Announcing an Exciting & Dynamic Opportunity in the Snowsports Industry

Announcing an Exciting & Dynamic Opportunity in the Snowsports Industry
PSIA-AASI Western Division Education Director

We are pleased to announce a rewarding, challenging and fun educational leadership opportunity for PSIA-AASI Western Division for the 2020-21 season.  We seek a self-motivated professional to work closely with the Western Division operational discipline task force and administrative leaders. This position reports to the CEO and interacts frequently with other western administrative office staff, National and Divisional Discipline Task Force Teams and educational staff. 

This position will be responsible for managing the operational Discipline Task Forces on the elements of the development & delivery of education programming in Alpine, Adaptive, Nordic, Snowboard and Freestyle disciplines along with specialty programming areas such as Children’s and Senior Specialist programs.

The candidate must be a current active member of PSIA-AASI and have at least 3 years of ski instruction experience.   The candidate should have at least 5 years of experience in senior leadership positions in Snowsports or other industries.  The candidate must have strong written and verbal communication skills and be comfortable in both group and one-on-one settings.  The candidate must be proficient with their computer skills.

Role and Responsibilities as an Education Director 

  • The ED will be guided by the Organization’s vision/mission to work to the benefit of our members.  The ED must understand the strategic vision to execute tactical plans for the PSIA-AASI West Organization.
  • The ED will help select and ensure the team of Discipline Task Force Chairs (Chairs) is made up of division experts that communicate, collaborate for consistency in the teaching, technical and people components of Snowsport Instruction
  • The ED must work with the Chairs to identify Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Timely (SMART) Goals, and then support the execution of those goals.  
    • The ED will clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Chairs and hold performance review plans to allow measurable accountability.
    • The ED will analyze and use data to define tasks and projects  The ED must help the teams identify barriers to success and help them remove those barriers. 
    • The ED will share reports from the Task Force Chairs to keep everyone informed.  These reports need to include the operational status and financial performance of the teams.
  • The ED must be a good facilitator, mediator, and trustworthy with confidential information. 
  • Other duties as assigned by the CEO

To be considered please reply in confidence with the following materials to Kristi Prochazka, Western Division CEO at or complete the application ONLINE FORM

  • Cover letter to include your experience and skills as they relate to the stated position responsibilities
  • Provide a written summary of new ideas, your vision, and plan on how you intend to fulfill the job
  • Resume and three references

The deadline for submissions is March 1st, 2020.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I will always remember Thanksgiving day of 2010 as a turning point in my life. A literal turning point, actually, since it was my very first time snowboarding. 

I had skied all my life since I was three years old, going on one week-long trip a year to Tahoe, usually in November, April, or May, since those were the “thriftiest” times of year for our family of four to go. I liked skiing, but when I was thirteen, I watched the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and was determined to try snowboarding, since, at 13, being “cooler” was my top priority. 

And that’s how I ended up spending most of Thanksgiving day of 2010 at Dodge Ridge ski area, sitting on my butt, getting lots of bruises, and smiling until my face hurt. Nine years later, I still remember the pristine white snow sparkling under blue skies. I will always remember the excitement of the four of us (me, my brother, and two long-time childhood friends), as we picked up our rented burton LTR’s and headed to our very first group lesson, taught by a young man who couldn’t have been older than 19, but sure loved snowboarding. 

I never even learned to complete a full turn that day, but even in those few falling-leafs down the bunny hill, I knew I’d found something special. I eventually did learn to turn later in the season after a few more lessons, thanks to some fore-aft progressions. From that day on, I knew that snowboarding would have a place in my life for the remainder of it.

My first or second time snowboarding. What feedback would you give on stance?

I am thankful not only for that day, but for all the ways snowboarding has guided my life for the last nine years. Five years later, I ended up moving to Tahoe to live full-time, choosing my college solely based on proximity to snow (Shoutout to Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village!), majoring in ski resort management, getting a job on-mountain at Northstar, and meeting my husband while snowboarding at Boreal. I am thankful for the friends and opportunities I have had because of my sport, the places it’s taken me, and the connections I’ve made. I’m thankful for every fun park lap, powder slash, and groomer carve. I’m thankful for all the chairlift conversations, road trips, and decisions influenced by my sport.

So whether you ride two planks or one, I’m sure many of us can relate to the idea that the snow sports we do have impacted our lives in many ways, and hopefully for the good!

How has skiing/snowboarding impacted your life and what can you be thankful for because of it?

Post author and PSIA-AASI-W marketing manager Hanalei Souza, snowboarding at Northstar in 2018

Skiing Into a Healthy Old Age

This is part of an article that was originally written by Peter J. Dorsen, M.D. and published in a 1991 issue of The Professional Skier.

Let’s hear it for skiing – it’s a wonderfully forgiving pastime into old age. Most of us who live to ski are concerned that we’ll be able to continue our passion well into our twilight years. One guarantee for fulfilling such a vision is to continue our fitness program on and offf the slopes or trails. For most, and that includes myself, dying in our ski boots is the final destiny we would prefer.

Just how hard can we push ourselves or push our older, urban, or possibly less-fit sea level born-again racers? We ought to address this issue before taking off on a fast 3k loop or beginning some mogul busting down a mountain.

Scientists report that our lifespan won’t be lengthened by regular activity. But because the quality of our later years can be enhanced by regular activity, a physician’s prescription for moderate activity – for the high-risk and healthy alike – can facilitate a balanced, satisfying life. Older individuals who do exercise are describes as more alert and are blessed with faster reaction times.

Because I know plenty of 60-plus-year-old racers and recreational skiers who can still give me a run for my money, I tend to endorse University of Minnesota’s Bob Serfass, Ph.D.’s premise: “It is likely that much of the physical detriment in functional capacity of the elderly is due to culturally induced inactivity.”

Running cardiologist and sports visionary, Dr. George Sheehan, chides, “There are some of you 73-year-olds out there who are giving us other 70-year-olds a bad name.”

Epidermiologist-cardiologist Arthur Leon, M.D., the force behind many of the Me. Fit studies related to physical activity, claims that the supposed decline in maximum heart rate as we age may have more to do with how intensely their testers risked pushing them. “One woman who walked ten miles a day would have outdid me on the treadmill if I had let her go further,” Leon laughs. Were we to push older individuals closer to their output, Leon contends the discrepancy between the old and young might be narrower.

The wall many hit in Marathons may have as much to do with mental factors as dehydration or other physical reasons. Perhaps the sky’s the limit. So keep on soaring like the birds in the clouds.

One easy way to determine your level of fitness is to check your resting pulse before you hop out of bed in the morning. Less than 80 is good whereas over 80 may represent a greater risk for heart disease. A higher pulse may decrease life expectancy regardless of level of physical fitness.

Another interesting fact is that a high resting heart rate when we are young (below 36) has been associated with high blood pressure later in life due to perhaps increased sympathetic activity. Mine is 54 as I sit at sea level in the Minneapolis Public library writing this article. Aren’t I smug?

Just how hard can we push ourselves? Maximum heart rate declines with age, so most use the equation 220 minus your age or employ tables based on population data to determine someone’s limit. Limitations to achieving the highest possible oxygen consumption as external work increases (VO2 max) are attributed as much to an older person’s (1) fear; (2) muscular weakness; (3) shortness of breath; (4) degree of fitness; or (5) structural problems like arthritis, strokes, injuries – as to age alone. This can make comparisons between younger and older athletes difficult.

As we age, we lose muscle mass and replace it with fat and connective tissue. This has an effect on how hard we can work. All the answers are not in. Generally, everyone – athletes and the sedentary alike – have a decline in VO2 max with age.

I agree with physiologist, Roy Shepard, when he declares that older athletes should opt for the active life at some risk rather then aspiring for the illusion of longevity through cloistered inactivity.

The body was made to be used. Ken Cooper insists that out of the hundreds of thousands of exercise tests he has performed at the Aerobic Institute in Dallas, he has lost no one. He advocates 20 to 30 minutes of exercise to a sweat three or four times a week to prevent the atherosclerosis that can prematurely shorten our lives. Dr. Leon further emphasizes that simply good genes that bless us with a cardio-protective high HDL level and/or a high VO2 max allow such potentially gifted athletes to exercise more comfortably.

The skier who keeps fit can anticipate enhanced flexibility and the least loss of bone mass which develops maximally at age 35. Exercise is the only factor to increase bone bass. As our population becomes top-heavy in the young-old (65-75) or middle-old (75-80)- please excuse the pun – continuing fitness improves well-being, cardiovascular conditioning, general endurance, muscular strength, coordination, balance, and digestion. It decreases constipation, relieves anxiety, depression, and insomnia, sustains sexual vigor as well as affording a maximum amount of social contact.



Fitness for Skiing and Snowboarding Guide

NEW and free as a digital version to PSIA-AASI members, the new Fitness for Skiing and Snowboarding guide includes a great lineup of exercises that will help you improve your individual fitness so you can build greater endurance and strength – which means longer and healthier seasons! This guide is perfect for professional instructors who seek a solid, snowsports-specific workout regimen. It is now available through the Snow Pro Library app. Later this season, a print version will be available for purchase.


Click below to hear Doug Kechijian and Chris Fellows talk about the manual and how it was made. Their part starts at the 30-minute mark, after our Division and National updates.




Chris Fellows is the founder of The North American Ski Training & Climbing School (NASTC).

The NASTC was founded in 1994 as a unique performance ski school offering multi-day, full immersion and adventure ski training clinics for intermediate through expert skiers taught by members of the PSIA National Demonstration Team and AMGA certified guides.  Based in Lake Tahoe, CA, NASTC offers all-mountain free-skiing clinics all over the world.  NASTC’s methodology towards ski improvement is based on a holistic approach that addresses fitness, equipment, skiing technique and tactics.  The total immersion teaching approach is not a quick fix or band-aid approach. It is a multi-layered process that not only results in better skiing but positively affects the body, mind, and spirit.  At NASTC you truly improve your skiing – a full level! And you get to do this at the best resorts and mountain ranges in the world, led by the top instructors in the world, in a group with adventure enthusiasts like yourself who also leave their professional world behind to enjoy these focused clinics.





Helping Scared Skiers

This article originally appeared in The Professional Skier in the 1990’s written by Jules Older

When you’re an instructor, it’s all too easy to forget what a scary sport skiing is. After all, the mountain is your office, your place of work. Except for your bedroom, it’s where you spend the most time.

But for novice skiers, the mountain is as unfamiliar and frightening as a hospital.

The analogy may seem far-fetched, but consider this: doctors and nurses spend their days in hospitals, hurrying down corridors, waiting impatiently for elevators, sneaking an extra cup of coffee in the cafeteria. To them it’s just the office, and most have no feelings of dread (other than the dread of going to work) as they walk in the front door.

But what does the average ski instructor experience on a trip to the hospital? First, there’s the stomach-churning smell of ether, then the chilling sound of soft moaning. Usually, there’s the frightening sight of patients being wheeled towards unknown destinations and the feeling (if only in imagination) of the hypodermic needle entering your body.

It’s not all that different from the way new skiers feel as they prepare to take their first lesson.

First, there’s the frightening sight of people hurtling doen an impossibly steep mountain; then the teeth-chattering sensation of icy winds howling through your parka. Usually, there’s the deafening blast of snow guns and the feeling (if only in imagination) of the shock of impact from falling off the mountain into a yawning chasm, never to be seen again.

No wonder they’re scared.

An important part of the instructor’s job is to help new skiers through that fear. and the first stage of helping is to be aware of how frightened they may be. Remind yourself that the mountain in winter is as unfamiliar and uncomfortable to them as the hospotal may be to you.

Next, remind yourself that skiing is an inherently frightening sport.

At the coldest time of year, in the coldest part of the country, skiers attach super-slippery plastic slabs to their feet and climb aboard an exposed chair which dangles them high above rocky gorges on their way to the top of a windswept mountain. There they disembark and fly down at terrifying speed.

What’s worse, the very act of skiing goes against all our inbuilt protection systems. In addition to the cold, height and speed factors, skiing also disrupts our most basic relationship – our relationship with gravity.

In the rest of life, when you find yourself going too fast, you lean back. In skiing, leaning back makes you go faster. In the rest of life, when you’re at a sharp drop-off, you lean into the hill, away from the edge. In skiing, leaning into the hill puts you on your ass.

So. You’ve made yourself aware of student fears and some of the fearfulness inherent in skiing. The third stage is to give students permission to talk about the fear they feel. It’s no good to call them wimps, to sneer at what may seem to you a ridiculous fear of the beginner’s slope or a silly apprehension about getting off the chairlift. Accept their fear and let them express it. the key phrase is, “tell me how you’re feeling.”

If you let them, they will.

the fourth stage is to help students get on top of that fear. Have a problem with the chairlift? “I’ll ride up with you this time, and the next time, too, if you want me to. When we get on, I’ll get Tim to slow the chair down, and the guy at the top will slow it down when we get off. And remember – I’ll be right beside you the whole time.”

Does the beginner’s area seem too steep? “Look, I’m going to hold my ski pole on the same angle as the slope in front of you. You tell me when it’s right. Now? Okay, take a look at the pole. As you see, what seems like a terrible steepness when you’re staring down the hill is actually quite gentle when you look at it objectively – when you look at my ski pole.”

Terrified of speed? “How fast would you say we were going on the last stretch? Thirty miles per hour? Well it feels like 30, but in reality we were traveling about four miles per hour. Think about how safe four miles per hour is in fluffy snow like this.”

Finally, reward skiers with praise for their small victories.

“Hey, you got off the chair like you’d been doing it all your life. By this afternoon, you’ll be doing the instructing.”

“Have a look back up the hill. You fell a few times, but you made it to the bottom all by yourself.”

“Man, you were really moving that time! And more important, you stayed in control the whole way.”

Bear in mind that fear is part of skiing. Skiers don’t mind a little terror; in fact, they thrive on it. Conquering that fear is as much part of the thrill of this bizarre sport as learning to carve a parallel turn. The instructor’s job is to help the student enjoy both.



The great thing about passion is that it’s infectious. Knowing your “why” will help you stay committed to your dream and help others get on board, too.

  • I became a PSIA member in 2009 so I could gain the confidence of my students and respect within the industry as a certified teacher   – Laurie Johnson
  • I actually joined  PSIA in 1984 as my ski school director was an examiner and wanted the ski school members to join – Ellen Johnson
  • It is a place to belong as an instructor – Steve Ikeda
  • I was convinced that I would better myself if I joined and pursue certification by Bob Everson at Tahoe Ski Bowl.  – Tom Waters
  • There was a group, led by Randy Bell at the time, with people who were discussing skiing on Tuesday evenings in Reno. I joined them to see what this was like. I liked it. – Nathalie Le Galloudec
  • Because Libbie has been such a strong proponent of PSIA and their education events, it was a no brainer for me to join. – Richard Sheldon
  • To attend events out of my ski area with clinicians and to broaden my capabilities. – Jim Rogers
  • Being with guests who wish to learn something we all cherish and drive to be great at.   – Ronnie Schoff
  • I was inspired by trainers at the ski area – Glen Smith
  • I joined with the help of Ernie Gray, Babbete Haueisen and Gorg Deutsche. I was in awe of the many examiners and very talented instructors including Mike Porter on staff at that time. Needless to say, I wanted to be a member of this, (club), organization. – Lamar Parker
  • I joined PSIA to become a better teacher and a better skier and to really understand what great skiing is. – Suzie Benge
  • My certification journey and participation in continuing education over the past 23 years leaves me a loyal supporter of our organization.  – Susan Meckel
  • Skiing was and is my ‘retreat’ from daily stresses and responsibilities, and a way to recapture those carefree ‘giggly’ teenage years I never had due to time, cultural, and societal factors over which I had no control.   – Hiro Oishi
  • Discovered that I enjoyed teaching even more than I enjoyed being on snow.  – Bob Kelley
  • Supporting one’s professional group is critical to one’s success. – Sue Spain
  • I’ve always loved getting people into skiing and helping them to progress. – Mark Johnson
  • 10 years later I still enjoy teaching at SkyTavern because of the friendly atmosphere and the sense of family there  – Ken Kelley

“He who has a why can endure any how.” — Frederick Nietzsche

Learning, Sharing and Networking at the 2019 Professional Development Day

Here are a few reasons WHY our members attend Professional Development Day!

  • You can never have enough education, and when you stop seeking to improve yourself, that is the day you start going downhill. We all owe it to our students and the instructors we reach with our example to continue our development. – Glen Smith
  • Early and convenient. helps generate excitement for the season to come! – Barb Goebel
  • Needed the education credits and this date/event was one that I could make time to drive up for. – Randy Hirai
  • Effort to further my knowledge of ski industry trends, and to enhance my ability to teach and coach students more effectively. – Valerie Flash
  • I’m into fitness, need the ed credits and the information will benefit my team…interested in climate change info too – Gary Martin
  • Get to see and meet interesting people I had never met and catch up with some I hadn’t seen in years and it also helps an old fart gently kick off the coming season. – Lamar Parker
  • Required to get learning credits each year and I get valuable info – Diana Leeds
  • A good way to start the season and pick up some new ideas – Norman Stoller
  • I am an education junkie – Josh Bridges
  • To collaborate with instructors off the snow “preseason” mental task. – Laurie Johnson
  • Fits into my schedule and a great way to being networking with others. – Cindy Allen
  • I get inspiration, knowledge and camaraderie when I attend – John Whiting
  • I am excited to hear about the new Fitness Manual, and hearing it firsthand from Chris and Doug is an added bonus! – Katherine Hayes Rodriguez
  • Professional Development! There is so much to learn, and I enjoy all the different formats available. – Kim Manuel
  • The more info I have the more effective I can be. – Ed Stein
  • To begin early my season’s focus on skiing; a mental reset after the summer so I can get the best of the winter with an early focus. – Jim Rogers
  • Get current with my CEU and it’s a good way for me to get this season going pumped up for the upcoming season like the Warren Miller’s flick– Victor Ybiernas
  • Because it is close to home – Danny Salem
  • To earn my credits to keep my PSIA Cert active – Peter Hayes
  • Helps kick start my preparation for the upcoming ski season. I enjoy the Development day for me to start thinking about skiing…. specifically the mental and teaching part of it. I also enjoy catching with folks that I don’t get to see as often as I used to. – Chummy Prestowitz
  • I’m excited about the learning opportunities – Alan Markow
  • I see it as a great way to digest interesting and thought-provoking ideas that further my knowledge base. – Mark Boitano
  • The topics are interesting. I find that I can apply what I learn to my current job. Actually, it is PSIA that made me think about brain science. – Nat Le Galloudec
  • My wind-up to get me amped for the coming season like the latest Warren Miller movie. It helps kick off a two-month process of anticipation, culminating (Ullr willing!) in first tracks by late November. – Steve Ikeda
  • Interesting and I see some long-time friends. – Carol Sims
  • I look forward to experiencing a multi-dimensional exchange on the sport that we all love. – Ernest Brown
  • I found it to be an interesting and helpful program for kicking off my ski season. It has a lot of great educational content, and it’s a chance to reconnect with instructor friends I haven’t seen since last Spring. – Tad Sheldon
  • For growing, improving, and better understanding the technical, mental, physical, and emotional aspects of skiing and in the art and craft of coaching, supporting, and guiding others (and myself) in learning, and improving, that person’s skills and art of skiing. – Hiro Oishi
  • To get a perspective on where PSIA is heading – Victor Nastasia
  • Great way to kick off the season while obtaining ed credits. – Sue Spain
  • I want to keep my Alpine Level 1 instructor credential up to date and to accumulate more knowledge about snow sports. – Ang Dorjee
  • Great to meet up with other instructors from the industry, there are typically some I have known for decades, great to re-connect and pick up ed credits – Jerry Murphy
  • Learning, Sharing and Networking with my life long colleagues is both and honor and blessing and a great excuse to come up early or stay late and ride my mountain bike in the beautiful Lake Tahoe area. – Craig Albright
  • Because it’s a great way to reconnect with friends from last year and to maybe learn something new that will help me be a better instructor. – Dick
  • I need Ed credits this season and in the past have found the early season dry land has proven a good way to kick off the season – Betty Heian
  • Easy for me to make it happen and am due to take educational credits – Karen Roske
  • to kick off the ski season with some hopefully good discussion topics with fellow instructors. – Jim Sanchez
  • Meeting with friends and getting information. – Ann Marie Bruner
  • It takes care of my education requirement and it is close to home – Tom Waters
  • I needed CE credits and it was convenient for me – Laurel Kalange
  • I know that I will be getting updated material that will help make this upcoming season not only richer for me but for my students. Having so many of my colleagues in attendance will help me reconnect after a long summer and further encourage me. It is always a pleasure to reconnect before the season begins and be able to share ideas. – Judie Markow
  • Gets me thinking and preparing for the upcoming season, a great preseason warm-up! – Suzie Benge
  • Help with my professional development as an instructor. I’m taking the leap and leaving Mtn Ops, going to ski school this season. Looking forward to it. – Mark Johnson
  • Gain some perspective early in the season. I’m going into this season open-minded and hope to bring energy to the event. – Ronnie Schoff
  • I find it very informative, and some of the presenters get “deep into the weeds” such that they end up really expanding my thinking and understanding, – Lisa Maehler
  • I like to attend my education credits early in the season so I am on top of all the newest teaching ideas for the knew season. – Mary Beth Quinn

Snowsports lessons from around the world: Interski 2019

An Excerpt of this article can be found in the 2019 Fall edge Newsletter in print and digital

By: Mamood Sabahi, PSIA-W Ed Staff / Alpine Examiner

Every four years Interski holds the world’s largest congress for the exchange of Snowsports methodologies and techniques between the member nations. For over 60 years Interski has made important contributions to developing and improving snowsports participation worldwide.

I was lucky enough to be awarded the Sodergren Scholarship from PSIA-W Ed foundation and attend the 2019 Interski as a delegate. The event was held from March 17-22, 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. In the past, I had attended several PSIA national events such as National Academies and this was my first International event which proved to be an exceptional experience.

After a couple days of sightseeing in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, we took the shuttle down South to Pamporovo Ski Resort. The opening ceremony kicked off the event with formation skiing (Synch skiing, weaves, etc.) by Demo team members of each country participating in Interski. There were plenty of impressive tasks being shown through different formations by Alpine, Snowboard, Nordic and Adaptive disciplines.

The daily schedule consisted of on-snow workshops by various countries each morning and afternoon, as well as indoor lectures in the evenings. In addition, several countries hosted evening reception/parties which presented a great opportunity to mingle and get to know other participants. The on-snow workshops and indoor lectures provided a great opportunity to ski with and listen to some of the best instructors/trainers in the world. Although, a comprehensive report is beyond the scope and size limitations of this article, I am providing only a brief summary of a few of the workshops that I attended.

Austria– Explored Dynamic and basic short and long radius turns. Their focus and emphasis was to communicate the differences in teaching Dynamic/carved turns vs. Turns with a little more skidding/pivoting. They indicated that they teach “Pure carved” & dynamic turns to very upper level, advanced or elite level skiers and racers which consisted of about 10% of the clientele while they worked with majority of the public through more skidding, pivoting and refining their parallel turns and getting them ready for steeper or off-piste terrain through development of those skills. The majority of students will not have refined skills or enough time on the snow to be able to work on high level dynamic turns.


Canada– They presented their teaching model which the instructor uses and works through to execute a successful lesson. This was moderately similar to our teaching cycle in PSIA but some of the components are phrased a little differently. Here is a brief description of their methodology with verbiage of our teaching cycle next to each component for comparison purposes:   

1) Learning contract- introduce lesson & develop trust    2) Situation ( Snow condition, kid vs. adult, weather, etc.) assess the student and their movements and identify needs    3) Skiing Objective- Determine goals and plan experiences 4) Motor Skill development—-Present and share information & guide practice  5) Reflection—- Check for understanding and debrief learning experience and accomplishments.


Switzerland- Their topic focused on advance ski clinics for adults and how they can market this area better and influence more upper level skiers to sign up for advance lessons. In summary, they emphasized keeping lessons more exciting and infusing energy, fun and challenge in to the lesson to keep students coming back as well as them getting the word out to other people to sign up for advance lessons. This is also an issue in the U.S.



Korea– They focused on short radius turns through a very low stance much like Extension/retraction turns with the hips staying relatively low and not rising at all and only the legs extending and retracting. They did a few drills to help the group accomplish the task. In one of the drills, both poles were put across the upper legs and squeezed between legs and lower stomach to keep poles in place and upper body slightly bent over. This forced the skier to keep a low stance in order to keep the poles from falling off. It is interesting to note that the Koreans indicated that the reason for promoting and refining short radius turns is because of over- crowded and narrow runs in Korea making Medium and long radius turn impractical! 


United States– Focused on “Learning Connection” and what makes a great Snowsports instructor. They introduced this at the Interski in Ushuaia in 2015 and refined it for 2019. Industry’s growth depends on Instructors balancing technical knowledge and performance skills with interpersonal skills and solid teaching tactics to connect with a wide variety of skiers and snowboarders. In a nutshell, having the ability to build trust and develop relationships, two way communication that is meaningful, managing emotions and actions and influencing behaviors as well as having the proper technical and teaching knowledge will create a learning connection that will enhance the students experience and will promote a positive and effective learning environment.


Argentina/Indoor lecture– One of the indoor sessions that definitely stood out for me was presented by a Neurosciences professor from Argentina. The topic was about vision and visual perception. Visual Perception is the brains ability to interpret information about the environment while in motion. We are visually wired and almost 50% of our brain is involved in visual processing. 70% of all our sensory receptors are in the eyes and it only takes 1/10th of a second to process and understand a visual scene! Around 80% of the information is detected by vision, therefore, the instructor must give specific instructions to the student on what, where, when and how to look when a movement is being introduced or refined. Also based on these facts, it is realized how important visual perception is for people regardless of the type of learner that they may be.

While the skiing from all nations was at a high level, there remain some fundamental differences in their understanding and execution of the technical elements of skiing, as well as in the approaches and understanding of how people learn. This is what makes attending an Interski so very valuable as you get to listen to variety of approaches from people who all ski at a high level.


In closing, I would like to thank The PSIA-W Ed Foundation for granting me the scholarship. All in all it was a tremendous learning experience and I would highly recommend it to everyone. 

Interski 2023 will be held in Levi, Finland. Hope to see you there….



Staying Strong all Season: Protect your shoulder

Protect Your Shoulder This Ski Season


By guest author and physical therapist Laura Garcia


You are bombing down your favorite run, you catch an edge and find yourself creating a yard sale down the mountain. Your arm is outstretched one direction and your body another. When the snow settles you feel an intense pain in your shoulder, maybe some numbness or tingling, and a deep desire to keep your arm close to your body. The ligaments that are designed to hold your shoulder joint together reached their limit and allowed the ball of your upper arm to slide out of the socket dislocating your shoulder. 


To minimize pain and maximize success, you want to get your shoulder back in place as soon as possible. Fortunately, emergency medical staff are well versed in relocating shoulders. Unfortunately, your supportive ligaments are now a bit stretched out leaving you more susceptible to future dislocations. Strengthening the muscles surrounding your shoulder may have helped prevent this type of injury and will now be crucial for avoiding subsequent dislocations. 


The following are intermediate to advanced exercises to help create and restore shoulder stability. If you have recently injured your shoulder, please consult with your health practitioner to determine the exact nature of your injury, your stage of recovery, and your readiness for these or any exercises. You should always be able to perform these exercises without increased pain.



Modified Plank on Ball: Place elbows on the ball shoulder width apart, keep your body lengthened in a plank position with your core engaged and your spine in a neutral position. Using your elbows, slowly roll the ball forward and back 10 times while maintaining your body position. Rest and then repeat for a total of 3 sets. 


Plank to Side Plank: Maintain a neutral spine position by engaging your deep abdominals. Press your sternum away from the floor while keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Hold this plank position 10 seconds. Then, slowly rotate your shoulder moving into a side plank position while maintaining your body alignment. Hold 10 seconds and then slowly rotate back to your starting plank position. Repeat 5-10 times depending on your ability to maintain form. 


Ball Walkouts: Start with the ball under your hips and slowly work your way into a plank position. Initially you can start with the ball resting on your thighs or shins until you have enough strength and control to balance on your toes. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. To increase the challenge, take small steps with your hands forward and back alternating arms. You should be able to maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. Repeat for 3 sets.


Kettlebell Rotations: Hold kettlebell at or just above shoulder height. Maintain shoulder blades back and down and slowly rotate the kettlebell from the elbow keeping the shoulder steady. Perform 10 rotations. Repeat 3 sets for a total of 30 rotations.


Supine Kettlebell Press and Hold w/Sidelying Rotation: Slowly press kettlebell over your chest. Maintaining the position of the kettlebell with a straight elbow, slowly rotate your body onto your side and then return to your back. Perform 10 times. Repeat 3 sets for a total of 30.

Laura Garcia graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from UC Irvine. In 2006 she received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. She has worked the last 13 years treating individuals of all ages with orthopedic and neurologic dysfunctions. Laura is currently working at Synergy Healing Arts in Truckee. Combining her fields of study, she strives to help others protect and balance their bodies in order to maximize their dynamic function.