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Tipping Heli ski guides

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Chillybin, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. Chillybin

    Chillybin Addicted

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    Hi

    3rd trip to Canada. I haven’t previously as the days are pretty expensive as they are. I do recall last time I was there, a local Canadian was asking if I was tipping the guides. He was tipping bus driver, Heli pilot and both guides. At 2k a day tipping say 10% as this local was doing adds a huge expense.

    What have others done when in the same situation. I have several days Heli, cat and backcountry guiding booked. I love Canada but the tipping sh@ts me

    Thanks
     
  2. crackson

    crackson A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Trying to recall from my 2 heli weeks at Mike Wiegeles in 1988 & 1991. I think what the group did was discuss at the end of the week and pool at certain amount (not necessarily equal amounts and certainly not 10%) together for the guide. Whether others tipped other people I have no idea, would have been up to them - I didn't.

    The whole tipping business is very much a North American thing of course. Happy to not have to deal with, it at least not to the same level elsewhere in the world. In NZ guides don't normally expect tips, though of course won't refuse. Americans generally do out of habit. I normally just take a slab of beer up to the guides office at the end of my trips.
     
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  4. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat One of Us

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    Yeah heli is expensive anyway.
    I have had clueless fellow Aussies and Americans tipping to excess even in poor countries.
    Its a bit "look at me" + smartarse unless the guides or service are exceptional.
     
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  5. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’ve always tipped the guide, not substantial, $50 or so. Never tipped the pilot, but never really had the opportunity to, as there was limited contact. Our guides generally doubled as the bus driver, so I guess I tipped the driver! Where do you stop? Do you tip the team that sorts out tour rental skis, etc etc.

    I have tipped the guides because they did an excellent job, and were good guys / gals to get along with. I don’t believe everyone tipped. I felt under no obligation to tip
     
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  6. DidSurfNowSki

    DidSurfNowSki One of them Ski Pass: Gold

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    At PNH we tipped the kitchen staff, guides and pilots. They supplied the tipping ranges beforehand.
     
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  7. parkmonkey

    parkmonkey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some people in the US don't tip instructors, they assume because the lesson is costing so much that the instructor is on a good wage ($12.50 an hour on 4-5hrs work a day), not sure what guides get paid, some of them may even have ownership in company.
    I'd give them a tip, enjoy doing the best job in the world while you can
     
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  8. crackson

    crackson A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    The entire concept of tipping an American is offensive.
     
  9. Chillybin

    Chillybin Addicted

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    That’s why I find it awkward. Often the lovely folk in the meeting areas get nothing when they have plenty of contact. I recall dealing with a lady that I had actually been talking to via email to sort it out. She checked me in, showed me around, then the guides turned up and I went skiing. All was forgotten
     
  10. Chillybin

    Chillybin Addicted

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    I have definitely tipped based on that theory
     
  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    We just asked the boss outright in Chile.

    Said “hey, we are Aussies, we don’t get this tipping thing. We want to tip but we don’t want to be insulting or to go to the other extreme and make it uncomfortable. What would you expect? Give us a range of what is normal and for who and we will roll with that.”
    Ended up tipping pilot (personal pilot for a week who we ate with, drank with and loved) and two guides.
     
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  12. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Do tip pilot and lead guide. They have your life in their hands, and it is their personal experience and decision making that keeps you safe. Every day, every run is different and they are constantly assessing options. There are no cookie cutter solutions in a constantly changing environment, especially when that environment is populated by a similarly variable range of individuals, each with varying personalities and skiing abilities.
     
  13. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    I am really conflicted by all of this . I have no problem tipping for service , but in saying that it has to be earnt not expected as part of the transaction .
    I have skied at PNH a couple of times and in New Zealand a lot more . Like Heinz I used to buy a carton beer at the end of the day in NZ and more often than not would end up drinking it with the guides and office staff . PNH was a different beast it was expected that you tip everyone . I guess you feel more inclined to tip when you are flying and the stoke is high , but on my last trip we only skied 2 days , and low angle lines at that . I felt that a tip wasn't warranted due to the fact we didn't score .
     
    #13 Nozawaman, Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  14. parkmonkey

    parkmonkey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Isn’t this the reason why you pay silly money to begin with?
     
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  15. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would contend that you're paying for basic service: accoms, meals, heli service, guiding. You want the very best from pilot and guide above all others. That's worth tipping for.
     
  16. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    Some one also pointed out to me what a great business model the heli weeks are .
    50 guys pay up front for 7 days you only ski 2 days don't give refunds .
     
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  17. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is one of the reasons I have pulled back on those type of heli weeks. Now just go Wanaka for a couple of weeks and pick the days I want to fly.
     
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  18. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tipping sucks. I never know how much, who to and I've already paid a fair price, why should I be expected to pay more. Just pay your staff properly in the first place! USA used be much cheaper than here but it isn't anymore, then you have to add taxes and tips.

    I loved uber in USA, cos you don't have to tip unless you want to. The more we move away from face to face payments, the lower the expectation of tipping.
     
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  19. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would've put that down to professionalism
     
  20. parkmonkey

    parkmonkey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    And giving your customers the best experience is just good business, give someone a poor experience who has already forked out a shit load isn't great for business
     
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  21. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Again, pilot and especially lead guide have your life in their hands. Back country skiing kills people every year. Human nature is such that in every endeavor the occasional mistake is made. You're asking the pilot and guide to be perfect every single time. Not normal but that is what you are expecting them to do. Damn right you tip when they come up perfect. How do you know they were perfect? Because you and your group walks away from a week of backcountry skiing still alive.
     
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  22. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    But isn't that why you are paying big bucks in the first place? You are expected to pay more because they do they job properly?

    For anything I would rather pay a set price which includes everything. If you want to pay someone above the cost price, it should be your option to do so. Don't advertise a price, which in reality is at least 30% lower than what you are ultimately expected to pay. Tipping sucks.
     
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  23. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is anyone throwing a pineapple or two to you on their way out?

    "great landing piolet, here's a little something extra"
     
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  24. Belly

    Belly A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah we did group guide tip in '10 with PNH. We were 3 poms and two singles, 1 from Tahoe and myself. Given the majority were from non tipping culture it definitely wasn't anywhere near 10%. There was some additional in kind items gifted as well, ie alcohol.
     
  25. parkmonkey

    parkmonkey Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Again, thats their job that is what you paying for, this ain't a dodgy bali operation and you ain't paying dodgy bali prices
     
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  26. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's a self fulfilling prophecy. If they stuff up you're dead, and dead people don't tip.
     
  27. CarveMan

    CarveMan Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was impressed with Methven Heli when I went there, they don't take any reservations/money in advance, you just let them know the dates you are in town and your phone number, on the afternoons before days that they will fly they just ring around and get the groups together and you pay at the end of the day.
     
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  28. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    I have been trying to find the recommended tip amounts that PNH send to you . If I remember correctly it was about $US600 if you followed the recommended amounts .
     
  29. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did like what a guide in Argentina said as we stood above a steep slope with 30cm of fresh.

    Turns to us smiling and casually says: "I'm just going to ski down a bit and risk my life so you guys can have a good run".

    Passive aggressive, but true.
     
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  30. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Would a good guide endanger themselves?
     
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  31. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    yes, pretty much the same model in Wanaka for multi-day clients. If you are just booking the one day, I think they still get you to pay up front. But I'm not paying to a whole week up front. Do an authorisation when I start and pay whatever I have used at the end.
     
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  32. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    No, but there's always a risk.
    When the guide goes first they are testing the slope for the group. The first person hitting the line has the highest risk.
     
  33. Zeroz

    Zeroz A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    My superficial view is there are two main types of heli ops.

    1. Is like you describe above. Which is focused on skiing. Also available in many parts of the world.

    2. CMH and Weigele type ops which are targeted at dentists and finance types, skiing ego boosting moderate ski slopes, aggressive competition on vertical metres, and great accom and dinners.

    Is this too harsh? Other views?
     
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  34. crackson

    crackson A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's a 3rd type.

    The Jeremy Jones.
     
  35. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not sure how safety is a value added tipworthy thing. But hey, they tip barbers over there.
     
  36. Chillybin

    Chillybin Addicted

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    As good as it gets. I missed out in Canada due to a bad weather day and Selkirk just couldn’t rebook as they were already at capacity. I thought it was strange my contact with Methven and their relaxed attitude at getting me on.... but knowing one of the guides I knew they were telling the truth and sure enough it was as easy as that. Didn’t even want the money before hand. I paid as that’s how I work but they have a customer for life now. Highly recommend
     
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  37. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Heli Drop into Alaska, camp for 2 weeks waiting for weather, then boot pack and skin all your lines?
     
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  38. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Two main types but not necessarily for the reasons you stated. The ones with the weekly packages are usually based at a exclusive location with a set capacity say somewhere around 15-30 people for the week. Limited numbers means they do book out and for some of the really popular ones people book their following years trip on their current trip. That applies particularly in Canada, but also US mainland & Alaska as well as India, Russia and I would assume Greenland etc.

    Then there are the operations based in towns or ski areas where there is more of a daily operation depending on people passing through. These guys have to be quite flexible. This is typically the case in NZ. Some days there might be 10 people, 30, 50 or more. HMH I know can organise up to 10 machines taking over 100 people out in various locations with just a couple of days notice. It is a huge logistical exercise but I've seen it happen a few times. So they need to be flexible.
     
  39. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Exactly Sly.

    We had 3 days. I tipped them $300 but also thanked them. We had 2 doctors in our group.

    I said when you go to a doctor you put your lives in their hands. When we come to the mountains, we put our lives in our guides hands, and you can die up there. Its not like a ski resort - go the wrong way - you will die. Avalanches, cliffs crevasses, tree wells. Lots of ways to die heli skiing. In our group. My son and I and 8 Americans.

    Ive got no idea what the rest did.
     
  40. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes your up yourself. Bloody typical from Zeroz.

    I take it you've never skied CMH or Weigele. Or if you did [which i doubt] maybe you got scared with the questionnaire and put your self down as an intermediate, or maybe the guides downgraded you to something you were capable of skiing.

    In my experience if your not a competent double black skier you would have issues.

    And Weigele's allows you to pick the guides who didnt get you killed last time.

    I heard of a story of somebody who died down a tree well heli skiing a few months earlier, in a nearby area. Not Weigele - You can work out where.

    :out:
     
  41. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    As Sly says.

    Lifes cheap.
     
  42. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    So you tip your doctor?
     
  43. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Does your guide get paid the same as a doctor or more specifically an american doctor?
     
  44. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Are they underpaid? Can't say I'm familiar with their earnings nor cost of living. You? Did you raise this exploitative wage with management?
    Or are you going all socialist on us now?
     
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  45. Taipan

    Taipan Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    My son raised it with me over dinner where there was talk.

    It was my call. Maybe I was stingy, maybe i was generous. I dont know.

    At $2k a day each, its not a cheap day out in the mountains.

    I gave it to my son to discretely pass to them and later on both guides personally thanked me. So they appreciated it. Why my son - because he was similiar age - he is a level 2 instructor one was a level 3 instructor - and they got on really well.

    Or if you want to do the maths, its 10 people x 50 x 3 days = $1500 tip for each guide. Not bad if you can get it.

    Ive got no idea what the rest did, I think we discussed it briefly over a beer with one other member of the group afterwards.

    At Weigele's you can hire your own Helicopter for a week - only $100k. Talking to the manager about it, i was taken aback when she said they had groups who would come up twice a season for a week at a time with a private helicopter. Whats the tip on that?

    The question was raised at the beginning of this thread that if you go heli skiing. Do you tip? If so how much.

    Well do you go heli skiing and if you do how much do you tip?
     
  46. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL .... nailed it :thumbs:

    Packaged extreme skiing for the people who will never be found on some sketchy ridge traverse with a couple of mates.

    Its great fun though, all that noise and all that silence

    This is betterer ...

    https://www.skierslodge.com/

    or

    https://www.billstrips.com/

    I don't usually tip, but sometimes I do, beers and conversation, a meal maybe.
     
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  47. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    My take. Guides don't make that much money. Again it's a lifestyle thing, even for heli guides. Rarely will you see them rocking up to the take off zone in their Range Rover or Lambo.

    Depends on where you are in the world but in many cases, they're living away from their families in accom ranging from barely livable to at best cramped but livable. When you're doing it day after day the season gets long and the glamour fades but hey.... Generally they're all happy because they're doing something that they love and wouldn't change it for the world.

    Getting their clients safely back to base will happen regardless of whether you tip them or not. To say it's not expected wouldn't be entirely correct but certainly not an ironclad expectation. If it comes it comes and if it doesn't then so be it. If they have had to go beyond to get you off the mountain or down a particular run or one of your party is difficult then don't hold back, because at the end of the day they're risking their life as well. Just remember they're a "guide" not a baby sitter.

    It's certainly appreciated and generally they won't look down their nose if no tip is forthcoming. If you've got the dollars then by all means share a bit if on the other hand you've scraped to get this once in a lifetime opportunity then it's cool if you can't afford it. You're not going to lose a friend.
     
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  48. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I tip guides because both clients and the business itself are asking them to be perfect all the time, every time. It's humanly and statistically impossible, yet the heli outfit sells it and clients expect it.
     
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  49. sly_karma

    sly_karma Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Poo flinging coming soon to a thread near you.
     
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  50. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is mostly Aussies commenting here about tipping, something we mostly find off-putting. When it comes to the crunch and I'm at a restaurant or something in the states where the waiter is living on tips, sure I'll tip. Hell, in some (all?) States of the USA they're taxed on a tip even if they don't receive one. I find it a most repugnant transfer of responsibility but would consider tipping if I thought it was appropriate, should my priorities aline with a heli trip in Alaska some day.