Why you should tip as well as you can. . .
|So prosper, from your point of view, tip what you feel the instructor is worth that works with your budget. I don't tell my clients what to tip, and nobody should tell you. just realize that the tip is key to the living of the pros.
Well said, and a great post, Holiday. I'll just follow it up with a little insider information, from the perspective of another instructor. The jist of what I'm about to write is--if you want service above and beyond from top instructors, don't overdo it and don't create a finacial burden for yourself, but above all, don't be cheap. The best instructors give generously of themselves to their clients, at a level far, far beyond that of the "average lesson." Make it fair--return in kind, according to your own abilities and means.
Instructors should never expect tips, or feel entitled to them (as wait staff in restaurants are, at least in the U.S.). Nor should students feel obligated to tip. Tips are earned through superior service, and tips are given through free will, generosity, and appreciation. Instructors appreciate good tips immensely, but should never expect them without delivering superior lessons.
That said, students should be aware of the reality of what instructors get paid, as well as the realities of how the very best instructors make their living. Instructors know how expensive private lessons, in particular, can be, and they generally understand if skiing with them stresses your budget. They aren't looking to create financial hardships for you. Few full-time instructors could afford the lessons they teach, much less a generous tip on top of it. But they aren't stupid, and they do have to make some choices. And, while they do what they do out of love for the sport, the profession, and for helping people, they must make a living.
Many skiers can easily afford to tip well. If that's you, consider tipping generously. Few instructors would hold a small tip against you if it reflects your financial reality. But cheapness from those who can easily afford more offends instructors who have worked hard to develop their talents to a high level and who give their all to you.
Tips are in your best interest. The very word means "To insure prompt/perfect/priority (whatever) service," and the clients who get the best service from their instructors do tend to tip well. Top instructors bring a wealth of knowledge and talent to the game, and they will go to extraordinary lengths to help their best clients. If you want one of these rare, top-shelf teachers to go out of his (or her) way to fit you into his schedule, to show you the best "secret" runs and powder stashes, and generally to treat you like a Class A "preferred client," tip well. His other clients do. The best instructors can afford to be selective, and you are competing for their services. If you manage to arrange a lesson with one, and if you hope to do it ever again (or with any of the top instructors in that resort--word travels), show 'em you're worth it. Tip according to your means--don't create a financial hardship for yourself, but don't be cheap! In big destination resorts, the best clients are legendary tippers, and they get the best lessons.
This may sound harsh, but it reflects the reality of life, business, and relationships in general, whether we like it or not. The best instructors have chosen their career, forsaking other opportunities, and they must make a living. They are talented, skilled, knowledgeable, and generous. You can't even compare an experience with them to the "average" lesson, even though most resorts charge the same amount for all private lessons, regardless of the instructor. Yes, they also get paid a little more than less experienced and less talented instructors, but only a fool would make try to make a career from an instructor's wages alone. Great instructors are an endangered species. Protect them, if you want them to stay around and play with you!