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ski instructor - career or hobby?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was reading the latest on balance and alignment and see that it has taken a turn to more business related talk... this interests me. So how about some thoughts on ski instructing as a career?

It's my career. It started out as a hobby to fill the golfless winters away from my "real" job as a golf pro. Now, it's evolved into another "real" job. Many of the part time instructors that work for me have "real" jobs. The money is not an issue for them, they do it for fun, sun, snow and passion. They are happily teaching a few hours a week and making enough money to pay for gas to the mountain and a bite o' lunch.

These people are vital to our business success, and always will be. Your average ski school experiences the peaks of weekend traffic flow and the valleys of lesser midweek crowds. The part time staff fill the gaps and let us accomodate more business when more business is up for grabs.

But why don't more people consider ski instructing to be a "real" job?

Sure, the money is notoriously shitty. But, if I go to college or university for 4 years to become a "blank", and study hard and sacrifice, after those 4 years perhaps I can go out and find myself an entry level job in my chosen field. If I do well and continue to improve my skills, maybe other, more exciting opportunities will open up.

Why not consider ski instruction to be a career? Is it just too much of a financial barrier to think that I might graduate from high school, take an entry level instructor's course, go to work for a respected ski school with the intention of being an "apprentice" for a few years and work my way through the certification process...?

Here in Canada, we have 4 levels of ski instructor. I see them like this: Level I is like graduating from high school. Taking the step to Level II is akin to gaining a college diploma. Level III is a degree in ski instruction. Level IV is a Master's degree.

This could conceivably be completed in 4 years. More realistically, it will take 6 to 8 years to achieve a "Masters" degree in ski teaching. Is this not parallel to gaining a masters degree in any other field? It's hard work, requiring dedication, humility, committment, diligence... all things that bring considerable rewards outside of dollars and cents. Each level of certification achieved represents education in not only skiing and teaching techniques, but also experiences gained in interpersonal relations, time management, organization, marketing, risk assessment & management, psychology, anatomy, kineisiology, biomechanics...

Passing an entry level instructor's course does not entitle anyone to great wages. But, if it's considered to be an "apprentice" program, a working education that actually pays you while you further skills that are entirely transferrable to other fields, would more young people consider it a viable career opportunity? Sure, it doesn't pay much, but it does certainly pay more than bucking up for 4 or more years of university, which by the way, still doesn't assure anyone of a "good" job at the end of it all!

Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Are there enough jobs at the "top" to justify the sacrifice it takes to achieve a masters degree in ski teaching?

Can ski teaching be considered a "gateway" occupation to many other career opportunities in the travel, leisure or adventure tourism fields?

Why? Why not? Whaddaya think?
post #2 of 29
I do it full time and can only do so for two reasons.

1) My wife is a successful businesswoman
2) I have a seasonal consulting business in the summer and fall.

When all is said and done the honest guys that I know and trust are hard pressed to make a daily "gross" wage of $125.00 per day at the destination resorts. I work at two family/nondestination resorts and a good day is $75.00

I rep for two manufacturers and that keeps me on skis/bindings and I will gross a couple hundred bucks in commissions.

We have periods in January and February when it is dead. Until a week or two ago business was way down.

How in the world could anyone make a living?

Am I complaining? I ski 150 plus days per year from mid October to late May. I'm not in a cubicle, I don't deal with traffic jams, and I work with nice people.

No I'm not complaining, however, it would be a meager living.
post #3 of 29
u gi's r tri-ing 2 seduce me . . . R'nt u?????!!!
post #4 of 29
OK! OK!! So u're doing a grate jawb!
post #5 of 29
Like every other hobby/passion profession. There are a handful of talented people at the top making very good money, a distinct but small group of people making a decent living wage and a whole herd of people making crap at the bottom. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #6 of 29
Because of the corporatization of the industry, the business has changed so much in the last ten years. Working at a major resort is much different than working at one of the few smaller privately owned resorts. I agree with Rusty Guy's comments, with a big BUTTT .... These days you are exploited and dispensible. No benefits to speak of & little wages in an area that is typically ridiculously expensive to survive in.

Even given that, I have chosen to struggle to stay in this maniacal situation for the deep deep gratification I get when my clients "GET IT". No matter if they are never-evers, or mogul monsters. Down to the depths of my soul. No amount of $ can equal that. Unfortunately, my landlord cares little about my soul!!! :
post #7 of 29
Let's face it, we've all long since rationalized our slim pickings for altruistic reasons. Could it be that the more we tout our "passion for the snowsports experience," the more we provide our masters with the means to keep us down on the farm?
post #8 of 29
IMHO there are three reasons that Ski Teaching is frowned on as a career in our society.[list][*]Low wages[*]Jealousy - most people don't enjoy their work [*]Treachers as a class of people do not receive enough respect = be they skiing, grammar school, or university level

The many dedicated professionals are also overshadowed by the number of under trained part time and holiday instructors. Though these instructors often have the drive and passion of the dedicated full timers they need a higher income for a multitude of reasons. The result is the majority of lesson takers end up with less than a full time pro and again the idea of hobby is reinforced.

To improve our situation we need Nolo's ideas to become more acceptable, to educate the skiing public and to have them put pressure on the resorts.
post #9 of 29
Yes Nolo, we all make our choice to do this, but, there is no relation between what we make and what the customer pays. What the customer pays is not "Casual Money". They want a good lesson from their money. Ask them, Hey, is casual instruction okay with you? They'd say hell no, I want someone who's more than casual for my money, I want someone that knows their stuff.

Ski schools represent themselves as providing a profesional service. If a ski school isn't doing everything in it's power to deliver the best quality it can, then it's no more than a sham and a rip off. Can I say it any plainer? That in a nut shell is why so many people look down their noses at ski instruction. It's not delivering on it promise. Anytime a business substitutes a warm body for a skilled person it will turn around and bite you back, not to mention that if it continues as accepted practice, this idea that casual instruction is just fine because our customers don't know any better, it is unethical. Everyone else is free to dress it up how ever they want.

We don't make much money, in fact it's a joke how much we make, but that doesn't give any of us a personal out when it comes to the quality we as individual instructors take out on the snow. We have to come to terms with that also. Our masters rule our paycheck, but they don't rule the standards we hold ourselves too. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 29
Interesting question,
I went through 7 years of College (BA, MBA), and now am through 12 years of ski instruction. I have certainly learned more in skiing; Personal Development, people skills, sales, negotiating, goal setting, etc.
Come to think of it, $130K for school was somewhat of a waste (even though I graduated with relatively high marks). The books and people I have been exposed to during my ski career have been invaluable in my life. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for formal education. And through skiing, I have accomplished it with a net financial profit. I guess for me it has been a career. And extremely fun to boot.
Personally, I have been taking more from my ski profession into my business, than from my MBA.
Also, according to Napolean Hill's "Think and Grow Rich", circa 1937, (so am certain the top age range has increased); a person's most productive period of their life is from 40-60. Evidently, I am still gathering steam to head into this period of my life.

BTW, I attended two of the top business schools in California, yet the books, "Think and Grow Rich" or "How to win friends and influence people" were never mentioned. How can than be?

Best Regards,

[ December 29, 2002, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: Jonathan ]
post #11 of 29
Ric, though I'm in your corner as to the idea that every ski instructor ought to be an educated and 'good' instructor, I'll tell you how it went at several areas here in Ohio and Michigan, all near large metro areas like Cleveland and Detroit.

As there ski areas came into being because of the event of snowmaking, management needed skiers, and to get them they made contracts with schools, newspapers, department stores, clubs, etc., all of them glad to get another advertising tool for their entity.

At Boston Mills the first year we had eleven part time instructors and 400 students a day. Management told the director to teach them. Students had to wait four to five hours sometimes before an instructor was available to teach them. The groups sometimes numbered twenty.

The eleven of us, mostly Austrian, German, Hungarian and a Swiss with a few Americans from Vermont, some having taught before, got together before the season, the ones with experience teaching the rest, and we were pretty good for the time.

But these groups. which paid good money before the season to get their weekly lessons, started complaining about availability of instructors and management told us to get more instructors.

Where do you go to get instructors? You get warm bodies, that's where. Every day we would pick the best skiers in the highest skilled classes and recruit them to become instructors, many being pressed into service the following week. They were being cliniced every free moment that an instructor had, they loved the free skiing and being an "instructor". But most didn't last more than a season or two.

Forty years later with almost five hundred instructors it is still a hunt for warm bodies, anyone who can be talked into trying to be an instructor.

The core of our ski school is a group of highlevel dedicated instructors numbering 100-200, They are certified and have been teaching many years, the rest are warm bodies who may become dedicated and educated and some who may not be here next year and then more warm bodies are recruited in the fall with tryouts on the plastic mat.

If you think dedicated and eager to learn ski instructors are walking the street, well, it isn't so.

And the reason is that there is no future in it and the compensation stinks.

post #12 of 29
Well Ott, from my many years of running a business, my take is that selling a product you can't deleiver on was always poor practice, and is caused by either ignorance of how to do business or a lack of business ethics. If it goes on for forty years, well, it's still one of those two. The customer not knowing what a good product is, is no excuse for taking their money anyway. Then there is always the issue of the monoply ski school, though I assume in Ohio, it would be private land.

This behavior is very prevelant in the business I did for many years, which was home building. It's okay to make a mistake, but to continue that mistake because you got away with it and it made you money, is in my view, unethical. But that is the capitalist way. We see examples of this every day in the news.

And I agree with you Ott, I don't think we find these people here in this forum. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #13 of 29
If we can't find future instructors among the skiers on our hill, where should they come from? In the fall, hiring ads are put on university bulletin boards, in newspapers and by word of mouth.

But you can't ask a college kid to abandon their academicly acquired future to make $15 an hour for maybe four hours a day.
Jonathan Lawson is an exception.

Just like other businesses, the large ones get candidates with some expirience from smaller schools, I imagine Aspen and Vail have no problem getting expirienced instructors from places like ours, the best young ones always go west, so we have to train newbees every year.

So where do you folks out there in skiland get your instructors?

post #14 of 29
Originally posted by Pierre:
Like every other hobby/passion profession. There are a handful of talented people at the top making very good money, a distinct but small group of people making a decent living wage and a whole herd of people making crap at the bottom. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Well, having spent close to 30 years in a hobby/passion profession, I can attest to the truth in that statement. Nowadays, in my industry, the people making crap at the bottom are more involved in the profession as a hobby, but fall a bit short on the passion requirement.

But when I hear about the wages that ski instructors make, I can't help but think that you folks are stuck where the fitness industry was 30 years ago. What kept me in the profession at the time, even though I thought I would never be able to pay my bills, was something a heart surgeon said to me.

"You prolong and improve the entire quality of someone's life. I simply prolong their death. I probably make more in a daya than you make in a year. Is this fair? No. But you can't buy health."

Fortunately, our industry has changed a good deal. One of the reasons was the fact that our professional organization did some very strong lobbying for us. I have to wonder how much influence
PSIA has on the ski resorts.

The independent contractor thing is a hoax. SkierJ can explain why its actually illegal. It does really bad things for morale. You are not a part of the company.

A very progressive gym I work for in Boston gives any instructor teaching 7 or more classes a week health insurance, sick pay, vacation pay, quarterly bonuses and a 401k, which they contribute to. The bonus is based on the company's profibility. As a result, we are all concerned with the quality of our services, even if they fall outside of our responsibilities.

They also finance some of our educational expenses. I recently took a 3rd Pilates certification program, simply because our company arranged for us to pay $200 for a $1600 course!

Thata being said, there are still some instructors who never take advantage of these incentives, but continue to whine about theirpay rate. So be it.

The problem, of course, with the ski industry as a profession, is that it is seasonal. There needs to be a way to expand the job desription, encompassing the all aspects of mountain recreation.
post #15 of 29

We just ran a hiring academy at Eldora. Bob B was in charge and as we can guess did a masterful job. It is a tribute to Robin May that he brought Bob in to head the process. Two weekends were utilized. After the first weekend, offers were made, and the training process began the next weekend.

We had about 125 applicants. I would guess offers were made to about 80 people.

Where did they come from? I would say it was across the board. Students from CU,housewives,schoolteachers.

I have to tell one tale. I was honored to be one of a dozen or so training/evaluating. I had one person in one of my groups that didn't need one thousand steps....they needed twelve steps.

I think the person was a crack addict. I have never seen such a bad case of the shakes. The poor guy didn't get hired.
post #16 of 29
Hi Rusty, this is indeed high caliber stuff you are doing with Bob and Robin.

Now you have 80 warm bodies, how are you going to make instructors out of them? Will you fully train them before they are given a lesson or are they going to learn on the job?

My exchange with Ric was because of his contention that it is a sham to foist any but highly trained instructors on the skiing public which is paying a high price for a lesson.

If you do as everybody here does it, you train them best you can and start them with children and beginners where they quickly get teaching experience and encourage them to get certified.

I may be wrong, but I think an entrepreneur could clean up and do a lot of good by establishing a ski instructors college where one could learn to be a good instructor before ever applying at a mountain, they have them all over Europe.

You, as we, have to recruit housewives because they have the time during the day Mon-Fri to teach while the breadwinners have to work at a job.

post #17 of 29
How do they become instructors? Like every other place, they get 24 hours of training, a week or so of "shadowing", and then they get tossed to the wolves and they sink or swim. It's christmas after all and there is a bottom line.

In this case the info they got came from Bob Barnes so they have to have a leg up on the competition.
post #18 of 29
I've thought of it as a career and taken the high road for years. Nolo is on it about how to make it possible, but I'm in the process of giving up. I make more than alot of career instructors (probably more than most due my odd situation), but with a second kid and ski town economy, I'm selling houses now to help make ends meet. In my first desk job at 34 years old, it's odd and in some ways I'm a quitter as ski teacher (although I still am contracted to teach 3 days a week for the season for good wages), but the system has pushed me out. I love ski instruction (why else would I be hear browsing this community), and have spent most of my adult life doing it. It has pushed me in the past 13 years from teaching to managing (I always found it funny that the best instructors in most ski schools don't teach much, but supervise and run the schools It's backwards, as you get proficient, you stay in the office and the hobbiest teach the classes.) It then pushed me out of the school and out on my own (with the approval of local mountain management (but that is whole different story). And now into a totally unrelated field where I feel I can make a better living to support the growing family.

Anyway, that's my thoughts this evening on you quiery, IHTS. I still agree with Jonathan's high road, I just have trouble traveling it these days.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yeah, nice! I knew Ott would have some input on this one...

Seems like the attitude is one of "well, we don't get paid much, and we never will..." like as if it's the only thing we instructors have to complain about. We cling to it like a security blanket, so we'll always have subject matter for those therapeutic end of day bitch and moan sessions!

Y'know what, you don't HAVE to get paid "much" to make a decent living. Your formative years as an instructor should be viewed as your apprenticeship... that's a paid education! When I became a golf pro, that's how it was... I chose that 5 year apprentice program over "conventional" education and don't regret a single second of it. I got paid to learn in the real world, and also learned that maybe some jobs aren't as lucrative as others. But, I did the work, made the effort, and now after 15 years in that business, I can explore all kinds of options. One of them was becoming a ski instructor... in the Alberta Rockies climate I live in, the two seasons dovetail almost perfectly, although I now work for about 14 months a year!

Could our respective governing bodies package the certification process as an apprenticeship program, so that the low entry level wages are not seen as an impediment, but rather as a paid supplement to a dynamic education? Like any other business/education, it's survival of the fittest, but if the fittest become fitter, do not the less fit become fitter too via the "trickle down" effect?

So rather than "hiring" staff, the ski school director recruits apprentice instructors, signing them up for, say, a 3 year apprentice program during which they work at teaching, sessioning and attempt certification courses as part of their "job". Create more jobs as instructor trainers, create a better, more committed crop of front line instructor staff...? Create a "ski teacher's career college", as Ott alluded to? Is this just too much to imagine possible in this world? Will the piece of paper that says you have a "masters" degree in ski teaching ever mean enough to the mainstream world to make the skills gained as a ski or snowboard instructor truly transferrable to other occupations? How many people spend money on less than useful university degrees?

I know a few other ski instructors who are golf pros like I am. Others who work as rafting guides, landscapers, mountain bike guides. Sure, the money is not "great", but you're all aware of the benefits of these types of job.

Seems to me, this is a GREAT way to spend one's life. It might not be the wages that hold folks back from joining us, but the way the job is packaged.
post #20 of 29
I know you...or Bob..or someone's hit on this before.....just in coming from what nolo's talking about...maybe unionization for the ???..~80% of instructors (of certain levels)...then maybe you ~20% at a certain Level....can hit the bargaining table..from a continent-wide pool from a percentage set by the resort's previous season figures..?? ...(it's late...and I'm beginnin' to ramble... [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] )
post #21 of 29
Now Ott, I didn't say "My exchange with Ric was because of his contention that it is a sham to foist any but highly trained instructors on the skiing public which is paying a high price for a lesson."

What I am saying it's a sham to send people out to do a job you know they haven't been trained properly for. The industry needs new instructors. There is nothing wrong with sarting out, but give them proper training, not whatever you can fit in. And,,, this is the one that I think the ski industry has so much trouble with, only sell the amount of lessons you have trained instructors for. Turn people away rather than sendng out someone who isn't trained and ready. Saying no is the hardest damn thing a business has to do, but more often than not it's the smartest. From what I can tell, the reason ski schools can't say no is that they are one of the main cash cows for the areas. If this fact allows them to justify placing warm bodies in the lesson instead of someone trained to do the job, rookie or not, then yes, I think that's a sham. In the same way I think it's a sham for a contractor to hire warm bodies to build a house for their customers without giving them proper training and guidance. They do it because they don't want to lose that income.

Train your help!!! If they aren't trained, then don't send them out until they are. If you can't find good people to train, do the unthinkable and pay more money or other bennies that will attract good help. Hell I don't know, I always find myself sayng this, but why does the ski industry think it's so different from the rest of the world. Treat your employees poorly and you'll get poor employees. And training is definetly part of treating them right.

Maybe I'll never get it Ott. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #22 of 29
I have worked as a ski instructor at BM/BW.
The money I made just covered gas, PSIA, and my jacket expenses. I learned so much about my own skiing and acquired some teaching ability that it was worth it during my high school years. During college I gave it up. Between PSIA, equipment, gas etc, I wasn't going to make rent. By the time I left class, changed clothes, drove out, signed in, waited for my classes to meet, taught, etc. I'd spend six hours, three of which were on the clock, making $8 as a PSIA I. I could ski and teach at the Level II Cert, and usually taught advanced classes, but the $200+ fee for the next PSIA exam is not worth it. I would need a season and a half with the $2-3 wage raise to make up the diffrence for the exam. I just couldn't handle it. I gave it up. I now try to take a ski vacation once a year and hit a few odd week days or a Superbowl Sunday or something. Paying for lift tickets seem to let me spend more hours on the slopes free skiing than did teaching. I did love it though, My students always came back for more... Maybe I can do it again?
I am thinking that when I graduate College I'll buy an Airstream trailer and tow it out West and bum/teach for a season or two.
post #23 of 29
>>>Now Ott, I didn't say "My exchange with Ric was because of his contention that it is a sham to foist any but highly trained instructors on the skiing public which is paying a high price for a lesson."
What I am saying it's a sham to send people out to do a job you know they haven't been trained properly for.<<<

Sorry, Ric, when I paraphrased what you said I should have substituted 'properly trained' for 'highly trained'.

You and I are pulling on the same end of the rope, as are the other folks here, but you are more idealistic and talk about things that should be and I am talking about things as they are.

Your idea that a ski area management will turn potential lesson customer away because they think that their apprectices are not yet properly trained is wishful thinking. Your input is so valuable because you have experience as a manager in the building industry. It must be terrible to turn down a lucrative house building contract because you can't find enough properly trained help. I bet a lot of builders go to Manpower and pick up warm bodies and train them on the job.

nolo said it best when she mentioned that we rationalize. So be it.

When I became an instructor forty years ago, with a german accent and skiing skills beyond what the people from the flatlands around here had, it was conceived as a glamorous profession, we were featured in newspaper articles, photographed as ski clothes fashion models and generally wallowed in the glory.

Both my wife Ann and I did it for 25 years and it was a great experience but it was a second job, seasonal at that, and because of the ski area's long day, 9am-11pm, whatever hours I worked I could still teach.

As it stands now, in the same eight hour shift, the lift operator, the ticket seller and the concession stand worker will make more money that even a level-3 instructor. There was a lot of grumbling when highschool kids were hired as courtesy people, opening doors and greeting people as they arrived and they were paid $8 an hour for all the time the spent there while the level-1 instructor who spent the same ammount of time there was getting a couple of lessons at $8/hr. Instructor=$16, courtesy worker=$64.

Anyway, check in forty years from now, I don't think much will have changed much.

post #24 of 29
Just wanted to clarify,
my story story was not about taking the high road. (and I know that wasn't meant to slight my point of view). But my decision to go into the ski industry was and is a very selfish one.

I could have certain took the path to Corp America. I had job offers, and in hindsight could made a fortune before the bubble burst. But my desire to travel I-5, and drive 26 miles in an Hour and a half was over ridden my the prospect of skiing 100+ days per year. I also had a selfish desire to breathe Fresh Air rather than Air-Conditioned air, and see sunshine rather than flourecent light.

Get my handicap into the + handicap range; start a business that allow me to control my schedule, so that I may choose to teach skiing and Golf. And when it is no longer fun to teach others, I could focus on teaching and sharing with my children. Of course in the process I could help thousands of people achieve their skiing desires, if I was good enough and worthy enough to be their instructor of choice.

I have always believed, "If you help enough people get what they want, you could have anything that you want."

So really what I, and many of my true ski professional friends, have chosen is not a hobby or a career, but a lifestyle. And rather than complaining about pay (BTW, Vail benefits package is actually pretty decent), we chose to ask the question; "How can I make this work, form a plan, and then act on that plan." i.e. How can I be a millionaire, teach skiing and golf, invest time with my family, form a company that I may create leverage and live where I want to live in the way I want to live?

It is a selfish question I have been asking myself for sometime, and it is materializing. But faith is required (see below quote), and making choices to stay a path (not high, nor low) but definately NOT average.

thanks for reading,
post #25 of 29
Well said Jonathon.
post #26 of 29
Ott, I'm all to aware of how things are. I spent too many years in the trenches to ignore the way things are. Shortcomings are there to be changed. I never changed the building industry, but I did chose to run my business as best I could in a way that left my customers, myself, and my employees with a quite mind at the end of the day. We all have these choices. And I always stood shoulder to shoulder with my employees, through thick and thin. It's not rocket science, it's choices, just choices.
post #27 of 29
I did it full time in College, best few years of my life. But, things were different then. The job was fun, we had fun, but did our jobs well.

After moving to CO and getting a "real job" I tried doing the part time thing to stay in it. I enjoyed teaching and enjoyed the clinicing offered to instructors. The problem was, it bacame worse than a "real job". No time off on holidays to go see my family, ABOLUTELY NO FREE SKIING. This sucked bigtime! I quit instructing.

Now that I'm back into skiing again, I have the urge to teach again. The problem is from talking to those I still know in ski school here is everyone for the most part is unhappy. You teach part time on the weekends and they own you. You sit for hours waiting for lessons getting very little free skiing time. The ski school is referred to as "nazis". I work full time during the week, life is too short to deal with that on my 48 hours off.

There was a happy medium when I taught. The director was very cool, turned us loose every option she got. She knew if she expected us to keep in touch via radio, or check ins, we would do that. We never abused the privelege and we taught ALOT, more than most. We also free skied ALOT too. We didn't make any money, but had a blast doing it.

I would love to get back into it and am looking into what programs I can volunteer for. It would be nice to be in touch with on mountain reps for discounts, clinics to get my form back to 100% and help students along the way. So far, I've had no luck in the volunteer options.
post #28 of 29
Taylormat, I didn't know Seven Springs is that bad. No free skiing between lessons sucks big time. When Lars Skyling was director I would visit and often ski with instructors who were free skiing between lessons. In our area, smaller than yours, there are speakers with sound covering the whole hill and when someone is up they will page him/her. There is only hell to pay when a paged instructor is seen ducking on a lift for one more run after the page, save he is right at the chair and can't get out of the line.

If you don't need the money and you like a lot of free skiing join the ski patrol.

post #29 of 29
Originally posted by Ott Gangl:
Taylormat, I didn't know Seven Springs is that bad. No free skiing between lessons sucks big time. When Lars Skyling was director I would visit and often ski with instructors who were free skiing between lessons. In our area, smaller than yours, there are speakers with sound covering the whole hill and when someone is up they will page him/her. There is only hell to pay when a paged instructor is seen ducking on a lift for one more run after the page, save he is right at the chair and can't get out of the line.

If you don't need the money and you like a lot of free skiing join the ski patrol.

After Lars left, things went downhill at the Springs.

I know all about BM and the speakers. I grew up skiing there, in fact I'm from Uniontown myself. It's not really about the free skiing, I want to teach again, but not with all the hassles that are going on up here. If it's not fun, why do it part time?

I can see how it's gotten so bad though, we had and most likely still do have alot of kids with no responsibilty taking the jobs. It just sucks that the "good instructors" who show up on time, respect that they are there to teach and abide by the rules are getting the shaft. It's just not the way it used to be up there and not looking real appealing to me.

You probably knew of Mary that ran the old Sunbowl there too? THat's where I worked. I think the Spring's #1 mistake was turning that bowl into a tubing park. That was perfect for teaching.
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