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An open letter to PSIA - Page 2

post #31 of 66
I bought a Subaru Outback last week with a better discount through PSIA than the guy at the dealership gets. Just sayin'.
post #32 of 66
MojoMan,
You are quite right.  The membership is just a bunch of names in a database.  However, the skiing portion of the exam is just that.  So I would differ with you on this narrow point:
        "I don't think it's just about how well one skis but also how well one can teach."
The skiing is about skiing.  There is nowhere in that exam where we are asked to teach.  It may be a test of how well you can demo, but that is done with our mouths shut.

As far as Bode is concern, If Bode were to agree to join PSIA, how long do you think it would take PSIA to allow Bode to be a full cert and even be on their "national team".  I'll tell you - 5 seconds.

Turnalot           
post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir turnalot View Post

MojoMan,
You are quite right.  The membership is just a bunch of names in a database.  However, the skiing portion of the exam is just that.  So I would differ with you on this narrow point:
        "I don't think it's just about how well one skis but also how well one can teach."
The skiing is about skiing.  There is nowhere in that exam where we are asked to teach.  It may be a test of how well you can demo, but that is done with our mouths shut.

As far as Bode is concern, If Bode were to agree to join PSIA, how long do you think it would take PSIA to allow Bode to be a full cert and even be on their "national team".  I'll tell you - 5 seconds.

Turnalot           

 

Being able to ski and being able to effectively demonstrate the tasks are two different things. I find it hard to believe PSIA(or any oyher org) does not have a process where they test the ability of the applicant in this area. After all, the goal is to instruct, not show off how well one can ski.

Out of curiosity, I looked at the PSIA site to see what their official requirements are in such cases where the applicant is an elite athlete. It appears they have a 'fast track' method of advancing such individuals through the levels within a one-year period. It still requires the applicant to have so many hours in each level before they can be evaluated and moved to the next level.  So, Even Bode would take a minimum of one year to obtain a Level III instructor certification. In the case of someone like Bode, they obviously know the individual is an elite athlete but may blow chunks when it comes to being able to deal with novices, intermediates, or even advances skiers. Being a World Cup skier does not make one good with people. I think they want to make sure you can do the latter before certifying you.

It also seems that each Level exam covers one day of skiing and one day of demonstrating teaching ability.
post #34 of 66
"So, Even Bode would take a minimum of one year to obtain a Level III instructor certification."


5 seconds!
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir turnalot View Post

"So, Even Bode would take a minimum of one year to obtain a Level III instructor certification."


5 seconds!
 

Would a beginner want to take a lesson from Bode? Likely most would because he is Bode and it would be cool. I know I would.

Would they really get good instruction on beginning technique? Maybe, maybe not. That's why there are organizations like PSIA, CSIA who certify to the industry and public that the instructor can teach, not just ski.
post #36 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir turnalot View Post

As far as Bode is concern, If Bode were to agree to join PSIA, how long do you think it would take PSIA to allow Bode to be a full cert and even be on their "national team".  I'll tell you - 5 seconds.

Turnalot           
 

Dec 7, 2009

Hi Turnalot:

I'm not disagreeing with you, however, I know of one (and am not sure of another) US Ski team olympic gold medal holder, who "earned" their right to (a) wear a level 3 badge and (b) national demo team membership.  The person known to many Folks on this forum who earned her level 3 badge and demo team membership is Debbie Armstrong, 1984 GS Olympic Gold at Sarajevo.  The second person whom I'm not sure whether she formally joined PSIA and if she did, whether she is level 3 cert (I do know that she has never been on the demo team) is Diann Roffe 1994 Super G Olympic Gold; 1992 GS Olympic Silver.  Cutting some slack for skiers of their caliber doesn't seem unreasonable or unjustifed.  However, in Debbie's case, I don't think that any corners were cut.  Actually, there is an iPod interview on this site conducted by SSH a few years back with Debbie.   

http://esa.epicski.com/podcasts/ep01_Deb_Armstrong.mp3

Think snow,

CP
Edited by CharlieP - 12/8/09 at 8:23am
post #37 of 66
God bless her.  From what I understand she had a rough time for a while, physically.  I will be skiing with her on Thursday.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by fressen View Post

Mmmmm.... PSIA bashing! Delicious. I'll bite. They lost me with the introduction of the customer service model. They could have summed it all up with "Duh."

You are easily lost. The first pages of any employee training guide might contain ideas that are sort of obvious to some of the trainees. You might want to read a little deeper before passing judgement.
post #39 of 66

It's my observation over the years at my home hill its getting tougher and tougher for the seasoned ski instructors to stay the course. A lot I know have decided they have had enough and some of these guys were the best guys in the ski school. I respect the commitment and passion for teaching and the sport that is displayed. It can't be easy. Mandatory lineups when you want to go home, lousy pay, crap the resort pulls on you.

Its not even close to being an equitable split for the instructor and the amount of money paid for a lesson. I really don't know much about it, but assume the people that instruct really do it for the love of the sport and helping others. I have nothing but respect for you . It sure looks like it is less than glamorous.

post #40 of 66
When I was involved with PSIA, on average, an instructor lasted about 5 years in the job. I wonder what the current average is? (Anyone know?)
post #41 of 66
The real issue is not that PSIA is too costly or doesn't offer good products to its members, it's that YOU CAN'T MAKE ANY MONEY AS A SKI INSTRUCTOR.
I've been at it a long time, and the situation for most instructors has deteriorated continuously.  The truth is that the whole business is about getting beginners and children onto the slopes.  The skiing part of the job is easy, and plenty of people are willing to do it for not much money.  Even the perks like season passes and pro deals are way less valuable since mountains started offering cheap season passes and shops started selling through Ebay.  
I stay with it because it's easy and fun for me, but I would never have put in the effort I made to get this far under the current situation.

BK
post #42 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

I bought a Subaru Outback last week with a better discount through PSIA than the guy at the dealership gets. Just sayin'.

Is that the new body style - 2010? How do you like it? Sorry, off topic but you started it ;-)
post #43 of 66
Yep, the *new* Outback is a fine car, just like the last 7-8 Outbacks I've driven to 100,000 and traded in. The PSIA deal really puts it over the top. 
Edited by nolo - 12/7/09 at 3:16pm
post #44 of 66
In the Eastern division for a level II or a level III certification you take two separate 2 day exams.  The first is the skiing exam.  If you pass that you can take the second 2 day exam which is the teaching exam.  They definitely evaluate your ability to demo, to do movement analysis and to pick tasks and progressions for specific skiers.  The teaching part is 1/2 the certification.

For me if (when) I get my Level II it will be a major accomplishment for me in my life.  It is my goal for the next 2 years.  Yes it will have some value as far as walking into a resort and getting a job, but to me, if I can pass that, it means I have become the skier that I have always wanted to be.  Those examiners can tell, believe me.  If 2 out of 3 of them pass you - you can ski.
post #45 of 66
For me, PSIA has been largely worthwhile.   It's a 'Resource Provider' for members more than any sort of member union or sales organization. 

PSIA is most worthwhile for entrepreneurial, self-educating people and not very helpful to those looking for directed, well-defined career paths, pay hikes and the definitive Right Way to ski or teach skiing.

It's pretty much a Professional Services Organization that provides clinics on teaching methods, skiing techniques, Movement Analysis training, customer service models, etc.  Certification Levels are just milestone-markers indicating what level of proficiency a member has demonstrated at an Exam point (hopefully reflecting what the member does all the rest of the time - but no guarantees).  PSIA also provides members with social events and professional camps that often include hiking, rafting, picnics, mountain biking, banquets, etc.

Comparing what a PSIA Certified member can deliver vs what a non-member can deliver is comparing Apples to Oranges.  More to the point, any current Apple (or Orange) can improve their capabilities via PSIA if they choose to make the effort (thus becoming better Apples and better Oranges).  Can they do this without PSIA?  Sure!  But then, they'd have to go out and seek similar resources from many unrelated, scattered sources on their own.  It's doable, but not as convenient, nor as fun.

If enough members encourage (or provoke) PSIA into offering new services... more power to them!    Personally, I like the current push for discounted lift tickets for Level-3 Certs.  In my region L3s can get free tickets to certain areas, and $5 tickets to others.  This alone is driving much more interest in the L2 and L3 Certification process. 

Most of us teach skiing because it's enjoyable and we learn a lot in the process, not because there's big bucks in it.  It's practically a Volunteer situation with rates of pay barely covering the gas to get up there.  PSIA simply provides resources to better enable our volunteer work.

.ma
post #46 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelA View Post

For me, PSIA has been largely worthwhile.   It's a 'Resource Provider' for members more than any sort of member union or sales organization. 

PSIA is most worthwhile for entrepreneurial, self-educating people and not very helpful to those looking for directed, well-defined career paths, pay hikes and the definitive Right Way to ski or teach skiing.

It's pretty much a Professional Services Organization that provides clinics on teaching methods, skiing techniques, Movement Analysis training, customer service models, etc.  Certification Levels are just milestone-markers indicating what level of proficiency a member has demonstrated at an Exam point (hopefully reflecting what the member does all the rest of the time - but no guarantees).  PSIA also provides members with social events and professional camps that often include hiking, rafting, picnics, mountain biking, banquets, etc.

Comparing what a PSIA Certified member can deliver vs what a non-member can deliver is comparing Apples to Oranges.  More to the point, any current Apple (or Orange) can improve their capabilities via PSIA if they choose to make the effort (thus becoming better Apples and better Oranges).  Can they do this without PSIA?  Sure!  But then, they'd have to go out and seek similar resources from many unrelated, scattered sources on their own.  It's doable, but not as convenient, nor as fun.

If enough members encourage (or provoke) PSIA into offering new services... more power to them!    Personally, I like the current push for discounted lift tickets for Level-3 Certs.  In my region L3s can get free tickets to certain areas, and $5 tickets to others.  This alone is driving much more interest in the L2 and L3 Certification process. 

Most of us teach skiing because it's enjoyable and we learn a lot in the process, not because there's big bucks in it.  It's practically a Volunteer situation with rates of pay barely covering the gas to get up there.  PSIA simply provides resources to better enable our volunteer work.

.ma


 

Whoa dude, put down the glass of Kool Aid.

You're love affair with PSIA has little to do with my original post
post #47 of 66
I get the impression that here in the Western Division (Sierra Nevada mountains of California and Nevada) we hold PSIA in generally higher esteem. We have many dedicated members who give a lot of their time to clinics, exams, etc. Of course, skiing is a money-pit of an activity, but it is also a fact that if you want to improve your ability at something, if you want to really learn a subject, then learn to teach it. I cannot think of a better or more cost- effective way to become an accomplished "advanced" skier than to put yourself through the training, the discipline and the structure of completing the level 2 requirements, and then go as far as you can toward Level 3. Most of us will never be level 3's simply because our aging bodies cannot make those moves anymore, but for gaining solid competence, the PSIA /CSIA routines and practices are unmatched. But if you don't have the discipline or time or desire, then don't do it - it will show; we will see it from the chairlift and other observation points as you blast down the runs inefficiently with poor function, tiring yourself unnecessarily.
post #48 of 66
I agree Grant, PSIA works for me too.  I love to improve my skiing and the best way I have found is to hang out with like minded people who share my passion.  They are my friends, my teachers, my students.  PSIA dues are less than going out to a nice dinner with my wife.  I enjoy learning and sharing my knowledge with others and PSIA allows me to do this.  It is like a club to me.  Events are places to meet up with old friends and make new friends.  I have skied enough in my life that to go out and ski the best powder day alone is not appealing to me.  Unless I can share it with friends it is much less fun.  The PSIA members I share time with love life and people and skiing!  That fits my niche!

Can PSIA improve?  sure.

Is PSIA a greedy self indulgent group of demagogues?   I don't believe so.  That would be our current government.
post #49 of 66
 PSIA-E Nordic rocks! 
post #50 of 66
I agree with Grant and Bud.  If you think PSIA membership should be a money maker for you, or negotiate better wage/working conditions, you will be disappointed.  The ski business is just not growing fast enough to support all the wannabe instructors. OTOH I learned to ski pretty well mostly by becoming an instructor, and I've had the opportunity to make friends and ski all over the world because of PSIA.  I'm staying active in the organization even as  my teaching commitments shrink each year.  I've been more successful (or luckier) than most instructors, but I think most members agree with me.

BK
post #51 of 66
 Nordic rocks in general!  
I've had my complaints about PSIA and the money.  I sat down with Carl Boyer, Nate (Nato) Emerson, and Nancy Kronwather ? Last winter and let them know how I felt about it.  They politely and patiently explained/justified it to my satisfaction.  I feel that each level of certification is about an extra $1,000 in my pocket over the course of a winter teaching full time.  I get excellent training for free from the MSS.  We currently have the largest number of DECL trainers on staff of any mountain in our division.  We also have a large number of level 3 instructors, certified trainers, and a few demo team members.  I have already done two PSIA clinics this season that were very helpful to me.  I did an in house tele clinic with the National Telemark Demo Team Coach last week  I have two more Tele and two more Alpine training days before I start teaching full time on Dec 20.  I was a very good skier before getting involved with PSIA.  I am a much better skier than I was after four years in the program.  I am very lucky to be a part of the MSS at JHMR and be in a room with some of the best skiers in the world every morning and to have access to the training that I do.  Without PSIA things would be very different.  At many small areas the training  opportunities that I have aren't available.  For many instructors a PSIA clinic is the best training option they have.  As far as the comments I see all the time about PSIA skiers being lame or robotic, I don't know where that is coming from.  Many of the DECL and upper level instructors here are rocking JHAF pins.  Our terrain doesn't reward robotic skiing and I don't know any robotic skiers.

For the record...  Ski Instruction is my Lively-hood!  It is not a hobby and I need to get paid for it!  I work very hard to deliver a lesson that exceeds the expectations of my students.  I train a lot, read books, and think about how to be better all through the off season.  Students who get me for any level of instruction are lucky to have someone with my experience and dedication to work with them for that day.  I get a lot of tip money and a lot of returning students that back this up.  I am not some "kid" doing this for a pass.  I am a Professional and can stand up with the other Professionals I work with every day.  PSIA is not perfect and while I don't necessarily agree with every single thing that comes down the chain, I am much better for being a part of it.

End Rant Here
post #52 of 66
Not true, there have been a few exceptions for retired racers.  They went right to the L-3.

Only problem with that is, that a good ..... repeat .... good instructor developes a "bag of tricks" that goes outside the box of convention in dealing with students.  There are things that will work that are not in the model as published.

Look, PSIA exists as an educational mechanism to narrow things down to on effective teaching method and that is fair enough.  However, it is run by mountain management and supported by the rank and file L-1's and 2's while .... the mountains/hills here in the east are staffed by newcomers.

Since we pay the dues that keep the PSIA in business they could at least ..... at the very least .... advocate that schools that fly the PSIA flag and they all do, use the certs first and let the kids and newbiees apprentice.  Kinda' like the real world should be.

I'm fully aware that many out west and up north in VT and so forth have it better.  You make a few dollars, at least enough to cover gas.  Most down here in PA ....... simply ....... DON"T.

The SSD pulls up in his tricked out Porsche 9 series ..... looks at his Rolex ..... and then walks over to check out his new maxed out Audi "company car" ..... and we run in the red .... while he pisses and moans about the "spoiled instructors"  ....... "f' em let them carry their skis and gear .....

I could go on and on and on ...... I'll spare you 
post #53 of 66
 It's been said in a few posts that PSIA is run by mountain management.  I don't think this is true.  PSIA is a separate entity from the resort where I work.  

At my mountain there is a transparent system for pay scale and status.  Both pay and status are partly tied to cert level.  Higher cert and status instructors work first.  I think it's a good system and give credit to the MSS for developing it.  

I know a few very talented skiers who became level 3 in their first year.  They had to do the required clinics and assessments just like me.  They came to the table with great skills, demonstrated them, and moved through.  I have stood at line up next to Tommy Moe.  I don't believe that he has done the PSIA thing.  I have no doubt that if Tommy wanted his level 3 he could have it pretty easily, but I don't think it would be handed to him.  Tommy has his own deal with MSS.  He has his own category in the company computer.  My categories are Alpine Instructor and Telemark Instructor.  I am not him, but appeared to be him on the computer for about 5 seconds when my supervisor tried to figure out the new system while editing my profile.  I kinda liked it when my category was "Tommy Moe"...  Just goes to prove GIGO.
post #54 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Since we pay the dues that keep the PSIA in business they could at least ..... at the very least .... advocate that schools that fly the PSIA flag and they all do, use the certs first and let the kids and newbiees apprentice.  Kinda' like the real world should be.


 

Yuki's post is a key consideration.

A while back, PSIA had a program called "Go with a Pro". They had buttons and signs and the like that I thought would be a good way to market our RSS. I called them to see if they would ship me the package. They told me the resort manager would have to email and make the request.

Huh????
post #55 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

The SSD pulls up in his tricked out Porsche 9 series ..... looks at his Rolex ..... and then walks over to check out his new maxed out Audi "company car" ..... and we run in the red .... while he pisses and moans about the "spoiled instructors"  ....... "f' em let them carry their skis and gear .....

I could go on and on and on ...... I'll spare you 

Did PSIA buy him his Porsche? I don't see how any blame for that goes to PSIA.
post #56 of 66
Wow people, if the system is that bad and you can not change it there is still something that you can do. 

What is your next job going to be?

PSIA was never meant to be a trade union, it is an educational association.  Their goal is not to make your job better, it is to help you become better at your job.  Your complaints are not new, original, or unique to ski instruction. 40 years ago this discussion happened in the day lodge or over a pitcher of beer; most of the people complaining never tried to improve it then either. 

The 80/20 rule holds true thru the ski school line up too.  80% of the lessons and privates will go to 20% of the instructors.  What do the most successful instructors do that you don't do?
If you really want to be that successful emulate them.  Learn your trade (the only PSIA part), ask for referrals, volunteer for some of the crap jobs, follow up with your customers, give more than is expected, and schmooze the desk a little.  From personal experience think that that some of the kids at the rental shop often puts out more effort and produces more than some of the instructors.  Be a positive force at your area, not just a puff of wind passing thru. 

Think I have earned the rights to put in my $0.02.  Taught skiing 13 years, was full certified (now level 3), former association clinic instructor and examiner, former SS director.

Your associations can only be as good as you are willing to help make them.
post #57 of 66
I can't say if my instructors were certified. I think it's interesting that you can be hired and not certified, though.
In my business, you can forget being hired if you're not certified. And I'm not talking licensed here. The insurance companies will not add you to their provider panels if you are not board-certified. It's a way for them to get out of liability. The certification lasts 10 years, less for some specialities. Some specialities require more than one certification, too, as in, your cardiologist has to maintain his internal medicine board certification in addition to his cardiology certification. So, my license is about $800 a year. My IM certification cost $1000 and the test was $1000 more.And I've taken that test twice-once in 1998 and once last year. To maintain my ACP membership so I can take the board certification test is $600 a year. Do you think any of my patients know I'm certified? No. Are board certified doctors any better than non-board certified doctors? Probably not. Does me being board certified make me a better doctor? No. Does my reading and keeping up with recent recommendations make me a better doctor-Yes. But, interestingly, no board/insurance company/employer compels me to read...
I feel badly hearing that PSIA doesn't advocate more for it's certified instructors though. There's really no excuse for that. If your buck doesn't provide you any bang, I can't see spending that buck
post #58 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post

Not true, there have been a few exceptions for retired racers.  They went right to the L-3.

Only problem with that is, that a good ..... repeat .... good instructor developes a "bag of tricks" that goes outside the box of convention in dealing with students.  There are things that will work that are not in the model as published.

Look, PSIA exists as an educational mechanism to narrow things down to on effective teaching method and that is fair enough.  However, it is run by mountain management and supported by the rank and file L-1's and 2's while .... the mountains/hills here in the east are staffed by newcomers.

Since we pay the dues that keep the PSIA in business they could at least ..... at the very least .... advocate that schools that fly the PSIA flag and they all do, use the certs first and let the kids and newbiees apprentice.  Kinda' like the real world should be.

I'm fully aware that many out west and up north in VT and so forth have it better.  You make a few dollars, at least enough to cover gas.  Most down here in PA ....... simply ....... DON"T.

The SSD pulls up in his tricked out Porsche 9 series ..... looks at his Rolex ..... and then walks over to check out his new maxed out Audi "company car" ..... and we run in the red .... while he pisses and moans about the "spoiled instructors"  ....... "f' em let them carry their skis and gear .....

I could go on and on and on ...... I'll spare you 

I got paid 20 bucks an hour at Hidden Valley for privates, and 14 bucks an hour for groups. Not bad pay at all and its in Pa. Maybe you should work somewhere else instead of complaining for years on message forum about bad you have it?
post #59 of 66
I'd love to see the tax return to back that up.  You can make "X" but if you only teach a lesson a day who gives a hoot?  That was my gas cost to get to and from the hill.

As you must be aware .... Pocono areas start at minimum wage .... I made it up to $7.15 with cert ....

We only got extra for "request privates" ... that was the norm .... you are the exception .... or were you playing pocket pool with the SSD?

Nationwide .... I don't have a clue but our "regional reps or delegates" .... whatever they were .. usually SSD's.  Now who would the SSD look out for? 

As I've said in all prior posts on this you may have it better up north or out west .... but the Pocono's sucked and instructors were like lost sheep .... migrating from hill to hill .... sad situation.

post #60 of 66
This is a great discussion on a serious point.  There is so much to say about PSIA - "Posers Soaking Ignorant Amateurs"?  OOPS.  I didn't mean that.  I agree with almost everything that has been pointed out by all of these good posts.  As a PSIA member, I must say that membership is an inexpensive way to improve your skiing.  I grudgingly keep up my certification.  If I had to depend on income from ski instruction, I would be in trouble.  The pay is definitely not sufficient to eat, unless you've been around for years and have "protected" status on your mountain.  But, professional skiing is not the only guild like that.  Getting good prices on gear is a real benefit, although there are other ways you can do that.  And you can get pass deals if you are creative.  In the end, it all depends on your individual situation and termperment, including, especially, the mountain you are nearest to and the culture there.  One thing I suppose is true--it probably will get worse before it gets better.
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