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Tipping ski instructors

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Tipping ski instructors

We are planning a few days of private ski lessons for our family of 4

we were told by friends you should tip the instructor, despite a very expensive daily fee!!!

Coming from Australia a non tipping economy what is reasonable amount

Also what is a reasonable tip amount for the ground transport from Denver, another already significant upfront fee

Many thanks


34 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 3,422
reviews: 94
11. Re: Tipping ski instructors

So you asked your instructor what was customary, they answered your question and that ruined your day? I personally have never had my day ruined by asking someone a question nor would it occur to me to ask someone what they want to be tipped. When it comes to tacky, that's the definition of it. Further, I'm not sure what private school your kids go to but that seems like an extreme exaggeration to suggest that a week of ski school is the same price as a year of private school.

Edited: 11:13 am, February 16, 2013
posts: 3
12. Re: Tipping ski instructors

Nowhere in my post did I mention that I asked what was customary. He brought it up. Not me! So very tacky. I am not suggesting that i was not prepared to or planning to tip. Also 13 days of ski school x 3 kids, 2 in private, one in class was about x. Private school for same 3 kids is also about same x

Edited: 11:32 am, February 16, 2013
posts: 1,001
reviews: 17
13. Re: Tipping ski instructors

Walk a mile in their shoes... this is a very expensive place to live, many work 2 or 3 jobs just to break even, and watch how hard some of them work. I knew an instructor who was once asked to wipe a kids butt because "his nanny usually does that", an instructor who had to deal with parents who had no control over thier bratty kids, screaming & crying the entire day,and adults who were too cocky to take any type of instruction. These instructors (especially the ones who teach kids) in my eyes are saints. You get what you pay for.

Now, go pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee someplace!! Or $9.00 to see a movie & pay $6.00 for popcorn (talk about a rip-off!!!)

You are paying for a full-day of "entertainment" while learning a life-long skill. You will enjoy the instruction, save time in the ski school lift lines, and many of our instructors are chock full of knowledge about the area, history, good restaurants, other fun things to enjoy. Many become life-long friends with their clients. I sincerely hope you will leave looking back on every penny well spent & being worth your families memories!

posts: 3
14. Re: Tipping ski instructors

You miss my point. I am not complaining about opening my wallet. Only how it was handled. This is not a profession. These are not professionals so of course I realize they count on tips to survive. You are right. Babysitters with an extra skill set.

Aspen, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Aspen
posts: 1,537
15. Re: Tipping ski instructors

I would disagree that ski instructing is not a profession and that instructors are not professionals. It is and 99% are. But In terms of etiquette I agree your instructor was out of line hinting that a tip was expected.

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 3,422
reviews: 94
16. Re: Tipping ski instructors

Ski instruction IS a profession and these people ARE professionals, many with decades of training and certification. There are opinions and then there's the spewing of nonsense. While it may not be a profession for you, I'd suggest you look into what it takes to be a ski instructor year after year before claiming these people are babysitters.

In general, what I find most telling are people who seem to sign up to TA for the sole purpose of venting. Someone suggesting a tip amount is tacky for sure. Opening a TA account after a two week ski vacation with a family of 5 to complain about one comment, made one day on a chairlift (likely taken out of context) speaks volumes regardless of whether it's bad service from a rental car agency or a ski instructor making conversation.

Edited: 4:53 pm, February 16, 2013
Plantation Florida
posts: 485
reviews: 108
17. Re: Tipping ski instructors

One answer may be to ski on the east coast if taking lessons. Everything is cheaper, even if it's not 3 feet of powder. Beginners don't want powder anyway, machine groomed is what you need.

My daughter graduated from UF last December. Took the wife, daughter, and her BF to 7 Springs near Pittsburgh. Did a bunch of research and found it was much less to fly there and take lessons, rather than the mid west resorts. Everything worked out great. We took a lesson, $200 for 4 people, 2 hour lesson. The BF learned how to ski and came down a green trail that night. My web page talking about it is here.


The instructor was great and didn't bring up anything about tipping. At the end of the lesson he asked if we had any questions, we all said bye and that was it. We celebrated by drinking in the bar later, so the bar staff got something out of it.

I've taken lessons at Smuggler's notch, the Poconos, and 7 Springs and the instructors were great.

Going to Vail in a couple weeks, won't take any lessons out there, too expensive. Going to practice all the things I learned on the east coast.

Denver, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 9,723
reviews: 54
18. Re: Tipping ski instructors

<<<Hi, my ski instructor told me 20 percent was customary and that if I did not want to pay that others would.>>>>

I have never heard of such a thing. At Beaver Creek that behavior would likely get an instructor fired. All of the instructors I know would NEVER bring up the subject of tipping. At most when asked they might say they are allowed to accept a tip but they do not go around asking for them.

<<<<Ski school should address this. Or even just let people know up front what is expected. >>>> What is I guess what happened?>>>

There are many places to learn that are not as $$ Vail and BC, 2 of the most costly places! Ski Cooper is a great value and not far from Vail. Loveland on the way to Vail.

No matter what you should factor tips into any type of vacation in the USA. And be sure to carry cash too it is not like a restaurant where there is a line for tips.

Edited: 3:19 pm, February 18, 2013
Crested Butte...
posts: 1
19. Re: Tipping ski instructors

I just paid $685 for a one day, private lesson for two children at Mt Crested Butte. Now I'm expected to pay $100 or 20 percent on top of the fee. Outrageous!!! If ski instructors are only making $20/hr, they should ban together and put up a web page and advertise - Private Lessons $500/hr and keep the money themselves.

Destination Expert
for Alaska, Denali National Park and Preserve, Yellowstone National Park
posts: 9,465
reviews: 44
20. Re: Tipping ski instructors

I just took a "group lesson" at Mt Crested Butte, all day for $125. I was the only one in the group, had an absolutely incredible intermediate lesson which turned out to be a private lesson. I tipped 20% since that's what I had brought thinking it would be a group lesson, yet wishing I had more.

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