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Recommendation for a Freelance instructor in Utah?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'll be skiing in Utah December 14th thru the 18th and am thinking about possibly taking a private lesson. My wife will be with me the first four days with the 4-resort Super Pass, and one afternoon we'll probably take a 1/2 day group lesson at Brighton (can't beat the $40 price). We may take the 4th day off and then I'll be skiing by myself the last and fifth day. That last day I'd love to take a full day hardcore private lesson focused on getting me comfortable enough to ski just about any of Snowbird's single-diamond black runs. I skied there last January and enjoyed the blues and some of the milder black stuff in Mineral Basin. This year in early January I'll be out there again with a buddy for 8 days, and he's a significantly better skier than I am. He's kind enough to ski at my level most of the time, but I'd sure like to sharpen my skills a bit so that I could ski some of the tougher runs that he'd like to ski. So I'm hoping that a few days of warmup skiing in December finishing up with a full day lesson with a good instructor who pushes me hard on the blacks might get me to the point that I'm comfortable on just about any single black run at Snowbird (I know that may be asking a bit much for a single day's lesson but I do learn fast and work hard). The lesson doesn't have to be at Snowbird although that would be my preference (could also be Alta, Brighton, or Solitude).

Anyway, the full day private lesson cost at Snowbird is $600 smackers and that's more than I can stomach. Soooo are there any "freelance" instructors out there that come highly recommended that charge a lot less than the resorts (but make more by keeping all the dough themselves)?

(PS, if this thread should be posted in another forum please let me know)

Thanks in advance!!

David
post #2 of 37
Snowbird used to have something called the Mountain Experience, likely still going but don't see it on the website right now. A small group skis aggressively, (after quick try out), with a guide/instructor. I did it many years ago and it was a good introduction to many nooks and crannies of the mountain. And there are many, many, many at Snowbird! That would be a good experience if you are comfortable skiing the regular blacks at Snowbird.

EpicSki has a Snowbird instructor, a superb skier, who will likely answer soon. (Bushwacker)
post #3 of 37
Oh no! Here we go again!
post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info SnowbirdDevotee! I found two things on Snowbird's website that sound sort of like what you're talking about - Dean Cummings Big Mountain Experience Camp which is a week long camp in February, and Dean Cummings Big Mountain Experience Private Lesson. The price is the same on the DCBMX private lesson as their regular private lessons ($600). But besides the price, based on the description of the class, it would be way above my skill level. It is described as being "for experts" which I definitely am NOT by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just looking for a lesson that can help me get more comfortable skiing most single black diamond runs at Snowbird, which I'm not right now. If I don't have any luck finding a good freelance instructor, I'll probably end up taking a full-day group lesson and try to accurately describe what I'm looking for to the instructors before lessons start so that I'll end up in the right class level. But I'd sure love to have a highly focused all day one-on-one lesson that's just all about me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterK View Post
Oh no! Here we go again!
If my thread is taboo or has been covered a bazillion times please don't hesitate to set me straight. I haven't seen another thread talking about freelance instruction, but I do know that resort instructors get a TINY cut of the price that resorts charge for lessons. So I guess the question is, do freelance instructors exist? If so, are there any that are known here (and recommended) that offer instruction at Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, or Brighton?

David
post #5 of 37
Dave, I follow all the Utah posts and have no idea what MisterK refers to. Your questions is a good one.

I know they had the Mountain Experience as recently as a few years ago and it is only an extra very reasonable fee on top of your lift ticket. (<$100). However, because the crowds are likely to be thin during your week I would not count on it being offerred. You are in for a great time! Mid-Dec is a great time to be skiing and you can be assured there will be plenty of skiing all over the mountain.
post #6 of 37
It's the freelance thing that will get folks riled up.
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks again SnowbirdDevotee! Believe me, I'm stoked about skiing at that time!! I'm sure that all the runs that I'm comfortable skiing will be well covered by that time, and I'm glad to hear that crowds will be thin. I'll definitely check on the Mountain Experience thing, although I'm still worrried that it would be over my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterK View Post
It's the freelance thing that will get folks riled up.
Okay I spent some time researching this. First I looked for a "Forum Rules" area that might give me some guidance, and the closest thing I found here in the forum was the "General Forum Usage" and "Reading and Posting messages" areas in the FAQ page. No mention on either of those pages of the word "freelancing" (or even "instructor" or "instruction"). Then I used the search function again (earlier when I tried it I left it set to the default "Search entire posts" option which wasn't much help because it turned up too many results that had to do with things like freelance writing while on a ski vacation). This time by limiting the search to thread TITLES I found a thread discussing the subject of freelance instruction here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...ight=freelance. By slogging through that thread, in the 24th post I found a link to this thread: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=43508

That second thread APPEARS to be forum policy and according to the first thread it was supposedly a sticky at one point in time. But it is definitely NOT a sticky now and is buried about 16 pages down in the thread listing in the "Ski Instruction and Coaching" forum.

Also, I followed the "terms" link in HeluvaSkier's policy post which took me here: http://www.epicski.com/about/terms.php No discussion of freelance instruction there. Then I noticed the "Posting Guidelines" link on the left hand side of that page (which apparently isn't accessable from within the forums themselves). No discussion of freelance instruction there either.

So at this point I have no idea if my thread violates current forum policy or not. And I can't imagine that the forum moderators would expect relative newcomers to have any idea about this issue since it doesn't appear on any official forum pages, other than an isolated thread over two years old that is burried 16 pages down in the thread list (i.e. it isn't a sticky).

Anybody know what the current forum policy is? Before reading Heluvaskier's post I had no idea that freelance instruction could possibly be ILLEGAL . As someone mentioned in one thread I came across, the resorts rent skis, boots, and poles onsite, but there's no legal issue with renting your own gear from another source and as far as I can tell the resorts don't even discourage it (even though offsite rentals will invariably be a better price than the resort rentals). So I'm not sure why someone NOT involved in the ski industry would be expected to know that simply hiring an instructor outside of the normal resort school system would be a problem (let alone ILLEGAL for God's sake).

David
post #8 of 37
Dave, relax. You made a perfectly reasonable request and I have been on this forum for years and have never seen a real problem with commercialism, I am sure the forum members would be happy to see you get hooked up with one of "our own".
post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 
Okay, breathing in, breathing out....breathing in, breathing out. Much better now.
post #10 of 37
David,
From what I've learned, I don't think you're breaking any forum rules with your post. Whatever you end up doing for an instructor, keep it on the down-low. Apparantly it is illegal to hire someone as an underground instructor to teach you without going through the areas ski school. From what I've gathered, it has something to do with the Forest Service getting their cut & comes under the law of defrauding an innkeeper. I don't know if you or the instructor would be the one liable , if you were found out. Someone like The Rusty could probably enlighten us.

My advice is find someone to do it for free, & then when you get really good take them Heliskiing with you !


JF
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
David,
From what I've learned, I don't think you're breaking any forum rules with your post. Whatever you end up doing for an instructor, keep it on the down-low. Apparantly it is illegal to hire someone as an underground instructor to teach you without going through the areas ski school. From what I've gathered, it has something to do with the Forest Service getting their cut & comes under the law of defrauding an innkeeper. I don't know if you or the instructor would be the one liable , if you were found out. Someone like The Rusty could probably enlighten us.

My advice is find someone to do it for free, & then when you get really good take them Heliskiing with you !


JF
That's interesting about the Forest Service getting their cut. Never would have thought of that.

Anyway, I like your suggestion about free lessons for future Heliskiing. Valdez here we come!!

David
post #12 of 37
As others have said, your request is definitely not against the forum policy. However, there are differing opinions about hiring a freelance instructor. Do a search for "freelancing" in the Ski Instruction and Coaching forum and you'll find many threads.
post #13 of 37
David,
At least two regular Epic contributers work as instructors in Snowbird/Alta - Lonnie and BushwhackerinPa.
Send them a pm and ask for their thoughts on alternatives to an all day lesson.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
David,
At least two regular Epic contributers work as instructors in Snowbird/Alta - Lonnie and BushwhackerinPa.
Send them a pm and ask for their thoughts on alternatives to an all day lesson.
I think I should make an official thread about this but I am no longer working for snowbird. nor would I freelance a lesson. thanks for the kind words glenn otherwise,

Most would agree snowbird loss is another resorts gain, and that resort hopefully will be in northern vermont.
post #15 of 37
Insurance is another factor to consider.

I don't think it's so much about the forest service getting their cut as it is about the fact that the ski area operator has a concession contract with the forest service that they pay mightily for and that gives them the right to control commercial activities there. If the ski area is on private land, then they have that right also. Many ski areas will allow instructors from other places to bring clients to their area, but it has to be above board. If you are sneaking around with your instructor, don't you expect that it is telling you something about the honorableness of that activity?
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Giles View Post
Anyway, the full day private lesson cost at Snowbird is $600 smackers and that's more than I can stomach. Soooo are there any "freelance" instructors out there that come highly recommended that charge a lot less than the resorts (but make more by keeping all the dough themselves)?
Yeah, when you find someone please let me know, I'd be interested it that too.....
























.....so I can turn them in for theft of services.
post #17 of 37
Just to be very clear, the intent of my post (13) was not to work outside the ski school, but to have local instructors offer ski school options to an all day lesson. I probably did not say that very well. I believe in professional ethics and I would not ask a area pro to teach outside of school or recommend a freelace instructor.
The last lesson I took was an Alta group lesson that worked out pretty well. If I was going to do it again, I'd take a group lesson early in the week, tip the instructor, and see if we could do a follow up in two days later.
post #18 of 37
I am interested in something similar but for Steamboat.

Sounds like a bunch of moaning and groaning to me in regards to legality.

I'm looking for someone who can be my buddy and help give me 'ADVICE' on powder skiing since I've not tried it yet. If by chance I drop some cash during this advice it is completely by accident.
post #19 of 37
See David? I'm suprised it took so long for things to heat up.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast GTO View Post
I am interested in something similar but for Steamboat.

Sounds like a bunch of moaning and groaning to me in regards to legality.

I'm looking for someone who can be my buddy and help give me 'ADVICE' on powder skiing since I've not tried it yet. If by chance I drop some cash during this advice it is completely by accident.
You sound like someone shopping for a hooker.
post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Touché MisterK!!

Yeah this has definitely turned ugly. I hadn't thought about (or responded to) this thread in a few days because I clearly wasn't going to get the help I was looking for. I'll probably just stick to affordable group lessons at Brighton and take what I learn with me to the Bird. Somebody may figure out a way to argue that I'm doing something immoral or even illegal by paying for the services of a pro OFFSITE and taking those services with me the next day (in my head and muscle memory) to the Bird. But I'll sleep just fine at night.


"so I can turn them in for theft of services". So if somebody takes their own popcorn into a football stadium and sells this popcorn, then they would be guilty of "theft" of popcorn? Not sure I get that logic. If as Mom explained, the stadium has a "concession contract that gives them the right to control commercial activities there" (which makes perfectly good sense) then the bandito popcorn seller is clearly guilty of infringing on the rights of the concession holder. But is he "stealing" popcorn???

Anyway, thanks for those who have tried to help me out. Regardless of how my search for instruction turns out, I'm sure I'll have a blast in Utah and I can't wait!!! 46" of snow last week at the Bird!
post #22 of 37
David,
Just a couple of thoughts.
If you searched the instruction forums for threads about instructor pay, you would find they get very few $$$ out of the $600. The bad guy is the resort management for milking the tourist skier. For many pros, teaching is their winter living, so expect them to be sensitive about the freelancing.

In my early ski days, it was common to take group lessons each day. While in Brighton, consider spending each each morning in group instruction. Whatever you learn in your initial days of skiing puts you that much closer to becoming a competent skier. Learn as much as you can early, apply it later.

Last, there are books and DVD's that explain "how to ski". Time spent learning the basic concepts away from the mountains is a way for you to take more ownership of your skiing. I've used this material to improve my skiing. Send me a pm and I'll offer some thoughts on specific books.

Las
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your thoughts Las!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
If you searched the instruction forums for threads about instructor pay, you would find they get very few $$$ out of the $600. The bad guy is the resort management for milking the tourist skier.
No argument there!

I consider myself a reasonably "competent" skier with a good grasp of the basics already. But definitely nowhere near an expert. I was comfortable skiing pretty much any of the blues and a few of the milder single-diamond blacks in Mineral Basin at Snowbird last year. I did take a couple of half-day group lessons last year (at Brighton) and they definitely helped take my skills up a notch. Just looking to make even more progress this year and figured a full day of one-on-one instruction would do me the most good. Still may spring for a full day private lesson, but would likely do it at Brighton where they would only be milking me for $395 instead of $600 (and I suspect the instructor at Brighton would make very close to the same amount as the instructor at the Bird?)

Anyway, thanks again for your comments Las and I'll definitely send you a PM for your book recommendations!

David
post #24 of 37
David,

If you find an instructor you like at Brighton, it is possible in Utah to hire that instructor to come spend the day with you at Snowbird for the Brighton rate.
JF
post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 
Now THERE'S an interesting idea JF! If I find an instructor at Brighton that really "clicks" with me during group lessons on my December trip, I could try to set up a private with them at the Bird for my January trip. $395 is still a pretty good milking, but compared to $600 it almost looks like a deal.

Do you know if you reserve and pay for the lesson at the "home" resort (Brighton) or at the "host" resort (Snowbird)?

David
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Giles View Post
Do you know if you reserve and pay for the lesson at the "home" resort (Brighton) or at the "host" resort (Snowbird)?

David
I believe you would do that at Brighton. I am not sure what Brightons policy is, but it may be that the instructor gets paid extra hours for travel & his lift ticket is included, so it's a better deal for both of you.

JF
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Giles View Post
"so I can turn them in for theft of services". So if somebody takes their own popcorn into a football stadium and sells this popcorn, then they would be guilty of "theft" of popcorn? Not sure I get that logic. If as Mom explained, the stadium has a "concession contract that gives them the right to control commercial activities there" (which makes perfectly good sense) then the bandito popcorn seller is clearly guilty of infringing on the rights of the concession holder. But is he "stealing" popcorn???
No, you wouldn't be stealing popcorn. You made the wrong word bold, it's theft of *services*. For example, someone who hikes up a ski area while the ski area is open, without paying for a lift ticket, can be prosecute for theft of services. You're denying the ski area money by not paying for their service, but still using their service. It's a little unclear to me how paying a freelance instructor would be theft of services since you didn't receive a lesson from the resort without paying for it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some legal mumbo-jumbo written somewhere that makes it so, however.
post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
I believe you would do that at Brighton. I am not sure what Brightons policy is, but it may be that the instructor gets paid extra hours for travel & his lift ticket is included, so it's a better deal for both of you.

JF
Cool! Thanks for the suggestion JF!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post
No, you wouldn't be stealing popcorn. You made the wrong word bold, it's theft of *services*.
Yeah you're probably right about which word I put the emphasis on. But I emphasized *theft* because I think it's a gross misuse of the word *theft* to characterize paying someone for something (whether services OR goods), even if the seller isn't properly licensed to sell their goods or services in a particular place. Morally wrong perhaps, and possibly even illegal, but not *theft* (IMHO). In any case, your comment that "It's a little unclear to me how paying a freelance instructor would be theft of services since you didn't receive a lesson from the resort without paying for it" was exactly the point I was trying to make.

David
post #29 of 37

Private lesson.

David

Over the years - I have found myself in a similar predicament - wanting to take private lessons but not being able to afford it. And I hate group lessons. Here is how I have solved it.

A number of resorts offer early bird private specials. So the 9am-10am slot or 1pm-2pm slot are cheaper
than their regular 1 hr private lesson. I personally believe that an instructor has enough tips for me in one hour to carry me through a couple of months. so I do this twice a year. My skiing has improved tremendously. 4/5 yrs back i was skiing blues in Mineral basin - today I have skied most runs in snowbird/Alta - except Great scott and High traverse.

Some resorts(eg Squaw) have all-level 1 hr group lessons for $40. these are at specific times during the day. if nobody else signs up in your level - guess what - you get a Private lesson for 1 hour for $40 !!!!. Wait - it gets better. A pair Ginzu Knives, you say. No even better They let you add an extra hour for an additional $30. so, you basically got a 2 hour private lesson for $70 !!!! I learn enough drills from these 2 hour sessions to keep me going.

The timing on these is important. You will have better luck on weekdays than weekends or holidays.


Good Luck.
Marty
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
My advice is find someone to do it for free, & then when you get really good take them Heliskiing with you !


JF
This is where the law enters a gray area. It is a difficult area, full of nuances. What if I take my daughter skiing and I yell "hands forward, bend your ankles" occasionally. Am I committing theft?

If you ski with a friend and your friend gives you skiing advice - and then you buy him a drink / help him with his computer / fix his car, whatever, perhaps months later. Still a gray area.

When the deal is "solicited" () over the internet, then the gray is probably getting darker....
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