novice, I'm sorry if I sounded flippant or dismissive of your very valid concerns regarding price vs. varying levels of quality. That was not my intention, as you made some good points.
It indeed would be great if at least two financial alternatives for instruction were available under the same roof at every resort, most pros particularly experienced ones banter this about but somehow it doesn't seem to happen. If it does, it's on a miniscule basis: someone goes maverick at their own area (with a big consequence if they're caught).
Why aren't there alternatives? read below for some info which may help you understand why I shortcut to the solution with you. Know that I'm a pro at Vail and not management, by the way. If you aren't interested, read no further.
Most ski resorts are run by a company which runs a company school (or, like the last ski area I worked at contracts out to one entity). Vail operates on public land under a permit for which it pays revenue relative to use figures. Interestingly, some might say the federal government's permitting practices at times can fly in the face of free market capitalism because the Forest Service frequently limits permits to grandfathered businesses with proven use and new permits are so difficult to impossible to get, particularly for entities seeking to do any kind of volume. The answers lie in partly in land management philosophy and practices involving use quotas and resource protection.
This whole situation kinda reminds me of Mount Rainier, where only one guiding service is permitted for operation. It sure does irritate some of those other aspiring companies.
Yikes! Huge liability insurance costs also stifle entrepreneurial ambitions along with all those other startup cost issues.
So, novice. I don't even go there but shortcut you to solutions instead. I hope the above explains why better but please know that I apologize if you feel like your complaint was not heard.
Your real-world choices really are three, following a possible experience of less than adequate instruction for a premium price:
1) complain and get resolution as you hopefully would with any service business. For a premium price you should get a quality experience, no doubt;
2) ask your friend to refer you and reserve early during busy times, if he's been there for a long time he should have a good list of instructors so you'll never be caught short. Know that private instructors are encouraged to handle their own bookings for extra personalized service so this is a legitimate expectation and request on your part; or - THE BIG ONE -
3) Go elsewhere. You might pay 2/3 to 3/5 just down the road although again you need to do a little research to find the quality you want. Try 1 and 2 first though, if you have truly been provided a substandard product that is not the company's intent by mission and it should help you.
Frankly I AM curious about how often this (unsatisfactory lesson) has occurred for you. And also why your friend has not done your booking as it sounds like you are a good customer.
:[ March 24, 2003, 01:09 AM: Message edited by: vera ]