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Full-day lessons only?

ceo

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It's been really frustrating trying to find lessons for my lower-intermediate 12-year-old this winter. Having to make reservations more than a week in advance is bad enough, but apparently several areas are only offering full-day group lessons for older kids. Which is a problem, because I want to get to ski with him as well, and he typically gets tired by mid-afternoon. So far I've run across this at Waterville, Jay and Sugarloaf, the first two are extra annoying because they're on the Indy Pass. And Waterville is completely sold out for private lessons for at least the next two weekends.
Anyone know what the rationale is here? I can't see where two half-day lessons requires more instructors than one full-day lesson.
 

AdironRider

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Well for one, it is easier to keep staff.

Most instructors aren't really keen to sit around for over a half a day unpaid on the off chance someone wants to cheap out on a shorter lesson. This way both the mountain and the instructor will make more money and be happier.
 

ss20

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The days of half-day or 90-120 minute lessons have been gone at most large areas for a while now.

From a supervisory/resource management standpoint... it is sooooooo hectic running multiple lineups a day. I did it. It sucked. There were days myself and 2 others would check-in 300+ students over the course of a 10 hour day between 9 different programs. We did what we could but lessons were so short and we had to prepare for the next lineup just 30-60 minutes later... not everyone got a quality lesson matched to their needs. Now I'm teaching again and supervisors can make a real effort to get people in the right group because we can take the time at the start to make adjustments. We're not scrambling to get everyone squared away in the first 10 minutes of a 75 minute lesson... we can take the time and get it right so the rest of the day is smooth.

From a guest perspective, the quality of lesson is far greater in a longer timespan. For anything other than never-evers there is ALWAYS people in a group ill-suited for them. For your low-intermediate son, one lift ride/run down on lower intermediate terrain can be 30 minutes. If it's a 2 hour lesson that's essentially 1 of 4 or 5 runs "wasted" if he's in a group too slow/fast/good/bad/whatever for him. With a longer program there'll be time to introduce multiple drills and practice them multiple times in a lesson.

I can go on and on and on but all-day lessons are great. Pull him early if you want to. I came from teaching 75 minute group lessons and would never go back.
 

Kingslug20

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Revelstoke in BC still has a full day group lesson for 169.00...that has to be the best deal ever.
4 years ago that price got you a 2 full day almost private guided tour...which was the best deal I ever scored.
In vt...that gets you dinner for 2...
 
  • Wow
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abc

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Personally? I think half day is the perfect balance.

While I agree the longer lessons are more effective and efficient, there’re many students who may, only needs a refresher, wants to ski with their family, not fit enough to be on skis all day long…

That said, I know instructors hates sitting around in the afternoon. On the other hand, don’t they want to free ski some times? ;)
 

deadheadskier

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Personally? I think half day is the perfect balance.

While I agree the longer lessons are more effective and efficient, there’re many students who may, only needs a refresher, wants to ski with their family, not fit enough to be on skis all day long…

That said, I know instructors hates sitting around in the afternoon. On the other hand, don’t they want to free ski some times? ;)

Agreed. Better for parents too, especially non skiing ones. There are often competing activities or other responsibilities for parents and being tied to the ski area from 8:30 to 4 can be problematic.

Moving completely to full days is yet another example of resorts not thinking about new participants.
 

drjeff

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One has to remember that a full day lesson isn't non stop on the hill from start to finish, there are rest/warm up breaks as well as time for lunch.

And for a newbie, the chance to have a full day, with the forementioned breaks, to help get the new basic skills down that will hopefully have them wanting to come back for another day is a good thing in my mind. And much better than the old classic situation I think we all have seen/heard about where a parent/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend tries to teach their kid/spouse/friend to ski or ride and they push them too long and often on terrain too tough simply because they are getting bored and want to get off the beginner hill
 

abc

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I think we all have seen/heard about where a parent/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend tries to teach their kid/spouse/friend to ski or ride and they push them too long and often on terrain too tough simply because they are getting bored and want to get off the beginner hill
Huh? What’s that got to do with the length of the lessons?
 

deadheadskier

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One has to remember that a full day lesson isn't non stop on the hill from start to finish, there are rest/warm up breaks as well as time for lunch.

And for a newbie, the chance to have a full day, with the forementioned breaks, to help get the new basic skills down that will hopefully have them wanting to come back for another day is a good thing in my mind. And much better than the old classic situation I think we all have seen/heard about where a parent/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend tries to teach their kid/spouse/friend to ski or ride and they push them too long and often on terrain too tough simply because they are getting bored and want to get off the beginner hill

I think most regular skiers understand what a full day lesson schedule is like. You make valid points on other failed methods of introduction into the sport.

But, it's a one size fit all approach that yet again, probably makes sense at a destination resort out west more so than here. The clientele is often on vacation only to ski, maybe the only week they do a year. That's a lot different than here where there is a huge percentage of day trip skiers.

If I invited a non-skiing friend to ski, a better day sounds like the friend taking a morning lesson, meeting for lunch and then hanging together on the beginner chair to ski and socialize.

A little different, but I absolutely love the way Gunstock does their development programs. They're in 2 hour blocks morning and afternoon on weekends for 9 weeks. They don't meet on holidays.

I have my kids in a two hour block on Sunday mornings. My daughter just regular beginner development and my son in introduction to racing. It's absolutely perfect. I get about 90 minutes to myself, typically spent on the Nastar track. We meet for lunch and then go ski the beginner chair until my daughter gets wiped out. It frees up Saturdays for my son and I to use our Indy Pass and go somewhere else. Kids still get that social learning, fun experience with quality instruction. I'm free to travel on holiday weekends without missing out on a lesson for them. As long as they offer that formula, they have my pass and Sunday business and many other days / nights too.

While logistically maybe a bit more challenging, I see great benefit in offering a variety of lesson products here in the East, even at the major resorts. One size doesn't fit all.
 

drjeff

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Huh? What’s that got to do with the length of the lessons?

Keeping people on the hill because they want to be out on the hill, rather than listening to the new to the sport person they are attempting to teach
 

abc

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Keeping people on the hill because they want to be out on the hill, rather than listening to the new to the sport person they are attempting to teach
If they “want to”, they can still opt for full day.

But forcing everyone to take a full day lesson even if they don’t want to be “out on the hill” in the afternoon, or nobody was “attempting to teach” them?

Talk about one size fits all, which is what Vail is doing to ALL of their ski mountain, from the northwest to the southeast, Wildcat to Stowe. SAME!
 

drjeff

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219 for a half day group lesson. Up to how many in said group? If only 5, Instructor making $80. Vail making 1000. Sounds fair…

Not all of the Vail instructors are the $20 an hour folks. If you have an instructor who is PSIA level 1, 2, or 3, each of those levels of certification does get them an increase in their hourly pay rate, as does years of service in other situations.

They're (Vail) still making significant $$ off of lessons, even the ones where rentals, lift tickets and meals are included in the day cost of the program, no doubt about it. Then again there are numerous ski areas for whom ski school is a notable revenue source
 

cdskier

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219 for a half day group lesson. Up to how many in said group? If only 5, Instructor making $80. Vail making 1000. Sounds fair…

Yea...I have an issue with that business model. Lessons should not be subsidizing other costs on the mountain like that. People complain a lot about high lift prices these days...but the bigger scam is the lesson rates. They're insane now at many areas (and the instructors are only getting a tiny fraction of the price which is completely unfair). Sugarbush group lessons are not even offered anymore for anything beyond the Intermediate level. So if you want a lesson at a higher level, you have to go for a private lesson at a whopping $425/half day or $800/full day (mid week). It goes up to $550/$1000 on weekends. I've always said I wanted to take a lesson again...but not at those prices.
 

Edd

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Yea...I have an issue with that business model. Lessons should not be subsidizing other costs on the mountain like that. People complain a lot about high lift prices these days...but the bigger scam is the lesson rates. They're insane now at many areas (and the instructors are only getting a tiny fraction of the price which is completely unfair). Sugarbush group lessons are not even offered anymore for anything beyond the Intermediate level. So if you want a lesson at a higher level, you have to go for a private lesson at a whopping $425/half day or $800/full day (mid week). It goes up to $550/$1000 on weekends. I've always said I wanted to take a lesson again...but not at those prices.
Those rates, which I agree are too high, make me think of this thread.

 

pinion247

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I once put my wife into private lessons at Deer Valley. Retirement got pushed back a few years because of it. Probably around $600 which was alot of $$ for me. Now it's at something like $1,200.

Cranmore still does half-day lessons and for early beginners has a great system. Many of my nieces and nephews were there for a half day on MLK Weekend and loved it.
 
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