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How much to tip? - Page 4

post #91 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
For that reason it is really frowned upon not to tip wait staff. When I moved to NY it seems that everyone felt entitled to a tip (more often than not, but not always) for everything regardless of their usual pay$$.
That's Catskills because their clientele is from downstate. In this part of NY, it's just the opposite. Hardly anyone tips for ski lessons no matter how satisfy he/she is. Even my own doctor didn't tip me when I taught his son years ago.
post #92 of 119
Well, as said previously, it's not the use in Europe, to tip a Ski Instructor or a Guide.
Especially the Guides are self employed (most of them here in Italy are, at least)...
Plus skiing is not their only activity, many of the ski instructor own shops or have the family running Bed&Breakfast, which is their primary family income mean.
.
Btw, it happened to me, once, to be tipped by our guide(s)!!!!
I mean, they had so much fun skiing with us that day, that they threw in an extra "mini-tour" for free, after we ended the official day-tour early on the schedule...
Of course we did pay them drinks at the following Happy-Hour...But no tip in cash was involved, even that time.
post #93 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by abertsch View Post
Interesting. I've done both sides of the tipping. The best tip I ever left a group instructor was $40 for a half day (ends up being ~2 hrs) lesson. It was a powder day, I was the only guy standing by the black diamond sign. I got a personal clinic on short turns followed by guiding to the best low angle stashes ( I wasn't able to ski the really serious double black terrain at that time).

Lowest tip I ever left was $10 for a mediocre group lesson. I have never stiffed a ski instructor.

Now I'm an instructor, and the vast majority of customers don't tip. Skiing is a second job for me, so this is generally not a huge problem. For our full-time instructors this makes it very hard to get by in the mountains where cost of living is not exactly low.

I do get a little frustrated when students tell me that this was the best lesson of their life, or they have been struggling and made a major breakthrough during my lesson, but then they part ways with the handshake of death. On those times when I'm able to totally make someones day it is VERY appreciated if they can totally make my day by tipping a few bucks or taking me for a beer.

I have found that advanced skiing parents who have their kids in ski school are my best tippers. They understand that ski instruction is a service industry and they tip for good service. Good service for these parents means a kid who has had fun and an honest assessment of the kid's progress including what he's doing well, what he is working on now, what the next step in his progression is, and which level of lesson to take next time. Many adult beginners simply don't know that ski instructors aren't paid a living wage. At our ski school we're currently asking for a subtle sign at the lessons desk that says something like, "Have a fantastic lesson? Gratuities are greatly appreciated by our staff." The idea is just to plant the seed that you could actually tip your instructor.

There are instructors who feel it's the responsibility of those teaching first timers to plant the seed that this is a service industry and tips are appreciated. I personally have a lot of trouble doing that because the odds are that I make more money at my day job than my clients. So I either do a disservice to the instructors who work with those students later by not mentioning this facet of the resort environment, or I do a disservice to my clients by sounding like I'm begging for their money which I don't really need. It would be easier if they already knew.

-Adam
I go on cruises a fair bit and on the shore excursions the people always have a friendly spiel on tipping at the beginning and end of the event. They usually do it in a humorous and pleasant manner and it never really bothers me. They careful to point out that they make a bare minimum living wage to do what they love and live where they love. They count on tips to makes ends meet and ONLY want a tip if you have a really great time and can afford it. As they understand some people are living beyond their means while they are out having a good time. This usually gets them tips from everyone. It's the group pressure thing hehe. My husband usually hands his tip first, so everyone can see it, in hopes to encourage others to happily follow suit. We know this will be part of the expense when we book the shore excursion....other first timers can get a little miffed when they weren't expecting it, but then they will realize, typically, they had a really good time and that guy really did try hard to make that way for them. I must say, we've had some great shore excursions and tip well, but when we've had mediocre service the purse strings are not as loose.
post #94 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by abertsch View Post
IAt our ski school we're currently asking for a subtle sign at the lessons desk that says something like, "Have a fantastic lesson? Gratuities are greatly appreciated by our staff." The idea is just to plant the seed that you could actually tip your instructor.
I think something like this, and even a similar footnote in printed brochures and online info is probably the most effective and least awkward way to handle this if it's a problem. The fact is, most people getting lessons probably just don't KNOW that tipping is even something to consider. Seriously...see my earlier post, but people don't tip their yoga instructor, they don't tip their community college instructor, they probably don't tip their personal trainers...so it just doesn't occur to tip a ski instructor. Not every service job gets tips. I don't mail a tip to Bangalore when I call customer service for my computer.

THe point is...people DON"T know. A tiny bit of education and forewarning (so they can actually carry cash), would go a long way toward making a more consistent and more comfortable situation. Personally, if I was at the end of a lesson and suddenly had some indication I should tip -- and had no $$ on me...I'd feel pretty crappy, and leave the lesson unhappy without knowing how to right the situation (other than tramping back to my car and getting my wallet and trying to then find the instructor).
post #95 of 119
I always tip my 2 hour lessons $20 dollars and my kids full day lessons $20 or $40 depending on the amount of kids in the class. It is pretty clear that the instructors are not making the same amount of money as doctors, dentists or professors. I have had one instructor part time who clearly was not living on his instructor salary but I tipped him the same. He had a group private with me and skied an hour past lesson time with me. What more could I want.
post #96 of 119
Question for the ski instructors.

If I am paying $70.oo for a 1 hr private ski lesson how much of a tip should I give if I feel they did a great job teaching me?

I figured $70.oo/hr would include a solid hourly rate, but after reading this I'm not so sure as to how much I should tip.
post #97 of 119
Wow so hard to determine what's right. Mike, if you think the instructor did great and spent an hour with you, and you gave him $10.00, you could be more then doubling his wage for that hour. If the desired standard is 40 to $50.00 for a half day, I'd say $10.00 for 1/4 of that half day, should be a reasonable tip for a great instructor. I do think that ski lessons are incredibly expensive when you consider the wages paid out of the lesson cost. As a part time instructor all those years, by the time i paid for the uniform, my yearly skis (ski 50 times a year and you tend to need them), upgrade courses, gas back and fourth to the hill nightly, I was definitely way behind at the end of a season. It was a great way to raise my kids and keep the active all winter though, along with the social aspect of being with like minded people.
post #98 of 119

I read through most of this and can't find my situation

So if it has already been answered; forgive me.

I'm an organizer of an after school ski program. There are about 35 kids in my group. All different levels and families of different "means". It's a 5 week program with a 1 hr lesson. Many times the kids end up with different instructors week to week (kids might progress, instructor might not be available).

My thoughts are that most times the parents won't even know who the instructors are (the instructors are very good at pointing to the big window in the lodge and telling the parents that they would be more comfortable watching from there ). It is also set up that the kids go line up in there level, parents get a suggestion to move on, instructors are assigned, kids return from class and meet parents in the lodge were we all take a break before returning to the slope.

I doubt that any of them know that most of the instructor's only compensation is for a family season pass (I found this out from an instructor at this mountain I work with). So why not gather up a bunch of money from the entire class and give the money or gift to the instructor staff at the end?

The chances of getting the right instructor tipped each time would be difficult and even more so to to get the parents to do this each time. Some have 4 kids in the class and already have over $700 invested and probably think the instructors are paid. Many parents have never skied and have no idea how the industry works.
post #99 of 119
If the instructor doesn't ask the parents to meet them at a designated place at the end of the lesson so they can give the parents an update and tips on what the child should be working on to help his progression through the week, maybe the instructor doesn't deserve a tip. Often resorts, but not all resorts, treat school groups differently from the paying public who receive no discount and might rush these lessons or give a little less time.....This is by no means all resorts, but I have worked at both kinds. As a professional outside of the ski industry I treated both school groups and paying public the same (never know when my professional paths might cross).
post #100 of 119
I was also an adult beginner, and at first I did not know. After I found out (actually from epic), I started tipping.

That aside, nobody asked the obvious question about why things are the way they are. Why is it that a group of professionals who are critical to the ski schooling are not able to get a sizable part of of the returns?

Also, are there mountains that are fairer towards instructors? If there are, that would definitely factor into my decision to choose where to ski.
post #101 of 119
My guess is as long as there are people willing to teach for a free pass, or because they have a day job and just like to teach, management will continue to exploit the situation.

As a customer, the whole ski experience is expensive enough for me, I could never take a private lesson. I took a few group lessons as a beginner, and never even thought about a tip. No one else in the group did either.
post #102 of 119
My experience has actually been that older instructors generally brush off tips -- they are there for the love of the sport. The younger ones are thrilled. Just like in a restaraunt, it's good manners to offer it if you got good service though.

I took a snowboard lesson 4 years ago at Jackson Hole and quit halfway through -- wanted to finally try it and I couldn't stand the beating I got. I was the only one in the afternoon group lesson and the instructor was a young kid and he told me he just started teaching. I felt kind of bad as it looked like he thought he didn't do something right. I just told him it wasnt my thing and gave him a $30 tip as I felt bad. He was like, 'wow!'.

The only time I won't tip is if the instructor was a dweeb or the lesson sucked. Its happened a couple times.
post #103 of 119
These discussions remind of the stone ages when I waited tables. We made $2.01/hr...then the govt got the bright idea to tax us on 10% of our sales. I dont recall getting a negative paycheck, but I did receive several $0.00 paychecks. While I was an exceptional waiter and often earned around 20%, it would be possible to lose money on a table that did not tip more than about 12%. Now, what do you do if someone leaves you a 10% tip? You gotta say something because I literally lost money on that table!

It's weird because we spend about $8000 for our annual Christmas ski trip...that's JD Rockefeller vacation dollars, but we save to make the trip and on one hand if you are going spend those kind of dollars what is a few hundred dollars in extraordinary tips...well, it's a few hundred dollars and its good to learn "appropriate" etiquitte so I dont miser as I can do at the end...we call it vacation remorse.

Anyway...great discussions.
post #104 of 119
I'm still confused. Just for future reference, take a PSIA III instructor at a premiere Utah ski school. Say you pay 350 for your wife and self for 3 hours. That's nearly 120/hour. Does the Instructor get a cut of this?
post #105 of 119
Hi aschick!

I'm by no means from a premiere Utah school, (hopefully someday ), but I'm a level III at a small ski area in Michigan. I make 50% of the lesson price for an assigned lesson and 60% for a requested lesson.
post #106 of 119
I don't know how it works in the states, but in Canada it's a resort to resort basis. Some times an instructor of level 3 plus will have something worked out where they get a percentage, other times they just get a bit more of their hourly, but for a request private they generally got more. This may be much better now, i haven't taught anywhere in at least 7 years.
post #107 of 119

noofus, Thanks for bringing this up.

I'm in an adult clinic meeting once a week for 5 weeks. The instructor is working with my friend and I and we are fairly close in skill. There are supposed to be 8 in the course but only three have shown up. One is getting a private lesson as he is in a category by himself and my friend and I are the other "group".

On one fo the lift rides our conversation turned to why, when and how the instructor (same one every week) got into instructing. He does it because he loves skiing, would be there anyway, get's a free season pass for himself, season passes discounted (steeply) for his family and $8.XX an hour when he teaches.

$8/hr is less than most high school kids get for bagging groceries and they aren't on the side of a mountain in single digit temps or sleet (my first two classes)!

I relayed this thread to my friend in the class with me. We are both going to give him a nice tip at the end. I'm already skiing better so it's easy money. The course was only $95 for 5 one hour sessions.

I'm also going to see about getting some some semi private lessons from him at the end for my daughter (11yo). She's in the after school program which is really geared to beginner/early intermediates. From being in his class, I know the two would work great together. And if he can get me to use the front half of my ski, surely he can get her to ski better.

Thanks,
Ken
post #108 of 119
200 Dollars for a half day lesson!!! I know a lot of great skiers and boarders in Missoula who would be more than willing to meet you at Whitefish and give a lesson for the price of a lift ticket. Next time post a listing on craigslist
post #109 of 119
I can't imagine a resort that pays 50 - 60% of the cost of the lesson to the instructor.

Many large destination resorts have large staffs to book the lessons, supervisors to assist with children's programs, computer people that assign the lessons, host's that give tours of the resort, and instructors to teach the lessons. All those people get paid out of the $$ you paid for the lesson, not your lift ticket. In fact, a % of the cost of the lesson can also go toward the snowmaking and grooming budget.

Many resorts don't use their top instructors for groups because they are in such high demand for privates. Many of the resorts that do use level 3 instructors for groups may do so during a slow period, or if the instructor needs the work. My resort gives the instructor the option of accepting a request for a group lesson. If the instructor recognizes the person requesting the lesson and the requestor didn't tip previously, the instructor is unlikely to take the group, prefering to go with a private, or a different group.

I don't accept preseason requests for one or two hour privates because they cost me money. That one hour lesson prevents me from booking a full day or half day private. I don't get paid when I am not teaching. Someone who calculates the tip for a one hour lesson the same way they would for a half day or full day is not likely to ski with that instructor again unless that instructor isn't in great demand.

I am very confident that a server in a resort setting, at a popular fine restaurant makes more during the first seating, than most instructors do for the day.

I whole heartedly agree that we have to earn our tips. We have to give the kind of lesson that the guest has never experienced or imagined. The kind of lesson that makes them ask to book you again for next year, before the lesson is over. If my lesson doesn't get the guest excited about skiing, and the resort, I don't deserve a tip, and the resort should probably be looking for my replacement.

Many instructors responding have said $100 for a full day and $50 for an half day is much appreciated. It is very much appreciated, but low for many resorts. The $100/full day tip became commonplace when lessons hit $500. Lesson rates have changed much the same as the price of your entree at dinner has changed. Presently, the cost of my favorite appetizer is now what my entree cost 6 years ago. The wage we are paid has not kept pace with the ever increasing cost of the lesson. I sense that some people posting feel that this is not their problem. Many posters feel lessons are expensive enough, and the resort should pay their employees better. I agree! I couldn't afford to take a full day private at my resort. Fortunately, the people I ski with can afford it. I book my guests in the summer and fill more than 75% of my days before September. This year has been hard on many guests with whom I ski. I have had a few cancellations. I received full tips in the mail for all but two of the days that were canceled because the families knew that a late cancellation is usually to late for me to book another request.

Finally, tip your childs instructor well! If your child had a good day, and wants to ski again the next day, tip him/her more! Children's group instructors are the lowest paid, work the hardest, and are the most often injured while trying to keep your child safe and happy. When your child asks to go to Disney World instead of a ski vacation: You lose! Tip the person that keeps you coming back.
post #110 of 119
Ummmmm...I dont think most people KNOW to tip the instructor. I didnt for the first 10 years of skiing. Now when i occassionally do take a lesson...yes i tip, but back then i didnt know any better.
post #111 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortturns View Post
I can't imagine a resort that pays 50 - 60% of the cost of the lesson to the instructor....
OK, I'm a jurassic ski instr who remembers the days of the concession ski schools operating at most ski areas back in the 60's and 70's.

During that time, it was not uncommon for an Associate Cert Instr (now called Lvl 2) to make 50% of the ticket price of a pvt lesson, with a 10% boost if it was a request. Full Cert Instr (Lvl 3) would get 60%, plus the 10% kicker.

But except in the smaller areas, those days are long gone. In the 80's, most ski area operators figured out that the ski schools could become a major revenue generating centers. So the concession ski school has been absorbed by the ski area.

Nowadays, if an instr at a major Colorado or Utah ski resort were to make as much as 30-35% of the lesson cost, that would be the upper end of the pay scale. The balance is consumed by the company for indoor staff and other overhead costs (including benefits for the instrs themselves), and the remainder is added to the corporate bottom line.

In most ski resorts, the ski school is the #3 revenue center (behind lift tickets and food service), but at the very large resorts, it is often #2 (ahead of food service).

If the current prices charged by the major resorts were to be paid out on the percentage basis that we once worked under, no instr could bitch and moan about pay, and tips would become incidental. But as the pay scale percentage went down as prices went up, tipping has remained a means by which instrs help support themselves.
post #112 of 119
Vail snopro can we just pass on booking a lesson and tip you direct? I mean by the sounds of it,it may be the only way I can afford to improve my skiing!! I mean I was kindda hopeing to latch up with you and have a beer or some other libation when we arrived in Vail. Guess we will have to skip the left hand turns so I can afford to buy you a beer,(that is assuming only turning one way costs 1/2 of turning both???) well with or without tips (other then those on the end of my skis) we will try to seek you out the week we our there....I will just ask "have you seen a vail snopro"? I expect to get all the strange looks I deserve. see you then ...and of course you should tip for a good lesson, but no more then you can afford.
post #113 of 119
Shortturns:

"Finally, tip your childs instructor well! If your child had a good day, and wants to ski again the next day, tip him/her more! Children's group instructors are the lowest paid, work the hardest, and are the most often injured while trying to keep your child safe and happy. When your child asks to go to Disney World instead of a ski vacation: You lose! Tip the person that keeps you coming back."

Truer words have not been spoken in here! I wish I had been more 'sophisticated' about these things when my kids were just starting. I make way more today than I did then, but the amount I would want to tip someone today, that did for my kids what some of those instructors did years (18 or so) ago, would have me eating Kraft Dinner for a month.
post #114 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Boot View Post
Vail snopro can we just pass on booking a lesson and tip you direct? I mean by the sounds of it,it may be the only way I can afford to improve my skiing!! I mean I was kindda hopeing to latch up with you and have a beer or some other libation when we arrived in Vail. Guess we will have to skip the left hand turns so I can afford to buy you a beer,(that is assuming only turning one way costs 1/2 of turning both???) well with or without tips (other then those on the end of my skis) we will try to seek you out the week we our there....I will just ask "have you seen a vail snopro"? I expect to get all the strange looks I deserve. see you then ...and of course you should tip for a good lesson, but no more then you can afford.

Not to worry, OB! Meet me in Bart & Yeti's after skiing, and I'll buy YOU a beer! I'm always happy to meet some new Bears!

And since very few Vail pro's are even aware that EpicSki exists, no one will have a clue who "Vail Snopro" is... But I am one of only 2 instrs named Ric(k) in Lionshead, therefore am relatively easy to find (unfortunately, sometimes)

If I'm not working while you are here, it would be a pleasure to take some runs with you! Maybe even give you the nickel tour...(ala Kneale Brownson's TR)

When are you going to be in Vail?
post #115 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobody View Post
Well, as said previously, it's not the use in Europe, to tip a Ski Instructor or a Guide.
Especially the Guides are self employed (most of them here in Italy are, at least)...
Plus skiing is not their only activity, many of the ski instructor own shops or have the family running Bed&Breakfast, which is their primary family income mean.
.
Btw, it happened to me, once, to be tipped by our guide(s)!!!!
I mean, they had so much fun skiing with us that day, that they threw in an extra "mini-tour" for free, after we ended the official day-tour early on the schedule...
Of course we did pay them drinks at the following Happy-Hour...But no tip in cash was involved, even that time.
And yet again, I was talknig to a friend this past week end...one of his ex-colleagues moved to instructing (kids) full-time to Sant Moritz, apparently the tips from parents there are so high that this guy decided to drop the regular job....
Just hearsay, I know...
post #116 of 119
Originally posted by NOBODY-
"And yet again, I was talknig to a friend this past week end...one of his ex-colleagues moved to instructing (kids) full-time to Sant Moritz, apparently the tips from parents there are so high that this guy decided to drop the regular job....
Just hearsay, I know..."

I'll confirm the 'hearsay'... When I worked in St. Moritz with the Swiss Ski School, the tips were flowing! Enough that I was able to live comfortably on them, and bank my wages (it was fun having a Swiss Bank Acct!).

The entire wage structure is different in Europe. A top level pro can bank enough during the winter to support him/herself for just about the entire summer. No way is that possible in the US!

Add to that the fact that most pvts and group lessons in Europe are significantly shorter in duration than those same lessons here in the US, which makes the pay p/hr way higher in Europe than for their US counterparts. This is partly a result of the fact that most Euro ski schools are run by non-resort owners, as concessions, as I described in my earlier post. The "committee" or "partnership" which owns each school usually has less overhead, and is able to pay a better wage, including benefits.

At the end of the season, the "committee" takes what is left and divides it according to what ever break out they have set up. The "committee" is usually set up like a US law firm- Senior and Junior Partners, each getting different share of the profits, while also acting as full time instrs as well.

And due to the concession nature of each school, it's not uncommon for there to be quite a few schools working on each ski area, or instrs from another area working on areas other than their home hill. So they can travel with their clients to what ever hill has the best snow.

Teaching in Europe is a completely different animal than teaching here in the US. Many Euro instrs struggle when they come over to the US, as they have to work longer hrs, get paid less, and actually have to do some serious teaching, rather than the "follow me" style they are accustomed to. They find students in the US very demanding as far as getting their money's worth, as compared to most students in Europe. In Europe, taking a lesson is often much more a social thing, not so much just a learning event.
post #117 of 119
Agreed, but I'll take a further step. There are no "resort owners" here (theoretically).
The mountain is public land for the most part. Those parts which are privately held (or collectively by farmers for grazing in the summer, as an example) are object of exploitation "agreements" between the owners and the lift operating company which, is just a transportation company,like a metropolitan tram company running an underground. So, both the school and the lift co. are working independently and under "concessions" (by the local or regional or national government); both knows that they can't function without the other, so, as an example, lifts tickets are free for instructors "on duty" or instructors which are "local".
Sure, an instructor can travel to an teach (privately) at another area than his "own" (if he's affiliate to as a ski school) but he'll have to pay the lift ticket like everybody else.

A long time ago it was just one ski school per area, kind of a closed
environment...
post #118 of 119
I don't have access to the balance sheets at the end of the year, but the scuttlebut is that the ski school at JH is the #1 profit center here. Also childrens instructors, here, make the same or more than adult instructors. They may work a bit harder on a tough day, but they make more than I do for teaching an adult lesson. On an average day, the kids groups look like a lot of fun. As an adult instructor I rarely have to worry about my students crapping their pants.
post #119 of 119
Ok Vail SP you asked for it!!!
We hit town on Feb 14 and stay untill they kick our sorry a$$e$ out!!!!!!or feb 21 whatever comes first.seems as though there will be about 5 or so bears durring this time period.Would love to latch up for a beverage or a few runs or maybe even both!!! Looking forward to it, (right now trying to get the other half to commit to skiing tonight or tommorow here in the carolinas, that would be Lady Salina but right now she is getting my taxes ready for the accountant)
Talk at ya soon
Robin
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