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Free Advice

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
In another thread Yuki questions the wisdom of dispensing free advise. I’m curious about other instructors’ views on this. Some of you are very generous with your “tips”, I’ve been the recipient of some great advice and so have lots of others here. So, do you instructor types think you’re giving it away?
Yuki, why don’t you have a listing in the EpicSki Instructor Listing? Doesn’t hurt to advertise.
post #2 of 12
I have always felt that we on the hill are here to have fun. If I can help someone have more fun then I will, especially if it's a safety issue or something that could lead to great frustration and a discouraged feeling. Many in my life have given to me freely;I will try to do so as well.
post #3 of 12
Bill, as you probably know, I retired a long time ago, but when I was still teaching I made a distinction between tips and advice.

I gave free tips often, but for advice I would ask that they see me at the office, just like my Doc .

A tip can be a single correction, which, if the skier chooses not to follow it, wont leave him worse off.

With what I call advice, it involves a concerted effort to either change or teach a maneuver which will take time and repeated analisys, not something that you dispense on a chair or on a forum for that matter, even from a still picture.

If I tell you to change something in your skiing, as often is done in this forum, I will want to see that you indeed do that thing and not just something that is your interpretation of the advice I gave you.

You may think this is nitpicking but in the 25 years I taught I would see again and again how skiers would read a book or see a video and go out and think they are doing just what they read or saw, and pfffft.

post #4 of 12
Without going into too much detail, many of the instructors in this country do not feel that they are fairly treated and that the PSIA does not do enough to help us, some view the PSIA as a tool of management. I don't do what I do for the money, I run in the red at the end of the year. On a good day I make just enough after taxes to cover gas to the hill and lunch. Most days are not good days ..... but I don't do this for the money so that point is moot.

I do dispense tips when asked, but a similiar thread last year got men thinking (perhaps too much), but some folks do ask for a tip and turn it into a lesson .... conversely, it my norm to spend that half hour between line-ups, unpaid, with my group or student. All of the above factor into the plight of the instructor .... and ... how we can change it. As Ott indicated, do you call your doctor for a tip? Your lawyer? When you see your broker in the barber shop?

We are percieved as "on duty" while we are in uniform and in some ways we are, but we are not paid when we are not teaching, and how could you or J. Q. Public even know that?

Regarding why I don't list myself in the instructors directory, several reasons: First, I know that I'm a minor league pitcher and the directory is for the real pros. Secondly, I try not to use this forum to hustle business. Epic is kind of a special non-commercial place and for me that would ruin a part of it.

To go back to the question, part of problem is that insrtuctors don't last long here in the US. At the bottom, there is a verey high turn over. About 85% of the applicants at the four day instructor training program (cost is about $150), never take the job, A high percentage of first year hires will never return my guess ... about another fifty percent. It is said that in Europe, being an instructor is a middle class occupation and I (as well as others), keep hashing over the salient differences between our lot and the Euros.

I think .... remember the Pogo line? .... "we met the ememy and they wuz us!" :

[ November 28, 2003, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #5 of 12

Thanks for caring!

I think I'm giving it away. I hope what I'm giving is very valuable. Of course, you do get what you pay for. Like Yuki, I don't do it for the money (but I will take it). I work for smiles. I don't care whether I get them here or on the mountain.

But I also know that my tips are much more effective on snow. If you like what you read, you ain't seen nothing yet. Any of the pros will be much more effective in person than what you can do on your own just by reading.

Even though I'm "giving free advice", I do get something in return. Simply by participating in these discussions, I'm increasing my "teaching experience". In the long run, I think this helps me teach better lessons on snow.

The instructor listing is for all of us. You may not be the most whiz bangiest super god on the slopes, but somewhere out there is a student who will get their best lesson only from you. AC has a nice point about the instructor listing. If people like what they read, the listing is a way for them to get in touch with you/ find out more about you. Don't sell yourself short. Simply by being here you're a step ahead of most pros. Besides, we need more pros on the list!

I've asked AC to add me to the listing (he said he'll get around to it). I don't consider it hustling. If I actually got a lesson out of it, it would be cool and a little nice compensation for all the "free" advice AND the support we've given to EpicSki.

Bill ->
These kinds of things usually work out in the long run. It appears most of us pros are not using this forum as blatant advertising (e.g. having a signature that says "Call xxx-xxx-xxxx at Y Mountain to reserve your private lesson with me today"). But if you use the instructor listing you probably won't get turned down. And it looks like Epic Ski Academy is a good way to support the pros too.

[ November 30, 2003, 07:13 AM: Message edited by: therusty ]
post #6 of 12
The teacher needs the students as much as the students need the teacher. It's a beautiful thing!

Read the Tao Te Ching: The group needs the leader for guidance and facilitation. The leader needs people to serve. If both do not recognize the mutual need, they miss the creativity of the teacher-student polarity. (Paraphrased)
post #7 of 12
Ahem! Yuki is a guy .... but ... some days I do feel like a lesbian trapped in a mans body.

post #8 of 12
Sorry Yuki - my previous post has been fixed and no one else is going to know what I screwed up.
post #9 of 12
on a semi-related point...

I always made sure to give encouraging feedback or a tip to someone who has previously taken a lesson with me - when I see them on or around the mountain.

I agree with a lot of what Ott had to say. I happily chat with people on the lifts and discuss ideas. But, I rarely give the hands-on instruction outside of class.

It's professional integrity and protecting the value of our service.

post #10 of 12
I have no problem allowing a prospect to attend my class at no charge to scope it out. They have always signed up afterwards.

I don't expect people from epicski to come to Bridger to take lessons from me. I serve a local clientele. I only hope if they need lessons, they take them from a qualified professional.
post #11 of 12
In addition to teaching every weekend, I lead or attend ski trips within my ski club. They all know I'm an instructor, but of course when I'm away from my home mountain they also know I'm skiing for me. So, I've developed a compromise..... I only give tips (very happily) when asked of course, and in return they owe me a beer (of course it's up to them to remember to buy me one). My tag line is I give tips for beer. It gets a smile from my friends, and occaisionally they actually "pay" up. I am, after all, a professional... :
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
There was an advertisement in the paper for a job fair at a local ski area. The headline was “little or no experience required”, the first job listing was for ski instructors. Apparently this resort doesn’t value experience very much. It ain’t just Pogo

I don’t think it’s nitpicking. Most people who see video of their skiing are probably disappointed. There’s no substitute for the feedback from a trained professional.
I like your distinction between tips and advice.

What does the Tao Te Ching say about the employer/employee relationship?

[ December 02, 2003, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: BillA ]
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