow ski schools to have instructors certified to do on hill assessments and provide these services within the ski school's programs.

Sorry for my impatience Steve. I agree with your goal! I have not and will not solicit lessons on Epic. Perhaps nobody at all should be permitted to solicit lesson business on Epic? I would think that if Barking Bears want to hire an instructor who posts here they can easily PM or email them. Solicitation should not be neccessary just knowledgable posts that create a data base for potential lesson seekers to review and make their own decision to contact the instructor of their choice.
As EpicSki's lead admin, I'd like to make it clear that all of these topics are completely open for discussion here on EpicSki. None are forbidden, nor intended to be discouraged in the least. I, for one, and the team as a whole do not view what you do as being "a crook" or "grouped with scum". Nothing could be further from the truth.

Furthermore (and I hope you know this, but want to make it explicit), I personally agree with your frustration with the limitations to current instruction and the benefits of additional components being added to that instruction. Again speaking for EpicSki, these discussions are healthy and can contribute to growth in the industry that supports us in the pursuit of this sport to which we are dedicated. We encourage them!

We are furthermore open to discussion of the policy specifically (probably best discussed in Si's thread for now). The policy is not set in stone (heck, it's not set in jello!), and improvements are not only welcome, they are specifically solicited. I will post some thoughts on this over there in a few minutes in hope that we can come up with an approach that addresses concerns like yours.
post #100 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post

It's more difficult than, but not entirely unlike, a food concessionaire in a national park. It would be cheeky to cook up great food, arrange for payment outside the park and then distribute said food near the lousy hot dog stand who went through the appropriate hoops to be there.
Yeah, that's pretty much the way I see it. Bringing my own ski instructor with me is like bringing my own bagged-lunch food into the lodge instead of buying their overpriced greassy burgers and fries. (I prefer the greassy burgers and fries anyway..mmmmmm - Poutine). I usually avoid lessons 'cause I would rather buy three lift tickets that one lift ticket and one lesson. I haven't brought my own instructor to a hill, but that's only because I don't have my own instructor. If I did have my own ski-sensie, you can be sure I would bring him.
post #101 of 147
Thread Starter 
Now I think it's time to add a little twist to the discussion.

Clinics not specifically affiliated with professional organization.

This tends to be oriented towards instructors. If you go with a group of instructors and take a "clinic" with a well-established trainer, and give that clinician a small "tip," are you being unethical.

This not for a service the ski area where you are going would (or even could) offer. Should you ask if the pro has permission to do this where you are? What are your thoughts on this?
post #102 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
Now I think it's time to add a little twist to the discussion.

Clinics not specifically affiliated with professional organization.

This tends to be oriented towards instructors. If you go with a group of instructors and take a "clinic" with a well-established trainer, and give that clinician a small "tip," are you being unethical.

This not for a service the ski area where you are going would (or even could) offer. Should you ask if the pro has permission to do this where you are? What are your thoughts on this?
Interesting question. Speaking as myself as an instructor/guide (and not for EpicSki or as policy), I guess I view it like this: I take my own responsibility when I ski, so the liability issue is of no concern to me. I'm out skiing with folks to help me. If I want to show my appreciation in any way, I feel free to do that. What the trainer/instructor has arranged is his/her business as far as I'm concerned.
post #103 of 147
And mom, your analogy would be better if it was someone selling lunches in advance of the visitor to the state park, not soliciting them on the park property.
post #104 of 147
Let's further muddy the issue by having both the freelancer and his guest using clipped tickets!
post #105 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
My primary area of concern I tried to address earlier in this thread: those skiers who do not understand the implications of liability in these circumstances. For you and your business, of course it is up to you what you do for liability. However, do your students know whether or not you carry liability insurance and whether or not there would be appropriate compensation for any negligence or other liability on your part? Are they likely to think that they would be covered by the resort? Who ends up holding the bag if something happens?
This argument feels like a red herring to me. Check out the release of liability they have you sign if you are a season pass holder or you agree to by buying and using a daily pass. Don't many of the resorts excuse themselves for pretty much anything that happens while you are using their facilities including negligence on their part?

If they excuse themselves from liability for use of their facilities how does the ski school's liabililty insurance help?
post #106 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
This argument feels like a red herring to me. Check out the release of liability they have you sign if you are a season pass holder or you agree to by buying and using a daily pass. Don't many of the resorts excuse themselves for pretty much anything that happens while you are using their facilities including negligence on their part?

If they excuse themselves from liability for use of their facilities how does the ski school's liabililty insurance help?
As I understand it, releases of liability do not cover actual negligence or other liability determined in a court of law. This is why people can still collect in a lawsuit brought against a ski area or instructor, but it is more difficult than it used to be.
post #107 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
As I understand it, releases of liability do not cover actual negligence or other liability determined in a court of law. This is why people can still collect in a lawsuit brought against a ski area or instructor, but it is more difficult than it used to be.
Interesting. Are there any examples we can refer to?
post #108 of 147
A few that a quick Google search revealed:

One against Breck, a Denver Post article on the liability issue, kids are a specific case in point, too.

A bunch of stuff on ski safety and related legalities here.

Of course, some lawsuits turn out better than others...
post #109 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
Devil's advocate here:
I'm not equating freelancing with drug dealing, mind you, except when they are both illegal and that there are many people who think neither should be.
cheers.
Drug dealing is a federal and state offense in every state of the union,
Freelance ski instruction is neither in any state.

It is illegal at many private resorts, however, esp. thos which lease from public agencies.

I see Epic's policy as the best possible scenario for Epic's indemnity.

I seriously doubt that anyone at epic takes any peculiar delight in enforcing this policy.

Epicski did not frame our system of litigation to the point at which we presently find it, Epic acts merely in response to the legal "world we live in" here in The United States.

Let's not hold the policy againct the site or it's moderators.

Hem
post #110 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
As I understand it, releases of liability do not cover actual negligence or other liability determined in a court of law. This is why people can still collect in a lawsuit brought against a ski area or instructor, but it is more difficult than it used to be.

Absolutely correct.


Hem
post #111 of 147
good points SI, MOM, SHH!

Steve, I know, I know! I just wanted to throw in a view from a different angle to incite further thought on the topic.

bud
post #112 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
A few that a quick Google search revealed:

One against Breck, a Denver Post article on the liability issue, kids are a specific case in point, too.

A bunch of stuff on ski safety and related legalities here.

Of course, some lawsuits turn out better than others...
The one on the kids is great to know. I wonder if there have been any successful lawsuits against a resort relatively recently (since waivers have become common).
post #113 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
The one on the kids is great to know. I wonder if there have been any successful lawsuits against a resort relatively recently (since waivers have become common).
Any lawyer want to look it up in Lexis?
post #114 of 147
I would be happy to help.

What is the question, specifically?

Hem
post #115 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by hemingway View Post
I would be happy to help.

What is the question, specifically?

Hem
Cool. Do you know of any relatively recent cases where a resort has been successfully sued for negligence when they are using the waiver as a defense?
post #116 of 147
Max,

I have neither proof nor specifics, but I've been told that a certain (cough) resort has quietly settled cases where documentation of resort activities did not exist (e.g. accident/incident reports). It appears that 2-3 cases per year is routine.

My resort recently started offering terrain park lessons. We require an additional waiver that is specifically signed by a parent/guardian in addition to the implied waiver on the back of the lesson ticket. We have not been sued for these lessons. Prior to the new terrain park lesson product, an instructor could take a class into the 1/2 pipe or terrain park at their discretion. Now only terrain park specific lessons may enter the park or pipe. We were told that the change in policy was because of risk management. Draw your own conclusions.
post #117 of 147
I can certainly cite examples of US resorts whose litigant cases exceed 50 per season.
Anyone can FOIL for such information, as most resorts are understandably tight-lipped regarding these claims, and more importantly, their resolutions.

Hem
post #118 of 147
Is the consensus that the waivers are more or less meaningless when it comes to negligence on the resort's part?
post #119 of 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max_501 View Post
Is the consensus that the waivers are more or less meaningless when it comes to negligence on the resort's part?
That is according to your definition of whom, exactly, is expressing consensus.
Waivers provide the corporation with a tremendous degree of indemnification.
There exists no such concept of "absolute indemnification", and the process of due dilligence allows for prudent challenge.
Occasionally, plaintiffs prevail, if only by perseverence and greed.

Hem
post #120 of 147
I am no lawyer, but having done business for a number of years, I look at it this way: no waiver can say, "Even if I do something completely irresponsible that causes you injury, you have no recourse." So, in other words, if the action or inaction of another has direct bearing on an injurious outcome, negligence and/or liability may be determined by the courts.

That said, waivers do show a diligent effort to inform/educate participants (for example, skiers) that there are "inherent dangers" in participating, and that no one can promise to protect them from those.
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