Originally Posted by therusty
Well Mike, I believe that was the point a while back (i.e. PSIA should do what PGA has done to get ski instructors to get paid more like golf instructors). While I attempted to define some of the differences between the businesses that act as drivers for why things are different, it's interesting that from your perspective you just write this off as not possible. With all of your golf wisdom how could you just simply dismiss the possibility that PSIA could copy the PGA formula and bring prosperity to ski pros? Alas, we should expect this one to keep cropping up from time to time. Please keep your eyes open though, there's got to be a few things we can share between our sports for our mutual benefit.
Superstar pay does occasionally happen in the ski business. I met Kim Reichelm while I was visiting Chugach Powder Guides. She had a client that paid her expenses for a full heli week plus her normal instruction fees (as I heard the explanation). Not quite at the Leadbetter level, but better than your normal PGA rates. Here she is scoping out a run:
I understand the concerns but I think it is simply realism on my part knowing both businesses very well. A little less than 8% of our PGA Class "A" members (1,587/20,283) are classified as full time teachers. For apprentices the number drops to less than 1%. The rest of us have significant additional duties in course operations-ski instructors rarely do.
While the hourly rate looks strong, the median annual income for instructors at private facilites is $10,000 and $5,000 for daily fee/semi-private and resort facilities. 10% make over $29,000 at daily fee course and over $49,000 at private facilities-as I said above, instruction income is generally supplemental.
If you look at daily fee/semi private and resort facilities the median price for a half hour private golf lesson (which are the largest volume) is $30 nationally while group lesson runs $25 (Private facilites run a bit higher). Let's assume the group lesson runs 1 hour and extrapolate that to our 5 hour all day group lessons we run at Copper. We just raised the cost from $80 to $125-or more because a larger percentage of the lesson income in golf goes to the instructor-we are not a cash cow supporting non revenue producing operations, for example patrol and grooming. Can the industry afford all day group lessons that exceed $125?
Could resorts offer short, targeted private lessons where the instructor retains more-maybe. Is there a market for 1/2 or 1 hour privates-remembering golf lessons (with the exclusion of playing lessons) are very focused with no lost time for lift rides, etc-that is a tough call. In my private golf lessons probably 25 of the 30 minutes are actually spent working on the students swing. Talk on chairlifts is fine and a part of our culture but it isn't physically working on turns.
As I said I would love to earn on an hourly basis teaching skiing what my compensation rates are for golf instruction. My base rates in golf are $40 for a half hour private and $70 for an 1 hour private. After discounts for juniors, multiple private lesson series, group lessons, etc I earned a little over $60 per hour last summer teaching golf. Extrapolate that to year round for 30 hours per week for a full time teacher and I'd be making about 90K. From a business perspective, I just can't see numbers like that being viable in the skiing industry.
My ski instruction career is in its final years (I am in the midst of a very in depth analysis of spending next winter in Florida working 5 days a week to take my game to the next level-it is not an easy decision because I love both sports)-I sincerely hope and pray in the future ski instructors are paid more fairly.