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llg Mar 8th, 2004 04:06 AM

Tipping Ski Instructors
Is there a rule of thumb for tipping ski instructors? What would you recommend for the following:

Semi private instruction
Group instruction
Kids ski camp

Thank you!

Gretchen Mar 8th, 2004 05:04 AM

Have never tipped ski instructors. Kids have been ski instructors and have never mentioned being tipped.

wow Mar 8th, 2004 06:29 AM

You don't tip ski instructors.

Lexma90 Mar 8th, 2004 07:18 AM

In Colorado, where I live and often take ski lessons, it's not uncommon to tip ski instructors. I've only ever taken group lessons, and my husband and I take lessons together. We tip (for the both of us) $15-20 for each day-long lesson. For our kids' ski class (a locals' class, 7 sessions, a day long each), we tip the instructor about $20. I think the others in our classes have tipped about the same (though to be honest, I'm never quite sure).

I don't get the impression that the instructors expect to be tipped, but they certainly appreciate it. I don't know what they get paid by the ski resorts, but it's not a huge amount.

abram Mar 8th, 2004 04:37 PM

We've never tipped a ski instructor, and it's never been suggested (or even hinted) that we should.

Lewis Mar 8th, 2004 04:44 PM


I lived in Vail for a few years. I wasn't a ski instructor but was friends with lots of them. Many of them mentioned that they were tipped after Private lessons. Not expected but much appreciated!

wow Mar 8th, 2004 04:50 PM

Lexma: Hi! I have a question. Do you also tip swimmimg instructors, golf instructors & other sports instructors? I have never heard of tippping ski instructors so I am wondering if this practice is restricted to ski instructors in Colorado or where you live do you tip all "sports instructors"? Just curious.

Lexma90 Mar 8th, 2004 08:30 PM

The only other sports instructors I've ever been involved with are the high-school-aged swimming instructors that my young kids have had, and no, I didn't tip them. Their skill level, however, at instructing in their sport is much lower than what I've seen in the ski instructors I've had classes with. I have no idea what other people do with instructors in other sports.

A lot of the reason I'm willing to tip the ski instructors (many of whom I've known for a couple of years), is because I know their backgrounds, certification and training, and feel that they're providing me much more than I'm paying for (I have a VERY cheap locals ski lesson pass) - I'm getting the better end of the bargain, as far as I'm concerned, even with the tip.

This tipping thing may be found more at the big ski resorts (like those I live near) that have lots of vacationers visiting them. I've never gone to any Caribbean-type beach resorts (the only resorts I've ever been to are ski resorts). Do people tip instructors there? Let's say a highly-trained sailing or scuba instructor gave all-day lessons at a resort. It wouldn't surprise me if those types of instructors occasionally got tipped for doing a good job (I would never tip for a bad job, but as I said, the ski instructors I've had are uniformly very good).

Also, as I said, it doesn't seem to me that the ski instructors ever expect to be tipped. So if you don't want to tip someone, then don't.

weenie57 Mar 9th, 2004 02:47 AM

Having watched many a ski instructor "teaching" the very young kids I think they certainly deserve a tip of some sort. They are really babysitting - entertaining, feeding lunch, bathroom stops, bundling up kids...and they have them ALL day! Sounds tip-worthy to me! (But I don't think teaching a group or a private, 1 or 2 hour lesson is necessary.)

buckeyemom Mar 9th, 2004 05:37 AM

I have never heard of tipping ski instructors and I have been in Ski Club for 20 years. I do know that alot of the instructors are teaching to for a free season pass.

Coskier Mar 9th, 2004 06:10 AM

I am shocked that so many people do not tip thier ski instructors. It is quite common at the major ski areas in Colorado. I tip similar to Lexma90.
Privates are a bit more at least 20.00 per person.

Coskier Mar 9th, 2004 06:14 AM

For more thoughts on tipping cut and paste this address into your browser

gc Mar 9th, 2004 06:52 AM

Agree with Coskier.

Instructors are a small fraction of the lesson fee, and tips are greatly appreciated.

Instructors do what they do for four reasons:

1. A free season's pass
2. They love to be in the mountains
3. They want to share the fun of a great sport, and
4. The money

I strongly suggest tipping in advance...that way you won't get suck-up comments like "You carve those turns beautifully", or "You were born to do this". You'll get straight advice.

gc Mar 9th, 2004 06:55 AM

Instructors are paid a small fraction of the lesson fee, and tips are greatly appreciated....

llg Mar 10th, 2004 01:04 PM

Thanks for the link Coskier. I'll play it by ear. If we get a great lesson I think a tip is deserved.

eric80 Feb 11th, 2013 09:10 AM

Definetly. In North America, Resort employees much like waiters and waitresses rely on gratuities to survive.
Wages are low, seasonal hours, weather dependant etc.
A tip of 10-20% is realistic.
No question you should consider the value you received.
Older experienced instructors most likely are experts and if you get one please consider the enhanced value you are getting and tip accordinly. Younger ones are also probably being paid minimum wage and survive on tips.

Private lessons, $50 to $100 tip per day is considered the norm.
Group lessons, $10 to $20 per person is the norm.

Keep in mind a full day lesson the instructor is getting paid 5 to 6 hours. There are many half days and days that the ski school is not busy. At $10 an hour they're getting $50 to $60 from the ski school. That tip is the difference between having some jingle in their jeans and just surviving.
Europe is a bit different in that instructors get paid realistically, in North America wages are patatic.
You've worked hard all year for your ski holiday, share the wealth.

sf7307 Feb 11th, 2013 09:29 AM

And you brought up a 9-year old thread to tell us this?

wtm003 Feb 11th, 2013 09:46 AM

Eric80 must be a ski instructor. Sorry, but I'm not tipping.

padams421 Feb 11th, 2013 10:29 AM

I don't mind the 9 year old thread coming back to the top. At least it's not another thread of can I see NYC, Orlando and Napa in 6 days....

We've always tipped our kids' ski instructors and private lesson instructors. For a group adult lesson, we tip if it's a good lesson. I usually try to hand off the tip in from of the others parents so they will tip too. We usually give $20, $ 40 if we really like the instructor. We also buy their lunches if we eat with them. Of course, the instructors are happy about it. Now that my kids are old enough, I've taught them to tip their instructors if we don't meet up at the end of the day, and to offer to buy lunch.

Tipping ski instructors is common at all of the major west coast ski resorts- Colorado, Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird, Sun Valley, Big Sky, etc. We don't ski on the east coast so can't comment on those places.

As for tipping at other places, we tip the golf pros at resorts.

eric80 Feb 21st, 2013 04:18 PM

Thanks padams421 and others who are and have been customers and have shown their appreciation via tiping.
and yes I am an instuctor. One of the reasons guests often don't know to tip is the sports instructors I've worked with are 'trained' not to ask. This makes it tricky for guests, do I or do I not. I had a guest from Thialand, we were talking about tipping, she mentioned she tips her house maid but tipping her sports instructor would be considered bad manners as in Thailand they get paid well.
So, yes it does depend on where you are.
re why do we teach/coach?
(Using someone elses reason and my comments)
1. A free season's pass, you bet most any occupation has it's perks.
2. They love to be in the mountains. yep
3. They want to share the fun of a great sport, no doubt and they train hard to do it, and
4. The money
That's what we're talking about.
for example
A good sports pro spends considerale time training both as an althele and coach. Many live in resorts which are not an in expensive place to be. They pay for all their own gear save for the uniform. Yes the more established ones buy wholesale.

What I am getting at is the whole pay system is set up focused on coaches having to insure guests get the best possible result. Teach a good lesson, get tipped.

Some of the comments prior are from members who travel a fair bit. One gets to know pretty quick what instructors are doing a great job for the guest and whom are just lazing about.

From my point of view kids are the hardest to teach. Lesson cards, report cards, gps info, lunches, kleenex, boots not done up, the wrong clothes for the day, tears, googles that fog, cold etc. and then trying to fit in some actual teaching time around photo day, dress up day etc.
Parents, like all occupations there are good instructors and not so good ones. If you child has a gps and you can track where they went and how much time was spent indoors you'll get a pretty good idea of who's good and who's not.

Group lessons, 4-8 people who are all different. A good coach has a 'quiver' full of ideas on how to get your particular needs met. sure there is the group lesson part but when that coach mentions a custom idea to you, tip them....right then. Or at least at days end.
While on that, yes, it gets my attention real quick when I get tipped in advance....hmmmm well for me it doesn't make me work harder, I take my job professioally, but it's pretty good incentive. Yes just hand them the tip right in front of everyone else, let's them know it's ok and how to do it. Of course lots of people come prepared with cash in an envelope, greeting card or folded up in their hand and transfer over when shaking hands good bye. All fun.

Private lessons. Would I be correct in saying a part of why people buy private lessons is the expectation of superior service and when they get it tip?

In all these cases let the coach know what your expectations are, what you are hoping to achieve etc.

and....parents of kids, if this is a one off or similar as you're finding your child needs some help, let the coach know of your concern. Younger kids 'just want to ski'. yes that's good but you want results.

Here where I live and work it is estimaed the cost of living is $18.00 cdn an hour.
$144 an 8 hour day, $720 a week and $2880 a month.
We are paid 5 hours at our teaching rate and 1-2 hours at a standby rate which is minimum wage that's if we actually get work. No class no pay.
I realize this is not your concern but, ski instructors in Canada and most of N america hardly get paid enough to cover the cost of living. If you get a pro that's been around for awhile he must be doing something right as they're still at it. Please tip accordingly.

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