Hi all--back from Snowmass, sitting out the blizzard here in Summit County today.
Club Med has an official arrangement with Copper Mountain that specifies exactly what they can and cannot do. I'm not sure of all the details, but I know that they can teach their in-house group lessons. They have no lift-line privileges. Club Med owns (I believe) and operates the builiding that serves as their hotel. As you observed, Ott, their guests typically spend very little money outside of Club Med, since the Club Med package is all-inclusive.
Having the exclusive rights to ski-teaching within their Forest Service permit area does not restrict the resort manaagement from allowing others to teach there if they choose to let them. Any income the resort gets from the arrangement would, of course, be subject to their permit fee. I'm sure the resort could sub-contract out the ski school to a private enterprise if they wanted to.
I do believe that part of the Forest Service permit requires the resort to provide for some sort of instruction.
Programs like the Mahre Training Center at Keystone are run in conjunction with and with the full cooperation of the ski school. I suspect that anybody could submit a proposal to any resort to operate a special program like the Mahre Training Center. If the resort management thought it would be in their interest, they would allow it. The Mahre Training Center itself is not a big program or money-maker, in the grand scheme of Vail Resorts. But it does give them some good promotion and positive exposure. And the participants do spend a lot of money for lodging, restaurants, equipment and tuning, and even the occasional luxury home or condo. It doesn't take many of those to pay for a program! Operating usually in the slower times of the season, these programs help fill the beds as well as keeping a few more employees working. Since the coaches are among the top-priority instructors at the ski school, their absence from the line-up frees up work for lower-priority instructors in the slow time.
So there are lots of benefits to resorts from allowing independent programs like the Mahre Training Center.
Ott--the video came out pretty well, but I just haven't had the time to put much together yet. I'll get on it....