I have to say, I don't see the union thing happening, and certainly not with me, Yuki. I think area management needs profit centers to keep the operation in the black. I'm told my pay is at the top of the scale. The scale is the scale. Just like other businesses, ski area operators compare notes about what they pay their help, and the prevailing model is based on a percentage of the revenues. If money was my motivation, I'd work at the resort down the road (Yellowstone Club) or, as Gonzo suggests, find another job.
I have a very good teaching situation at Bridger. I keep my own schedule and do my own thing. No line-ups. I know who I am teaching beforehand so I can plan lessons. I have a great classroom. It vividly demonstrates that skiing has no ceiling as far as terrain to be skied and makes people want the skills to be able to.
Even though this topic doesn't affect me, it bothers me a lot. Obviously. I keep thinking of something Gonzo's teacher, Jim Weiss, said to me about the sea change that got us where we are today. In the early days of skiing, guys like Hannes Schneider and Emile Allais set up name schools, imported talent from their home countries, and trained Americans in their methods. I believe Jim worked for Emile Allais in the '60s. I believe the pay was pretty good to attract all the charismatic Euros.
What happened, according to Jim, is when it came time for the next generation of instructors to take on the business of ski instruction, "They just want to go zig-zag." Actually, Jim was repeating something someone else said, one of the frustrated owners, I believe, who feared that there would be a loss of quality if ski areas took over ski school operations.
So, according to Jim, "we" had our chance, or some instructors did, to run the show like their mentors, but they backed down, didn't want the responsibility, etc. In actual fact, many ski areas saw how much money the ski schools were bringing in and coveted the business. As principal permit holder on the National Forest, they had the clout to shut the indies down. So here we are, "working for the best interests of the employer company" (Oboe). Most of us pros are working for some company. The company sets the scale. If you don't like the scale, go to another company. Just know that they all use the same measure based on revenues. The price of the lesson determines the pay.
If you want to make more money working for a company school, you have to work more or get the company to raise the price of your lessons.
If you want to work for yourself, you have to own the company. There are two ways I know of to do this:
1. Eric D. owns his own company, writes books, produces videos, etc. He has a brand. I hope he's making money.
2. There's a ski area down the road from me that might be looking for investors next year, according to a recent newspaper story.