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Old 02-22-2013, 02:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Private instructors at resorts

What is the general etiquette for private instructors at ski resorts? Is it a big no-no? Heading out to Utah (Snowbird) and I want to take some lessons too, but wanted to know what the general thoughts are.

I talked to someone at snowboardinglessons.info and asked them about it. They said they can operate at certain resorts, including Snowbird, and have a permit with the National Forest Service and pay a commission to them. Whether this makes them legit, no idea!

Last edited by timmytimmytimmy; 02-22-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't understand what you mean by "legit." As an instructor, I always recommend having private lessons. I find that it's usually a much more relaxed environment and you don't have to worry about the instructor splitting themselves into xyz parts to accommodate for everyone. I also don't understand this part of your statement?
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What is the general etiquette for private instructors at ski resorts? Is it a big no-no?
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The OP may be talking about instructors that do not work for the mountain giving lessons at the mountain. Many mountains have you sign some paperwork if you teach there, saying that if you quit or get fired, you can not teach lessons at that mountain on your on accord as it takes away from the mountains revenue. There was an issue with two instructors at my mountain that had been working there for awhile but ended up quitting because they were forced to teach too many beginner lessons... they contacted a bunch of their regular clients and got them to buy cheap lessons that were not affiliated with the mountain. Mountain management caught on because they were ALWAYS seen with a different person every time they were at the hill. I'm not sure how it turned out, but there was talk of serious legal repercussions.

I'm not sure about your situation, but if they are AASI certified, it is at least a somewhat decent indication that they can teach you a thing or two.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A few years back, when I was first starting to ride, I got hooked up with a AASI Level 3 instructor who had moved on to a financial job. It was actually on this forum. We met up at Keystone and I paid him $50 cash for an hour and a half private lesson. To this day, that's the best $50 I've ever spent on snowboarding. I went from a side slipping goober to linking turns on blues in 90 minutes flat. An instructor who knows what he's doing can take a look at your riding and give you tailored advice that will have you grow by leaps and bounds virtually instantly, then give you advice on what to do when you're on the mountain afterward to continue your progression.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by linvillegorge View Post
A few years back, when I was first starting to ride, I got hooked up with a AASI Level 3 instructor who had moved on to a financial job. It was actually on this forum. We met up at Keystone and I paid him $50 cash for an hour and a half private lesson. To this day, that's the best $50 I've ever spent on snowboarding. I went from a side slipping goober to linking turns on blues in 90 minutes flat. An instructor who knows what he's doing can take a look at your riding and give you tailored advice that will have you grow by leaps and bounds virtually instantly, then give you advice on what to do when you're on the mountain afterward to continue your progression.
Amen to that.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The OP may be talking about instructors that do not work for the mountain giving lessons at the mountain.
Correct - there appears to be instructors (private individuals) willing to offer private lessons for much cheaper than what a resort can offer: this is what I'm referring to. I've had mixed results with resort instructors - sometimes the advice they offer is very helpful, at times it feels like it's been lifted out of a textbook. At other times it's just "Copy what I do" without much of an explanation, which isn't particularly helpful.

I realize that it's hard to vet private instructors to know if they really know what they are doing/teaching but I think there is just as much luck involved when it comes to using resort-employed instructors
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Looking at that website seems like a joke. I checked out the employment page and they don't ask about any certification levels. It seems to look more at ability and years spent riding.
I'm an NZ Level 3 and currently working in Utah and completely understand your thoughts on unhelpful advice or lessons from instructors. A lot of instructors here aren't even certified and it drives me insane. If you're getting an advanced lesson then chances are you're going to get a qualified and experience coach though, as they won't, or at least shouldn't be putting unqualified or low certified instructors on those groups.
That being said, if you get a private lesson, then you never know who will be teaching you.

Most private company's operating such business have permits to teach at those resorts, and if they don't they will get stung pretty heavily when they get found out.

A good way could be to ask about the instructors qualifications and experience when booking a lesson. In groups this is usually not possible, but when booking a private it may be possible depending on the resort.
Another option is to find the instructors during their line up at the start of the day and talk to them personally to find one you trust and get a lesson with them.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Looking at that website seems like a joke. I checked out the employment page and they don't ask about any certification levels. It seems to look more at ability and years spent riding.
I'm an NZ Level 3 and currently working in Utah and completely understand your thoughts on unhelpful advice or lessons from instructors. A lot of instructors here aren't even certified and it drives me insane. If you're getting an advanced lesson then chances are you're going to get a qualified and experience coach though, as they won't, or at least shouldn't be putting unqualified or low certified instructors on those groups.
Is this true? Where I teach in Maine, we were encouraged to get our AASI certification if we had any plans on moving out West. They claimed to teach out West most resorts require your level 1... and your level 2 if you want any sort of advanced lessons. I can see that being true for skiers, but does it not hold true for snowboarders?
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Apparently not. They are encouraged to get certified yes, but there is no real penalty for not doing so.
Only Level 3's here teach the advanced class, Level one's and two will teach intermediate, along with some "experienced" non certs.
Non certs are able to teach private lessons.
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