Some interesting observations being made on this thread.
I've been teaching for 38 seasons, and I agree- it can be a real crapshoot as far as what caliber of instructor you'll get.
Here are a couple of ideas to partly eliminate the "lottery" aspect of the issue, and an idea which might alleviate some of the financial burden.
Granted, in the group lesson arena, you have very little say in who your instructor might be. Therefore, go with a private lesson. I know- they are expensive. I'll get to that in a moment!
When selecting a private instructor, if you do not already have a specific instructor in mind or a referral, do yourself a favor. Call several days ahead, and specify that you want a Level 3 instructor, or even an examiner. (This call is not uncommon within the Vail system.)
I know that not all ski areas have an examiner on staff, or if they do, many are likely to be supervisors or managers. At least talk to one of these individuals, explain what you are specifically looking for, and allow them to make a recommendation. Then if it doesn't work, you have someone to talk to about it!
Now- how to manage the costs!-
At many resorts (at least at most of the larger ones), the cost of the private is flat rated for the first 5-6 guests. So whether there is 1 or 6, it is the same price.
Get 4-5 of your friends(same skiing ability) to share the lesson with you! The greatest thing about taking a private, is that you, the guest, can dictate the course of the lesson. No tag-alongs, no weak skiers, you pick the terrain, you determine the outcomes. You make your own cohesive group.
Spread among 5-6, the price comes out being about the same as if you had taken a group lesson! But you will usually move at a faster pace than a group, spend less time talking, and get in much more skiing / runs! [img]smile.gif[/img]
By the way- all day privates usually last about an hour LONGER than all-day group lessons! (Start earlier...) More BONUS Skiing! [img]smile.gif[/img]
In a group lesson environment, as most of you have described, the instructor will find the average of the group, and pace the lesson for the weakest skier in the group. The content will be an amalgamation of each participants desires. The instructor has a difficult task- meet each skiers expectations, while dealing with so many different skiers. Not impossible for an experienced instructor, but still not easy!
During the course of that group lesson, the instructor will spend at best, an equal amount of time with each student, and in many cases, will spend more with the weakest of the group.
With a private, given that all skiers are reasonably similar in ability and goals, the amount of time each student will receive is greatly increased. [img]smile.gif[/img]