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Private lessons: additional cost for additional people

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've never taken a private lesson due to cost. I've considered getting a group of 3-5 friends together to book a private. However, at a number of resorts I've discovered that adding people to a private lesson increases the cost. For example a 6 hour all day private lesson at Alta is $510 plus $75 for each additional person. At Snowbird a 6 hour private is $600 for 1 person and $700 for 2-5 people. According to their websites, at Vail and Aspen there is no additional cost to adding people to a private. Besides plain old greed, what is the rationale behind the increase in cost for adding people to a private lesson? Whether there are 1 or 10 students in a private there is still only 1 instructor whose pay, I assume is the same no matter how many students are in the private. Please explain.
post #2 of 14
Different pay structures abound....but a common one, is that the pro does actually get more commision for bigger groups.....but having said that, it wouldn't be likely that the increase in commision is anywhere near the extra $100 dollars charged....hence your "greed" comment is pretty close to reality.
post #3 of 14
I can't speak to the specific costs/prices at various areas: at Sugarbush each additional person in a private is a flat $25 no matter the length of the lesson. At an area with a busy ski school group lessons are frequently more profitable then privates. As such the additional charge frequently seems to be set up to make it so that if you have >4 people the total price is equivalent to taking a private. If you have 3-5 people who all ski together, go at a slow part of the season and/or time of day and you will frequently be a private.

There is one "cost" that does go up with additional people in a private. Most risk managers will say the more people you put in a lesson the greater the chance of a liability event.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post
There is one "cost" that does go up with additional people in a private. Most risk managers will say the more people you put in a lesson the greater the chance of a liability event.
This is one of several factors that make group privates more work for the instructor too. Safety is the uppermost consideration on each instructor's mind.
post #5 of 14
Prosper,

It's hard to explain because there are many different possible reasons. Some resorts do offer "form your own groups" type privates where the cost of a private is a flat rate no matter how many people are in it (usually there is an upper limit though). Part of the reasoning is tradition - this is the way it's always been done. Depending on the charge for additional people the justification could be you get more value out of the lesson (if it's a nominal charge) or because adding people defeats the whole purpose of a private (if the charge is high). If a resort wanted to price their charge for additional people to be revenue neutral, it would be the same price as a group lesson. If the pricing is any different, then it would be natural to expect demand to change accordingly. Group lessons are only more profitable than privates when there is a limited supply of instructors. Most resorts appear to be pricing privates with an eye to keeping demand low enough so that they don't run out of pros to teach groups.
post #6 of 14
I know the reason at snowbird is to keep large groups out of the tram 'side door" say if it was 700 bucks for 10 or even 20 people. It would be very easy for a group of hard chargers to book a private lesson and cut lines all day for a pretty minimal cost. FYI alot of people due book a private at snowbird just to cut the tram line.

also if you go through with a private at alta or snowbird dont just call up and say "I want a private lesson" the resort makes bank on those lessons and the instructor makes very little (at snowbird out 1/7 of the totally) instead request someone. The instructor makes double to triple the other amount and it keeps money away from a greedy corperation and puts into the person pocket who is actually taking care of you. also we do get more on multlipe person privates assuming its a request.

as for instructors..

I teach at snowbird, or if you dont think you would fit with me I can recommend someone who would like.

and Lonnie teaches at alta.

PM me for further questions...
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper View Post
At Snowbird a 6 hour private is $600 for 1 person and $700 for 2-5 people.
Or you could come to Baker and pay $165 for a private 6 hour lesson, bring all the friends you want and tip me $400. You'll still come out ahead.
post #8 of 14
Here in Jackson Hole, the price is the same whether it's one person or five. No more than five are allowed in a "private" lesson.

The one exception to that is that if the private wants to do our early tram/gondola, they can go up the mountain early (therefore getting a jump on the rest of the public) but the additional people in the lesson pay a flat $25 additional each for the privilege of the early ride. This has actually become a pretty popular option with a lot of locals on powder days.

I do a fair number of "lessons" on powder days every season that are nothing more than a way for some locals to get up the mountain early and then have a way to cut liftlines through the day. The great thing is that all parties (the skiers, me, and the ski corp) seem very happy with the arrangement.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
The great thing is that all parties (the skiers, me, and the ski corp) seem very happy with the arrangement.

All parties excluding everyone else on the mountain. I'm glad we have no lift cutting privleges.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
All parties excluding everyone else on the mountain. I'm glad we have no lift cutting privleges.
Really?

That's interesting.

Please don't take this wrong, but maybe that's part of the reason that the privates are so inexpensive.

Does Mt. Baker get liftlines very often?
post #11 of 14
At 165 for 6 hours it's not so bad, but if it were 100 bucks for a 90 minute private and 1/2 and hour of that was spent standing in lift lines, I would be pissed off.
post #12 of 14
I used to hate seeing the cut line. I feel differently now that I am sporting the fancy red jacket. Seriously without line cutting lessons would be pointless. They are spendy enough anyway.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Really?

That's interesting.

Please don't take this wrong, but maybe that's part of the reason that the privates are so inexpensive.

Does Mt. Baker get liftlines very often?
All the lessons here are inexpensive, as are the tickets and rentals. The philosophy is to bring people to the mountain.

Liftlines are rarely more than 3 to 5 minutes.
post #14 of 14
FYI: Baker had 8" dump last night, and still snowing. Furthermore, thanks to Harry's recommendation (thanks Harry) I had my first in my life ever lesson with a level 111 instructor for 1 1/2 hours for $55. We sort of hit it off together and agreed when we see one another again at the mtn we should hit a few runs together - and we have! I always say it, GOTTA LOVE BAKER ... AND I DO!
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