I think there is a supply and demand thing happening here. Remember, the resort has to shell out quite a lot of money to get H2B people. They have to apply for each separate country they want to recruit from, and pay (a lot)for each one, before they can start submitting lists of names etc.
That's in addition to satisfying the labour market test (we have the same thing here, you have to prove a need to recruit overseas). Our labour market test included a clause for tourism etc where you could claim that you needed foreigners for some reason, to do with the service you were offering.
So it costs the US resorts quite a bit in money and person-time to go through this process, and understandably it's become more tortuous since the S11 disaster.
I agree about the J1 thing. It's even worse in Canada, they seem to rely on the flood of young people on those 1 year one-off working visas rather than recruiting qualified people, but you wonder about the quality issue. And I don't see many young Americans taking advantage of the reciprocal student visa to work down here. Not sure why that is. Cultural? Does the US push the concept of a "year out"? A student visa means you can come on down, and look for work in the usual way, rather than needing sponsorship.
I totally 100% agree on the unfairness thing. I might be wrong here, but my observation is most of the aussie instructors who teach overseas, do so in the US. Yet the majority of foreigners being sponsored to teach in Australia come from europe. Yet it is very hard for an aussie to work legally in europe. And there are very few USA instructors teaching here.
There was only 1 at my hill! one! He, incidentally, is the person I regularly recommend when people ask for someone.
I have had people in ski schools laughing at my defence of PSIA and mimicking various full-cert US instructors they have encountered over the years. I have no answer for that, other than to point out that people who use US teaching styles have happier customers, and more returning customers. They get results. No one argues with that, (generally!) but they still regard skiing skills as paramount.
I know from my US experience that there are heaps and heaps of superb PSIA instructors who ski like gods, but the ones that shouldn't have passed keep getting through also. and people, being people, tend to zero in on that.
Certainly at my level 1 exam, I was amazed to see that everyone passed, and shouldn't have. However, at my level 2, the standard was rigorously adhered to (except I think there was some latitude extended my way!).
Most of the big US hills seem to be recruiting foreigners to put in kids. I think that once they've done their "time" in kids, they are "elevated" to adults. Certainly as PSIA level II, when I've enquired at the hills where everyone wants to work, I'm told "kids". My first hill, I did kids all season (and loved it). So, it would appear that they are filling a need, if domestic certified instructors don't want to do kids.