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instructors and tipping

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
is this something expected? i guess i would find it hard to spend $75 bucks for three hour group lesson then have to tip, but if i need to i will. thanks for the info
post #2 of 36
In Oz - no....

in other parts of the world though I think the wages are falsely low in the expectation that tips will be paid...
post #3 of 36
Hello Eyedoc-
Allow me to welcome you to the most fun about skiing on the internet! (If you haven't been welcomed already!)

Use the search feature, and I think you'll find this topic has been visited on several occasions.

A delicate subject, it has drawn replies from both sides of the issue.

But in the end, the final decision will always be yours.

post #4 of 36
If you knew how little your instructor made perhaps you would. But, that would depend on the quality of the lesson.

There is a good possibility that the instructor has made substaintally less you think ($6 to $7) per hour and gets paid by the actual lesson hour, not from the time they punch in.

97% of the instructors (inside Bear joke ... 97% of anything), don't do it for the money. I used to tip the cost of a lunch in the lodge.
post #5 of 36
Yuki's right!

Ski instructor pay is VERY low compared to what the average person taking a lesson thinks. While the small area I teach at pays us $10 per lesson (hour), they take it back, sometimes even more, if we buy food or go to the lounge. I only teach Sat and Sun, I usually get 2-3 lessons per day. I definately do not do it for the money and I am not giving up my day job, that's for sure.
post #6 of 36
Considering the cost of lunch on mountain, that's a LOT!

Tipping is good. Especially now.
post #7 of 36
I've been lurking here for awhile, but this topic interests me a bit because it is similar to a problem in the dive industry, which I'm more familar with.
Tipping is ALWAYS at the discretion of the guest, and to be honest the fact the instructor gets so little of the overall cost of the lesson isn't the guest's problem. However, it is always good to "educate" guests on the realities of the system. That can be difficult for an instructor who is working. So sometimes it is up to the guests! As a guest, I like to give my tips at strategic times. For instance, last time I took a full day lesson I tipped my instructor at the lunch break. Why, because half the class was only taking a half day lesson and I could tell they didn't know a tip would be appreciated. Once they saw me tip (and I made sure they saw me tip!) they reached in and tipped as well. It took a moment for the instuctor to figure out why I was tipping before the end of my lesson, but he certainly appreciated it! Most of these guys work very hard and deserve a little extra!
post #8 of 36
Oh yeah, and add all I said above to the fact that they do not supply us with our instructor's jacket, we have to buy it. Likewise with equipment(though one would not expect them to do this) and we are expected to keep it current and right up to date.
post #9 of 36
I always tip and the amount varies. I have no idea how much is appropriate, but the instructors always seem grateful. How much I tip varies depending on whether it's a group or private lesson, and the quality of the lesson.

One note here...I don't think that the general skiing public knows that instructor's are, in general, poorly paid compared to the price of the lesson. If they did, I think more people would tip. I've had group lessons where I've given the instructor a tip and some of the other students looked at me like I was crazy. I am, but not in that regard.
post #10 of 36

Gratuity: A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.


As has been previously stated - it's at the client's discretion.

I think that most folks don't even think about tipping - as in it doesn't occur to them.

Sometimes I get free lessons (it's popular in ski and stay packages at resorts). In this instance I always tip $5-10 (90 minute group lessons). I got the lesson for free and I know how hard instructors work is my thinking on this. (Skiing is an expensive sport - but really... what is $5?)

I have gotten my fair share of tips. It surprising to me that they are generally a $20 - I am always blown away by this sum. Of course, it's greatly appreciated, but I do think it's A LOT.

Do you suppose it's because that's the denomination that comes out of ATM machines?

I have also thought that it might be that people don't know how much to tip and don't want to seem cheap.

It's a thank you. A generous thank you. Give it when you feel it.

post #11 of 36
When the fat lady sings, we don't do what we do for money or "tips". The look of triumph that a skier gets when they have navigated their first green, blue or black slope is what it is all about!!!!! If you want to get rich sell real estate and be miserable. if money matters that much, get a job in the big city.
post #12 of 36
Where is Jimmy Hoffa when we need him? Until some of you mentioned it, I didn't realize how badly I was getting screwed on pay. I think we should stage the Million Instructor March.

Seriously though, tipping is most often times a result of where you teach and who you teach. My first ski area was a midwest destination resort that attracted a huge Chicago contingent. It was almost unheard of for someone not to tip. Then instructors stopped building customers for life. They would just kick students loose wherever on the hill and say "see ya". The Pros still made good coin. On a day of teaching 5 one hour privates, $80 in tips was not uncommon. The last year I taught there I made double my pay in tips.

Many customers desire to tip but don't want an awkward situation to try to do it. Try this if you can:

1)Always return children (especially private lessons) directly to the parents in a spot where you can take 5 minutes to talk about the lesson and give encouraging feedback to the parents.

2)Finish lessons in a spot where you can take a relaxed moment to do a recap. Wherever the students can take a break, unbuckle, and loosen up. It's hard to reach for the wallet on the side of a double black bump run.

3)Exceed expectations and invite them back.

4)Buy some business cards and develop repeat and referral business.

It may seem simple, but I'm amazed at how many instructors don't get it right. Tipping is not based on random chance, but on common sense customer service. I admit, the right ski area and clientele doesn't hurt, but there is a big difference between a $5 tip and a $50 one.
post #13 of 36
You paid $75 for that 3 hr lesson but the $15 or $20 your instructor was paid may be all he was paid for the day.
post #14 of 36
how do you tip a ski instructor? I mean how do you actually give the money? : The waiter is easy, just leave money on the table. You push some money in the bell boy's hand, it is expected (hollywood has solved that problem for us). I have been in group clases that went for a drink after the lesson, and split the cost of the instructor's drinks, but to tell you the truth, the thought of just handling a 5$ bill makes me uneasy [img]redface.gif[/img] , and a 20$ tip for one lesson (that probably costs 40-50 $) is over my budget.
post #15 of 36
Originally posted by psy:
how do you tip a ski instructor? I mean how do you actually give the money? :
Maybe this isn't the correct way to handle it, but I just thank him/her for their time and effort and hand them the money. I prepare for it before hand by having some cash in a pocket that is easily accessable. I think that if the instructor has to stand there while I dig through my pockets to locate my wallet and then dig through my wallet to find cash, it would create an awkward situation. I guess until someone tells me otherwise, I'll continue to do it this way because it seems to work for me. Again, the instructor always seems appreciative so I guess it works.
post #16 of 36
How to tip and how much?

I usually have the money ready beforehand so I don't have to dig around .... if you don't feel it's appropriate ... just don't dig it out. My "line" is hey thanks and lemmie buy you lunch or a beer (offering to shake hand).

Since so few tip here in the metro area I have learned to accept the (rare) $20 without flinching. As I said before, I don't do this for the money but it is nice to defray equipment costs. A five is nice too .... I am just honored that you even thought of it .... the sum is academic.
post #17 of 36
When I started teaching 12 years ago, I got paid less than minimum wage. This was justified by the percs, and the fact that we could earn tips, as fair. 12 yrs. latter, I make slightly above minimum wage per teaching hr. I see a tip maybe once or twice a season because we are a day trip area. The most frequent tips actually come out of privates. Interesting as I actually get paid more for the private (and the customer is paying more), that the money comes from there. Conversly, when someone in group hands me $5, I'm tickled pink just because it means I'm worth something to that person. It makes an instructor feel good.

If your instructor is worth something to you than please show it. You could just make that person's week for them, and it doesn't have to be much.
post #18 of 36
I'll never forget one particular tip...

I had just spent 2 hours working with a couple of young children, a boy and a girl, 6 and 7 yrs old respectively. They were beginners, and we had a really fun time. They picked it up rather quickly, and it made for a great afternoon.

When the lesson was over, we met Mom down at the bottom of the hill. We chatted for a few minutes about what they had done, and what their next step should be. Though it was the end of a long day, I was really energized by these two little rascals!

Just before I walked away, I high-fived both of them, and wished them fun the next day. As I turned, I saw the kids go running to their mother.

I had probably gotten 30-40 yds away when I heard the kids shout my name. I turned back to find them running after me. They came up to me together, and said they had something for me. They each handed me a one dollar bill, and said thanks for a fun afternoon, and for helping them learn to ski. I could tell by how they said it, that their thanks had not been coached by their mother. It was really something from the heart.

I knelt down, gave them both a hug, and told them how much I enjoyed skiing with them. So as to not embarrass them, I accepted the $2, with sincerity.

The next day, as I was teaching again on the beginner hill, every time they would pass me and my student, they would scream out my name, go racing by, and show off their latest skill discovery.

That $2 represented the beginning of two new skiers. I never saw them again, but I hope they are still skiing. No doubt I will never forget them, or their very heartfelt tip!

post #19 of 36
I usually think of a group of kids I had for semi-private lessons. After the first lesson, I was repeatedly requested by them for the remainder of the week. They were great kids, full of fun, as most kids are. They must have been of middle eastern or perhaps Pakistani descent, names like Hamid etc. The mother had a fearsome mustache, always tipped me generously, which was great. What I remember, though. was that mom always averted her eyes when handing me the cash. I found that odd, a cultural thing maybe, but I can appreciate the awkwardness of being in that position. Most of the time the tipper is not the student's mother but someone who is more or less a peer.
post #20 of 36
I did not realize how cheap people can be till reading this string. I'm not much of a skier, but enjoy taking privates and generally just figured 10% was fair. Never had a bad instructor.

Ya'll should ask for me on the slopes. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #21 of 36
well Ric... I like your $2 story. My initial reaction was ...

"I want my two dollars....."

can anyone name that movie???

post #22 of 36
"I want my two dollars....."

can anyone name that movie???

Better Off Dead.

P.S. VSP. Looking forward to ETU. I got my two bucks at the ready. Of course, I do expect the hug!
post #23 of 36
hahaha... you're gonna pay me 2 bucks for a hug? do I look that cheap? DAMN!
post #24 of 36
Originally posted by kieli:
hahaha... you're gonna pay me 2 bucks for a hug? do I look that cheap? DAMN!
Now,now kieli, do you really want an answer to that question?
post #25 of 36
Originally posted by cio457:
I did not realize how cheap people can be till reading this string. I'm not much of a skier, but enjoy taking privates and generally just figured 10% was fair. Never had a bad instructor.

Ya'll should ask for me on the slopes. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
You've been very lucky. There are plenty of sh!theads out there who've wasted my time and money. Also, don't brand people cheap, no one has to tip a dime if they don't feel it was deserved, and most day skiers have already shelled out over $100 for their lift and lesson and simply don't have the means. And don't you dare say "Then they shouldn't be skiing".

But when I do get a skilled and attentive instructor (which is most of the time), I consider 10% standard. If it's an all day clinic with a lunch break, I encourage the group to take care of his lunch as well.
post #26 of 36
arcadie: You paid $75 for that 3 hr lesson but the $15 or $20 your instructor was paid may be all he was paid for the day.
OK, so we know how lousy instructor's pay is, but it is truly not the general public's problem. People cannot be expected to tip because the instructor makes so little. If you want to legitimize this job, tips have to become icing on the cake, not the cake.

For tips, the thing that really matters is the quality of service. If the instructor was nice, helpful and attentive then give a tip. Don't tip (or withhold tip) based on the product. Concentrate on the service. If the food is so-so, but the waiter is really nice, give a tip for the effort. If the lesson is so-so, but the instructor is nice and makes a genuine effort, reward it.

That is my tip of the day.
post #27 of 36
When I get poor service in a restaurant, I leave a pathetic tip ... something like .35 cents. It sends a message that I didn't forget to tip, this is what the service was worth. If you leave nothing on the table the idiot will just figure that you forgot.

I guess that that is a bit "in your face" .... to hand an instructor a dime .... unless you preface it with "Here, to help defray the phone costs during your quest for meaningful employment." [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

[ November 24, 2003, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #28 of 36

That'd have to be one AWFUL lesson to hit him with a move like that!

And FYI, I've done that move in a restaurant. Once. She was a real a$$.
post #29 of 36
Originally posted by kieli:

I have gotten my fair share of tips. It surprising to me that they are generally a $20 - I am always blown away by this sum. Of course, it's greatly appreciated, but I do think it's A LOT.

Do you suppose it's because that's the denomination that comes out of ATM machines?
If so, instructors at Snowbird must do really well - Snowbird ATMs only give out money in increments of $50!
post #30 of 36
Ski or Skiing Magazine had an article about three years ago regarding some of the tips that instructors had recieved one instructor got ..... : get ready ...

A condo and an SUV .... his mentor wanted him to be comfortable and ready ... the SUV was so the he never had to worry about making it to the mountain on request. And ........ if the guy just wanted a golf partner he would take him to the islands on his jet .... all billed by the hour (presumably through the ski school).

Now does that $20 gravure of Jackson still make you feel all warm and runny? [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] .... or :

[ November 24, 2003, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: yuki ]
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