2020 Western Board of Directors’ Candidates

Our new Bylaws go into effect in April. Under the new bylaws, the future Board of Directors will be much more strategic when looking at the long-term goals of the division. It is important to fill our board positions with people who have a strong vision of the future of snowsports instruction.

Under the new bylaws, the board will focus on strategic planning, investment and finance, and membership development. How we recruit, retain, and develop new members is key to our future success. A larger membership base will increase the dues-generated income the division can use to sustain high-quality programs, develop new ones, and hire additional, highly-qualified clinicians – to the benefit of all Western Division members.

Elections will be conducted online. All active members with a valid email address should receive an invitation to vote in early March. The election will close on April 1. Email Kristi Prochazka at kjereb@psia-w.org with questions.

With new PSIA-AASI Western Division Bylaws going into effect this April, the March 2020 Board of Directors Election gives you an important opportunity to help shape the success of division programs and events for years to come. Under the new bylaws, the future Board of Directors will be much more strategic when looking at the long-term goals of the division. For instance, the board will focus more fully on strategic planning, investment and finance, and membership development. How we recruit, retain, and develop new members is key to our future success. A larger membership base will increase the dues-generated income the division can use to sustain high-quality programs, develop new ones, and hire additional, highly-qualified clinicians – to the benefit of all Western Division members.

It’s important to fill board positions with people who have a strong vision of the future of snowsports instruction, so take this opportunity to review the following candidate statements ahead of the election – which will be conducted online. All active members with a valid email address should receive an invitation to vote in early March, and the election will close on April 1. Email Kristi Prochazka at kjereb@psia-w.org with questions.

Neil Bussiere

Alpine and Snowboard Level III, board member since 1999, former PSIA-W president


Here is my experience with PSIA-AASI

  • PSIA-AASI Western Board of Directors – 1999-present
  • PSIA-AASI National Board of Directors – 2010-present
  • PSIA-AASI Western President – 2006-2010
  • PSIA-AASI Western Executive VP – 2002-2006
  • PSIA-AASI Western Snowboard VP – 1999-2002
  • PSIA Alpine Level III Certified – 1994
  • AASI Snowboard Level III Certified, Examiner/Clinician – 1996
  • USSCA Level 200 Professional Coach – 1997
  • Technical Director, Mt. High Winter Sports School – 1999-present

I again ask for your consideration in seeking an eighth term to the PSIA-AASI Western Board of Directors. As an individual, I consider myself fortunate to be involved with a truly rewarding and interactive occupation, that of winter sports instruction. As a member of PSIA-AASI Western, I consider myself equally fortunate to have an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated board of directors at the helm of our diverse membership. I hope to see such leadership continue uninterrupted. I believe I can continue to provide such leadership – as I have for the past twenty-one seasons.

As a longtime PSIA-AASI Western board member, I have personally authored numerous motions to reflect and represent the increasingly diverse membership, associated revenue streams, and an evolving educational focus across all disciplines. Furthermore, by training and solidifying a skilled core of educators, we continue to turn the certification and educational agendas into financially viable entities which add membership value and again are generating record numbers in pursuit of certification. Our certification and educational programs remain financially viable and add tremendous member value, generating record-breaking numbers of certification candidates and providing the training that creates a skilled core of educations. 

As the former Western Division president, I sought to “raise the bar,” both organizationally and strategically, and continually challenged the board to establish new ways of doing business. Accordingly, the membership benefited from an increased number of deliverables and delivery methods, educational updates, recruitment materials, and publications consistent with the latest national information and industry trends. These efforts have been supplemented by personal contributions to numerous national publications, ongoing editorial responsibilities for our divisional Edge newsletter, as well as the principal author of the AASI-W Snowboard Certification Handbook.

More so than ever, nationally PSIA-AASI needs to remain a professional growth engine and resource for the working instructor while striving to provide educational direction. As the current Western Division representative on the PSIA-AASI Board of Directors I participate in the National Strategic Planning work sessions and chaired the 2015 CEO Search Committee as well as the National Governance Task Force that seeks to better define the national and divisional relationships. 

I remain engaged in working across all divisions to represent these interests in an emerging national governance model for the benefit of the membership. In doing so, I look forward to the challenges that still lie ahead and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent each of you going forward once again. Thank you.

Michael Seaman

Cross Country Level II, Alpine Level I, Snowboard Level I, Western Division Senior Specialist 1


I have been a seasonal part-time employee in the snowsports industry since 1985. I started as a patroller and instructor at Eagle Mountain Nordic (1985-1988), instructed at Royal Gorge XC (1988-2013), and am currently an instructor at Boreal, where I’ve been since 1998. I have been a PSIA-AASI member since 1989. 

I went on many Sierra Club backcountry ski trips in the 1980s. Due to my state government experience, the trip leaders asked me to review legislation about skiers day-tripping out of Caltrans rest areas. My re-write became California’s Sno-Park system. I later got into cross country racing (including guiding a blind skier), which led to my snowsports career.

My breadth of snowsports experience (alpine, snowboard, tele, nordic track, and adaptive) has instilled in me a deep sensitivity to the needs of members in all our teaching disciplines and I have the perspective of those who form the backbone of  our industry – the part-timer. I am a long-time, local elected official of a California special district, used to serving constituents by asking them what they want and doing as they say. My experience in public service, strategic planning, budgeting, and policy oversight of operations can help PSIA-AASI Western’s new governance model deliver for our 3,500 members, recruit new ones, and encourage retention.

Better member service means listening to you and delivering what you want within budget and the time parameters you desire. A policy governance board moves PSIA-AASI Western from inefficient micro-management to productive “get-it-done” business practices that are inherently responsive to members. I have over quarter century of experience as an elected member of a local government board that operates on the policy governance model, plus other years serving on statewide association boards that operate that way. I would like to bring my experience to the PSIA-AASI Western Division Board  to help implement better member services under the new bylaws.

Tad Sheldon

Alpine Level II


I have been an alpine instructor at Northstar now for four seasons. I worked hard to become a Level II instructor my second year. I made it because of PSIA-AASI’s education materials, my Northstar trainers, and the Western Ed Staff’s support during the exam process. I’ve been giving back to PSIA-AASI as a volunteer, helping the Western Division office improve its business systems and helping the Alpine Chair, Lynnea Anderson, edit some of the Alpine Discipline Task Force’s materials to be more clear, concise, and understandable. I want to continue giving back by serving as a board member.

With almost four decades of experience working in R&D as a program manager and director for the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley, I understand the business challenges of controlling costs when there is no profit. I also have much experience with the challenges of change management when trying to launch a new initiative, product, or technology that’s never been done before. I have served as chairman for two boards. It’s important to ensure that everyone is understood, but it is equally important to make a decision and move forward with speed.

Here are four needs the organization could address when developing a strategy for growth to make us stronger:

  1. Improve our market visibility to the general public so guests understand our value and demand more lessons.
  2. Grow our instructor membership, increase engagement of membership to improve instruction, retain members who may leave PSIA-AASI for career reasons but may come back later, get member resorts to support more training.
  3. Increase revenue to improve resources of PSIA-AASI Western, which will help better serve our members.
  4. Continue the good work toward national standardization.

Dan Healy

Alpine Level III, Children’s Specialist Level 2, Director of Snow Sports at Sierra at Tahoe


In 1995, I joined the PSIA-AASI community as an instructor and achieved my Alpine Level I certification. My career has progressed in the last 25 years and PSIA-AASI has been an integral part of my advancement. My experience spans three regions throughout the country, with time worked in the Eastern, Rocky Mountain, and Western Divisions. I have worked in the management of all aspects of the ski and ride school industry and currently hold the title of Director of Snow Sports at Sierra at Tahoe. This role allows me to introduce all instructors to everything PSIA-AASI has to offer.

Snowsports have been a lifelong passion of mine. This passion has driven me to understand all aspects of the industry, allowing me to better promote the importance of instruction and drive the sustainability of our sport. As a member of this board, I feel I can contribute to growing the number of snowsports participants through better -trained, certified instructors in this division. Personally, my Level III certification has opened many doors for my career and hope to see others benefit in the same way.

Having worked in three divisions, I’ve experienced variances in practice throughout the country. I believe PSIA-AASI can better serve its members by creating more consistency throughout its member regions. My career was enhanced by traveling to new resorts and learning new systems. I think that if there is more uniformity in how each region operates, this could augment the experience of instructing in new areas. While I think the new online educational modules are a great start, I think that PSIA-AASI needs to continue to offer new methods of education to keep current with technology.

Lars Ames

Snowboard Level III, PSIA-AASI National Awards Committee, Resort Trainer


I have been a member of PSIA-AASI Western for 17 years, and PSIA-AASI nationally for 18. I am currently a member of the PSIA-AASI National Awards Committee, which recognizes PSIA-AASI members and their achievements at a national level. I’m honored to be part of this committee, as it’s allowed me to learn not just about the amazing work our Western Division instructors have accomplished but also the contributions of the amazing people who drive both skiing and snowboarding nationally. 

I was a board member of the Tomlinson-Parker Scholarship Fund from 2006 until it was dissolved in 2016. The mission of the scholarship fund was to provide assistance to instructors seeking certification goals, thereby decreasing their personal financial burden. 

Since 2005, I’ve been one of the staff trainers for the Squaw Valley adult snowsports school. Working with the staff to improve their professional goals and creating an environment that cultivates learning for both students and instructors has shown great success for our school. By working closely with our staff to prepare them for their certification exams and serving as a board member of the scholarship fund, I have been allowed to give back to the Squaw Valley community in many significant ways.

Joining the PSIA-AASI Western Division Board would give me the opportunity to continue to give back to our community on a local level. I would like to work with the board to continue to drive enrollment of new members and find ways to encourage former members to return to the division. We are only as strong as our members allow our division to become, and by working as a community we can create positive and effective growth that future members will continue to benefit from. I would be honored to be a part of the PSIA-AASI Western Division Board of Directors to build an even stronger community of dedicated snowsports professionals.

Chris Eckert

Alpine Level III, Freestyle Specialist Level 1


I started my snowsports career 24 years ago; in 1996. My first teaching job was at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. I was hooked; moved to Tahoe and started teaching at Heavenly the next winter. I started following guys around like “Weavin”… every day, grabbing nuggets of knowledge from PSIA-AASI National Team members Michael Rogan and Robin Barnes, traveling to Whistler with former National Team members Michael Hafer and Kevin Mitchell, and skiing Kirkwood with Copeland. Because of these people and many others along my journey, I am proud to say I hold a PSIA Alpine Level III certification. It is one of my proudest accomplishments and I am sincerely grateful.

As a starving instructor, you didn’t make the “big bucks” until you were a Level III, So I taught during the day and worked in a shop at night. I found that the knowledge I was gaining at night working in the shop complimented my teaching skillset on the hill. This combination built a trust factor between me and my clients. I also worked for a resort marketing department and gained another valuable perspective of the business. All of these perspectives create what I like to call the “TEE” concept; Technology, Equipment, Experience. This is where I believe the opportunity lies.

PSIA-AASI can use this TEE Concept to better serve its membership – by using the Technology at our fingertips; smartphone apps, video, CARV, etc. We can educate ourselves on the Equipment our clients are purchasing, such as tech boots, tech bindings, the different combinations of camber and rocker in our skis and boards, and the different lasts and flex of boots in the market. We can improve the lesson Experience for higher skill-level clients and potentially partner with our ski patrol teams for a side-country experience, etc.