Summer Events

Inline image 1
Happy September 1st!  We hope summer has been amazing for you, but, like us, you are starting to have snow dreams.  PSIA-AASI West education staff is offering some events this month and October. Find out more about each event by clicking on the links!
Skate well and ski better! This camp emphasizes the benefits of inline skating to enhance your fitness IQ, safety awareness, and specific skill development for Alpine skiing. This is the new Skate To Ski for all levels of skaters, including beginners and those who haven’t rolled in awhile. Demo gear and skates are provided by Rollerblade, or bring your own. Don’t forget your helmet!!

September 23 – Mountain Biking, Northstar

You will explore teaching concepts and content that you can directly apply to the trail and the slopes.  Participants will also learn valuable tips on summer cross-training programs to facilitate agility and flexibility. This event is open to all levels.  If new to mountain biking,  put yourself in the shoes of a beginner and learn something new; your riding and teaching will only improve!

October 1 – Surfing, San Onofre Beach

Join Artie Castro and Doug Fagel for the 2nd Annual Surf to Snow event at one of California’s best beaches! This one day education event helps to develop crossover skills that translate to improved skiing/snowboarding performance. Participants will learn valuable tips on using surfing as a crosstraining tool to strengthen agility and versatility on the slopes. This event is open to all disciplines and all ability levels; from first timers to advanced level surfers. The group will be camping Friday and Saturday night at nearby San Mateo Beach Campground.

Plus, plan ahead for more Fall events
Oct. 3 –Tenth annual Ed Foundation Golf Tournament, Dayton Valley
Oct. 15-Professional Development Day, Lake Tahoe Community College,
with keynote speaker Juris Vagners and more….

A Significant Change to our Sit Skier’s Progression

There was a great question raised about the new Adaptive Alpine Standards Exam Supplement . The information in the supplement used to be found embedded in the National Adaptive Certification Standards but in an attempt to make the Standards more user friendly, the skiing equivalencies and Adaptive specific teaching and technical skills were removed and now that information is found in this “stand alone” supplement.

The member asked about the change in outrigger use at the “gliding/braking wedge” equivalents for outrigger users, particularly, mono skiers. In the past, we have coached our students to create a slowing/braking action by engaging the friction devices (brakes) of the outriggers and driving the outriggers forward while pressuring downward. This braking technique is rarely used by our sit skiers after the first gravity movements are introduced. If you watch independent sit skiers slow or stop in close quarters (i.e., lift lines, congested areas or narrow spots) they typically utilize a “diverging wedge” with their outriggers. They will turn their outrigger outward so the tips are pointed away from their midline and slowly apply pressure until the slowing/stopping has been achieved.

This outward rotation of the forearms causes the outside edge of the outrigger tips to engage in the snow. By increasing pressure on the outriggers (and/or increasing the outward rotation of the outrigger tip) slowing is augmented. I believe that there are several benefits of the diverging outrigger ‘wedge’ method over the old ‘braking’ method. First, this outward rotation of the outrigger is used by sit skiers throughout their skiing life. Unlike the “hunker down” method that we taught in the past, this “turning the doorknob” movement is the building block of all future outrigger use. It is utilized at all ability levels (beginner – advanced) to create torque (rotary). The ‘wedge’ technique is beneficial for introducing efficient outrigger methods sooner in the student’s progression.

Second, the student will learn the importance of being able to let the outrigger drift across the snow. The ‘wedge’ method teaches our new students to vary (“feather”) pressure on the outriggers as they maintain balance and move across the snow.  I think the old brake technique teaches an “all or nothing” pressure movement.

Third, the student is introduced to using the rigger tip’s edge rather than the brake claw to develop friction and create torque.  Using the outrigger’s edge allows the user to create torque without as much slowing.  I have seen students that learned with the ‘braking’ method that never understood the need to turn the outrigger in the direction they want to go.  They simply pushed the brake claw harder into the snow to effect a turn; i.e. torque with significant slowing/friction.

Fourth, it is a natural progression to introducing first turns. With the diverging wedge, when first turns are taught, the student simply keeps one rigger pointed straight (or point both riggers in the direction of the turn) and a turn will occur. Again, they are introduced to a movement that they will use for as long as they mono ski… the braking method is a movement that should be/must be extinguished for the beginner to move to intermediate levels.

And, maybe the biggest benefit, the student is far less likely to become dependent on the stupid brake!  If we teach the student’s first sliding movements to utilize the edge of the rigger instead of the brake claw, the student never develops a dependency on the brake.  The students I have taught lately start with maybe a 1/4” of brake bolt.  By the time they are making linked turns, the brake bolt is gone! It is important to note that this is not an efficient braking method. If you are on steep enough terrain that your student cannot stop, a turn to a stop should be taught.

Check out the great video clips of this technique on the Matrix. (Go to – sign-up for the Matrix in your ‘member area’ and check out the great Adaptive video clips!)

New Adaptive Representative

Hello,  All!  My name is Dan Stormer and I am the new Adaptive Representative to our Division’s Board of Directors. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our past Representative, Bill Bowness, for taking the helm of the Adaptive committee these last several years. Bill will continue his involvement with Adaptive by working with the Education Staff and its training.   Glen Smith, prior chair, will continue heading a series of educational clinics aimed at our Division’s member schools that do not have an adaptive presence. This training will introduce the basics of and need for adaptive at all resorts. For more information, contact Glen ( or myself at
PSIA/AASI National has developed an Adaptive National Exam Standard for both Adaptive Alpine and Adaptive Snowboard.  You can find the new national standards on the site.

Adaptive National Standards
Keep in mind that the national standards are minimum standards and the standards here in the Western Division may be slightly higher.

Contact the Adaptive Chair
Dan Stormer

Adaptive Education & Certification Program

Your Adaptive Committee shares a passion for teaching snowsports to individuals with disabilities. The Committee is comprised of adaptive snowboard members, adaptive alpine members, program directors, volunteer instructors, staff trainers, and all levels of certifications. If you want to get involved with our great sport and help shape the future of our profession, please contact Bill Bowness ( Following is a sampling of the projects our committee is currently working on for 2014-15:

  • Developing an online test for all three levels of certification as is currently being offered by Alpine and Snowboard disciplines.
  • Working on a process for a partial pass at level three. Currently, candidates that take the level 3 certification must pass all six disciplines. If the candidate is weak in one or more of the exam areas, he must retake the entire exam. Seems like a misuse of resources (time and money) to retake the areas where the candidate is solid.
  • Developing a video library of adaptive skiers that can be used to administer a standardized movement analysis assessment. Currently, most examiners do MA on-hill. Although this is more realistic, it can be challenging for the examiner and candidate alike to provide consistent MA experiences for all candidates.

An ongoing task is developing an examiner standard for each level of exam. We have excellent exam standards (PSIA Adaptive Alpine Certification Standards; AASI Adaptive Snowboard Certification Standards) that describe in detail what the candidates need to understand but at times there may be minor inconsistencies between examiners as to the level of competency candidates must have at each level. We believe that our examiners do a fantastic job of fairly assessing our candidates but we are striving to make this assessment more concrete. This will be an ongoing task that will be modified each year to keep pace with current trends in snowsports.