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Pay issues - Page 2

post #31 of 55
Pierre, since I'm not in the ski school loop anymore I don't know what privileges have been cut but the grapevine keeps me up to the worst of them. I know they want to cut ski instructors and hire more snowboard instructors, that free passes will be restricted, and more.

But please, abandoning the area by the likes of you is not the answer. There is always some deadwood that needs to be culled I just don't know if that is the criteria for reducing the staff.

A mediocre instructor who is competent to teach the school kids and shows up every day may be more important to the ski school than the upper crust instructor who comes and goes at his/her pleasure.

....Ott
post #32 of 55
I’ve been working part time as a ski instructor since 1992. I returned this year after a three-year hiatus. I do it because I enjoy teaching people to ski. I also like skiing with high level skiers and the training is not too shabby either.
If you’re interested in making more money take a look at this article from TPS. Some good stuff in there.

[ February 06, 2004, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: BillA ]
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
Ott I think you might be right about the pay cuts. We have just undegone our third substantial cut in perks this year as of Feb 1 under the new ownership.
I've been teaching at Whistler - part-time - for 9 years & every year they change the pay system. Example, my 1st year, if you had 25 req hours in a month, you make the A+ list & your pay goes up substantially - retroactively. The next year, they remove the retro part, so your pay increase the next month. Being part-timer, I worked at christmas & new year, but not much in January, so it does me no good. This would affect the full-timers as well because january is a slower month.

Since intrawest took over, its been worst. Anybody work at a intrawest resort?

R.
post #34 of 55
As a pt Level III I have never worried much about pay, I am just there to be more connected to skiing, improve my own skiing and being around others that enjoy the sport. However, it has been my experience recently that the administration expects you to treat the job as a full timer. I am there to help people enjoy the sport and enjoy myself, but I am not going to bust my but for $7 an hour. Yes this is what I was being paid.

Also, Ott unfortunately I wish I was an independent contrator, then at least I could take a loss for the year, but we are treated as employees with no benefits.
post #35 of 55
TTF, I don't really know what to say, except that 'management' knows there are many part timers out there who will do the job for nothing or at a loss and and they take advantage of it.

I do suspect that there is a law that if you are carried on the employees roster that you must be given the minimum benefits.

On a related note, I was just told that the new management at our areas will require the National Ski Patrol volunteers to purchase a season ticket to allow them to volunteer as patrol next year. The patrol members expect a mass exodus.

....Ott
post #36 of 55
Ott: I'd be the first one out the door if I had to buy a pass.

Under the old rules we would get our jacket after renting it for three years, now the rumor is that they will "recycle" our jackets over to the maintenance department. I spoke with a couple of folks from my old hill and their comment was that they were gone at the end of the season .... had to buy their jackets and aren't going to do it again.
post #37 of 55
The latest scam I have become aware of is a (major)nearby area that is attempting to recruit "volunteers" to teach during the lucrative February school vacation week. They will not be considered as employees, ie no pay, no workman's comp. etc, but instead compensated with vouchers which they will be able to redeem for lift tickets. I can only wonder at the legality, or possible illegality of this. New Hampshire's labor laws semm to be pretty much non-existent but the ski area operates on a lease on National Forest on at least part of its operation so some federal statutes may come into play, beyond what a business might ordinarily get away with. I can't imagine the personal liability implications for the volunteer instructor in this scheme though.

Bottom line is that, if enough people are willing to act as ski instructors for what ski areas are willing to pay, or not pay, them and, if the public is willing to buy what is offered, then the current ridiculous situation will continue. Probably only consumer demand will alter the situation, and I don't see that happening.
post #38 of 55
Ski patrollers buying tickets and Instructors buying uniforms. I wonder does Walmart charge for their aprons yet?

Sad very sad for all concerned. Consider that the ski business was built on so many hours of goodwill by so many ordinary everyday dedicated people.
post #39 of 55
My motivations for teaching part-time are:

I have taken quite a few lessons and have experienced
a wide range of personalites and talents. I know what I expect
out of a lesson and want to use that to help others learn to ski. I enjoyed the lessons and wanted to experience teaching.

Others:

to improve my own skiing through training and clinics
meet new people (not necessarily customers but others who work on the mountain)
benefts - pass, locker, pro deals etc.

I disagree that the number of part-time people drive the pay rate down for full time people. Most people teach skiing because they love the sport. As long as you have people willing to teach skiing, the resorts can pay instructors what they want. As far as the part-timers working, we are at the bottom of the priority list so there are many days when we show up and do not work.
I am not complaining. I knew what the situation was going in and on days I don't work, I am happy to go ski.

I have had a great time this season. I have skied in some good clinics, met many nice people and learned how much I don't know about skiing. It is a blast.
post #40 of 55
Arcadie, that situation that you described is absolutely outrageous! Would you be willing to send me a PM and let me in on which area this is?

I can guess, anyway, based on what you said about National Forest land. This volunteer arrangement can't be happening under the sanction of the ski school, can it? The ski schools at the major New Hampshire areas have always had more pride and professionalism than to utilize untrained and unpaid instructors (regardless of how crappy the pay may have been) to serve their clients. I cannot imagine the liability insurance carrier allowing this, either.

Will the students be paying full price for their lessons? If so, that must make the regular certified instructors in the ski school feel very appreciated.

In a perfect world, PSIA-E would refuse to hold any more of its events at an area that has so much blatant disregard for professional ski instructors that it would participate in such an insult. In a perfect world.
post #41 of 55
David,

If this was happening at my resort, my first reaction would be that I would not care how the volunteers were "paid" because getting help to avoid large groups would be a major relief. My second reaction would be a point of pride and some concern that about the quality of the volunteers, but at my area there are enough former instructors around that could do a decent job that I would not rule out this approach solely on the quality issue. You're going to suffer lower quality either way from large groups or temp instructors.

Note that there are many resorts that bring on temporary help. The big issue here is how it's done.

With regards to the legality of the approach at this specific resort, it is most certainly legal to "pay" volunteers with vouchers, except that they then become employees, independent contractors or participants in a barter exchange. Barter in leiu of cash for services is certainly legal, but the resort would need to treat the fair value of the labor as income. Since they can deduct the fair market value of the vouchers as expenses, if they misreport this in their accounting/taxes it's usally a net wash and not worth a government entitiy's time to chase after this. I suspect that there is a threshold value where barter is ruled out and the exchange must be treated as an employee or contractor relationship. If there is such a threshold, it's probably high enough that the "volunteers" would fall under it.
post #42 of 55
As a recipient of all your munificence I would just like to say thank you and WOW i did not realise you were forced quite so close to the breadline!

Maybe I should have plucked up my courage to ask my instructor out for a meal...

even if only so she had at least one decent meal that week!
post #43 of 55
Fraggle: If I took into account all of my expenses and really wrote them down, I'd probably hang it up in a heart beat.

I now have to "rent" my jacket ... at the last hill I had to buy it ... but I won't own it at the end of three years, they keep it.

PSIA dues .. and events to stay current ..

Equipment hacked by the beginners ..

I never make enough to meet the gas and road tolls for the day.
post #44 of 55
Close to $200 last year for First Tracks & dues
Over 100 miles roundtrip to/from the mountain plus tolls
Jacket was $90
PSIA books....about $50
Only paid while teaching..about $6/hour
Didn't take a level yet,...couldn't afford it
My new skis are chewed up by beginners

Even without the PSIA expense, I don't breakeven on my gas/toll costs. My mountain barely clinics so that motivation is gone. There will be a new jacket next year to buy, so there goes the entire year's earnings on that.

Yes I love the sport and I love teaching children, but I have a kid headed for college and I'm having a problem justifying paying all this money for a "job".
post #45 of 55
Quote:
Originally posted by KOB:
Close to $200 last year for First Tracks & dues
Over 100 miles roundtrip to/from the mountain plus tolls
Jacket was $90 ...
Compare those numbers with what you would pay to ski (say) 15 days per year at your home area if you weren't an instructor. Be sure to compare apples to apples, and include things like no discounts for dependent's lift tickets, un-discounted food, a few high level lessons per season for yourself, etc.

The travel $$$ are probably a wash since you always have to pay for this to get the mountain, even for personal skiing.

In the plus column, add in the health and psychological benefits to being "forced" to participate several times per week in a healthy outdoor activity during the winter.

Next, add in the stimulation of meeting lots of new people (both other staff members as well as students), and helping the students learn something new and have fun.

While you may not even break even instructing, the token pay and the perks certainly help tip the scales in my personal comparison of instructing vs not instructing. OTOH, if you are a rookie part timer at a small area, you certainly aren't going to pay the bills by teaching.

Tom / PM

PS - You can also probably take out the PSIA event fee, dues and book $$$ since they aren't absolutely necessary to teach.
post #46 of 55
Yes, I love having a PSIA card in my wallet, walking into the instructor's room and standing next to some nice people for 15 minutes a day. But it's getting hard. I'm not looking to make money, just want to come somewhere close to not draining the families finances for the privilege of working.

My mountain is in the Poconos, not a major resort. Most of the clients are small children & I have the advantage over most instructors of not getting grossed out when I'm handed a used kleenex. I get one run a day that's not skied in a wedge,if I'm lucky. That's about 10 minutes of skiing in an 8 hr day. Season tickets purchased in the summer are about the same as one jacket, PSIA dues and two books. I had a season pass here for years.

The ski industry is an industry and this is a job. Jobs are suppose to pay, not cost. I'd be willing to eat the gas costs, but paying for the jacket and PSIA certs is expensive. Yes, I can do this without caring about training. Maybe it's because I came to skiing late in life or I'm just anal retentive, but I don't like having to teach without having the skills to do it. Therefore, I've paid for books and dues with PSIA. Last year I didn't have a single clinic & this year I was lucky enough to spend 15 minutes with one of the experianced instructors. Of course this is an issue with my mountain, not the industry. Each year, I go to another mountain and pay to take lessons.

I've been teaching for three years and I'm finally getting good at it. My problem is that this job is a drain on my finances. Since my husband teaches also, I don't have the benefit of free passes. My main benefit is unreimbursed job expenses on my income tax. My accountant cringes when I submit my expenses vs. income from teaching.
post #47 of 55
Darn, I just reread my post and this is getting depressing. I'm going to pack my bag, wax my skis, take my ibuprophen (I did say I was over 40) and go teach. There are runny nose children waiting to advance from wobbling to carving.

I will proudly stand next to the other minimum wage earners in our cute jackets and dream that next year's jacket will be even more nifty looking and not as expensive as this one. If I'm lucky, I can snag another few minutes of clinicing from one of them and someday, if I use a year's wages I can be a level I.

The accountant can sweat the details.
post #48 of 55
That's exactly what it is, although "educational organization" might be more accurate than "technical organization". I don't believe that PSIA has ever claimed to be anything else nor attempted to be anything else.

It is not within the traditional scope of PSIA's mission to become involved in compensation or working condition issues. It does not demand collective bargaining between members and ski area employers. Unlike many "professional associations", PSIA does not lobby the Federal or state governments for legislation favorable to the ski industry or instructors. It does not work with health and workers comp insurers or with investment firms to create benefits packages and pension funds for members. It does not provide legal services or professional liability insurance for its members. (probably a good thing)

It also doesn't ask it's members in Colorado walk off their jobs in support of their brothers and sisters in (hypothetically) Vermont who are at odds with their ski area over teaching hours or cafeteria discounts.
post #49 of 55
We the pin holders pay the dues. We support the organization (PSIA).

The hill reaps the benefits of the money WE pay to attend events to "maintain OUR professionalism".

My pay hardly (80% of the time), covers gas much less dues, equipment, uniforms, and events.

Wh can't they work for us if we pay the salaries of the PSIA folks.

I know many who have quit .... I run in the red every year ....
post #50 of 55
So, is PSIA's role simply that of a technical organization? It doesn't look like they're looking out for the wellfare of their membership besides making sure they're trained and kept current (which is a great thing, although it costs even more to the participants).

YA
post #51 of 55
Perhaps the PSIA, as an "educational organization" is more intimately tied to the Ski Industry, thus precluding them being effective as to issues of pay, labor organization, and the like? If the principal executives of PSIA are intimately connected with the Ski Industry then we could expect little more. I've not idea whether such link exists but am positing it as a potential explanation.

However, true consipiracies are rare. It's more likely that PSIA is stuck in its educational outlook rather than realizing that it may need to be more expansive in its mission as a membership organization.

For those of us discontent with the equitable structure of ski employment, our remedy is to rise in the ranks of PSIA to achieve such change.

Onward,

Ben

Quote:
Originally posted by David7:
That's exactly what it is, although "educational organization" might be more accurate than "technical organization". I don't believe that PSIA has ever claimed to be anything else nor attempted to be anything else.

It is not within the traditional scope of PSIA's mission to become involved in compensation or working condition issues. It does not demand collective bargaining between members and ski area employers. Unlike many "professional associations", PSIA does not lobby the Federal or state governments for legislation favorable to the ski industry or instructors. It does not work with health and workers comp insurers or with investment firms to create benefits packages and pension funds for members. It does not provide legal services or professional liability insurance for its members. (probably a good thing)

It also doesn't ask it's members in Colorado walk off their jobs in support of their brothers and sisters in (hypothetically) Vermont who are at odds with their ski area over teaching hours or cafeteria discounts.
post #52 of 55
Thread Starter 
Take a look at the PSIA board. Most of the upper ups are on the management side of the equation. These guys are assured there pay check and bonus programs. Some of the other directors are part time with really cool jobs and teach part time. If you look at the original posting I am surprised that the main point has been missed. I know the job is fun and the status is neat, but why not a decent buck for the line level employee! Still the ranks of low or no paid volunteers are there. I wouldn’t accept having to rent my uniform form the ski area. The average private instructor creates some where of about fifty to seventy thousand dollars of revenue each year. The instructor is darn lucky to make twelve thousand dollars per season. On top of this the cost of living is on par with any big city in the major resorts. Where is the justice? Where’s the love? It is no wonder the turn over is so high. The only person really getting hurt is the consumer. And this is apparent in the numbers at most ski schools. Whets the answer lets look at other countries. Regulated pay scales set by government ( I am not for this at all!!!). Many smaller ski schools competing for the same slice of pie.
post #53 of 55
While it is true that ski resorts make money (the privately owned ones would close if they didn't), I'm not sure they are as profitable as many people think. There are poor snow seasons when they lose money, and burn through the profits of previous years.
There may be an endless supply of adequately qualified people who will work as instructors for a few years, as a way of being involved.
How long do people take lessons before they just go up the lift, and learn the rest by themselves? By the time someone realizes the instruction was flawed, they've moved on to continue learning by doing.
Absent any kind of structured demand for high quality instruction, there's little incentive for the resort to spend money attracting and holding truly good instructors.
post #54 of 55
It is unfortunate but the answer is simple supply and demand.

It is a desirable job and the resorts have an over supply of people willing to do that job for the poor conditions described in this thread.
post #55 of 55
One solution, of course, is to unionize. Unionizing would not provide entirely positive results, as it would lessen the number of ski instructor positions available. Those lucky few ski instructors would receive higher pay, much better benefits, and improved working conditions at the expense of the remainder of former ski instructors who would then have to pay for their tickets, instruction, etc.

There’s probably an equitable remedy somewhere in between the two extremes of exploiting the supply of ski instructors (I’m not sure we are even at this point) to full unionization There is a lot of speculation on this board about profits for resorts and relative supply and demand. It would be interesting to see objective figures regarding profit amounts for resorts. Looking at objective data would give us better details concerning these arguments and would illustrate whether the ski resorts are “bargaining” in good or bad faith and whether their disclosed profit line would even allow for improved work conditions for instructors.

Quote:
Originally posted by Viper:
It is unfortunate but the answer is simple supply and demand.

It is a desirable job and the resorts have an over supply of people willing to do that job for the poor conditions described in this thread.
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