I found that message on hyperexchange. It does seem like an interesting idea. I don't think it would have a huge market, but it might attract the egos of enough people to make it work. There definitely does not seem to be any negative to it (from a ski school standpoint). It would just be a scheduled event at the ski area, which people would sign up and pay for. So, to the ski area, it would be treated as a lesson, and bring in income. The one drawback I see would be "passing" and "failing" people. You know how upset cert canditates can get when they don't pass an exam, and sometimes get quite rude to the examiners for not passing them. As if it was something personal. I like the idea, a little better, of grading people with the skill evel (1 through 9), and just making it an evaluation of their skiing. Then, if they meet the criteria of, say, a level 2 or 3 cert, they would be handed their pin and certificate. That way, if someone comes in thinking they are going for the equivalent of a level 3 cert, and they aren't there yet, they would possibkly walk away with a silver pin, a certificate, and the equivalent of a level 2 cert skiing ability, as well as a thorough evaluation (in writing), of their strong and weak aspects.
I do, however, think it should be run in a clinic/exam type of format, asking people to demonstrate specific skills and moves, and that each participant should get in front of at least 2 to 3 "examiners", with outcomes based on a 2 out of 3 basis, as cert exams are.
I think it would feed the competitive nature in people, and would be fun for the instructors/examiners too. Not to mention, it would bring in a few extra bucks for the ski area, and the instructors could get paid pretty well for it too. If you charged $100 per person for 3 full days, then you are bringing in $700- $800 per group, and paying out probably less than $400 (3 six hour days = 18 hours at $22/hr = $400. And that's a lot of pay - I make a lot less than that per hour for teaching).
Good thought! Run it by your SS director, and see if you can do some next season at your ski area. I'll try to do the same. Remember, it doesn't need to be a Nationally or Divisionally sanctioned thing. It can be something you do on your own. Ind if you do it on your own, it gives people a reason to come to your ski school, rather than another ski area.