Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Full Cert Free Ride Initiative HEATS UP on Epic Ski!

Last year, I proposed that all Level 3 skiers get a Nation Wide Free Ski Pass with their level 3 certification. To read the full concept behind the idea, please visit the Facebook Group, The Petition Site, and the Epic Ski Forum where its being debated!

Following is an AWESOME post by Bob Barns, author of The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing and Epic Ski Coach:

Originally Posted by Bob Barnes

Good reply, Kate. The bottom line, in my opinion, is that top certified ski instructors are dedicated industry pros, and it really is in everyone's best interest to have more of them around--whether you take a lesson or not. (But why wouldn't you, if you knew that truly high-quality instruction was available, for an experience absolutely guaranteed to help you enjoy our awesome sport more?)

...and the number of skilled, passionate, dedicated skiers would rise too. The industry has compiled indisputable records over many seasons that show the direct correlation between skill level and amount of time skiers spend on the slopes. Better skiers simply have a better time, and better instructors are the clearest route to get there.

Ultimately, though, this comes down to PSIA being willing to press the industry a bit, in exchange for its services. it is woefully easy to become a "PSIA ski school" and display the organization's shield over your ski school desk, and on your promotional information. Unfortunately, you don't even have to have PSIA certified instructors on your staff, other than one, in the role of director or training director. Because there are so few high level pros still teaching, and so many new, inexperienced instructors, the perceived value of of the "product" is understandably low. It's a vicious cycle--few top pros leads to poor perception of ski instruction in general, which leads to little demand for the services of ski instructors, which leads to little incentive for the industry to pay enough to keep top pros in the profession, and on and on.

But PSIA could conceivably influence positive change, and Kate's initiative is a very good start. Pros who reach the top level of certification are a benefit to everyone--skiers, resorts, manufacturers,...the entire industry. Kate has listed many specific reasons why it would be a win-win-win (instructors-resorts-skiers), at virtually no cost whatsoever to anyone. Resort accountants may look at comp passes as a loss of the revenue from a full-price pass. But the reality is that few instructors are going to pay full price--or any price--to ski, when they can ski free at home (and at sister resorts owned by the same company). Good instructors are good role models, good promoters, and good ambassadors. There's nothing to lose by inviting them to ski free. The savviest resorts already do, and PSIA could "help" the rest to benefit in spite of themselves through these sorts of programs.

So I encourage PSIA to look for this and other initiatives to support and inspire its members to further their professional education.

Best regards,


To voice YOUR opinion on the topic, visit the Epic Ski Forums and tell us what you think!!

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