Nolo – It was a very good article overall and your comments “I think it is bad business” ring very true. You went on to say “Cutting investment in quality to improve the bottom line is only going to hurt the ski teaching professional and the resorts” does not ring true. I am assuming you really believe the ski industry, spending millions of dollars to purchase groomers and high-speed lifts etc., really wants to cut investment in quality and therefore reduce the return on those million dollar investments. I cannot imagine that is true. I would believe there is some ignorance on everyone’s part when it comes to the ski industry and the decisions they are making and I include myself in that equation. We have had this discussion before so I won’t belabor the issue except to say the ski industry is not has not and would not destroy millions upon millions of dollars of investment to gain a short term return on their investment. The problem including poor wages of snow sports instructors, lifties etc. is much more complicated than to say improve quality and pay more. However I do strongly agree snow sports instructors and others are poorly compensated for what is expected of them and the industry should improve the average quality of life so the retention rate of personnel is much longer. The pool is slowly drying up!
I have a solution for everyone. All, and I truly mean all subsidies given to the snow sports industry should be stopped tomorrow. No free water, forestlands, special tax exemptions, absolutely nothing. The fittest will survive and the others will die. The market will then be healthy for everyone left albeit possibly smaller and the mountains a little more crowded. You see we need to understand ski areas are not in the snow sports business they are like insurance companies that are now hurting too. They collect money – through the ski area i.e. cash - and invest it in other ways. They do not concentrate on what we believe is their core competency, which we think is snow sports. It is not! Their core competency is investing of which snow sports are a vehicle, and not the only vehicle, to obtain a return on their investment for themselves and their shareholders. Consequently their interests are not and never will be the same as ours unless that vehicle suddenly takes from the gathering of cash. You might even call it a pyramid scheme.
Also in the same magazine was an article “Get Better! 9 Clinics That Really Work”. “Skiing is not an easy sport……..” but if you will take these $2,600 clinics you will get better and guess what many have been coming back for YEARS. Is this really what Ski should be telling our customers? Cancel my subscription NOW!
Nolo do not think I am picking on you or your comments because that is not my intention. As long as there are people to fill the jobs for the pay they will hire them. They know as I know that pay does not equate to quality or we wouldn’t have many of the good teachers we do. Raising their pay may improve their quality of life and the retention period but it will not by a large measure improve the pool available or the quality of the pool. By a large measure that is not what individuals working in the snow sports industry are all about and they know that. I hate reality!
Have a Great day!