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Ski Coaching Business

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
To make a long story short, I am thinking of starting a home-based ski coaching business. I am thinking this would be a very low-key one-on-one private clinic situation, charging a reasonable hourly rate. I would ideally target folks interested in learning how to ski advanced terrain and some freestyle.

That aside, I was wondering if anyone here has explored a similar venture and what, if any, conflicts may have arisen. I have spoken with several ski areas about competing interests and liability, though no one has given me any clear answers.


post #2 of 8
Edited by Skidude72 - 9/4/09 at 1:15am
post #3 of 8
PM Rick, He could tell you a lot about a private coaching business.
post #4 of 8


You're not getting clear answers because there aren't any.

Competition/cooperation with local ski areas will depend on where you are talking about. In Colorado (where you are located), most ski resorts are on USFS land. Technically, there are rules and permits that apply for doing business on USFS land. Many one person operations simply ignore these with impunity. Whether resorts are on USFS land or not, they generally have exclusive rights to conduct business on the property they operate on and usually prefer to have all instruction on their mountain conducted through their ski school. It is possible to operate either with their permission (under their USFS permits or your own) or to simply operate under their radar. In my area (Mid Atlantic) the local resorts tolerate private coaching conducted through local ski clubs because of the group business the clubs bring to the resorts. The resorts also tolerate a few private coaches who keep their operations very distinct from the resort and very "quiet" while on the resort. You might find this thread about Steamboat to be interesting reading.

Liability insurance is not cheap (e.g. $60-100/day) and not easy to find. There are 3 basic ways to get customers: network (i.e. find parents with money, build relationships with industry insiders), build a community (e.g. write a book, make a video, run a website), build a rep (e.g. coach successfull freestyle competitors).

Good luck.

post #5 of 8
Winter Park is looking for a Freestyle Head Coach. 

If you have a solid reputation in the ski industry they are more receptive to independents.  You'll bring established business.  Anyone else, you're taking away from their ski school business.   Advanced lessons are highly sought after by instructors too.  I would talk to an insurance agent about an umbrella liability policy and see if that falls into your business plan budget.

I recommend having a talk with this guy too.
Edited by daysailer1 - 9/4/09 at 10:17am
post #6 of 8
It's easy to find a mountain to do private coaching as long as you are bringing new business and not causing any liability to the mountain.  Even Forest Service ski area lessees should be able to assign their exclusive rights to subcontractors.  You need to negotiate access with the area management regardless.  Working under the radar is a losers game.  You need to be visible for the business to grow.
PSIA has a liability insurance program, or you can get insurance from the British Mountaineering Club.  BMC is cheap if you don't work in North America. 
The issue I never got past is that there is really not much money in it, and you are competing against the whole PSIA Ed Staff, NATSC, Extreme Team, ESA and all the rest.  Then you need a summer business as well.  Unless you  are a golf pro, that usually means landscaping.   It's easier to make a living in almost any other business.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great insight.

I'm going to look into some of the ideas brought up. In the meantime it looks like there are some good ski job opportunites out there I may go after.

Thanks again for the help!
post #8 of 8

Welcome to Epic!

There are coaching jobs in the industry which would give you steadier business than being self-employed and insurance, terrain usage and ticking would not be an issue.  Many race coaching and free style coaching jobs do require a USSA certification or working on getting it, and there is some competition with PSIA certified instructors for the advanced level coaching/ instruction.

Are you certified? If not, it is something you may consider working on.

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