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Surviving on financial tips

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

A quick story to share. It took a while to get used to people 'tipping' in the USA. I loved it, but was quite surprised when some adults tipped me 20-30 USD before the lesson even began. I asked the first woman who did this 'What if you don't like my lesson?' She just shrugged her shoulders and said 'then i won't buy you lunch' and laughed.

post #2 of 30

You must have been in a different part of the US. Lessons taught so far this year: 12. Tips: 0.

post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 

when i worked with the kids, and dropped them off to the parents at the end of the day, they rarely tipped, that's why it was good to work with the adults, as they pretty much aways did. I worked in Park City, Utah, and Heavenly, Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side.

post #4 of 30

I feel like it would be so awkward to tip before a lesson. When I tip somebody it feels so much more normal for it to be after the service, unless of course its the guy checking my skis in at the airport curb

post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertical369 View Post

I feel like it would be so awkward to tip before a lesson. When I tip somebody it feels so much more normal for it to be after the service, unless of course its the guy checking my skis in at the airport curb



 +1.

 

There is always a tip, but the amount is contingent upon the satisfaction of the lesson. 

post #6 of 30

I have taken many lessons from many different people over the years but because of high rates from the schools and mostly only blah instruction I honestly don't feel like a tip was justified.

 

One that always did was at Sugar Mountain, NC teaching PMTS style and he was great. Can't remember his name, it was long long ago, but he always got a good tip from me.

post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonrpen View Post

I have taken many lessons from many different people over the years but because of high rates from the schools and mostly only blah instruction I honestly don't feel like a tip was justified.

 

One that always did was at Sugar Mountain, NC teaching PMTS style and he was great. Can't remember his name, it was long long ago, but he always got a good tip from me.


Despite the high rates from the schools, the instructor is making minimum wage or a little bit more.

 

On the other hand, our rate are among the lowest in the country, and still no one tips. And the instructor is making minimum wage, or a little bit more.

 

The turnover in ski instruction is fairly high, no doubt due to the low wages (and lack of tips), so it's no wonder that blah instruction is fairly easy to find. Those of us who stick it out, surely aren't in it for the money. I don't even break even.

post #8 of 30

I haven't taken a lesson in years, but when my kids take lessons I do tip the instructors.  I am curious if people tip the instructors when attending the EpicSki Academy?

post #9 of 30

I pay for lessons for my wife at Alta when we venture west every February.  She found a great instructor in Angie and tips her $20.00 after each lesson. My wife has improved significantly, especially considering we live in Florida and only ski about 15 days a year.  Angie is worth it though, but I can see where some people would not be led to tip if the lesson did not meet with their approval.  I think another item of consideration should be that we only ski Alta and find that the majority of their instructor staff has been there for YEARS!  This says a lot to me about their program. 

post #10 of 30

Never seen someone tip or be tipped out here on the East, might be a Colorado/Utah type thing.

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

You must have been in a different part of the US. Lessons taught so far this year: 12. Tips: 0.



Bummer, that's no good.

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceDude View Post

Never seen someone tip or be tipped out here on the East, might be a Colorado/Utah type thing.


 

No way! Although it happens more at destination resort type places (generally).  In fact, teaching in CO and UT I liked teaching east coasters, as they tipped.   At destination resorts, I was usually able to bank all my pay, and buy groceries/shopping/beer using tips, which was nice.   My first week at Park City, I was shadowing another instructor to learn the drill, the mountain, etc, the other guy would use me (it was pre-Xmas week and the groups were big) to team teach, and from our first lesson, we were both being tipped... by groups!

 

Doesn't always happen though. Beginners often don't realise how little the instructor is getting, while others think the instructor is getting like half the lesson cost.  You can't rely on it.

post #13 of 30

I am 6/10 on tips this year.

 

Maybe you guys doing this just arent a good enough coach :P

 

Its nice but really just requesting me the next day makes me happier than getting a tip.


Edited by BushwackerinPA - 12/19/10 at 4:25am
post #14 of 30

Teaching at a small Eastern hill and many of us get tips.  Not all the time, but quite regularly.

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

You must have been in a different part of the US. Lessons taught so far this year: 12. Tips: 0.


If you're anything like your online persona, that's not surprising. I didn't get a lot of tips either.  :(

 

I taught at a small hill in Pennsylvania. The aunt of one of my girlfriend's students treated us to a week vacation at Park City which was a pretty nice. :)

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post

Teaching at a small Eastern hill and many of us get tips.  Not all the time, but quite regularly.


Sorry, I forgot to offer a token of appreciation for teaching my niece last year. redface.gif

post #17 of 30

I've decided that this is my last year teaching, and its only my third year after having been an ambassador for the previous 5. I have a full time job so teaching was a way for me to enjoy 'coaching' after the kids got onto high school teams, and I really love bringing newbies into the fold. OK, I get to ski for free (when not teaching) and I get a neat work jacket and discounts for snowboarding child and food and gear at the shop, but come on.

 

I'm pulling minimum and figure my one true job at the hill (eastern, small, top school) is to get customers to come back, and I break my back to be enthusiastic and have a very high success rate in getting folks to wedge turn and enjoy themselves at it. Yesterday I had a tough class, dragged down by the LCD (lowest common denominator) who chewed up 20 minutes, so i gave - for free - an extra 20 minutes beyond to those who were really into it. NO FREAKIN TIPS.

 

This has been a DRY year - and I consider myself having fun while teaching. I mentioned the lack of tips to one of the bosses, like maybe could you come around and check with students at discharge or even at start and say something like "you've got a great teacher and many of you will get it; don't be afraid to show your appreciation". The guy thought I was joking, like personal satisfaction will cover my gas bill or even the discounted lunch. I put my heart and soul into each class and have good memories but if i am going to work this hard, and get some skiing in, i might as well get a REAL second job and ski when i am free.

 

any trail bosses supporting the troops? what are they doing?

post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by arrowsmith View Post

I've decided that this is my last year teaching, and its only my third year after having been an ambassador for the previous 5.

 (snip)

 

like personal satisfaction will cover my gas bill or even the discounted lunch.

 

I hear you. The disconnect between all the stuff instructors should know and be able to do vs their remuneration is bizarre.  And when you stop loving it, there's nothing else there, as I found out.    I used to do well out of tips, teaching at destination resorts, but wouldn't it be nicer if the job paid properly?
 

post #19 of 30

Until I heard from instructors here a few years ago how little they get from even  a private I did not tip much. Now I do what I can if I feel  that the instructor gave me even a decent bit of attention. Consider that most people simply have no idea that a $15 tip may well be equal to what you made. Why would someone think that your base pay structure was so low unless they were told?

post #20 of 30

I send my 5yr old to all day lessons.  They give instruction, put up with him, eat lunch with him, entertain him, ensure his safety, and (most importantly) prevent the deterioration our relationship would surely suffer if I were to attempt to teach him myself...I always TIP. 

 

-Smarty

post #21 of 30

No tipping instructors here. We do take Prickly Jr's (and now Jr Jr's) instructor out to dinner now and again. Then again, he's paid in cash before the season starts, outside the ski school, so every dime goes in his pocket. And he deserves it, my kids love him.

He also gets a lot of work through ski school clients for his building business.

post #22 of 30

How an instructor feels when he gets no tip? 

post #23 of 30

I honestly don't mind.  I like getting tips, but a:) people don't know they should tip & b:) it's so expensive to take a lesson, buy lift tix, rent eq. etc.  I just can't blame them for not tipping.  What I'd prefer is they come back and request me as we get paid more for requests.

post #24 of 30
Thread Starter 

When i went to america, I was expected to tip for everything, taxi's, waitresses, restaurants, bars, clubs, you name it, i tipped it. No reason why skiing should be any different.

post #25 of 30

Until I started hanging out on this forum I had no idea that ski lessons were a tipping situation; I imagine a lot of people don't know.

 

You've gotta admit, tipping is pretty bewildering. You tip a barber, a cabbie. Why, exactly? Because they did a good job? (In the cabbie's case, what is that exactly? He didn't crash?) Should I tip my plumber if he does a good job too? My surgeon?

 

The whole thing is pretty weird, when you think about it. Foreigners freak out about this when they go to the States; now that I've lived abroad for so long, I kind of agree (not that I would never not tip when I return home).


BTW: when I saw the title of this thread, I thought you were talking about insider trading or something.

post #26 of 30

I usually tip $20 per 2 hour lesson, and around $40 for each private lesson. Does that sound about right? I'm not sure what the "standard rate" is these days, but that always seemed about right.

post #27 of 30

I never thought much about tipping until I found EPIC SKI several years ago. I too thought these well dressed and well equipped folks at the ski school had it made. I'd try to keep my kids with the same instructor for the week if they liked them the first day. Once I knew the kids were happy I'd tip the instructor and let them know they would be together a few days and I'd catch them again at the end of the week.

post #28 of 30

Wow.  See, I had no idea you were supposed to tip ski instructors.  I'm glad I've never taken a lesson yet.  Do you tip for each lesson, or just at the end of the session if it's more than one day?

 

It would be nice if ski resorts would tell you this.

 

That's one thing I hate about tipping.  There is no guide out there that tells you who you're supposed to tip and how much, and who you're not, and the rules are never consistent (there's a tip jar at the coffee shop but not at McDonald's.  I tip my hairdresser and a tattoo artist but not my dental hygienist or the person who performs medical tests at the hospital.).  Not to mention they're not consistent between different areas of the country always, either.  And that if someone is NOT supposed to be tipped, it's often a big faux pas to do it. 

 

Now I wonder what other teachers I'm supposed to be tipping and I haven't a clue and they probably hate me.  I know I'm supposed to tip the pizza guy (though i know few people do these days since "delivery charges" have been instituted; as far as I can gather most people don't know the delivery charge doesn't go to the delivery driver), my hairdresser, the person who cleans my hotel room, my bartender (though I'm not sure, if I'm not sitting at the bar and there's also a waitress, how I'm supposed to work that, and I usually try to just tip on the bill and hope they split it up--anybody that can enlighten me on that?) and my piercer.  (Though sometimes I've found some of these people seem terribly surprised that I'm handing them money.)  I think one is supposed to give one's mail carrier some sort of Christmas bonus but I've never done it.

post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

Until I heard from instructors here a few years ago how little they get from even  a private I did not tip much. Now I do what I can if I feel  that the instructor gave me even a decent bit of attention. Consider that most people simply have no idea that a $15 tip may well be equal to what you made. Why would someone think that your base pay structure was so low unless they were told?

Same here, had no Idea they were paid teenager fast food wages,,Geeze.

 

 


 

post #30 of 30

Well we do teach pizza and french fries, so I guess it fits.

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