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All instructors are not created equal - Page 2

post #31 of 44
Raubin, just a quick reply: here in the east and midwest individual instructors have organizzed classes through ski shops and advertising in the newspapers and taken a bus to various ski areas. As soon as they formed as a class on the mountain, with the instructors demostrating, their tickets were yanked and they were ordered off the mountain. If you can't use the lifts it is hard to teach.

post #32 of 44
I am 45, about to take my level one exam, teach six days a week, and have been skiing for 37 years. I have been taking lessons from examiners for two or three hours a week for ten years. I am a former/retired cop. When I got out of college with a degree from a prestigious college, graduated 16 weeks later from a big city police academy, and began as a patrolman I thought I was fairly well equiped and knew what I was doing. I DIDN'T. It took me 5-7 years. I'm lucky to be alive. I'm told I'm a good skiier. I have enough sense to realize it will be 5-7 years before I'm a good ski instructor, and I hope to be a PSIA level III. Any career involves a learning curve. I may not have all the knowledge that I need, but, I try to make up for that with enthusiasm,and a high level of customer service. I think PSIA does a great job of training and although I can ski with most anyone, I know I'm best equiped at this point to enthusiastically help new skiiers enjoy the sport that we all love. Besides... I GET ALL THE HALF PRICE DOUGHNUTS AND COFFEE THAT I CAN CHOKE DOWN. ONCE A FAT COP ALWAYS A FAT COP!!!
post #33 of 44
Ott (and I've now edited to include Bob's post below, too),

Thanks for your posts; I guess that is why we don't see more of it. [I certinaly didn't think I was the first guy in the world to come up with the idea.]

I didn't see anything on the lift ticket or anywhere else that would preclude it. I'd be curious to see the legal basis (the non-legal reasoning is pretty obvious) for pulling the ticket, or, as Bob mentions, arresting someone.

At my marina, the slip agreement includes a clause precluding bringing in outside mechanics for hire without giving the option to the marina - the policy is also posted around the docks. I would imagine they would need to do the same thing for ski resorts in order to legally enforce such a policy.

raubin<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by raubin (edited February 15, 2001).]</FONT>
post #34 of 44
When I lived in the Washington DC area, I often took lessons with the SCWDC (ski club of washington DC) that has their own PSIA affiliated ski school. The resorts that we visited in PA and WV never hassled us about giving lessons on "their" turf. It would have been pretty hard to miss us at times.
post #35 of 44
Glad to hear you vent, Jim. In the fitness industry, we've had this issue for a long time. But I must say, your pay scale is even more horrific than ours, and you are taking peoples lives into your hands on the hill. You are correct in saying that PSIA should work harder to represent the need for higher pay of instructors to the resorts. In fitness, AFAA and IDEA have done that to an extent. But then again, with what we pay in continuing education and certification fees, I feel that they can do more.
If ski instructors were paid better, more qualified pros would keep teaching. If the possibility of getting a qualified pro is greater than the toss of the dice, perhaps more people would take, and continue to take, lessons. If more people took lessons, the slopes would be safer.In the fitness industry, it took inly a few lawsuits to encourage gym owners to hire qualified, certified teachers, and pay them well. When will the resorts see the light?

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #36 of 44
Folks, in the past someone you know and I have discussed unionizing the PSIA instructors and have some leverage by virtue of having striking power, especially during the holday weeks.

We concluded that there were so many would-be ski instructors waiting in the wings and who were willing to work for practically nothing just to get their foot in the door that the resorts would have no problem filling the spots with them, and that would serve the skiing public poorly.

So instructors have no leverage, they must accept whatever the resort is willing to pay.

More than once I heard managment quoted as saying that the ski school is just another service department, like the food service and the lift loaders. They don't seem to care that it takes a lot of work to get to be a competent instructor.

post #37 of 44
OH CRUD!!! They use that service department B.S. on you guys too?? Back in the 1970s the Teamsters tried to organize fitnsss instructors. We came to the same realization that you did!
Oh well, what we do for love!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #38 of 44
With the Winter Olympics quickly approaching and the subsequent interest in sliding down the hill on sticks, is PSIA going to push advertising for the masses? I'm not talking about ads in the local ski racing newsletter- those people know all about PSIA. I'm talking about advertising on OLN or a more prominent sports network in order to attract the recreational skier. OLN seems so desperate for programming that they'd probably show anything PSIA could produce.
post #39 of 44
Putting aside the general question of unions and unionization - it is a chicken and egg issue again. If the PSIA certification were more high profile and demanded by the public, strikes would presumably have a more significant effect. There would not be an immediate supply of certified instructors to fill the void.

I would also imagine that informational picketing would be an unpleasant situation for many resorts. If there was also a resort certification process, this could also put additional pressure on the resorts.

Also, replacement workers are not always authorized under the National Labor Relations Act, but probably would be under the likely circumstances of an instructor's strike.

post #40 of 44
Raubin, part of the problem is that in many, if not most ski schools the individual instructor is carried as a sub-contractor. This is mostly done so that the resort is not responsible to provide them with work, if there are no lessons, the instructor doesn't get paid.

In very large ski schools there are a number of high profile instructors who get a salary and they are kept busy.

So the National Labor Relations Board could/would not step in as they would if the instructors were employees of the resort.

Most instructors have no hospitalization, workmen's comp nor any compensation if they are layed off, it is simply a case of no work available for the sub-contractor.

post #41 of 44
Again, a parallel with the fitness industry. Much of fitness instruction is done as sub contractor work, which leads to the same problems you discussed. However, this could almost turn into a benefit,if instructors were given the leeway to self promote, and be more entrepernurial. But this will only work if the self promotion is rewarded financially, otherwise, why bother?

On the other side of the coin, many fitness centers are finding that loyalty is more prevalent when those who work for you are employees. One such gym in the Boston area, gives any instructor who teaches at least 10 classes a week, health insurance, 401k with employer contributions, profit sharing, quaterly bonuses, money for continuing education workshops, and, get this, a trip to Aruba in November! Our pay scale is slightly lower than that of other gyms. But, IMHO, we are the best darn fitness teachers in the Boston area. Because our owners and managers appreciate us.
As ski resorts attempt to become more multi- seasonal, perhaps, instructors who can teach seasonal activities, can stay employed year round, thus becoming more connected, and hopefully more valuable to the resort.
As someone in the unique position of having some work as an employee, and some as an independent contractor, I see 2 ways that each of these situations can be optimized as a win/win situation. The independent contractor, through self promotion, is , in a sense, a business partner of the resort. The employee, is family, and should be treated as such.
But neither of these scenarios will work if the instructor is not respected and valued .

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #42 of 44
Lisamarie, the difference is that a ski resort is weather dependent, and when 375 instructors show up for a week of rain and sit inside waiting for someone to maybe show up and take a lesson, salery for a week of these instructors not doing any work could easily break a smaller resort.

Self promotion is already done on word of mouth basis, many instructors are booked by the same people week after week, but at many resorts it goes that when a customer shows up s/he is assigned to an instructor who is available.

Jonothan Lawson is doing some web promotion for himself and a number of instructors who have signed up with him, since he posts on this board we should ask him. I wonder how this promotion goes over with the ski school and other ski instructors who are not involved with him and also what the benefits are when an instructor is listed on his web site.

post #43 of 44
The sub/independent contractor distinction tends to be very specific to the circumstances. The pay per pupil/class format would certainly be a factor, but I don't think that it, alone, would be determinative.

Instructors who teach only private lessons upon request and who exercise their own judgment entirely as to the nature and scope of the lesson may well be independent contractors. However, instructors teaching group classes in accordance with a trademarked program and lesson plan who are supervised or monitored in some fashion by ski school officials, sound a lot more like employees to me.

Then you have other factors like length of service, uniform requirements, teaching at other resorts, etc.

post #44 of 44
Raubin, many are part time instructors and get their $13/hr to teach assigned classes and when they don't teach they don't get paid even though theyare required to be at the ski area ready to take a class IF one is there for them. They do not have individual liability insurance, the ski school carries one which includes all teachers during assingned lessons.

After buying their uniforms and ski equipment, many don't even break even during a season.

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