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ski school changing the lesson

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
In another forum

TheIceMan, wrote

I went skiing today. A couple on the lift were talking about being cheated by the ski school.

They dropped their kid off for a 1 1/2 hour beginners group class, which gave the two of them some time to go off and ski expert terrain together.
No one else showed up for the beginners class, and 1/2 hour after the starting time the instructor took their kid out for his first run. They questioned him about that, and he told them that the class would only be 1 hour, and it had been converted into a private class, since no one else showed up for the group class, and they would have to pay more for the private class.
It was their opinion that the school had no right to change the duration and cost of the class the way they did.

As someone who does not work in ski school, I would find that pratice distasteful.

I just spent two days at Sugarloaf, last month. When I checked in the front desk told me that my room came with a group lesson every day. The first day there were 7 of us the second day there was 2 of us in the lesson. We still skied with the same insturctor for 1 1/2 hours for the same cost, which I consider free. I will say the Insturctor (Rocky) was very good.

How do you instructors feel, or anyone else?
post #2 of 14
At our ski school, group lessons are 1.5 hours. If you are the only one in your group, the lesson will be shortened to 1 hour, and you will essentially have a private lesson, but you won't have to pay any extra.

Those are great lessons to give; the guest is very happy to get a "private" for the group price, and the instructor is happy to be able to give personal attention to the guest. It's especially exciting for those of us who don't regularly teach privates. In these situations (which are fairly rare), I sometimes find myself accidentally giving an hour and a half lesson anyway, just because we're having so much fun. Oops, did I just admit that in public?
post #3 of 14
What is it about TheIceMan? Is he some kind of collector of stories about negative ski experiences? Maybe he should try golf.

post #4 of 14
At our mountain, a group is an hour and a half also...regardless of whether there is one student or 10. Same price, same length. Sometimes the students get lucky and basically get a private or semi private 1.5 hour lesson for $22 as opposed to a one hour private for $50.

I've taught quite a few "group" lessons this year with only 2 students. Never a single student myself, but I've seen it happen.

It's bad business IMHO to change the rate/time because only one student showed for the scheduled group lesson.
post #5 of 14
As a lawyer, speaking informally, if the ski school accepted money from students to teach a "group lesson" for a scheduled duration then there is a legally enforceable contract in place. Thus, the ski school is held bound by the contractual terms -- 1.5 hour lesson at X time. Now, the contract may have included provisions that if X amount of students do not show up then it will be cancelled, shortened, converted to private at $Y expense -- then it is legit, but probably unwise from a business standpoint.

At our hill, groups are, from time to time, converted to semi-privates when there is low demand for instruction.
post #6 of 14
At my mountain, upper level skiers will usually end up in a one person "group," and when that happens I sometimes shorten the lesson to one hour. I think at least some of them expect a private lesson for the group price. I've actually had repeat "private" lessons that way. I think $25 for an hour with a full cert instructor is pretty good deal.
It's different with small kids where there is a custody issue, of course.

post #7 of 14
Sugarbowl advertises on the website as well as in the brochure that Group lessons with 2 or less students will be converted to a 1 hour semi-private or private at no extra cost. In the mornings if this happens we ask the customer first and also give them the option to wait until the afternoon for the next group lesson. Our group lessons are "advertised as 2 hour's" but in reality they really are about 1 hr 45 min provided we start on time and the price is 40.00

A private is 90.00/hr. If you purchase 2 hrs or more the price per hour does drop. It's a screwy calculation so I won't go into it.

Like most resorts we have "specials" like early AM lessons and Late PM lessons.

Full package (equip/lifts/lesson) prices are very cheap too. 75.00 for the first day (learn to ski) and 55.00 if you return for the "learn to ski" package. This 55.00 rate is good until you are ready to get off the beginner's and low intermediate lifts.

Our group lessons only go out at 10:00 and 1:00
post #8 of 14
At my mountain, group lessons are 1.5 hrs, as long as there are 3 or more students. With only 1 or 2, the lesson only runs an hour. The price doesn't change.

I happen to be friends with the SS director at Huntah, and will be liteally in his neighborhood on Sunday and Thursday next week. He used to be my SS director and is a really great guy. I'll try to find him and ask him about thier policy.

I'm no lawyer, nor do I play one on tv, but I would agree with Benjamin, that you have a contract, and nothing in the contract (not at my area anyway) mentions anything about minimum group sizes.

I will, on occasion (it's been a few years since I've done this) take a "group" lesson either by myself, or with another instructor, when I go on vacation. Other than me (and friend), we have never had anyone else in our class, and generally, the ski school will give us the best instructor they have, or in some cases one of their supervisors. I like doing this in Canada because CSIA sometimes has slightly different philosophies and methods than PSIA, and I like to see that stuff. Plus, those guys make great mountain guides.
post #9 of 14

I feel what happened was not only distasteful and a bad business practice, but also legally indefensible.

My resort is similar to Sue's regarding group lessons being shortened from 90 minutes to 60 when there are only 1 or 2 people.

It's funny because a couple of years ago, our marketing department tried to address this issue and changed the brochures to indicate that lessons were 60 minutes long and later "a minimum" of 60 minutes. So, of course we started having trouble with parents looking for their kids after 60 minutes. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #10 of 14
If the story is true, who would pay extra after the initial payment and how could they force you to do so? I guess if you paid on a credit card they could charge you.

I would raise hell if they tried to pull that crap and not pay unless they showed me in writing where it states those terms.

I took a lesson at Sugarbush and almost had it all to ourselves but had a third join at the last minute. I wonder if they would have cut it down to an hour if it was only two of us.
post #11 of 14
This situation is only distasteful because it wasn't disclosed when the person bought the ticket. I agree about the implied contract stuff.

We used to shorten to an hour if only one student showed up, but now we go the full 1 3/4 hours. (We get paid for two). From the instructor point of view, I'd much rather teach, and get paid for, the second hour than go back to line-up and wait and maybe not teach.

Sure, the SS doesn't make as much money but they don't complain when I take 15 never-evers out.

Let's hear if for full disclosure. Remember the old Holiday Inn commercials about no surprises?

post #12 of 14
My mountain is similar. One and a half hours if it's over 4 people, 1 hour for a small group. My kid received many "private" lessons at a group price because she was a good skiier and a little kid so she didn't fit into any groups. We've been fortunate enough to have this happen at other mountains also.

I did run into a mountain that has since been bought by a conglomerate, that sold a lesson to a never ever (aka ME) and then told my boy friend (who paid for the lesson) that there weren't going to be any more lessons that day, but keep the lesson ticket for another day. He was too concerned about trying to make sure the girlfriend liked skiing to stand and argue and he hoped he'd be able to use the paid lesson in the future (never did).
post #13 of 14
I've heard of lessons being shortened if only one person shows up, but I've never heard of being charged more.
post #14 of 14
At Smugglers' Notch, if a guest buys a ticket for a 1.5 hour group lesson, and if the group turns out to be only that guest, then we give a 1.5 hour lesson to that person (who has already paid at group rates).

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I can't imagine giving less or charging more. A deal's a deal - and it's good business.

Same applies to a group of two, which doesn't happen frequently but does occur more often than the single guest at a group lesson.
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