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Do you tip your ski instructors?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm really not sure of the etiquette here. Is it the 'done thing' after a course of lessons?

The kids are having 5 afternoon private lessons in Courchevel this week and I was just wondering if I should pick a little something up for the instructor? Then I wondered if people usually give money?

I'm not a big tipper. I kind of feel that if we are paying (a lot!) And they are being paid then that's it. But I don't want to get it wrong!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@breeze11, if you are happy with the service the Instructor gave, then I would defiitely tip.
I cant say about France, but my son instructs privately here in Austria when hes not at Uni, and the money the ski school pays him is really not much at all, so he is really grateful when his clients tip him.
He usually gets about 10 to 30 Euros depending on the group and how many days he has had them for, his best tip was €50 and a salmon from some Norwegians Shocked Laughing
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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?
If you’re happy with the service then tip. Give money not a gift. Doesn’t have to be much, price of a beer or 2 is fine but as Mum to an instructor it’s SO appreciated!
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I always tip 10% - it’s like buying them lunch.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If the instruction is good, which we’ve always had, then without doubt we give a tip.
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Tip in cash
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Yes you do pay a lot but I suspect not too much goes to the instructor if via a school. Have done so in the past, about 10-15% in cash, especially when the kids are in a private or v small group and when they have enjoyed it.

Once our youngest had a short private lesson in Les Contamines with a sole operator who would have got most of the cash so a beer or two was offered and accepted along with what was an interesting chat with the instructor.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
ster wrote:
Yes you do pay a lot but I suspect not too much goes to the instructor if via a school. Have done so in the past, about 10-15% in cash, especially when the kids are in a private or v small group and when they have enjoyed it.

Once our youngest had a short private lesson in Les Contamines with a sole operator who would have got most of the cash so a beer or two was offered and accepted along with what was an interesting chat with the instructor.


I don’t understand this.
Surely if the customer is paying very good money for the service the issue is not between the customer and the service provider - it’s between the ski school and instructor?
A broken workplace/industrial relations system is more unlikely to be fixed if the consumer who is already paying (in a lot of cases) nosebleed money keeps propping up the unfair pay rates.

That said we did begrudgingly tip the instructor after shelling out $470usd for a one day (not private) lesson for our two kids.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Tue 3-04-18 21:43; edited 1 time in total
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@sbooker, Blimey! $470 for a day! That’s outrageous.

I probably will tip in future, although I haven’t always in the past. We’ve had this discussion here before and my view is that you tip for service that is better than you might normally expect. How much the instructor gets paid by the school is utterly irrelevant. I also wouldn’t tip anyone who was self employed. I.e. and independent instructor.
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Never tipped in Sweden (for pretty much anything) as it’s not the norm. I rarely have cash either, it’s basically a cashless society.
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US instructors would rather bitch and whine about "cheap" clients who don't tip than actually organise and get paid a fair share of the exhorbitant lesson price.
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 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.
sbooker wrote:
ster wrote:
Yes you do pay a lot but I suspect not too much goes to the instructor if via a school. Have done so in the past, about 10-15% in cash, especially when the kids are in a private or v small group and when they have enjoyed it.

Once our youngest had a short private lesson in Les Contamines with a sole operator who would have got most of the cash so a beer or two was offered and accepted along with what was an interesting chat with the instructor.


I don’t understand this.
Surely if the customer is paying very good money for the service the issue is not between the customer and the service provider - it’s between the ski school and instructor?
A broken workplace/industrial relations system is more unlikely to be fixed if the consumer who is already paying (in a lot of cases) nosebleed money keeps propping up the unfair pay rates.

That said we did begrudgingly tip the instructor after shelling out $470usd for a one day (not private) lesson for our two kids.


Understand what you are saying re pay rates and me allowing that to continue. I do bear in mind the rates the instructor is likely to be paid but really only tip when its been good service. I also bear in mind that they are looking after my kids and I want them to have a good time, also they could be spending quite a bit of time in their company (as opposed to some surly waiter who expects 10% for taking an order correctly and handing your plate of food at you in all of 2 minutes) , and most of the instructors have been great people (the tw@t I once had at Mt Hutt the one exception).

But no way would I pay $235 for one day group lesson and tip as well! Shocked
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Ster when you say “looking after my kids” are you thinking of tipping them daily then? I would only tip at the end, when it’s past tense. Hadn’t occurred to me to tip as you go along.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
bambionskiis wrote:
Ster when you say “looking after my kids” are you thinking of tipping them daily then? I would only tip at the end, when it’s past tense. Hadn’t occurred to me to tip as you go along.


I guess a tip at the end does not engender much in that way. One-off but a little way in if on a few days course with some time left on the clock to serve.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It’s a divisive topic, but I‘d think 99% of people could agree it’s weird to tip at any time other than the end.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thank you all for your replies. Very interesting to know what others do. We've paid €800 euro for 5 days of 2 hour lessons which is a massive amount to us. Based on your responses I will tip but I'm not sure I'll manage the 10 - 15%.

@sbooker, I have the same view on tipping. I hate that it's expected. I'd rather we paid more and staff were then paid more. At least we'd all know where we stood then.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@breeze11, I nearly always tip my instructors because they invariably go above and beyond (arrive early, drive us around to other resorts etc.)

However, e80 per hour is almost twice what I pay so at that price point I’d be reluctant to tip unless they had been exceptional.
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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?
I tip around 15% because I know they do not get paid much. (but lessons are cheap in Bulgaria - less than £50 for 2 hours for the both of us)
Sometimes they have to buy their own season pass, etc. & employed as a 'gig' economy.
So if there is a day of nobody having lessons, then they are not earning, but enjoying the mountain instead!
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We tipped our kids instructors. Not a huge amount, maybe €30 per child (3 kids). To me its a way of saying thanks they had a great time and want to come back next year!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
sbooker wrote:

Surely if the customer is paying very good money for the service the issue is not between the customer and the service provider - it’s between the ski school and instructor?
A broken workplace/industrial relations system is more unlikely to be fixed if the consumer who is already paying (in a lot of cases) nosebleed money keeps propping up the unfair pay rates.


It would be great if that were true but in many services and tourism roles, the customer is running the other way into the arms of online agents who are undercutting local operators and reducing rates. Several companies look at the Uber business model and think it might be applied to guides and instructors.

My experience is that generally people have a good instinct about when to tip. For example, it's more appropriate for a week-long trip than a couple of hours etc.

It's an embarrassing transaction Embarassed
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
US instructors would rather bitch and whine about "cheap" clients who don't tip than actually organise and get paid a fair share of the exhorbitant lesson price.


As an American, I heartily endorse this sentiment. "Tipping culture" is out of control in the US. Eff 'em -- no one is forcing you to be a ski instructor, waiter or barista.

In answer to first question, no, I do not tip ski instructors, any more than my clients tip me for my work, for which I charge a rate that allows me to earn a living.


If this makes me a scrooge, so be it.
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If the instructor was really nice and helpful yeah..

Tipping should never be forced.. only when you feel like the person has done their best for you!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
And, the weird thing about tipping -- 99 percent of the time you will never see that person again. So if you are really tipping to ensure good service, shouldn't you tip halfway through the lesson, or, say, when you order a beer? Might as well get it out in the open -- "Hey, man, here's a buck. Please make sure there's not too much head on my Guinness."

I hate when the exchange of money for service is an embarrassment to one of the parties. For example, when I tip I always imagine the receiver is embarrassed to have to bow and scrape for a few dollars. And I worry that i'm undertipping and the waiter etc. will be thinking that I'm an ungrateful cheapskate. But if I overtip then I'm just throwing money away...I'd much rather it be a transaction between equals.

Sorry, tipping threads always get my hackles up.
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Having worked in a restaurant as a waiter Pasigal I was grateful for any kind of tip.

If a waiter is ungrateful then so be it..
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I don't, but then I also don't tip my doctor or my dentist (both private), or anyone else who works for me at £70+ph.

At that fee, I expect them all to be the best at their trade and that is why they are charging such a fee. Being 'good', so worthy of extra payment, shouldn't be a factor.

If I like the instructor (that's been all of them so far) then I will buy them a beer after the lesson.

Tipping a waiter who is earning 10% of that fee is a different matter. So is the spectrum between good and bad.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
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I was working part time as an instructor in Verbier a few years ago, mostly during peak weeks. Something like half the clients chose to tip. I might be unusual in that I would have preferred not to be tipped - I find the whole thing awkward and embarrassing! I don't like tipping culture in general though. I think most instructors were hoping to get tips as they were paid far less than you might expect given the cost of the lessons.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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muttley196 wrote:
Having worked in a restaurant as a waiter Pasigal I was grateful for any kind of tip.

If a waiter is ungrateful then so be it..


I've worked as a bartender and waiter. I was also grateful for tips. But I didn't much like it!

I'd rather just give good service to everyone, but I had to favor those who tipped me after the first round, especially when they were sitting at the bar across from me.
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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
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
bar shaker wrote:
I don't, but then I also don't tip my doctor or my dentist (both private), or anyone else who works for me at £70+ph.

At that fee, I expect them all to be the best at their trade and that is why they are charging such a fee. Being 'good', so worthy of extra payment, shouldn't be a factor.

If I like the instructor (that's been all of them so far) then I will buy them a beer after the lesson.

Tipping a waiter who is earning 10% of that fee is a different matter. So is the spectrum between good and bad.


Many instructors giving you the private lesson are at the waiter end of the spectrum and they have no input into the fee or any say in how much they get of it. The ski school charges the fee and the instructor gets a small cut in many cases.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I used to teach and it was very hit and miss with tips.

Cash was always best , 10 euro per person I found was not unreasonable.
I did try and drop hints sometimes in the week mentioning my scratched googles or favorite tipple.

I have enough $hit hats to last me a lifetime!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I don't tip. I will happily buy an Apres drink or lunch for the instructor (private lessons).
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@JoyZipper, I would also also happily buy a drink or lunch but often the instructor hasn't got time for either as they have other lessons to get to/a life after work
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ise wrote:
sbooker wrote:

Surely if the customer is paying very good money for the service the issue is not between the customer and the service provider - it’s between the ski school and instructor?
A broken workplace/industrial relations system is more unlikely to be fixed if the consumer who is already paying (in a lot of cases) nosebleed money keeps propping up the unfair pay rates.


It would be great if that were true but in many services and tourism roles, the customer is running the other way into the arms of online agents who are undercutting local operators and reducing rates. Several companies look at the Uber business model and think it might be applied to guides and instructors.

My experience is that generally people have a good instinct about when to tip. For example, it's more appropriate for a week-long trip than a couple of hours etc.

It's an embarrassing transaction Embarassed


I think the Uber model would be effective at sorting wheat from chaff. Instructors/guides popular enough to be known/recommended will be booked direct with no need to race to the bottom while the rest will get an opportunity to build their personal brand from clearling at the bottom of the pool. No doubt families won't like the surge pricing at hlaf term etc though.

The US situation is ridiculous. Book a lesson at a major US resort and the very vast majority of your very high price is effectively a booking fee or commission to the monopolistic resort owned ski school. You are then "expected" to make the instructor up to a living wage with tips. Rob Katz of Vail Resorts has said as much to staff about how he wants to help them get the tips they need from clients (rather than pay them a living wage in the first place).
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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?
Tipping is pretty much in our culture but in my view it does show appreciation of a service well rendered (if it has been) and if the children have been happy and you have been happy leaving them in the care of this person for five half days then yes I would tip and I think if its in Europe 50 euros would be reasonable or even slightly more.
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Quote:

The US situation is ridiculous. Book a lesson at a major US resort and the very vast majority of your very high price is effectively a booking fee or commission to the monopolistic resort owned ski school. You are then "expected" to make the instructor up to a living wage with tips. Rob Katz of Vail Resorts has said as much to staff about how he wants to help them get the tips they need from clients (rather than pay them a living wage in the first place).


I think this.

Mind you, look also at the US aviation and pilot models, you can earn more driving a truck than a flying a 737... US wage market economics are a mess.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I don't tend to tip ski instructors as a matter of course, mainly as I tend to have instruction with the same group of instructors, and as such have grown to consider them 'friends'. I am more than happy to buy them drinks and refreshments throughout the day though.

Skiing with a guide is slightly different in my experience, in that it is 'customary' to buy their lunch and an apres drink or several.

Nick
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Steve77 wrote:
It’s a divisive topic, but I‘d think 99% of people could agree it’s weird to tip at any time other than the end.

Funnily enough it can work the other way too.
During my transfer days, one Russian client asked if we left the airport a little later as he wanted to get money from the ATM to tip the staff.
I happily waited and he dropped me 40 Eur before we left the airport.
I kind of felt in his service for the 1hr transfer to Megeve, which was a bit weird, but hey 40 bucks is 40 bucks.
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If you feel you need to tip the person teaching your kids to ski, why not also tip the person who teaches your kids to read, write, do maths? Sounds ridiculous right? - well so is the tipping culture already.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I have and never would tip an instructor, especially in a resort like Courchevel. In the main most of these instructors particularly with the British ski schools (qualified to BASI Level 4 with eurotest) will be on a decent wage.
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Interesting discussion. Last time I took a series of group lessons, I asked others at the end if they wanted to kick in for a tip for the instructor. They all looked at me like I'd grown a second head.
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Go with Club Med on ski holidays which includes 5 days instruction with an ESF instructor. In most cases, someone in the group (for some reason often one of the Israelis) organises a collection which is normally about E10/person. However, there has never been any pressure and I have often not tipped when the instructor wasn't worth it.
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