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Training Gripe

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just venting but..

If instructors aren't paid low enough as it is...

Here's the situation. I decided to "explore" the possiblity of taking the level 3 exam this year. This means attending 3 days of clinic/education. The prefered 3 days would be the level 3 Prep. I checked to see if there would be a clinic local or near my home mountain (Sugarbowl) Apparently there are 2 scheduled. One at Sugarbowl. One at Mammoth. The only problem is Sugarbowl prep is at the same time I've already scheduled to be out of town. So I sign up for the Mammoth clinic. This means $60.00 per day for the clinic, Probably $50+ for a hotel room unless I can score a shared space (which I did for one night) Food away from home, Travel (If I had to travel from home it's 6.5 hrs of driving and about 100.00 in gas). and a few days off from teaching or working my regular job.

2 days before I leave for the clinic, I get an email from PSIA-W reminding me of the clinic with a shocker. I would have to pay Mammoth 10.00 per day for lifts!

I arrive at the clinic and find out several people did not receive this info and it's a shock to them that there are additional expenses not covered by our clinic fees. I then find out that even the clinicians had to pay this fee. They come down on their own time (volunteer for the clinic) and have to pay this 10.00 fee as well! I'm not sure if they get re-imbursed for this.

Has this happened to anyone else? Is this "normal" for clinics these days? Needless to say, we all put on the "PSIA clinic evaluation" that this additional fee was not appreciated and quite a shock.
post #2 of 11
In RM, the areas donate the lift tickets.
post #3 of 11
I am loath to post this, considering my 'anti pissing contest' stance in the PSIA vs ISIA thread, however it might be worth reminding you that, in world terms, becoming fully certified in the US is dirt cheap, both in terms of $$$ & time.

In Austria for example, the government pays for the actual training yet with accommodation etc it will cost you around $10,000. Not to mention the 70 (or 90 - I forget) days spent in house at St Christoph and not at work. Basically it takes the entire season, save for the busy times where you go back to your ski school.

Of course that is probably the most extreme example, yet around the world it is still very costly & time consuming. Although my little gold pin has a kangaroo on it, if it were made of solid gold, it still wouldn't come close to reimbursing me.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

All the previous clinics I've attended, the resorts here also donated the tickets. According to the clinicians this is the first time they've seen a resort charge the candidates and clinicians for lifts! Also waiting until a few day's before the clinic to tell us was even more of a shock.


Can a "pro" instructor make a living wage during the ski season in Austria? or would they need to work another job in order to pay the rent?

If teaching in the US paid enough to do better than break even on a weekend, I probably wouldn't complain as much. Almost all the instructors I know can't afford to teach without some other form of income like a well paying off season job, second job at night, being wealthy, retired or maybe a spouse that helps support them.
post #5 of 11
Having never taught in Austria I can't really answer your question, however i'll outline the Australian journey:

In Oz, our prep course for L3 is 9 days, the Exam is 3 days. Todays prices (which are a hair lower than when I did it) are $695 for the course, and the exam $450. That's at least 12 days off work, and a cost of $1145.

Fortunately the first time I did this, it was at my home mountain so I didn't have to fork out for accomm, but unfortunately I failed!

The next season I was injured just prior to the exam, so the following season I decided to do the course again. This was not compulsory, but I felt that I really needed it. That season the courses & exam were away from home, so it entailed a 10 day road trip for the course, and a 4 day trip for the exam. Accomm + Fuel + Food etc = $$$

Its a cost that I am reluctant to add up, as I don't really want to know the total, yet I can say that it was entirely paid for by instructing, along with making car payments, paying rent etc, plus enough to fly to the US etc. Oh, and a few beers as well

I realise that the costs are in Australian dollars. but considering that my hourly rate there is almost identical to what I earn in the US dollar for dollar then in relative terms the exchange is irrelevant
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

It sounds like instructing with a gold pin in OZ would pay for the training over time (probably in less than a season or 2)

I wish I could say the same here in the US.
post #7 of 11
Yes - you should come over for a season...

Especially now while our dollar is sort of OK...

Besides - what will I do for that lesson now Rusty is staying at home [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #8 of 11
Pay rise per hour going from 2 to 3 in Oz for me was actually much less than in the US

When I did it the Oz pay rise was well under $2/hr where it was $5/hr in the US.

We're talking a heck of a lot of hours to get that pin paid off!!!!
post #9 of 11
Here in the Midwest if you are not fully certified the cost of lift tickets must be figured in. At our most popular event the cost for level one is about $35.00 per day, Level 2 is about $20.00 per day and level 3 is free.

I find the same fee schedule when free skiing in those areas.

For us a level 3 event pushes just about a $1,000.00 in expenses. Its my understanding that for some of the outlaying areas in PSIA-E division, the costs for level 3 can approach $3,000.00.

The average jump in pay from level 2 to 3 is between $1.00 and $2.00 per hour in the Midwest. Many part time instructors do not approach 100 hours per year. Such is the price for status or ego.
post #10 of 11
The only way to make certification "pay" is to amortize the cost over decades. Unfortunately, relatively few full certs stick around long enough to make certification "pay," in which case the pin is a vanity thing.

Maybe PSIA should open certification to the skiing public so they too can test themselves in front of an examination panel and possibly earn this fine jewelry too. (Tongue-in-cheek emoticon, please.)

The problem with PSIA certification is that the instructor who earns Level III and is a lifelong learner will be a thousandfold better as time goes on, and there's no way to distinguish the lifelong learners from those who rest on their gold pins the remainder of their teaching days...
post #11 of 11
Throwing the same money spent on certification into almost any investement portfolio will yeild greater returns than amortization of the pin over time. Its status, ego and personal and professional satisfaction. At least as a part timer.

As far as dead end instructors go, whenever I have dug deeper than the surface, I have never found any instructor that was satisfied to sit on their lorals. What I have found is apethetic attitudes bore out of frustration. Many believe that everything they do is their fault or nothing is their fault.

Many instructors are stuck with equipment problems and are unaware of them. Many simply don't believe that equipment changes with help the problems. Many are very ineffective at learning techniques or listening techniques.

I have been able to find trigger points that have jump started many of these instructors who have made little or no progress for years. Hit their trigger points and their attitudes come back alive with enthusiasm.
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