Originally Posted by faber
I understand the rules/policies that many mountains have against this sort of thing (and if someone doesn't like it, they are free to choose another mountain), but I don't understand *why* these rules are in place? Permission/consent...yes. But, why? There are too many incongruencies in the ski biz.
US ski resorts make a very nice profit of ski school operations because they can and because they have discovered that this approach maximizes net profit. First you need to understand that most US ski resorts simply reinvest their profits into infrastructure. Their operational model is that they have targets for net income if the weather is good. If the weather is bad, they defer investment in new lifts, buildings, equipment, etc. and dip into reserves. If the weather is extremely good, they accelerate development plans and build up reserves. Year in and year out, they tweak prices to maximize profit. Over the years, they've figured out if they cut lesson prices and raised lift ticket prices to get the same amount of revenue, they don't do as much as business as when they limit lift ticket price increases more than lesson prices. But the bottom line is that they jack up the prices of lifts, lessons, rentals, food, etc, to get the most the public will bear and then dump all the profit into one big bucket. After the season is over, they take a look at what's in the profit bucket and match it up to their wish list of things to do. Essentially, they walk down the list and do things until they run out of money.
The reaility is that private instruction is so small a problem that mountains rarely pay attention to it purely for profit reasons. But every now and then, something happens to make this an irritation (e.g. the Steamboat case) and the mountain feels the need to set an example of the most flagrant abusers to stop it. There are other reasons besides profit. Liability, school reputation (people believed the Steamboat guy was working for Steamboat - they went to the ski scool desk to get lessons from him) and on slope safety (e.g. I've had one of my students hit by a student who was in a privately coached group that had no business doing what they were doing on a beginner slope) are prime examples. When the list of reasons becomes a laundry list, a rule gets made and institutionalized.