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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Smile No money in instructing

I just got a job working weekends as a snowboard instructor at Gunstock. I'm just doing it for fun, but damn was I surprised at the shitty pay. It only pays 7.50/hr and only if you have a lesson. Do all mountains pay this badly?

I'm just glad that I'm not trying to do it as a full time job. It may be a blast, but it's hard to make ends meet, let alone buy all the toys that you want, when you are earning minimum wage and you aren't even guaranteed 40 hours a week.

Are there experienced instructors who actually manage to make a decent paycheck?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:49 PM
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I know some people that instruct. It depends on certain things.. experience, the resort you're at, etc.. also, people tip pretty well (also, depending if you're good, and the area that you're at)
I know someone that just moved from MD to Park City UT to be a board instructor and she loves it, and makes solid dough
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:58 PM
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You really have to sell yourself to make money. Just don't expect lessons to fall in your lap. I instructed full time for 1 season and yeah, plenty of weeks I was only making $60, but vacation weeks and private lessons... I would end the week with 300 to 400 in my pocket. And that is only teaching for 3 or 4 hours a day.

Working weekends you definitely won't see a lot of cash, but anyone I know who only teaches weekends only does it for the pass. At my mountain (Sugarloaf) the full time guys would, for the most part, get their choice of lessons first. We usually just wanted to shred, so we would give the lessons away, but I got really good at spotting return clients, and people that were actually paying for lessons (not just the free lessons that come with hotel rooms). That means return customers if you can actually teach and aren't a dud.

I had business cards and everything. I would hand them out at the end of every group lesson and usually get a call back for a private lesson. We got just over minimum wage for assigned group lessons, but for privates... it was like a role playing game where the more people that requested you, the more you would level up and make money. Level 1 was $15 an hour and by the end of the season I was level 4 making 28 or 30 an hour, and getting 2 to 3 hour requests AND getting dropped a $20 tip at the end of every lesson. That's best case scenario, but I wasn't some fuck-wit thinking I could teach just because I could ride.

I read up on instruction techniques, went out with my supervisor to learn the awesome yet difficult process of diagnosing problems by watching people ride, and got my AASI Level I certification, which gave me access to all that teaching material and got me a small raise per hour.

Best advice I can give you is sell yourself like a car salesman does. Help them out every chance you get. Take them up the lift 1 more time after the lesson ends and let them know the lesson is over, but you think with 1 more run they can progress. That makes you stick in their head as an awesome dude. Make sure they KNOW YOUR NAME so they can request you if they like you. If it's a kid, hang out and meet the parents and talk to them about what you worked on. It all adds up to making more money.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 09:08 PM
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as a fishing guide one thing I can tell you that will get you tips, email addresses, and return clients is to have your own camera and take pics while you're working. then you can ask for their email or have them email you to get them. that way you start up a contact list and can send out mass bulletins to let em know you're back each season or that the snow is really good or whatever... some people won't care but the ones you impress will be clients for life.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 09:17 PM
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as a fishing guide one thing I can tell you that will get you tips, email addresses, and return clients is to have your own camera and take pics while you're working. then you can ask for their email or have them email you to get them. that way you start up a contact list and can send out mass bulletins to let em know you're back each season or that the snow is really good or whatever... some people won't care but the ones you impress will be clients for life.
Hey Shred. Torpedo and I love to fly fish. Where do you guide? Are you a fly fisherman? Maybe we can make the trip down and hire you for a day or two. I love fishing in the states. The fish seem to look up down there!
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ShredLife View Post
as a fishing guide one thing I can tell you that will get you tips, email addresses, and return clients is to have your own camera and take pics while you're working. then you can ask for their email or have them email you to get them. that way you start up a contact list and can send out mass bulletins to let em know you're back each season or that the snow is really good or whatever... some people won't care but the ones you impress will be clients for life.
That's an awesome idea!
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the good advice. It seems like you guys have it all figured out. Any recommendation on where I could get some good, free information on teaching techniques? It would be nice to make some actual money. I'll see if I can put your advice to use.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 02:22 PM
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You know nothing, Jon Snow.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 02:31 PM
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Thanks for the good advice. It seems like you guys have it all figured out. Any recommendation on where I could get some good, free information on teaching techniques? It would be nice to make some actual money. I'll see if I can put your advice to use.
Do you have a supervisor (one that is a snowboard instructor, not skier) that does any sort of training? You can probably learn a lot from them if they exist..

How far are you from Gunstock? My good friend is the snowboard instructor supervisor at Sugarloaf if you want to consider another mountain.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 02:35 PM
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You know nothing, Jon Snow.
well played
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