Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Sugarloaf, ME / Philly
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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.