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Should Ski Schools be granted Monopolies on Public Land?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I still feel this is a tricky one. Public ownership of the land is slightly irrelevant IMO. Just because an asset is owned by the nation doesn't infer any particular rights for Joe Public to use or make a living from it. The nation also has a duty to get the maximum 'return' (and I understand this is not necessarily a purely financial return) for the tax payer / nation. So, if the nation feels it can achieve the best return by granting a monopoly to one commercial organisation then it is duty bound to consider that option pretty seriously.

If Macdonalds were to bid for and win the exclusive rights to sell food and drink within a national park would it not be reasonable for them to stop other people from trying to serve food in their concession area?

If we, as a society (or indeed you lot across the pond) decide that the social benefit of allowing multiple ski schools / instructors outweighs the economic benefit to the public purse of allowing a monopoly then that's fair enough. But it's not Vail's fault, it's the forestry service, and the public have to accept that the public purse will get a little poorer because some additional people are being given access to a money-making asset.

To me, the real question is whether the wages paid to instructors at Vail are 'fair'. There are two parts to that: 1. Are instructors paid above the legal minimum wage, to which the answer is clearly 'tes', and 2. Are people happy to work for that amount? Assuming Vail can find enough instructors then one has to assume the asnwer is also 'yes'. It may well be that $100 a day is a pretty miserable wage but that's what the market decides.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
laundryman wrote:
@Fairwages, is the instructor paid wages for periods where he is not assigned work? My guess is not, which makes the gross margin egregious, and no doubt only possible due to monopoly. My view is that the public landowner should make competition in instruction a condition of the concession to the resort managers.


I agree- The original idea of "regulated monopolies" on public land started in Yellow Stone National Park about a hundred years ago (to combat the problem of too many concessionaires resulting in competition that led to low prices and low quality of services) and has been extended to ski areas where the SUPs says:

C. Regulating Services and Rates. The Forest Service shall have the authority to check and regulate the adequacy and type of
services provided the public and to require that such services conform to satisfactory standards. The holder may be required to
furnish a schedule of prices for sales and services authorized by the permit. Such prices and services may be regulated by the
Forest Service: Provided, that the holder shall not be required to charge prices significantly different than those charged by
comparable or competing enterprises.


The problem is that the USFS seems to have forgotten this clause and just leaves it up to the resorts to decide on the quality of instructors they provide (Vail used to have all certified instructors, but now hires a lot of uncerts) and the prices they charge (Vail has some of the highest lesson prices in the world).


Mostly, instructors are just paid for the hours they work. At places like Vail, you typically get paid 1 hour at customer service rate ($10/hr) that is lower than your teaching rate ($10.50-$18 base entry depending on cert level) for morning meeting and line-up (if you were not booked ahead of time). You are then paid for 15 minutes if you are asked to check in around 11 am, and paid 1/2 hour for afternoon line-up (if you don't get a lesson).


A small % of Full-time instructors at the highest priority level have something like a $50 guarantee if they don't work- this usually doesn't come up too often as they are typically booked ahead of time, but when it does, the supervisors will actively shift them from their normal part of the resort (typically private lessons out of Vail Village) to other areas (like group lessons) and give them preference over the instructors who normally work there but don't have must pay status.
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
But judging by the other thread on here don't instructors in the US expect customers to tip them heavily? Their employers perhaps expect them to make their money that way?
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@Fairwages, It sounds like a problem with the whole concept of one "resort operator" doing everything. I am used to older European villages where the land is owned by a patchwork of farmers, communities, house owners, national parks and what have you. The lift company gets agreement (from all of them!) to use the area and put in lifts so they just run lifts, prepare and manage pistes and sell lift tickets. The lift company is then just one of the many businesses in the community which depend on tourist income rather than the owner (or lease holder) of the community

The agreements with the owners etc can be very complex by the way, you sometimes see snow being ploughed off the slopes in spring because the lift company have agreed a certain date to let the farmers put their cows out.

Independent businesses (hotels, sports shops, restaurants and ski schools) provide all the other services, from their own property in the village or on the mountain, and take all the money for them, the only ones who would pay the lift company would be those renting space from them, like ski hire in a gondola station. In that way you can have genuine competing schools, single self employed instructors whatever. The lift company is not generally involved, various national or regional authorities set requirements for qualifications etc (with varying degrees of sense or fairness but that is a different story!).

The best solution in my view for you campaign would be
1. Resorts having no say in who can instruct on their slopes provide they have a lift ticket like everyone else (so they can't take a rip off cut)
2. The owner (forest service) specifying the minimum qualifications, insurance etc requirements to be allowed to offer instruction on their land (so that standards are maintained). If they really see the concession income as a big thing then they would sell the permits to the schools
3. Independent Ski schools get permission direct from forest service to operate, they then compete realistically for the available instructors knowing that if they don't pay properly then good instructors can just set up in competition. Clients book and pay direct to the ski schools
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Col the Yeti wrote:
@Fairwages, It sounds like a problem with the whole concept of one "resort operator" doing everything. I am used to older European villages where the land is owned by a patchwork of farmers, communities, house owners, national parks and what have you. The lift company gets agreement (from all of them!) to use the area and put in lifts so they just run lifts, prepare and manage pistes and sell lift tickets. The lift company is then just one of the many businesses in the community which depend on tourist income rather than the owner (or lease holder) of the community

The agreements with the owners etc can be very complex by the way, you sometimes see snow being ploughed off the slopes in spring because the lift company have agreed a certain date to let the farmers put their cows out.

Independent businesses (hotels, sports shops, restaurants and ski schools) provide all the other services, from their own property in the village or on the mountain, and take all the money for them, the only ones who would pay the lift company would be those renting space from them, like ski hire in a gondola station. In that way you can have genuine competing schools, single self employed instructors whatever. The lift company is not generally involved, various national or regional authorities set requirements for qualifications etc (with varying degrees of sense or fairness but that is a different story!).

The best solution in my view for you campaign would be
1. Resorts having no say in who can instruct on their slopes provide they have a lift ticket like everyone else (so they can't take a rip off cut)
2. The owner (forest service) specifying the minimum qualifications, insurance etc requirements to be allowed to offer instruction on their land (so that standards are maintained). If they really see the concession income as a big thing then they would sell the permits to the schools
3. Independent Ski schools get permission direct from forest service to operate, they then compete realistically for the available instructors knowing that if they don't pay properly then good instructors can just set up in competition. Clients book and pay direct to the ski schools



Or just move from protectionist, isolationist Uncle Sam land to Europe, the land of free speech, free trade and open borders.
ski holidays     
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@emwmarine, yup, no protectionism in e.g. ski instruction in Europe, no sirree
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@under a new name,
Quote:

@emwmarine, yup, no protectionism in e.g. ski instruction in Europe, no sirree


Laughing
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Col the Yeti wrote:
@Fairwages, It sounds like a problem with the whole concept of one "resort operator" doing everything. I am used to older European villages where the land is owned by a patchwork of farmers, communities, house owners, national parks and what have you. The lift company gets agreement (from all of them!) to use the area and put in lifts so they just run lifts, prepare and manage pistes and sell lift tickets. The lift company is then just one of the many businesses in the community which depend on tourist income rather than the owner (or lease holder) of the community

The agreements with the owners etc can be very complex by the way, you sometimes see snow being ploughed off the slopes in spring because the lift company have agreed a certain date to let the farmers put their cows out.

Independent businesses (hotels, sports shops, restaurants and ski schools) provide all the other services, from their own property in the village or on the mountain, and take all the money for them, the only ones who would pay the lift company would be those renting space from them, like ski hire in a gondola station. In that way you can have genuine competing schools, single self employed instructors whatever. The lift company is not generally involved, various national or regional authorities set requirements for qualifications etc (with varying degrees of sense or fairness but that is a different story!).

The best solution in my view for you campaign would be
1. Resorts having no say in who can instruct on their slopes provide they have a lift ticket like everyone else (so they can't take a rip off cut)
2. The owner (forest service) specifying the minimum qualifications, insurance etc requirements to be allowed to offer instruction on their land (so that standards are maintained). If they really see the concession income as a big thing then they would sell the permits to the schools
3. Independent Ski schools get permission direct from forest service to operate, they then compete realistically for the available instructors knowing that if they don't pay properly then good instructors can just set up in competition. Clients book and pay direct to the ski schools


Exactly!
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@Fairwages, Do the lift pass terms and conditions ban you from instructing? If not, is there a loop hole to set up a ski school based in say Denver, booking entirely by internet/ email, but you agree to meet your clients wherever there is good skiing. Goodness me that seems to be Vail! Seems to me you could undercut the onsite company by about half and still pay decent wages.
snow conditions     
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
US Forest Service regulations prohibit conducting commercial activity in National Forests without a permit. They issue multiple permits for other activities (i.e. to competing rafting companies on the same stretch of river), but seem to only issue 1 "non-exclusive" permit for ski related businesses.

I don't believe the physical lift passes themselves discuss commercial activity and there is no clear mention of this when you initially go to purchase online, but I think that they may discuss it in the fine print somewhere. They certainly want to do everything possible to protect their monopoly and will bar you for life from all their resorts if you are caught teaching underground-

http://www.epicski.com/t/90089/coaching-crackdown-at-vail-resorts
http://www.skimybest.com/skisys.htm
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

US Forest Service regulations prohibit conducting commercial activity in National Forests without a permit. They issue multiple permits for other activities (i.e. to competing rafting companies on the same stretch of river), but seem to only issue 1 "non-exclusive" permit for ski related businesses.

Quote:

They certainly want to do everything possible to protect their monopoly and will bar you for life from all their resorts if you are caught teaching underground-


OUCH! Oh well, I will never ski in the US if that is the attitude of the operators/forest service. Give the operator a legal monopoly over everything including food, instruction, etc and of course they will rip off the visitor and they can rip off their own staff. It is not sensible to have more than one lift company but it must be better for the user if there is competition for everything else. It sounds like the forest service is out to make as much money as possible from skiing at the expense of the public (presumably they are the ones that "National" land is supposed to be managed for?)
ski holidays     
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Col the Yeti, The issue we come back to is what is in the greatest public interest. Giving visiting skiers a choice of cheaper ski instruction is in the interests of those members of the public who happen to be there, but doing a deal with a monopolistic resort operator may bring in greater revenues and thereby lessen the impact / maximise the benefit to the public purse. Which is in the greatest 'public interest'? No idea.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@foxtrotzulu, You make an interesting point but if the government really wanted to maximize revenue to the public purse, I doubt they would have a 1 size fits all SUP fee payment structure (put in place by congressional law). True, it is a sliding % of revenues that starts at 1.5% and goes up to 4%, but if I was the government and my goal was to maximize fee revenue, then I would put prime locations like Vail up for bid or at the very least charge higher fees for the best areas. As an operator, I would gladly pay up for an area that has good terrain/natural snow and is easily accessible to a large number of people over an area that is lacking these key ingredients.

For what its worth, the USFS motto is "Caring for the land and serving people"
latest report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I guess it may be the best way to maximise the value of the lease for the national government. I am just saying I would not go there . Skiing is expensive and that is fair enough when your money is supporting the communities, workers and local businesses who need to make a decent profit in a short season. I am not happy at all to pay over the odds when the money goes to a big out of town resort company operating several resorts and I know they are exploiting their monopoly, ripping off their own workers and taking all the profit out of the local economy.

I am surprised that local politicians prefer their government to put revenue ahead of allowing local small businesses to compete with big out of town resort companies and therefore pay more into the local economy. I would suggest it is in the public interest that the benefit from local assets is first to develop the local economy before national government takes a cut.
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

but if the government really wanted to maximize revenue to the public purse

That's really big "if"!

I'm not sure that's the mandate for the forest service, which maybe part of the root problem.

I vaguely recall similarly questionable practices when it comes to logging on national forest. Seems historically, the forest service goal wasn't primarily to maximize revenue for the public purse? But I maybe wrong...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Col the Yeti wrote:
I guess it may be the best way to maximise the value of the lease for the national government. I am just saying I would not go there . Skiing is expensive and that is fair enough when your money is supporting the communities, workers and local businesses who need to make a decent profit in a short season. I am not happy at all to pay over the odds when the money goes to a big out of town resort company operating several resorts and I know they are exploiting their monopoly, ripping off their own workers and taking all the profit out of the local economy.

I am surprised that local politicians prefer their government to put revenue ahead of allowing local small businesses to compete with big out of town resort companies and therefore pay more into the local economy. I would suggest it is in the public interest that the benefit from local assets is first to develop the local economy before national government takes a cut.


Totally agree!

In many respects, it is not up to local politicians to formulate policy for the United States Forest Service, but I suspect that some of them (as well as many locals) don't have the same understanding of economics as you do. While it is true that VR's marketing efforts do bring in tourists who help the local economy, I don't think enough people realize that VR is trying to keep as much of this for themselves as possible with less and less staying in the local economy. An interesting article about them pushing out local retail competition- http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_14857508

When Rob Katz became CEO, the Vail corporate headquarters was moved from the Vail Valley to Broomfield. In recent years, the stock is up over 500% and the dividend has gone up over 4x since 2011. The local Vail Valley economy is doing well, but I think it could be doing a lot better if more of the ski resort profits and tourist $ stayed in the hands of local workers and local businesses. If local politicians and local residents got on board with more free market competition, then I think it would put pressure on the USFS to reconsider their policies.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Fairwages wrote:
@foxtrotzulu,

For what its worth, the USFS motto is "Caring for the land and serving people"


and my school motto was 'fidelitas et veritas' but I saw very little of either from the Christian Brothers who ran the school. So I imagine the motto is just a motto.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We trade at musics festivals. We charge sky high prices for food and very small wages to our staff. The event organisers charge me a huge rent and this gets paid to bands, toilet companies, stage and lightinf etc etc. Nobody makes a huge sum from it. People see loads of great bands but don't just pay for their ticket price they pay double the market value for every burger and drink etc. We can't affford to pay staff much but there's alway lots of people want to work for us as young people love spending their summers at festivals.

Ski resorts are just the same. You pay for your skiing in many different ways, not simply your lift pass. Expensive food, equipment rental, clothes and drinks all contribute to the high cost of a high altitude, remote resort that operates for a fraction of the year.
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Federal land administered by USFS is not imo something you can consider a local asset. And USFS answer to the exec branch of government ie the president who appointed them. There main misdion as i see it is to work with the logging industry who have lobbied lots of $$ to the pres and other fed reps.
I really don't think they care much about this kind of topic, they are not answerable to us the public.
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
essex wrote:
Federal land administered by USFS is not imo something you can consider a local asset. And USFS answer to the exec branch of government ie the president who appointed them. There main misdion as i see it is to work with the logging industry who have lobbied lots of $$ to the pres and other fed reps.
I really don't think they care much about this kind of topic, they are not answerable to us the public.


You might be right, but it is a shame...during campaigns you hear politicians talk about not just creating jobs, but creating good paying jobs. This is low hanging fruit when it comes to that. The public is already paying good money at many resorts for ski instruction- if there was no monopoly, there would be 1000s of instructors who would be seeing a reasonable % of the lesson fees they generate which would turn their job into a good paying job instead of being a low paying job. This could have other positive effects on the local economies.
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Fairwages wrote:
US Forest Service regulations prohibit conducting commercial activity in National Forests without a permit. They issue multiple permits for other activities (i.e. to competing rafting companies on the same stretch of river), but seem to only issue 1 "non-exclusive" permit for ski related businesses.


Basic physics.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mike Pow wrote:
Fairwages wrote:
US Forest Service regulations prohibit conducting commercial activity in National Forests without a permit. They issue multiple permits for other activities (i.e. to competing rafting companies on the same stretch of river), but seem to only issue 1 "non-exclusive" permit for ski related businesses.


Basic physics.


When I google "Verbier Ski Lessons" I see 9 listings for different schools- https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=verbier+ski+lessons&rflfq=1&rlha=0&tbm=lcl

Most of the schools are over 30% less than Vail for a full day private lesson and about 50% less for a half day. Are the basic physics different in Europe?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Fairwages, I assume Mike Pow was alluding to the fact (which is more logistics than Physics really) that you can realistically only have one organisation owning and running the lifts, bashing the pistes (trails) and operating a ski patrol, which I'm sure you'd agree with. However, as you say and amply demonstrated by the European situation, there is no fundamental reason why a number of differently owned ski schools with appropriately qualified instructors could not operate on the same slopes. Madeye-Smiley

So I don't think you need to convince us Brits here on snowHeads that competiton between several ski schools at US ski resorts would be a good idea - you need to convince your US politicians/regulators. Good luck with that one! wink
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The trick will be persuading them that there are advantages for the public as a whole rather than just a handful of ski instructors. Personally, I would have thought that the best option would be to issue licenses for three or so ski schools per resort/area. That would introduce an element of competition to drive down prices and an element of choice. It would also enable the USFS to retain a degree of control.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
It would also enable the USFS to retain a degree of control.
Just out of interest, what control should the Forestry Service exert over ski instruction businesses?
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@rob@rar, If you look at the standard Ski Area SUP, the USFS retains quite a bit of control over all aspects of the permit holders business including, but not limited to the following clauses:


F. Area Access. Except for any restrictions as the holder and the authorized officer may agree to be necessary to protect the
installation and operation of authorized structures and developments, the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain
open to the public for all lawful purposes. To facilitate public use of this area, all existing roads or roads as may be constructed by
the holder, shall remain open to the public, except for roads as may be closed by joint agreement of the holder and the authorized
officer.

G. Master Development Plan. In consideration of the privileges authorized by this permit, the holder agrees to prepare and
submit changes in the Master Development Plan encompassing the entire winter sports resort presently envisioned for
development in connection with the National Forest lands authorized by this permit, and in a form acceptable to the Forest
Service. Additional construction beyond maintenance of existing improvements shall not be authorized until this plan has been
amended. Planning should encompass all the area authorized for use by this permit. The accepted Master Development Plan
shall become a part of this permit. For planning purposes, a capacity for the ski area in people-at-one time shall be established in
the Master Development Plan and appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document. The overall development
shall not exceed that capacity without further environmental analysis documentation through the appropriate NEPA process.

A. Conditions of Operations. The holder shall maintain the improvements and premises to standards of repair, orderliness,
neatness, sanitation, and safety acceptable to the authorized officer. Standards are subject to periodic change by the authorized
officer. This use shall normally be exercised at least ___days each year or season. Failure of the holder to exercise
this minimum use may result in termination pursuant to VIII.B

C. Regulating Services and Rates. The Forest Service shall have the authority to check and regulate the adequacy and type of
services provided the public and to require that such services conform to satisfactory standards. The holder may be required to
furnish a schedule of prices for sales and services authorized by the permit. Such prices and services may be regulated by the
Forest Service: Provided, that the holder shall not be required to charge prices significantly different than those charged by
comparable or competing enterprises.
ski holidays     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Fairwages, a first glance none of those conditions seem unreasonable, and none seem to require a single service provider as the only way to satisfy the conditions.
snow conditions     
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@foxtrotzulu, one advantage for the public might be that competition would reduce the absurdly high price of lessons.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
If generating revenue for the public purse is one of the Forestry Service's responsibilities, is it assumed that a single monopoly provider of ski lessons charging high rates will generate higher operating fees for the FS than a number of ski schools operating in a competitive market? Doesn't seem to me that this is a zero sum game - lower prices and/or a wider range of options will mean, I'd argue, more skiers taking more lessons.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
rob@rar wrote:
If generating revenue for the public purse is one of the Forestry Service's responsibilities...

Being one of the handful Yanks on a Brit-centric forum, I don't want to pretend I know the answer to such questions. So take what I wrote with a big grain of salt...

The Forest Service had been criticized for "giving away" other rights in the past. So, without knowing the enviorment when the lease was granted, it's not clear the Forest Service ever tried to maximize the generation of revenue in the process.
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@abc, thanks. Obviously I should add that I have zero understanding of how the business end of ski schools operate in the US, so my contribution should be judged with that in mind!
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@pam w, That almost goes without saying.
@abc, In theory, I believe that generating revenue for the public purse is NOT the stated goal of the USFS, but am not sure what the reality is.

rob@rar wrote:
@Fairwages, a first glance none of those conditions seem unreasonable, and none seem to require a single service provider as the only way to satisfy the conditions.
Yes, there is certainly nothing that requires a single service provider. In fact, there is a clause that says the SUP is "non-exclusive" One thing to keep in mind- although the SUP may say certain things (i.e. the USFS can review and regulate prices), the reality is something very different (i.e. the USFS seems to leave the prices charged completely up to each resort).

Per Tom Quinn, USFS analyst/manager- "often long on monopoly and short on regulation" http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/gtr556.pdf

rob@rar wrote:
If generating revenue for the public purse is one of the Forestry Service's responsibilities, is it assumed that a single monopoly provider of ski lessons charging high rates will generate higher operating fees for the FS than a number of ski schools operating in a competitive market? Doesn't seem to me that this is a zero sum game - lower prices and/or a wider range of options will mean, I'd argue, more skiers taking more lessons.


You make a good point. While a smart profit motivated monopolist will have a bigger bottom line than a group of free market competitors, the monopolist may have total revenues that are less than total revenues in a free market. Given that the USFS is getting a % of revenue (and not profit), they may be making less than they would in a free market (especially if they charged independent ski schools a slightly higher rate, say 5% of their revenues)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A bit more detail from Tom Quinn

Among Mather and Albright’s most lasting contributions to national park policy was the
concept of the “regulated monopoly” concessioner. These businesses were, however,
often long on monopoly and short on regulation. The general theory for some years
prior to Mather had been that competition should be depended on to keep prices down
and the quality of services up...

one important defense was that these monopolies would be regulated
as were other public utilities. Mather and Albright were well aware of the relative success
of the few “near-monopoly” national park concessions, which were generally
operated by the railroad companies. They hoped to reproduce this strategy in other
parks. Mather believed that the federal parks were perfect settings for regulated
monopolies. He had personal experience with Chicago municipal reform societies
that advocated regulated telephone monopolies (Shankland 1951: 118). Public utilities
were generally considered “natural monopolies” by most economists at the time; to
Mather, national park recreation concessioners were simply another form of public
utility. (This point is discussed in considerable detail in Quinn 2000.) He made it clear
that concessioners willing to operate under the regulated monopoly system would not
only be interested in profits, but would also have “to possess a strong sense of park
values and public service” (Hummel 1987: 57).
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rob@rar wrote:
foxtrotzulu wrote:
It would also enable the USFS to retain a degree of control.
Just out of interest, what control should the Forestry Service exert over ski instruction businesses?


As the owner of the land I expect they would want to ensure that any instructors are suitably qualified, conduct their business in a respectable way, pay suitable fees, and possibly regulate the number of instructors so you don't end up with a situation like taxi drivers fighting for trade outside an airport.
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foxtrotzulu wrote:
As the owner of the land I expect they would want to ensure that any instructors are suitably qualified, conduct their business in a respectable way, pay suitable fees, and possibly regulate the number of instructors so you don't end up with a situation like taxi drivers fighting for trade outside an airport.
All quite sensible, although at the airports I travel to I don't see taxi drivers fighting for trade. But none of that mandates a sole provider of instruction services. Perfectly possible to licence any number of providers, stipulating that they all have to conduct their business in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations that businesses must comply with, with the possible sanction of withdrawing their licence if they do not comply with relevant laws and regulations.
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pam w wrote:
@foxtrotzulu, one advantage for the public might be that competition would reduce the absurdly high price of lessons.


Its entirely up to the paying joe if they wish to pay those high prices, if they are not happy they can go elsewhere.

Blue touch paper lit.
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I will add, i believe that fairwages and the other instructors are after fair recompense for a days work which is perfectly fair and i support that.

Does that have a direct bearing on the charges levied on the customer is a different question and clearly the market continues, on the face of it, to support the prices being asked.

As i am often told in respect of other areas, its simply capitilism at work extracting what they can from the market irrespective of their costs.

Second blue touch paper lit.
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@ansta1, Capitalism is all well and good, but many would argue that free market capitalism is better for the public.

The Vail Valley is one of the most popular ski regions in the world (with both locals and tourists)- why should you only have 1 choice of ski school. Not sure where you live, but what if the government mandated that there could only be 1 company allowed to provide each service locally. Yes, you could drive an hour to get go out to eat, buy petrol/gas, see a dentist, visit a movie theater, etc. but why should the government support local monopolies when a free market would give you better choices and lower prices?

Yes, a publicly traded company like Vail will certainly extract everything they can from a market where they have no local competition, so shouldn't the government permit competition or regulate prices?
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I'm with you all the way @Fairwages
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After all the stick on here that the French, and ESF, got with pages and pages of vitriol, and people declaring never to go there again it's quite ironic that the most protectionist policies actually appear to be in the US.

I wouldn't be surprised if they insisted that their ski instructors had to be armed as well.
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