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Independent Ski School

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter
Originally read this ,"Rumour has it that Alpina Ski School, a new private enterprise modeled on the Euro independents, will be operating at Whistler, putting competitive pressure on the mountain-run version. A ski school office located off-mountain will offer teaching services on-mountain in the same manner as independent off-site shops rent gear to be used on the mountain. Seems fair, but you can bet this iniative won't go unchallenged." This from a section called "The Alpine Dish" in a New? magazine from Canada called "Skier" (Spring 2002)

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 03, 2002 01:15 PM: Message edited 1 time, by John J ]</font>
post #2 of 37
Cool site [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #3 of 37

I'm glad to see that someone feels that there should be more choices for ski instruction.
post #4 of 37
So, SCSA, should someone who competes with your business be allowed to use your computers, your phone lines, etc., to conduct their business?
post #5 of 37
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
So, SCSA, should someone who competes with your business be allowed to use your computers, your phone lines, etc., to conduct their business?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The land is public and was originally paid for by citizens. That makes it everyone's land.

I think they should have this for the U.S. too. They have it for Europe.

I don't know why ski instructor's wouldn't love this idea. One of the reasons that pay is so low is that there is only one employer for each area, and you either work for peanuts, or you don't work.

If there was competition, the best instructors could be lured to another outfit via a higher wage, same as in private business.

More choices would also make it cheaper for students, same as private business.

It's only because ski schools are de facto monopolies that everything is so screwed up.
post #6 of 37
Competition is fine. Why doesn't the "independent" ski school get its own lease and develop its one ski area to compete? The other option is to bid on the lease that already exists and compensate the investors for what they've put into providing a ski area for all of us.

In Europe, most mountains are not all public property. Many of the established runs cross private pasturelands. In some European countries you cannot teach without that country's certification. You'll go to jail just as fast there as, supposedly, you would for trespassing on a public lands leasehold here.
post #7 of 37
Kneale, it's just different. As different between here and in Europe as would be a Wallmart over here, where the control of who sells what where rests with the store management compared to a county fair over there where competitors can set up booths right next to each other.

post #8 of 37
I'm all for the competition - I'm just a realist and you would essentially have to seize legal control of all the current ski areas assets and institute basically socialist laws over them! Because they DO own the lodges, lifts, grooming equipment, radio towers and etc. It would be pretty ironic to have to take over their property rights in a socialist manner in order to institute a more capitalist system!

The situation in Europe evolved over much time in a completely different manner than over here. Corporate and property rights make this pretty much an issue in the realm of fantasy. I don't think you are going to see Congress worrying too much about changing basic American law to help out Ski Instruction! :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 03, 2002 06:45 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Todd M. ]</font>
post #9 of 37
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kneale Brownson:
So, SCSA, should someone who competes with your business be allowed to use your computers, your phone lines, etc., to conduct their business?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I would think that using the same lift and or run is not the same as using same phone. Independents would have to rent space, get their own reservation systems and websites, carry their own insurance and have their own ads. They may also charge a little bit more money.

However, they will be able to teach what they deem appropriate, select their target audience, hire instructors, etc. And guess what, a lot of advanced skiers that do not take lessons from regular ski schools will go to these independent places.

I think some of the areas already recognize that they have been missing the boat with advanced skiers if for no other reason then poor ad campaigns. A good example is that Snowbird is running twice a year. This is the sort of thing that would get attention of itermidiate skiers looking to get to that next level. It does for me anyway.

post #10 of 37
Eug, who do you think pays for the lifts and run development? Who insures the lift operators and professional patrol members? Who does the grooming, etc.? Who gets sued if someone gets hurt on the slope?

It's just like SCSA paying for his office overhead and letting a competitor operate there.

The Snowbird camps are put on by Snowbird's staff.

There ARE camps and special programs where the ski areas agree that groups have their own instructors and coaches. Most of them pay a little extra for hill use. Or they come when the resort wouldn't have much business otherwise.

Ski schools contribute quite a bit to overall operating revenues for the ski area. That helps pay for all the non-revenue activities like buying insurances, grooming slopes, making snow, etc.
post #11 of 37
I agree that is fair and the independent ski schools should be charged more then just street price of lift tickets for use of the area and be required to carry insurance. I guess if both sides wanted to work out a deal there should be a way to find a compromise.
It sure would be nice to break monopoly and have a choice of services when we get to the mountains. Maybe than lunch would not cost $20 either.

post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
KB--if a hill is a entirely private operation so be it. But if it is on Muncipal, Provincial, or Federal land, what is the problem? The client pays for a lift ticket, the instructor pays for a lift ticket, the hill can mess with them (no line cutting). Someone gets hurt? What is the difference? They bought lift tickets. Or is this a new realm of suing the instructor for teaching the wrong method or in the wrong place.
And if it forces on the hill ski schools to change, to pay better, to improve; so be that.
post #13 of 37
I wonder how the Mahre brothers and Eric D. and his brother and Bill Kid and Harb and Lito and all the others get away with it in a US ski area?

post #14 of 37
yeah, I get free lessons too... oh maybe it's the "free" part that exempts me...

I repay my coach by helping with his calf branding in June.
post #15 of 37
If my student and I buy a lift ticket, how can someone tell me I can't teach my student? This makes no sense!
post #16 of 37
Those camps make arrangements with the ski area they operate on. They bring room reservations, ski shop and restaurant business, as well as lift tickets. They often use the area's staff to do some of the teaching/coaching. They promote the ski area throughout the skiing world. And they operate when the business probably would be lowest anyway.

An individual instructor teaching family/friends or even the guy who installed his airconditioner is not the issue with a ski area. It's the group of instructors who wish to set up shop at the bottom of the hill the area developed and maintains that is the issue.
post #17 of 37
Kneale, I stayed at Club Med in Copper and they have a couple of sozen Club Med instructors with their own uniforms and all day lessons every day but Wednesday is included in staying at Club Med, which is an all-inclusive place and thus does not bring anything to Copper. Neither we nor anyone in the ski club that we know of bought anything at Copper at all.

So if Club Med can do it, why not another group?

post #18 of 37
Here in the Wash. DC area we have 2 independant ski schools that have been around for years. They both have PSIA accredited instructors, and their own jackets. They are ski clubs. What they offer is lessons on their ski trips to their customers. I've never known a ski area to complain, because they are bringing groups that buy lift tickets, food, lodging, etc.... the resort is getting their cut too in this manner. The instructor is getting paid by a partial or full comp on the trip.
post #19 of 37
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Terrapin:

The land is public and was originally paid for by citizens. That makes it everyone's land.

This is precisely the problem. There was a ,discussion that touched on this last year. I did some research and came up with the answer and posted it in a thread entitled "Why there are no independent ski schools/instruction (long)" . You may find it helpful. I did not want to reproduce the entire text, or pull the message forward, but you may find it useful.


p.s. - I note that the old post suffers from a little link-rot. If anyone finds this problematic, please let me know and I'll edit/update the links or point you in the right direction.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 07, 2002 02:33 PM: Message edited 1 time, by raubin ]</font>
post #20 of 37
This is turning into a touchy subject.

Question: If I go to the local resort, and teach a friend to ski, is that going to be a problem with the resort? Both of the partys involved (me and my student) are buying lift tickets. Can they tell me that I cannot teach somebody to ski on their hill?

Answer: No. Plus, the more people that are skiing, the more revenue that said resort, and other resorts can make (from $60 lift tickets, $17 cheese burgers that suck, $4 cokes, and now $12 parking at Vail).

So why would an independent school have anything to worry about? As long as they follow the 7 rules that we are all supposed to follow, what can the resort do to remove them? We all pay taxes to use that land, we all pay for a lift ticket to use their equipment, and as long as we follow the governing rules of said ski resort, what would be the problem?

Kneale, I see your point. The current ski schools are part of what funds a resort, and would need to be kept in place. But what legal action could be taken to keep independents off the mountains?
post #21 of 37
Years ago when I was still teaching some groups would hire several of us to teach at the destination this group would go to, an eastern resort.

To allow us, the instructors accompnying the group from home, to teach, all "students" had to buy a full lesson ticket from the resort and then they could be taught by us.

post #22 of 37
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by AltaSkier:

Question: If I go to the local resort, and teach a friend to ski, is that going to be a problem with the resort? Both of the partys involved (me and my student) are buying lift tickets. Can they tell me that I cannot teach somebody to ski on their hill?

Altaskier -

The brief summary of my previous post (referenced above) - is yes it is a problem if you get paid for the lesson. Basically, the position of the U.S. Forest Service is that the land is held in public trust and those who wish to profit from it must pay a portion of it back to the public (i.e. back to the government). That is, you have a right to use the land, but not a right to use the land for your own profit.

Ski areas, as part of their permit agreements, pay a portion of revenues to the USFS - in the range of 1.5 to 4%. The permit they receive is exclusive. There was a time when lift permits were separate from ski school permits - and two utah ski areas operated with split permitees. USFS policy is now for one permitee to hold all of the operating permits for the area.

In any event, there were several litigations on this matter, and the case reports indicate that the USFS and the ski areas prevailed. The USFS argued that it would be impossible to regulate and recover the appropriate fes from independent instructors. The scenario that Ott describes appears to address that specific issue (and more).

post #23 of 37
One thing that may be posible is to have a demo/rental center run a bus/jitney from their shop direct to the hill with the students all loaded and ready.

Instructors could be season pass holders ... granted I don't have a clue what a pass costs at a big resort.

L-1 lessons may be a problem due to lack of space on the beginner terrain. Heck, L-1 lessons could even be given behind a shop with a modest bit of room and incline.
post #24 of 37
Ott, I don't know about the Club Med thing. I remember years ago, but well after the Aspen Skiing Co. had won some sort of court action that clearly established their rule over instruction on their terrain, there still were a couple hotel operations in the City of Aspen that were run by instructors and offered their guests their services. Perhaps in each of those cases (Aspen and Copper) the property negotiated some arrangement with the corporation. Is Club Med at Copper perhaps located on land they lease or bought from the mountain company?
post #25 of 37
When I hired Lyle to teach an all day lesson at Alta, I hired him through the Canyons. The payment went through the Canyons and he was requested, by both resorts, to wear his "Perfect Turns" uniform. We were not given lift line privilages but Alta on a weekday this was not a problem. The nice part was that Alta could have asked to have us pay a fee to bring in a private instructor but they did not. I felt this was an equitable solution and apparently several other resorts do allow this kind of service. Some may even "comp" the tickets for the instructor but I think it's fair considering that there are permit fee's involved.

For us it was a "win-win" we got the instructor of our choice, The Canyons got their "cut of the pie", and the advertisement for their school, Alta got our money for tickets and other services we purchased that day.
post #26 of 37
Kneale, I don't know. Bob Barnes or Ski&Golf who teach at Copper may be the ones to ask.

Bob and Rusty Guy came to Club Med to pick me up for a few afternoon runs and when I mentioned to the Club Med ski school director that Bob was there his eyes got big and he begged me to introduce him to Bob, which I did, and he praised Bob profusely and asked him if he would clinic the Club Med instructors some time.

I'm sure Bob will let me know when and if it happens. That afternoon Bob shot some video of Rusty and me but it snowed and I don't know if they came out. If they did, he said he'd post them. But the man is so busy, I don't know how he finds the time to stand still enough to take a deep breath [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #27 of 37
Kneale and Ott,

I'm sure there is some sort of arrangement between Club Med and Intrawest permitting Club Med's program. Whatever the details are I don't know. One thing for sure is they don't have lift line priviledges.

There are a number of Club Med instructors participating in our certification training programs and it's great to have them join us. Hopefully, Bob will have the opportunity to ski with the rest of their staff.

Ott, you are so right about Bob being busy. Tuesday night he left our evening Movement Analysis training (SRO again thanks to Bob)about 8:30 heading to Steamboat for an event and he's in Snowmass tomorrow (Friday) for a cert exam.

Three days of banging bumps and tomorrow I'm banging Titleist's in Denver!!!!
post #28 of 37
>>>Three days of banging bumps and tomorrow I'm banging Titleist's in Denver!!!!<<<

It's the anticipation that is so sweet. In September we get all dreamy about skiing, but let there be a few warm days in February, the idea of golfing (or boating in my case) puts that silly grin on our faces [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #29 of 37
Here's a different slant...

I often wondered why a ski area wanted to be in the ski school business. Just as many of them they outsource their cafeteria business why don't they outsource their ski school, and why would they only have one?

It would seem to me that for a guaranteed piece of the action the resort could allow a ski school to operate on their site.
post #30 of 37
Hey Ott,

How sweet it is-86 when I haven't played in three months (47/39, it took awhile to get going) and the course was as hard as The National at Stowe in Febuary-but who cares. After 80 plus day on skis the break was deserved-and the March madness will soon be upon us.

Colorado is so sweet, you can generally find a course to bang it around on in the Denver area year round.
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