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Are Ski Area's Exploiting Their Instructors?
I wanted to get a job instructing this winter but after talking to some people it wasn't my thing. You only get paid when you have a lesson(which is totally understandable) but in between lessons they still have you do work that you don't really make much doing. I'm pretty sure that because you make tips you also start lower than the actual minimum wage. and tbh it would really suck to drive an hour to work, spend all day there, and potentially only get a lesson or two. If I was financially stable I'd take a couple winters to do it, but since I'd be living off just that it wouldn't be doable.
In Vail's case. 900 fucking dollars?!? What the hell! We sell 3-lesson packages for $30 here. Thats like 2 months rent for me. That's more than 2 season passes at my home hill. Jesus Christ. That is absolutely ridiculous.
I get paid per lesson, totally fine... but when that lesson is generating on average $300 for the mountain, and I only get $8 (2.6% of that sale) for that lesson... thats some serious BS. Basically, I'm one of the major influencing factors on whether that kid come back to the mountain to ski ever again... I think I deserve a little more than 2.6% of that sale. But then again, what do I know, I've only been working for the same ski school at the same wage for the last 7 seasons...
This is but a small piece of the generalized trend in skiing: everything costs more, and the benefits of those cost increases accumulate at the top, not the bottom.
What's the difference between being a rank and file ski area employee and being a large cheese pizza?
Only one can feed a family of four.
All mtn employees get the fucking shaft, Instructors are just bringing this to light which is good, but I doubt this will sway the decision of people planning their vacations. The customers don't give a shit cuz its no skin off of their asses. You fucking loser scumbags just have to pull your own damn self up by the bootstraps, right?
But hey, its a cheap pass though so they're cool in my book, right?
The big thing that pissed me off about my pay last year was that it didn't matter if I had a lesson of one adult or twelve 7 year olds, I got paid the same. The mountain makes 27 dollars per lesson and I made 8. That's for one person. If it was a group I still only made 8 but the mountain makes much more. We do the work, they make the money. That's capitalism though
Some of the problem stems from customers un-aware of the instructor levelling system. When somebody needs a lesson, they ask for an instructor, but rarely do they ask for a specific qualification level. They don't consider that the instructor might only be a level 1 or 2, with very limited teaching ability (Im aware there are some seasoned instructors that just stay at level 1 or 2).
Why should a ski school employ highly qualified instructors wanting higher wages, when they can get away with supplying low level instructors to beginner-advanced lessons. And there's an endless supply of beginner instructors wanting to get their foot in the door, and will happily do so for minimum wage.
This winter I will be the highest qualified instructor teaching at 7 lift resort, Im only a level 2 CSIA. Respect to the French for keeping their standards high and only allowing high-level instructors to teach.
The first season I taught 03/04 we got 5 a person for a group and 15 for a private I believe. A semi private might have been 10 a head.
I thought that was super legit. And looking back that was super super legit for the time and me being a first year.
I think after that we got hourly. Although my third year we worked 4 hour shifts and couldn't ski during them, but got paid minimum wage. Made 5.15 an hour to crush everyone in 4 player 007 Agent under fire on PS2.
The good life.
As far as the wages specifically. Everyone complains in every job it seems like about getting paid more. I think that aspect is kind of irrelevant. I think the interesting piece is how much $ is coming in, and how much $ is being paid to the instructors working those lessons.
Nobody works at ski areas to get rich, and if you do so it's probably not going to end well, but I think the topic is interesting enough.
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