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Guiding costs !!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just received a reply from Oxygene in La Tania with regards to off piste guiding/ instructing.

They don't have anyone else booked for the pre Christmas week so the cost is £549 (Euro) / Day. (Assuming conditions allow )

That's more than the trip , I think the cost was about half that last yr in La Plagne. I struggle to understand why they would rather earn nothing on a quiet week than discount accordingly !

Anyone know of an independent guide in 3 Vallees , or La Plagne? Or anyone in a similar situation ?

Dave
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Do you need a high mountain guide or just an instructor?

Bit pricey nonetheless, https://guides-meribel.com/en/off-piste-skiing/ suggest €450 for 1-4 pax.

Which is about what you’d pay in Cham I think.
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scarbski wrote:
Just received a reply from Oxygene in La Tania with regards to off piste guiding/ instructing.

They don't have anyone else booked for the pre Christmas week so the cost is £549 (Euro) / Day. (Assuming conditions allow )

That's more than the trip , I think the cost was about half that last yr in La Plagne. I struggle to understand why they would rather earn nothing on a quiet week than discount accordingly !

Anyone know of an independent guide in 3 Vallees , or La Plagne? Or anyone in a similar situation ?

Dave


They earn good money and won't work for less, preferring to take extra leisure time. Try getting a plumber to work for half his normal rate when he's a bit quiet
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Do you mean £549 for the week?
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@under a new name, Thanks, i'll try them and see if they have any other interest for that week. A group of 2-4 be ideal to spread the cost.
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@scarbski, as Gerry says, some of these guys are guiding “for fun” and so won’t get out of bed if it isn’t worth it...

And fair enough.
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Try @offpisteskiing who works out of Bozel:

http://www.offpisteskiing.com/
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Can't help for a high mountain guide specifically but if a fully qualified instructor with good local offpiste knowledge will do:
Try a PM to:
Skipros,
Husky Dave,
Flocon or
offpisteskiing
All well known to many snowHeads and all highly rated.
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@scarbski, That's about right for a day with a certified mountain guide in Switzerland, so I wouldn't expect France to be a lot different.
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under a new name wrote:


Bit pricey nonetheless, https://guides-meribel.com/en/off-piste-skiing/ suggest €450 for 1-4 pax.

Which is about what you’d pay in Cham I think.


Yeah over here I think the going rate is somewhere around €400/day for a private guide - so the OP's quote of ~€620 does seem pretty high!
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@scarbski, yikes .... something to do with a bizarre interpretation of the exchange rate?

Give Dave Morris at New Gen (Courchevel) a call ...

https://www.instructorcourses.skinewgen.com/dave-morris/
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
410 euros a day in Val d'Isere.
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@scarbski, my other half (Stephen Down) has availability that week so feel free to message me if you would like an another option for guiding.
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You know it makes sense.
@scarbski,

https://www.ski-school-la-tania.co.uk/private-lessons/off-piste

All day up to 6 , €450
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks for the recomendations folks, I will check them out and hope someone else may have also inquired.
An experienced off piste instructor with good local knowledge will be fine.

I contacted Oxygene because I have used them a lot in La Plagne where they do the excellent 'Steep n Deep' days. Usually joining a small group which makes things more affordable.
This doesn't seem to run until after Christmas though.
I have paid between 100 - 160 euro for independent guides, often with just two of us. And going solo for 3 half days last yr at 180 a time.. So 360e/day. Makes a hole in the budget tho'

The price was in euros btw (549).

Just hope the snow keeps coming.

snowHead
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@scarbski,

It does sound expensive but its probably a worse case. If you express an interest in joining a mixed group then show up in the guides office when you arrive they are quite likely to get an adhoc group going at some point in the week. They just can't commit to that at this point.
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@scarbski, How much would you pay another professional for a day's service. To me it seems rather low.
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Hi @scarbski, for La Tania or Courchevel you will probably be looking at a minimum of €220 ish for a half day and €380ish (minimum) for a full day, though pre-Xmas you may find some room for negotiation (but not with the bigger ski schools). Of course depending on where you go you can also spend as much as you like per day (it is Courchevel ...) and there are plenty of ski schools who will be starting at €450 or more per day...
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ps I may have a couple of day available that week if that is of any use, but no 'open groups' to join...
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btw. @scarbski, it's worth adding your plans/intentions to the snowBuddy
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I've just priced up some guides in Cham for my next trip and the going rate is between 350 euro and 400 euro for a full day depending on the group size...max 6 people so that price does sound pretty high
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I have stayed in Courchevel and used Ski Marmalade who are based in Meribel although the instructors live all abouts. Think I paid £180 for three morning between 2 of us.

Tried ESF or Evo 2?

I find Val d'isere the easiest place to join groups as a singleton or Tignes as there is usually as Snoworks course on.

Okay these are instructors but...

I charge about £45 an hour for my services so 450 euro is reasonable if someone is giving me a day of their professional time.
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@enduroaid, indeed. A French Guide chum of mine who works in Chamonix in the winter charges 350€ for full days. Not bad when you factor in that he is also a qualified ski instructor and is more than happy to guide and instruct.
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Quote:

I find Val d'isere the easiest place to join groups as a singleton or Tignes as there is usually as Snoworks course on.


I spent a brilliant morning with Alpine Experience in Val d'Isere - I think it was about €60 and worth every penny. Going back in February and really hoping to get out with them again if conditions allow
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offpisteskiing wrote:
ps I may have a couple of day available that week if that is of any use, but no 'open groups' to join...


It's not the money that differentiates good guides from those that may just go through the motions or give you a short day ( yes, Piste to Powder, looking at you!). Personal recommendation is what is far more important than saving €25-50. If "offpisteskiing" has days free I should get your money on the table now for you won't do better in the 3Vs. (do I get a finder's fee Simon?) Smile
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inspark wrote:
If "offpisteskiing" has days free I should get your money on the table now for you won't do better in the 3Vs. (do I get a finder's fee Simon?) Smile


that's true
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
davidof wrote:
inspark wrote:
If "offpisteskiing" has days free I should get your money on the table now for you won't do better in the 3Vs. (do I get a finder's fee Simon?) Smile


that's true


Thirded...if that’s even a thing Wink
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There is a new site called www.ropedup.com where you can make a booking with a ski school or guide at their normal day rate and then see if anyone wants to join you and split the cost. You get to chose who joins you as well as the min and max group size if you make the event. Available in Chamonix, Verbier, Val d'isere and Meribel...

Might that help?
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You know it makes sense.
Gerry wrote:
Try getting a plumber to work for half his normal rate when he's a bit quiet


I wouldn't trust a plumber to guide me round the 3 valleys Very Happy
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Thanks for all the recommendations folks, spoilt for choice now !

I have managed to secure a couple of days with Simon @offpisteskiing at a much more reasonable rate so all I need now is SNOW .

snowHead
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You could always try Ongosa too. They are doing the same kind of thing as RopedUp. Used them last season to find and book an off-piste snowboard guide in Flachau.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
You could always try Ongosa too. They are doing the same kind of thing as RopedUp. Used them last season to find and book an off-piste snowboard guide in Flachau.


I really would suggest reflecting on whether using services like this serve the working professionals well. The sites are taking quite a significant commission in a profession that doesn't have huge margins.

While businesses that service the market could and should be able to make their pitch I think I'd personally regret it if we saw the same market dominance that we do from OTA's like booking.com. It's interesting to see the booking.com are being challenged by regulators in many marketplaces because the argument is made they're abusing their dominance. The OTA experience might be that small operators are particularly disadvantaged by having neither economy of scale nor excess capacity to sell.

By and large, in my personal experience, mountaineering professionals aren't eccentric millionaires or on a gap-year so they need to earn money Very Happy
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agreed these "mountain booking.com" things tend to come and go and most certainly end up with what ever crumbs are left over.... if a pro is good - he or she is booked
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So why not use a service to arrange a booking with a guide so you're not scratching around at the last minute trying to find someone? Ok I see that a service will take their cut but then you are paying a premium on top to get the booking secured. I don't see why arranging for an off piste guide should require some esoteric local knowledge.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
So why not use a service to arrange a booking with a guide so you're not scratching around at the last minute trying to find someone? Ok I see that a service will take their cut but then you are paying a premium on top to get the booking secured. I don't see why arranging for an off piste guide should require some esoteric local knowledge.


I think you may misunderstand the basis that these services work on. For obvious reasons, they seek to maintain price parity with all other rates using contracts. You'll have seen the price parity guarantees that OTA's advertise for hotel rates for example.

I don't think it's generally the case that esoteric local knowledge is required to not use those services. I would imagine advertising that you offer a service in an area requires about the same amount of technology skills as using the booking feature of an OTA-style site. Maybe using an online service might be more tricky at times to manage diaries.

Or, to put it another way, if you can't find a provider using Google they may not have success accessing these services either. You might find the local tourist office or their professional associations offer some methods to get in touch - make them work, I'm sure they're doing nothing else Very Happy
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@underanewname I am yet to meet a guide who works for fun. Mostly I find they have rent/mortgages to pay, a car/van to keep on the road etc etc

£549 is the most expensive daily rate I have heard in France though.
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~€350/day here.......
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OTA? I can guess but it's not very clear.... what's that, please? Whatever those are, why would they care about "price parity"? Can you spell it out?
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OTA = Online Travel Agency.

The contracts they have with providers contain price parity clauses that oblige the property to not offer a lower rate by any other channel including their own website and direct bookings. This allows the OTA to advertise guaranteed lowest rates. These are policed and you only need a guest who knows there's a price guarantee to look at your website and you'd be in hot water. The OTA's don't give an inch in these cases.

It does beg the question as to just what's going on with price comparison sites like hotels.com though Very Happy Given they're owned by Expedia (an OTA) and also own trivago (another price comparison site) then you might smell a rat. Several competition authorities caught the same whiff and struck out the rate parity clauses as an abuse of market position. The comparison sites will no doubt find themselves in the firing line at some point.

The impact varies, for a large property then distressed inventory might be sold and that might benefit the supplier and guest. In the mid- and low-tier it's possible that all rates get artificially inflated to cover the OTA commission. The conclusion of several competition authorities was that rates were being inflated.

It's noticeable on single rates I'd say, given you do have fixed costs and the commission is percentage based. There's less margin in single rates than doubles (and less with kids) so the single rates are probably inflated. (Unless you don't offer them which is probably not in the customer's interest).

I'd observe that a substantial part of the commission seems to go to online advertising, the OTA is buying at a discounted rate compared to the actual property. The OTA might think, for example, paying 10% of each booking for the advert is just fine, many businesses would find that a high cost of sale.

A few startups, often in incubators on science parks, see this business model and think it might apply to other sectors like adventure travel. Their business plan will either achieve the marker dominance that one or two OTA's do or, more likely, get bought out by one of the OTA's.

Independent operators in the adventure travel sector might not be too happy about that. Whether it will work is somewhat debatable though. Given the competition authorities are acting on the OTA practices you might see some regulatory problems ahead. There's also not generally the distressed inventory either, a freelancer can only be in one place at once!

There are some cases where the OTA may be quite useful. They can make their website available in Russian or Chinese for example and with their 24-hr helpline can provide a translation if there's an issue. The app's they have for last minute booking are pretty good as well, it's certainly the case that you'll get people picking a rental car up and the passenger booking accommodation from their phone. These are things a small provider can't really do.

That's all just my personal opinion of course rather than anything official.
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Op update - Had two fantastic days with Simon@offpisteskiing , was unfortunately just me so no one to share cost but much more affordable than original post .
Once knee deep in powder with a blue sky above the cost is soon forgotten 😎 and all this before Christmas . Thanks Simon , hope to meet again. Dave
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