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Worst ski school experience

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

This happened in Park City Utah.

 

A Park City ski instructor was working in NZ and asked a bunch of us to go and work in PC.

Arrive on december 5th, all the way from NZ. Am promised accomadation by the recruiter and ski school/recruitment department.

 

No accomadation available, in fact not sure it ever acutally existed. First week spent holed up in a backpackers, while spent the days walking the streets knocking on doors, searching everywhere for a place to live. Find a place to live by end of the week. Finally get ready to go skiing as orientation starts the next day.

 

Orientation is straightforward, but find out we cannot ski in our uniforms off piste. The ski school doesn't want us looking bad in our uniforms.

 

No work available, even with the little kiddies. The ten of us that came over together from NZ are literally taking turns working, getting about an hour a day. Management say 'it'll pick up at christmas'. Fortunately I already have a career as a nurse so I've got money saved and can pay the rent.

 

The first 'payday' chairlift opens 30mins earlier for ski school, it's a time for clinics as well as a chance to free ski. General public complains about ski school 'skiing up all the powder', when they pay 'too much' for a lift ticket. Management stops us from being able to free ski in the that first half an hour unless we are in a clinic.

 

Meanwhile, I get caught skiing off piste in uniform and get reprimanded. The manager of the children's ski school had said I was fine to ski off piste, he had skied with me quite a bit off piste and said I was great to ski with. The big wig head honcho wasn't happy as I hadn't gotten approval from him.

 

Decide I'd better go to a clinic, mainly because there was a huge storm, minus 18 degrees at the top and serious powder. I am late to clinic, but as I get on the chairlift, I can see my class about 8 chairs in front of me.

 

As I get off the chairlift, my group is about 50meteres away from me. I go to join them, but am stopped by the head of the whole ski school. He is running a clinic with the 'examiners' and other top coaches. He asks me what I'm doing, and I explain that my clinic is just over there. He say I have to wait here until the go down and come back up again. He then skis off.

 

It's bitterly cold and the wind is hitting me as I wait 15minutes, then decide I'm going to ski down as it's <expletive> cold. I ski past the head coach on the way down.

 

When I get back to the changing rooms that afternoon, the guy who recruited me in NZ is waiting and blasts me for not staying at the top of the mountain.

 

I tell him to '<expletive> off'. He tells me 'you've blown it this time'.

I tell him exactly what is wrong

1 - you lied about a place to live

2 - you promised us heaps of work, and it hasn't happened

3 - I was left on top of a mountain today to freeze my balls off because your boss is a vindictive little <expletive>.

4 - I also found out that you, (the guy who got us over here) got a $1000 bonus for every instructor he brought over. He brought ten of us over.

5 - Oh and I quit

 

Fortunately I had a friend in Lake Tahoe, and had the best time with the crew from Heavenly ski school. Unfortunately my friends from NZ were younger, didn't have another job to support them, didn't have savings, and didn't have contacts in other parts the states. They finished the winter but said it was the worst winter imaginable. Half of them had to get evening jobs waiting tables, and made much more money doing this. They worked 2 days a week on average just to keep their ski pass.

 

 

 

Moderators note: Removed very offensive language. 

post #2 of 30

Next time (as if..) get it in writing.

post #3 of 30

Happens all the time, sadly. They promise you things that we'd regard as the basics, but when you get over there (the US), it never existed.   I remember one season at PCMR, chatting with a peruvian staff member in the coffee shop. They'd all been promised things, arrived, nothing. So 11 of them were bunked in on the floor of a basement some friends had rented. the landlord was helpful, and put in a fridge and a cooktop. 18 Peruvians ended up living there. Furious. At some point midway through the season, they all upped and left.

 

The cult of christmas... every season, resorts go mad for Christmas. It lasts about 2 days, and then the whole of January stretches out, cold and lean, until Presidents.

post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingaround View Post

This happened in Park City Utah.

 

Unfortunately my friends from NZ were younger, didn't have another job to support them, didn't have savings, and didn't have contacts in other parts the states. They finished the winter but said it was the worst winter imaginable. Half of them had to get evening jobs waiting tables, and made much more money doing this. They worked 2 days a week on average just to keep their ski pass.

 

 

 

 

 


That sounds pretty average for a ski instructor.  I've never known one that didn't need another job to support themselves, much less a family here in the states.  I'm sure some ski school directors and some are that are also reps can do OK, but most just teach for a pass and some extra cash.

post #5 of 30

Yeah but, when you come over on a visa, legally you can ONLY do that job. So you stump up 2 or 3 grand for the plane ticket just to get there... you have to pay that off first.  And waiting tables, or any job that's not printed on your visa (and only for your stated employer), that's completely illegal. I was tempted a few times, but didn't succumb.

post #6 of 30

skiingarround - thanks for your bitter and sad story. I have had a similair experiance and so have many others. Being a instructor is much more than technique and nitpicking. You did the right thing icon14.gif.

post #7 of 30

That sounds like HELL!

 

And what really angers me as an American is that people who get treated like this from other countries will probably develop anti-American sentiment.

 

I worked at a summer camp and met a very nice guy from New Zealand who until he met other nice people here said to me that back home he always knew which tourists were American because they were so loud and obnoxious.  But then he said he felt guilty because "you're not like that."

 

It's an absolute DISGRACE the way you were treated.  DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I applaud you for telling the recruiter off.  And, yes, his boss does sound like a vindictive ****.  

 

We're not all like that, Mate!

post #8 of 30

JHMR doesn't use foreign instructors like we used to.  I doubt that those kinds of things ever happened when we did.  I am an American and will gladly take the work that the foreigners would get and was happy when the H2B visas dried up.  I make enough money teaching skiing to support myself, but just barely.  I need to work full-time and get some tips to make it happen.  Our school is pretty up-front about the pay scale and how status works for lesson assignments.  I am allowed to ski in uniform if I want to, but generally choose not to unless I'm working.  I can take my students onto any inbounds terrain that I think is appropriate.  Over-all it's a great job.  It sounds like we have it better than a lot of instructors at other resorts.  We have access to lots of free training including two early bird clinics a week.  If you are late to any clinic....  You missed it, So sorry.  I can't imagine our SSD making someone wait out a lap on top in the sub-zero.

post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 

Teton, you indicate that you'd happily take the work tha foreigners take from you and are happy that the H2B visa thing dried up, but in the ski bizz, it works both ways. In NZ the resorts are full of american instructors. I don't have a problem with it, in fact it's great making contacts from all over the world. You come to nz to instruct and with NZ's huge workforce of ski instructors, we go to the states to return the favour.

 

As for being late to a clinic, 'so sorry'  We're not in school anymore it is ok to be a few moments late, shit does happen. We're adults making our way in the world, not naughty teenagers. The class was literally 20 seconds skiing away. Next time I'm late to work (the emergency room) I'll let them send me home because 'i'm late, so sorry'.

 

I think the issue with PC is they usually get younger ski instructiors, at least I was the only one of the ten that came with me from NZ that had worked and had money. They can push these people around. All my friends stayed on and all they wanted to do was leave. Every single one of those ten never came back to PC. Every single one of them was disgusted at the management and the fact they had been lied to.

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post

Yeah but, when you come over on a visa, legally you can ONLY do that job.



That totally blows, and the lodging that was promised wasn't delivered either.  If the deuchbag really did get a thousand bucks for each recruit and really did flat out lie for his gain then it sounds like some back woods justice might be in order.  There are ten of you and one of him right?rolleyes.gif  Nowww, NOPE, I'm not condoning or promoting nonono2.gifviolence over the internet.  Just sayin' that the ten of you ought to be able to come up with a way to get even without breaking any laws..wink.gif

post #11 of 30

It's that way in a lot of Industries. Too bad you learned the hard way,it sucks. In my field it is dangerous and a hostile enviorment with plenty of bullshit to go around.  The pay is outstanding but even then you ask yourself how much BS do you want to take for X amount of dollars. Eventually you drag up and head for the house.

post #12 of 30

That's really, really horrible.  That sort of behavior is totally unacceptable.

 

You could quite possibly sue them and win compensation for your troubles.  But unless you had a written contract promising you lodging, a certain amount of pay, etc. it would be a lot of 'he said, she said'.  And you'd have to sue them in Utah.

 

You could also try writing to the Attorney General's office in UT.

 

Quote:
That totally blows, and the lodging that was promised wasn't delivered either.  If the deuchbag really did get a thousand bucks for each recruit and really did flat out lie for his gain then it sounds like some back woods justice might be in order.  There are ten of you and one of him right?rolleyes.gif  Nowww, NOPE, I'm not condoning or promoting nonono2.gifviolence over the internet.  Just sayin' that the ten of you ought to be able to come up with a way to get even without breaking any laws..wink.gif

 

Or, yeah, that.

post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingaround View Post

Teton, you indicate that you'd happily take the work tha foreigners take from you and are happy that the H2B visa thing dried up, but in the ski bizz, it works both ways. In NZ the resorts are full of american instructors. I don't have a problem with it, in fact it's great making contacts from all over the world. You come to nz to instruct and with NZ's huge workforce of ski instructors, we go to the states to return the favour.

 

 

No, not so much. NZ will hire American Instructors, as will a few other countries, but very few. The ratio of ski workers coning into the US vs. leaving the US is very high. Around here, every other person is Canadian, but there's NO chance of getting a job over in Canada. AS a Kiwi, you've got far more countries you can work in that we can; in fact NZ is the only country I know of that actively recruits Americans. I have taught overseas; it was a pain in the ass to set up, the accommodations provided sucked and it cost me more than I earned. I sure didn't do it for the money.

 

As far as skiing off-piste in uniform, we can't even ski on-piste in uniform except in a lesson. Not even in clinics. And we certainly don't get to go up a half hour early. A typical work day for me is 2 hours. It's unfortunate that you were told differently.

post #14 of 30

If the duchebag was an actual recruiter for the resort and not just some other instructor getting referral fees the agreement need not be in writing to sue.

 

Quote:

The statute of frauds refers to the requirement that certain kinds of contracts be memorialized in a signed writing with sufficient content to evidence the contract.

Traditionally, the statute of frauds requires a signed writing in the following circumstances:

  • Contracts in consideration of marriage. This provision covers prenuptial agreements.
  • Contracts which cannot be performed within one year. However, contracts of indefinite duration do not fall under the statute of frauds regardless of how long the performance actually takes.
  • Contracts for the transfer of an interest in land. This applies not only to a contract to sell land but also to any other contract in which land or an interest in it is disposed, such as the grant of a mortgage or an easement.
  • Contracts by the executor of a will to pay a debt of the estate with his own money.
  • Contracts for the sale of goods involving a purchase price of $500 or more.
  • Contracts in which one party becomes a surety (acts as guarantor) for another party's debt or other obligation.

Ten of you testifying in court against the one of him and his manager as to the "he said she said" might be a pretty solid case.

post #15 of 30

Well, we're only hearing one side of the story here. Frankly, I very much doubt anyone is getting a grand to recruit for a job where pulling down 2 grand is a challenge. I know a recruiter for another UT resort, and he sure as hell isn't getting that kind of money to find help. Maybe the OP was "told" the recruiter got $1000 bonus, but I put no credibility in that tale.

 

The only legitimate gripe is having been promised housing if none was available. All the rest of that pissing is about getting in trouble for doing things that he was told not to do.

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 

Iwill, I was waiting for someone to doubt me. It is true, it did happen. My understanding for the recruitment fee was this. It was the season immediately before the olympics, and they were trying to make sure they had plenty of people there for the following winter. Of course I never actually sat down and talked about any fee the recruiter might have had, but I had some reliable sources tell me about it.

Of course there are two sides to any story, but I came to Utah with 6yrs nursing in some pretty intense areas, having worked in several hospitals in two different countries by this stage, so I knew what the working world was like, I knew when people were being deceitful, knew when I was being treated like <expletive>, and <expletive> me and my friends over. I'd lived a bit, so to speak and didn't have to put up with their shit. Now, if it had just been me affected by the disaster that was PC, maybe it could have been put down to me just not suiting the PC way, but all ten of us were affected and came away with a bitter taste.

 

Also, look at how many other instructors who have commented here have said they've had the same shitty things happen. This is not uncommon. Ski instructors coming from the other side of the world can easily be taken advantage of.

 

Mod edit: Removed offensive language. 

post #17 of 30

These recruiters sure know how to pick their victims, don't they.  You would think 1 out of ten of them would take it upon himself to see that this recruiter had a personality change via few months spent rehabilitating from a traumatic brain injury.  Not that I would ever condone anything like thatcool.gif.

post #18 of 30

He Being from NZ ,you can forget about legal action. by the time it goes to court in the US he has already gone home. Things are promised to workers from other countries and not given all the time. The recourse for most is just live and learn ( even in writing forget it unless you stay in the country for other reasons for 2 years to be heard).

Is some strange rules when you work in another mans country sometimes. Kindda like letting one work and not letting a spouse work in the country but OK to live there.

I guess you need to research through other people that have gone to work and who did they work for and was it fair and fun or at least was it worth going.

Sorry to hear your tale of woe.

But as I am from another country and working in the USA I can say from what I've seen most people in that situation are treated fairly

post #19 of 30

We had something similar happen on our first season in the US, actually. In a different state... it was a little company set up by a manager in the resort we went to (part of a bigger resort company), to recruit foreign staff for several of the company's resorts.   we had to pay them for the service.  They were to set up our H2B visas (employer-sponsored seasonal work visas), get us from the major city airport we flew into to the resort (they had us all come in on the same day, and filled a couple of buses), and most importantly, arrange accommodation for us all (tricky when you're from overseas, in a fairly rural area).

 

But when we got there, me and the other person living in the same place discovered that our house (we were renting off a guy who taught in ski school) was off the bus route.  Teh resort was 7 miles away, food shops were even further away, and the bus did not run anywhere near this house.  We were on $8/hour (if we taught) so buying a car was completely out of reach.

 

So we were reliant on people giving us lifts (in a new resort where we knew no one) and some days it was me and this guy (who was very old, like in his late 60s) trudging along the road. Buying food was a huge challenge. The town was quite a long way away, away from the resort. The bus service was good but it was a 7mile walk to get the bus.

 

We discovered that we'd been put in this house "because they guy needed the income". 

 

Through friends, I managed to get out and got a room on teh bus route, but it took some doing and a few temporary stays in other places.  The old guy stuck it out, a few of us and his supervisors kept an eye out to make sure he got rides, but he was pretty broken by it all. He'd planned to stay on after the season and tour the boat-making areas as he was into timber boats, but he ended up going straight home, heartbroken.

 

We were misled quite badly. We paid these guys for the service, and they were also getting paid by the company to recruit foreign staff. It was quite an eye-opener.

 

Happened again at next year's resort (a  big international resort, part of a group).  The HR people said they'd reserved us rooms in the employee accommodation. When I arrived though, and fronted the HR office (with my suitcase and ski bag, jet lagged), they'd done nothing of the sort.  I ended up in soem very ramshackle accommodation (where they housed the mexican employees) so thankfully I had a bed. HR behaved as though it wasn't their concern.

 

Some resorts who bring people in see it as part of the deal to help them find a place to live. Others do nothing (and that's the majority). Thank heavans for Craig's List!

 

AS for bringing in foreigners, I'm with you guys, I think it's wrong when there's suitable Americans ready willing and able. The pay is low and it's kept low by foreigners coming in on working holidays... if the pay was higher, more Americans would be available.  I'm constantly amazed that resorts with big towns or even cities on their doorsteps are allowed to import foreign staff. Do those cities and towns have 100% employment? No!

post #20 of 30

 

Sorry to hear... The State Department publishes a fairly upfront 'beware' pamphlet, although the protections for an H2B are pretty sparse

 

http://travel.state.gov/pdf/Pamphlet-Printer.pdf

Quote:
H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker visas
  • If you are a temporary non-agricultural worker, you are entitled to payment at or above the prevailing wage, which will be at least the federal, state, or local legal minimum wage, but may be higher. This rate applies whether you are paid hourly or by piece rate.
  • Your employer must provide return transportation costs for your trip home if your work ends or you are dismissed for business reasons unrelated to job performance before the end of your contract.
  • You are usually entitled to terms and conditions of employment that are normal for similarly employed U.S. workers in the area.
  • You should never have to pay fees to a labor recruiter in your home country.
post #21 of 30

They didn't contravene any of those. We paid fees to Americans, they weren't in any one else's countries (they recruited from several countries).  We were paid at US pay rates, same as our US colleagues. And enjoyed the same terms and conditions (of which of course there are very few).

 

It's a sad cycle, that in order to recruit from overseas, they have to show the US gov't that they can't get people locally. And they can't get people locally because the pay is too low. And the pay stays low because people from overseas, on adventures, are available to fly over and take the jobs.

post #22 of 30

I don't have much of a problem with allowing foreign instructors to work in the US...I have a problem with allowing them to work in the US, when we're not allowed to work in their home country.

 

It is unfortuante that ski pros aren't considered on the caliber of golf pros...but perhaps ski bumming (including student visa on adventure) are in fact a part of that.

post #23 of 30

Which countries can't you work in? 

post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

I don't have much of a problem with allowing foreign instructors to work in the US...I have a problem with allowing them to work in the US, when we're not allowed to work in their home country.

 

It is unfortuante that ski pros aren't considered on the caliber of golf pros...but perhaps ski bumming (including student visa on adventure) are in fact a part of that.



It should not be a problem if the foreign instructors do not work for less or significantly less money. The same rule should apply to all barnches. 

post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post

Which countries can't you work in? 



It would be easier to list which countries I can work in. In my day job - none. Literally. Foreigners can work in my field (as if there were any jobs), but I can't for example work in Australia. Canada has an exemption for employers who can't find a qualified Canadian, but they rarely ever issue it.

 

In ski instructing - the only country that I know of that has an open arms policy is New Zealand. Australia, for example, will allow ski instructors on "holiday visa"...if you're under 31. Rules me out. Most countries have severe restrictions for work permits unless the position is on a "shortage list", or they offer a student/holiday visa. Some countries, such as Switzerland have one set of rules for EU residents, a second set for non-EU residents, and a third, more restrictive set of rules specifically for US/Canadians.

 

I've worked in Europe before, but I'm still not sure if it was legal, as I was paid in cash and limited to no more than 14 days. It seemed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was in effect, so I didn't ask.

 

Immigration and foreign workers is a sore subject in the US, obviously. Most of the concern is over immigration from the South, but Canadians are not too terribly popular around here. There are Canadians all over working (we're just a few miles south of the border), but despite lower unemployment north of the border, Americans can't get a job on their side.

 

 

post #26 of 30



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post

Which countries can't you work in? 



It would be easier to list which countries I can work in. In my day job - none. Literally. Foreigners can work in my field (as if there were any jobs), but I can't for example work in Australia. Canada has an exemption for employers who can't find a qualified Canadian, but they rarely ever issue it.

 

In ski instructing - the only country that I know of that has an open arms policy is New Zealand. Australia, for example, will allow ski instructors on "holiday visa"...if you're under 31. Rules me out. Most countries have severe restrictions for work permits unless the position is on a "shortage list", or they offer a student/holiday visa. Some countries, such as Switzerland have one set of rules for EU residents, a second set for non-EU residents, and a third, more restrictive set of rules specifically for US/Canadians.

 

I've worked in Europe before, but I'm still not sure if it was legal, as I was paid in cash and limited to no more than 14 days. It seemed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was in effect, so I didn't ask.

 

Immigration and foreign workers is a sore subject in the US, obviously. Most of the concern is over immigration from the South, but Canadians are not too terribly popular around here. There are Canadians all over working (we're just a few miles south of the border), but despite lower unemployment north of the border, Americans can't get a job on their side.

 

 


All depends what you do, If your a Canadian couch potato chances are you can not get work legally in the US, mind you if you find someone to pay you for that chances you wont get caught anyway i would assume.

If you have a skill that is needed in the US or in Canada then you can get a work Visa pretty easy.

If you do not have a specialized skill then you can't get a Visa for either country.

Both countries actively send recruiters into each others country to try to fill holes in the skill areas. This is not free for the company interested in the recruiting process, they aren't out just hiring anyone.

You will find if you have a skill ( one that is worthy of being hired, )you can find a job.

I work for no less then my US counterparts and in most cases do maybe better. I am not in a minimum wage field. I do not make more in the US then I would in Canada.

If you want to work in Canada do some research on what skills are needed then apply to a company after you have the needed skill, or work for a multi national company with an Office in the US then get a management transfer on an L1A or B.

People work in other countries for lots of reasons, none of which are to take away jobs from the people that live in these countries.Might be climate, adventure, maybe they met someone when on holidays, might be political views, might be culture curiosity,maybe the free medical system annoys them. there are lots of reasons people travel. Have you never gone on vacation and said "hey it would be kind of cool to live here" ?

Anyway this really doesn't have alot to do with skiing.

When you go into someone elses country especially on a shoe string budget your options are limited and you do not have the same choices the citizens do, or the resources


 


Edited by Old Boot - 12/16/10 at 2:16pm
post #27 of 30

iWill, you can work in all those countries. BUT, you have to do it on an employer-sponsored work visa. Same one I worked on in the US, an H2B.   Some countries have reciprocal arrangements for kids who are students, or kids in general. We can get a visa to work in Canada for a year, for instance, when we're under 30. There's a cross-arrangement for full time enrolled students to work in the US/Australia, in the US it's called a J1, but you have to go through a company (Camp USA and similar).

 

However, for most of us, to work in a foreign country like the US, an employer has to hire us, petition the US government, and get permission to bring us in. Same for employers here, they have to sponsor the worker and petition the government. 

 

There's no "open arms" policy that I'm aware of.

post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post


There's no "open arms" policy that I'm aware of.



In NZ, ski instructors are on the Immediate Skill Shortage List. If you get a job offer, the employer does not have to prove they have tried to get a person locally.

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


All depends what you do, If your a Canadian couch potato chances are you can not get work legally in the US, mind you if you find someone to pay you for that chances you wont get caught anyway i would assume.

If you have a skill that is needed in the US or in Canada then you can get a work Visa pretty easy.

If you do not have a specialized skill then you can't get a Visa for either country.

Both countries actively send recruiters into each others country to try to fill holes in the skill areas. This is not free for the company interested in the recruiting process, they aren't out just hiring anyone.

You will find if you have a skill ( one that is worthy of being hired, )you can find a job.

I work for no less then my US counterparts and in most cases do maybe better. I am not in a minimum wage field. I do not make more in the US then I would in Canada.

If you want to work in Canada do some research on what skills are needed then apply to a company after you have the needed skill, or work for a multi national company with an Office in the US then get a management transfer on an L1A or B.

People work in other countries for lots of reasons, none of which are to take away jobs from the people that live in these countries.Might be climate, adventure, maybe they met someone when on holidays, might be political views, might be culture curiosity,maybe the free medical system annoys them. there are lots of reasons people travel. Have you never gone on vacation and said "hey it would be kind of cool to live here" ?

Anyway this really doesn't have alot to do with skiing.

When you go into someone elses country especially on a shoe string budget your options are limited and you do not have the same choices the citizens do, or the resources


 


What the rules say and what happens often have a chasm of politics between them. That was the case with the H2B system; it was very easy to get a job in the US. Much easier than in the other countries.

 

Again, in my field, there is no shortage of applicants...but Canadians still get jobs; often displacing Americans. The reverse is not true; Americans do not get jobs in Canada. If anything, there are fewer applicants on the Canadian side, but politically and culturally, there is a wall.

 

Despite that the "rules" are the same, the application of the "rules" are very different.

 

 

 

 

post #30 of 30

What money can do to people...

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