or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ski instructor: why do it?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
As a companion thread to the one on instructor's wages or lack thereof....

Why do it? ...and, what made you decide to do it, or want to become one?

I did it for the 401k, stock options, equity share in new resort development, company car, unlimited "stones of serenity" massages at the resort spa, the fountain of Cris in front of my locker, free hookers, and cuz after watching "Aspen Extreme" I thought I could land a cougar in case my wife leaves me.

(OK, I do it for the season pass and the locker.)

You?
post #2 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by faber View Post
Why do it? ...and, what made you decide to do it, or want to become one?
I initially did it for free skiing/pass at the home hill, discount skiing for my kids, access to pro form gear, and comp skiing at other mountains. Having been an education major in college it seemed a good fit. I had held a season pass at the local hill for a few years and the mountain owner recruited me.

Then of course the outstanding ITC, subsequent PSIA east clinics and ongoing support and critique from SSD and area owner revealed flaws, sloppiness in my personal skiing which became an obsession to correct.

Yes it is true, mr "shaddap and ski" was a technique junkie...a perfect demo obsessed maniac!!!

Having access to the best instruction, the absolute best personally fitted gear and of course PSIA ATS video tools and later discovering Lito enabled me to reach levels of proficiency I had not previously even knew existed, much less cared to explore. I was seriously on the path to seeking the highest levels of certification when I got sidetracked by a few life difficulties.....

All of this was free or extremely inexpensive!! Makes me wonder how John/Jane Q public skier unless fabulously wealthy can become good skiers....unless of course they go the race training path as youngsters...which is an equally great way to achieve greatness cheaply.

As an aside, teaching skiing made me interested in coaching athletics in general....many of the teaching techniques learned as instructor translated nicely to subsequent stints coaching tennis, baseball, softball and basketball.

I highly recommend any serious skier enroll in their local ITC, not only to improve their personal skiing dramatically but to see if working as a ski pro fits.

If it does fit....wow. What a deal

doit

I stayed away from the cougars tho
post #3 of 48
Ski instructor parties are the dope.
post #4 of 48
Why yes they are. Taking girlfriends to them is a sure way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
post #5 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by tief schnee View Post
Why yes they are. Taking girlfriends to them is a sure way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
What exactly is the wheat, and what is the chaff?
post #6 of 48
Post pics and we'll let you know where you belong.
post #7 of 48
"Pro Form".. really?? I though anyone with any kind of remote relationship to a decent shop or ski area could get that?? Seems like there is "racer form", "patrol form", etc.. Heck, I know quite a few race parents who buy on "race form" direct from the manufacturer. Personally I have taken advantage of "pro" deals on gloves, poles, helmets, wax, tuning gear, skis, outerwear.. and I work a 8-5 job in the IT industry!

(BTW- not being a jerk.. just seems that everyone get's a "pro" discount lately)

And yes, I am aware there are several levels of discount.
post #8 of 48
I started in an effort to feed my family--literally. I was an out-of-work CTO/VP in 2003. Consulting wasn't going anywhere. And I needed something to support my family. So, I started teaching at Eldora and working as a seating host at Cheesecake Factory in Boulder.

Fortunately, I got a real job shortly thereafter.

With the costs of gear, clinics, gas, etc. I don't ever expect to even break even. But, I'm on snow, in the alpine environment I love, I'm meeting great people, seeing smiles, and enjoying the experience.

It's worth it!
post #9 of 48
When I am older (I am 16) I hope to be an at least part time ski instructor. The free passes and discounted equipment is enough for me to want to be one. I say part time, because I plan to have a family and don't want have to move them everywhere it snows.
post #10 of 48
Free skiing and a locker. Who needs anything else?!? The only down side is actually teaching!

A-Basin: '04-'06
post #11 of 48
I did it part-time in college and for a season. But that is all. No more.
post #12 of 48
Lets see why did I start this almost 30 yrs ago! Free skiing, enough money to justify the gas burned to get to the hill, and unlimited access to the gates and timing eqipment.
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
"Pro Form".. really?? I though anyone with any kind of remote relationship to a decent shop or ski area could get that?? Seems like there is "racer form", "patrol form", etc.. Heck, I know quite a few race parents who buy on "race form" direct from the manufacturer. Personally I have taken advantage of "pro" deals on gloves, poles, helmets, wax, tuning gear, skis, outerwear.. and I work a 8-5 job in the IT industry!

(BTW- not being a jerk.. just seems that everyone get's a "pro" discount lately)

And yes, I am aware there are several levels of discount.
And with any luck you will see a severe crack down on this in the coming year or two.
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDoyal View Post
And with any luck you will see a severe crack down on this in the coming year or two.
OK, Devils Advocate.... WHY??

Other than the occasional direct to consumer deals, all of this gear flows through and is serviced by local shops. Personally, If I had to purchase at full retail I would not be buying skis and gear nearly as often as I do which in turn hurts the retailer and manufacturer.
post #15 of 48
The discounts are seriously hurting the retailers.
post #16 of 48
You know, it's funny. When I wasn't teaching and guiding, I would get skiing 5 days or so a season. Now, I'll guide 14 days, teach 8-10, and probably free ski another 20. How does that work? :
post #17 of 48
The free pass and the "prestige" of being an instructor. It made picking up cougars that much easier...

Cougar: "So, what do you do? Are you from here?"
Instructor: "I teach ski lessons to kids. Wanna party?"
Cougar: "Why, yes..."

PCMR: '01-'02
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
OK, Devils Advocate.... WHY??

Other than the occasional direct to consumer deals, all of this gear flows through and is serviced by local shops. Personally, If I had to purchase at full retail I would not be buying skis and gear nearly as often as I do which in turn hurts the retailer and manufacturer.
Because, as a retailer it kills us to see non-pros getting the pro price. I exspect the pros that I sell to send me customers and for them to be helping to grow the sport. Joe skiers who gets a "bro deal" from a shop or other source will not do this in most cases. Sorry but if you have a full time job, you should be able to buy ski gear, esp in this age of the internet and the swell of last years gear that's out there. Many of the MFG's are getting very tight with pro forms, I know of more than one that has done away with the tradional pro-rep and all sales must go through the shop. It's been abused for far too long and this is the result.
post #19 of 48
My Job is not really a job, the worst day teaching is still better than the best day of alot of other things.

other reasons not in order

1.I get to work where this is my office


2. My days off dont suck


3. I get cheap gear


4.I get to work with legends like Junior


and Dean


5. If this doesnt make you happy to teach, you might not be human


6.3 trams before the public ever hits the hill is sometime not about the skiing.


7.sometimes it is



and besides the pictures I got to teach about 100 days last year(30 of which were pretty damn close to freeskiing for me), and freeski about 80 days.
post #20 of 48
Be careful, if you take something you love and make it your job you can lose both ways.
post #21 of 48
on the other hand if you don't love what you do for work ,why bother? I love my job and I love going to work via the chairlift.
post #22 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDoyal View Post
Because, as a retailer it kills us to see non-pros getting the pro price. I exspect the pros that I sell to send me customers and for them to be helping to grow the sport. Joe skiers who gets a "bro deal" from a shop or other source will not do this in most cases. Sorry but if you have a full time job, you should be able to buy ski gear, esp in this age of the internet and the swell of last years gear that's out there. Many of the MFG's are getting very tight with pro forms, I know of more than one that has done away with the tradional pro-rep and all sales must go through the shop. It's been abused for far too long and this is the result.

I disagree but you knew that was coming-

"as a retailer it kills us to see non pros get the pro price" So you would rather sell me nothing (at a zero percent margin) than to sell me product which the manufacturer discounts to you, and in turn to me? Sure you technically make less profit. But my math says less margin is better than zero??

"I expect pros to refer business and grow the business" - So although I can ski better than most local "pros", spend 60 to 70 days on snow, am knowledgeable about gear and present myself in a professional manner and work in an office of 1,600 or so of potential new skiers my referral to your shop is unacceptable??

"If you have a full time job you should be able to afford gear" My dollars are limited, regardless of how much I make. I spend more on "bro form" gear than I would without it season after season. Your advice to seek deals on the internet is counter intuitive to your point about referring business to local shops from the "pro". I also have 2 young children who ski, so I bring more than my "bro form" business to the table.

I don't know, my shop seems to be OK with my use of "pro forms". I ski with the shop owner from time to time, have a relationship with the staff and believe in buying local for the most part. They know that I also buy items which are not on the forms and that while I buy a majority of my big ticket purchases on the form, there are the incidentals, kids gear, gift certificates and such purchased during the course of the year which they make a traditional profit margin on.

Additionally my local shop offered me "shop form" for a pretty prestegious bicycle brand last summer to say thanks for the ski business I referred to them. I ended up buying a $3,000 bike that I otherwise would not have purchased. In turn I have bought a bunch of other cycling gear, sold my previous bike to a "new" cyclist and have referred half a dozen or so others who have purchased from them. (again less profit from me, but more from 7 new customers)

Is there "abuse" out there? Sure there is, just like reseller selling below MAP price on Ebay to inflate sales and reap additional discounts.. Either way there is a glut of "cheap" gear to be had, with or without the "pro form".
post #23 of 48
I'm not an instructor, but if I was going to be it would be because I hate to see people ski badly.
post #24 of 48
Getting to know people
Teaching other to ski better
Being outdoors, and in the winter :-)
Skiing, skiing, skiing
Goggles tan in the face
Spring skiing in slush
Snow, snow, snow
post #25 of 48
I went to an ITC to improve my personal skiing, and at the end they offered me a teaching position. I weighed the benefits (chance to transform my personal skiing through access to large quantity of high quality training, locker, pass, sharing what I love with others, grow the sport) against the costs (will cost me WAY more to drive to the hill, acquire local lodging, eat, etc, than I'll EVER make) and decided to go for it. I would have skied anyway. Hopefully this way I can take my skiing to the next level and build some relationships.

The fact that I have a full time job that pays me relatively well enables me to do this. I could never make it as a full time ski instructor.

Ask me at the end of the season if it was a good idea...

-Adam
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
I disagree but you knew that was coming-

"as a retailer it kills us to see non pros get the pro price" So you would rather sell me nothing (at a zero percent margin) than to sell me product which the manufacturer discounts to you, and in turn to me? Sure you technically make less profit. But my math says less margin is better than zero??

"I expect pros to refer business and grow the business" - So although I can ski better than most local "pros", spend 60 to 70 days on snow, am knowledgeable about gear and present myself in a professional manner and work in an office of 1,600 or so of potential new skiers my referral to your shop is unacceptable??

"If you have a full time job you should be able to afford gear" My dollars are limited, regardless of how much I make. I spend more on "bro form" gear than I would without it season after season. Your advice to seek deals on the internet is counter intuitive to your point about referring business to local shops from the "pro". I also have 2 young children who ski, so I bring more than my "bro form" business to the table.

I don't know, my shop seems to be OK with my use of "pro forms". I ski with the shop owner from time to time, have a relationship with the staff and believe in buying local for the most part. They know that I also buy items which are not on the forms and that while I buy a majority of my big ticket purchases on the form, there are the incidentals, kids gear, gift certificates and such purchased during the course of the year which they make a traditional profit margin on.

Additionally my local shop offered me "shop form" for a pretty prestegious bicycle brand last summer to say thanks for the ski business I referred to them. I ended up buying a $3,000 bike that I otherwise would not have purchased. In turn I have bought a bunch of other cycling gear, sold my previous bike to a "new" cyclist and have referred half a dozen or so others who have purchased from them. (again less profit from me, but more from 7 new customers)

Is there "abuse" out there? Sure there is, just like reseller selling below MAP price on Ebay to inflate sales and reap additional discounts.. Either way there is a glut of "cheap" gear to be had, with or without the "pro form".
I really don't want to 'jack this thread anymore than I already have, so I am going to say this and leave it at that. "YOU" may be a great customer and send others to your local shop and that's great, we need 10,000 more people just like you. My point is that many people who get pro deals do not do this. I am sorry but IMO unless you are a pro, you should not get a pro form. If your local shop chooses to give deals that's cool and totally up to them, I do the same thing for certain customers who I know will spread the word. I just hope we don't see a day when shops like mine go under because of all these consumers who choose to buy deeply discounted gear.....who is going to fit your boots then?
post #27 of 48
I became interested in teaching skiing for the "free" pass, the early tram, and the discounts. I went into the ITC with an attitude that I shouldn't be teaching kids, that my "talent" would be wasted on beginners.. ect. I showed up with really long shaped skis using AT boots in my alpine bindings and skied most of the clinic with my boots unbuckled. When I was asked about why I hadn't tried out 10 years sooner I said that I couldn't afford to work for the wage being offered until then ie I don't "need" your puny money and don't really care if I get the job. I didn't get the job and was suprised that I did care. There was a girl in my group who could barely ski who was offerd a job teaching kids. I was like WTF.

Five years later I had become a Ski Patroler at the town hill and put in 4 years as a ski buddy for "special" kids and had discovered that I really liked "working" as a skier. I attended the ISSW in Telluride and shared a condo with some Heli-Guides that I know. I was talking with some of them and they were like you could be really good, try again. So I did and kept my mouth shut this time. I do really like teaching. Even beginners. I have found that I am a good skier, but not nearly as good as I thought that I was 5-10 years ago. I had been in a rut as a largely self taught skier that I am breaking out of now. I could afford to buy my own pass and just free ski so I don't do it for that, there is no tram and when it comes back the word is that we won't be riding it early anymore, and pro deals are still expensive. I'm teaching because I enjoy it. I like meeting people who come to ski and are really excited to be in my lesson. I still see gapers, but I don't have a negative attitude about them anymore. I was a gaper and occasionally still am. Being a local doesn't make me special, just lucky.
post #28 of 48
About the pro-deals... For years I thought that I should be getting pro-deals because I was a local and kinda "hard core". Now that I am a proffesional I see it differently. I give up a lot to be an instructor and a patroller. I spend a lot of time training and teaching that I could be using to freeski or put into my business. I'm glad that the industry is cracking down. Some non-pros are worthy, but many posers and bros are getting it and talking about it way too much. I think that it does hurt the industry. The truth is that I am visible to the public and whether I want to be or should be, the general skiing public sees me as a role model. I'm expected to be friendly and knowlegable and people ask me things all the time. If I tell them to go to a certain bootfitter, restraunt, ect they probably will. Thats what I do for the industry and why I get pro-deals. BTW Pro-deal is still expensive and I can do about as well on E-bay or other Web deals.
post #29 of 48
Yup. You local bro-brahs getting pro-form and shop-form are what is killing it for everyone else. I think it's a good thing that the manufacturers are cracking down.
post #30 of 48
Thread Starter 
No shop owner sells anything for less than he is willing to sell it for. No one is twisting their arms for the "bro" discount....

If a shop owner wants to sell me a pair of Gotamas, Dukes, and Falcon 10s for the ultra pro-form + local bro discount for $20 so I can go teach pizza slices to 4 year olds....I won't say, "No."

But, making me listen to him crying about it after the sale is way offsides, man. Just say no. I'll buy the crap anyway.

It's one of the perqs of the job.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion