This is neither a taboo subject or a stupid question. But it is one which requires a special degree of tact, when being dealt with.
To begin with, allow me to outline some of the general parameters and limitations of most ski schools and their respective areas.
First, no instr who has any integrity, ethics, or a desire to have a long career would jeopardize their employment by "underground teaching" or "privateering" on their own mountain. First offenses of this nature usually result in termination with prejudice, resulting in a black mark on their professional reputation. If asked by a future employer, the dismissing school will usually let it be known why the instr was terminated.
Secondly, most resorts have been granted exclusive rights to provide ski instruction within their area boundaries by a governmental agency, and are very reluctant to allow freelancers on to their turf. They view all value transactions as "their" money, and treat it as an intrusion. In most cases, this has been supported by the legal system.
Have you ever wondered why you don't see instr's out advertising as independent instr's, as they do in Europe? The system there is quite different than our own, and it's not only allowed- it's customary! Here, where would the instr teach, where the resort wouldn't take offense to that instr?
This also includes the upcoming EpicSki Academy at Snowbird and the ETU, held in Stowe last month. This might explain why we have to jump through so many hoops to find a resort which is willing to "host" our events. Without such support, we would not be allowed to have these events. Even then, there are many stipulations we must adhere to, so as to not impinge upon the host area's business.
So- as you can see, the instr and the ski area operator both have certain expectations of, and responsibilities to, the other.
Now- to your question.
Can an instr teach at an area other than the one which employs him/her?
If acting as you have described, the instr would be working as an independent, and would likely be investigated by the resort. But as an employee of one area, taking a client to another area is becoming relatively common. Though the employing area isn't very happy about it sometimes, and will likely refuse WC benefits should anything happen to the instr while working in this fashion, it is becoming more acceptable.
For example- in the past, Vail actually welcomed Aspen instr's to bring their clients over, when Aspen itself had very little snow or terrain open. Those instr's were extended every hospitality and courtesy. And on any given day, I see instr's from 3,4,or even 5 different areas skiing and teaching on Vail Mtn.
But in these various cases, the initial contact with the student WAS at the home area, not at the area to be visited. The student is usually a previous client, wishing to experience a new resort. And at all times, these visits are done above board. If a pro were to get a reputation of being shady about his business, you might fully expect the host area to bring it's full might to bear upon that instr. And then it'll be the employing resorts turn to take him/her to task.
Most employers are happy to write a letter of introduction for an instr taking a guest to another area. This way, no unnecessary grief is visited upon that instr, and everybody is kept in the loop as to who the instr is, what he/she is doing, and for how long.
I, myself will spend an average of 12-16 days per season with guests at various resorts. But I make a point of going into the ski school office at each, meeting with the Ski School manager or supervisor, and informing them of my presence on the mtn, prior to going out on the hill.
I hope this answers your question, at least to some degree.
(edited for a few minor spelling errors...)[ January 01, 2004, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: vail snopro / ric reiter ]