New Events coming April 3-15

If you still want to get your level 1 or your Snowboard Level 2 this season, we have some new events coming up!

You can go see them all and register at

April 3 – Snowboard Level 1 Validation at Boreal

April 3-5 – Alpine level 1 exam at Mount Shasta Snow Park

April 4-5 – Snowboard Level 2 teach exam at Heavenly

April 9 – Snowboard and Alpine level 1 Validations at Bear Valley

April 9 – Snowboard Level 1 Validation at Mount Rose

April 15 – Alpine Level 1 Validation at Mount Rose

Be a kid again – go to camp!

Lets face it – kids these days have so many options when it comes to snowboarding camps. From Woodward camps to High Cascade to developmental
groms teams, there is definitely no shortage of opportunities for kids to go to a camp and get quality coaching on the hill and fun times at camp. Don’t you wish you had the opportunity as a kid – or even better, now as an adult who can appreciate the experience?


Cue Snowboard camp 2017.

AASI West and Mammoth Mountain are hosting one of the premier snowboarding events of the 2016/2017 season. Connect with like-minded, driven riders from around the country on Mammoth’s legendary freeride and freesytle terrain for a three day, camp style experience. Up your game in the park, push your freeriding to new levels, and shred with your fellow riders!


Coach Lea Logal flies over a jump

We are keeping it simple and have a package that includes; off hill events, parties, expert coaching, personal feedback, swag and awards for doing what we love. With on hill and off hill events lead by members of the AASI Team, our featured coaches include SethJohns, Chris Hargrave and Lea Logal. You will get top level coaching and training from some of the best snowboarding has to offer. Space is limited for this one of a kind experience! For additional information please contact Lea Logal by phone or email (530)
Lodging-Book early to guarantee a spot at one of the Mammoth lodging options. Call 1(800) Mammoth (800) 626-6684. Use Booking ID # 22280, PSIA-AASI Spring Convention. Great deals on rooms at the Mammoth Mountain Inn and Lodge.
Meet the coaches:

Seth Johns

My name is Seth Johns and I have been on the Western Tech Team, AASI National Demo Team and competed on various Freeride tours. I am working as the Overall Snowboard Lead Trainer in Aspen/Snowmass and examining in the Western Division.  My active sponsors are Burton Snowboards, Anon Optics, Hestra Gloves, Wend Wax, Species Nutrition, Snow Just Because.  Follow me on Instagram @sethsnowboards or Seth Johns on Facebook




Lea Logal

Lea Logal

AASI-W Education Staff,
Snowboard Coach Northstar Teams Program
Snowboard Level 3 Certified, Alpine Level 1 Certified
USASA 200 Coach
Children’s Specialist
Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice


Chris Hargrave

President, Windell’s Academy, Mt. Bachelor, OR

AASI National Team member


Ramp Up Your Park Game


Alex Baker at the Northstar Freestyle session in March 2017

Did you Know PSIA-AASI West holds Freestyle Session Events.  This is a 3 day focused freestyle training, you will have the opportunity to ride one of the best parks in North America with some of our best PSIA-AASI freestyle staff.

One of Mammoth’s parks. Photo by Mammoth Mounatin

Chris Ball Winds up for a 360

What is a Freestyle session?

A Freestyle Session is an education event and an exam all at once. While less structured than regular exams, attendees still have the opportunity to prove they meet the standards for PSIA-AASI Freestyle level 1, 2, or 3. It’s like an exam, but more “freestyle”, so to speak. When you sign up, you do not sign up for one specific level, but you attend and are given the level you deserve at the end. This way, if you do not have a level 1 but are  riding and teaching in the park at an advanced level, you may receive your level 2 or even 3. Likewise, if you are going with a level 2 as your end goal but do not meet all the standards, you can still walk away with a level 1.

Who can attend?

The group at Northstar Freestyle Sessison, March 2017

If you have at least your Alpine or Snowboard level 1 and are a current member, you can attend. These events are for skiers and snowboarders of all park abilities. You are split into groups based on ability after the first day, so you will be able to ride with people who will push you within limits. So if you are working on your 720s and hit 50 footers with ease, no need to worry about being stuck in the first-timers park. If it is your first time in the park, don’t worry about having to hit the biggest features or being left behind. There’s something for everyone.

Brian Norman, showing that the halfpipe is for skiers too

What can I expect each day going into a freestyle session?

Ronnie hitting a jump with style at Northstar

All three days are technically part of the exam, but each day builds up to the final day when you will receive the results of what level you achieved. Not only will you work on teaching in the park, but you will have the opportunity to work on your own ability and pushing your own limits. The first day is more freeform, and you can expect to receive coaching on your own riding. Expect to explore all the parks and see what the resort has to offer and become comfortable with the parks there. Day 2 focuses a little more on coaching, and you can expect to receive and give a few pointers with your fellow attendees. Although you will still have some coaching from the PSIA-AASI tech team, day 3 is almost all coaching from your peers. You will be observed not only on your riding, but your ability to teach the group a certain skill in the park. What you teach depends on the level you are going for.

Doug Fagel, one of the trainers, boosting out of the pipe








Photos and writing by Hanalei Edbrooke



Winter Sport Injury Prevention

At our October “Professional Development Day” sponsored by  the PSIA-W Education Foundation, attendees received some great information on Injury Prevention for skiers provided by Barton Health. Michelle and Barton have generously provided this handout for those who could not make it . Enjoy and
ski free! (Injury Freescreen-shot-2016-12-03-at-2-13-50-pm

Courtney Carmichael, PT, DPT

Michelle Appelle, PT, OCS

the most common ski injury

• ACL tear is the 2nd most common ski injury

• ACL & MCL tears = 30% of skiing injuries

• Age: 15-24 y.o. = most likely to injure knee

• Decreased fitness >> more likely to be injure

• Stretching = important for prevention

• Adequate rest breaks & hydration

• Hx of knee injuries = more likely to re-injure

• Previous ACL injury = increased risk for Osteoarthritis later

• Head injuries are increasing in incidence

Injury Prevention: Equipment

• Boots- Proper fit, wear and tear

• Skis/Snowboards- Size, tuned properly for conditions

• Bindings- DIN settings

Injury Prevention: Mechanism of Injury

• Most common mechanism of injury: non-contact:

• Landing a jump in poor form: Weight back >> boot pushing on calf >> force through tibia tears ACL

• “Phantom foot phenomenon”- Uphill arm back, skier off balance to the rear, hips below the knees, uphill ski unweighted, weight on inside edge of DH ski, upper body generally facing DH ski (If all 6 components are present at same time, injury to DH leg is imminent)

• Ski catches awkwardly in the snow or carving of the ski twists the leg.

• We can’t prevent contact related injury, we can only reduce the incidence of non-contact injuries.

Correcting poor technique

• Maintaining balance and control • Keep hips above knees • Keep arms forward

Avoiding high risk behavior

• Don’t fully straighten legs when you fall

• Don’t get up until you’ve stopped sliding

• Don’t land on your hand: break fall with uphill arm

Head Injuries- A New Phenomena

• 70% of skiers and snowboarders wearing helmetstripled (3x) since 2003

• There has been no reduction in the # of snowsports-related fatalities or brain injuries in the country (NSAA)

• Number of snow-sports-related head injuries among youths and adolescents increased 250 percent from 1996 to 2010.

Concussion Signs- Observed

• Can’t recall events prior to/after a hit or fall • Appears dazed or stunned • Forgets an instruction or unsure of the location, time, or other factors • Moves clumsily • Answers questions slowly • Loses consciousness (even briefly) • Mood, behavior, or personality changes

Concussion Symptoms- Reported

• Headache or “pressure” in head

• Nausea or vomiting

• Balance problems, dizziness, double/blurry vision

• Bothered by light or noise

• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

• Confusion, concentration or memory problems

• Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”

Head Injuries- Action

• Keep person with possible concussion out of activity the same day of the injury

• Require clearance by a healthcare provider.

• Don’t try to judge severity of the injury

• Decision regarding return to work/school/sport- made by a healthcare provider only

Helmet Safety

• ASTM1 certified helmet- tested for safety

• Clean with warm water and mild detergent

• Don’t store helmet in a car or direct sunlight

• Do not decorate your helmet- paint/stickers

• Ski helmets are designed to withstand more than one very minor hit

• A ski helmet MUST be replaced if it has been involved in a serious crash or is damaged

ACL Tears in Females

Non-contact ACL tears are up to 8x more common in female athletes. ACL tears are 3x greater in alpine female skiers. Risk factors for increased rate of ACL tears in females are:

• Anatomical: wider hips, increased hip internal rotation, “knock-knees”, small ACL, small notch size

• Hormonal: changes in laxity during menstrual cycle

• Biomechanical: inefficient muscular control, improper mechanics during sport Understanding & preventing noncontact ACL injuries 2007

ACL Injury Prevention Programs

Decreased occurrence of ACL injuries by 60- 89%. The emphasis of programs has been on reducing high risk positions and training for proper technique. Common components are stretching, strengthening, balance, plyometrics and core stabilization. Access exercises from 2 popular programs online:


Low blood sugar and dehydration lead to impaired reaction time, cognition and decision making increasing injury rates A 30 minutes training video with printed materials on nutrition and a balance program provided to ski-area staff was effective at reducing injuries in participating resorts by 65%. Injury rates at non-participating resorts increased by 34%. BioMed Res Int 2013 Nutrition: consume small, frequent meals.

Biomechanics of Injury

Ligament Dominance: knee collapses inward during sport because the athlete is relying on the ligament and joint structure to absorb forces instead of muscle control. To correct: train for proper technique Quadriceps Dominance: knee remains more extended (straight) because the athlete is over-active in their quadriceps and underutilizing their hamstrings. To correct: incorporate hamstring strengthening Leg Dominance: most of the weight is on one leg during ACL injuries. 20% decrease in strength in one limb leads to injury. To correct: train for asymmetries, incorporate single leg exercises Trunk Dominance: trunk tends to be tilted to the side during an ACL injury. Poor trunk control will lead to fall during skiing/snowboarding. To correct: train with core stabilization North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 2010

Training Principles

Training is most effective when resistance exercises are similar to the sport in which improvement to sought. Train by strengthening the same muscle groups used in skiing/snowboarding. Incorporate anaerobic exercise by utilizing interval training. These are short duration, high intensity exercises to mimic activity on hill. In order for training adaptions to occur, we have to exercise beyond a level that our bodies are normally accustomed to. This is why it is necessary to progress an exercise by increasing the sets, repetitions and/or resistance.

Time of Day

Most skiing and snowboarding injuries occur close to noon or at the end of the day. Injury rates increase when skiing/riding greater than 3 hours with a break. Rest and replenish your body during your break to reduce injury risk.

Vermont Safety Research

Serious knee sprains in the on-slope staff of 20 ski areas was reduced by 62% by with a video-based training video that utilized education on proper fall technique and avoiding high risk behavior Am J Sports Med 1995

• Avoid high risk behavior: Don’t fully straighten your legs when you fall, don’t try to get up until you’ve stopped sliding, don’t land on your hand, don’t jump unless you know where/how to land

• Routinely Correct Skiing Technique: Maintain balance and control, keep hips above knees, keep arms forward

• Recognize Potentially Dangerous Situations: Uphill arm back, off-balance to the rear, hips below the knees, uphill ski unweighted, weight on inside edge of downhill ski tail, upper body generally facing downhill ski

• Respond correctly to loss of control: Arms forward, feet together, hands over skis

• Conditions: Be aware of changing snow conditions that can contribute to injury risk, wear proper goggles in low visibility

• Equipment: Properly tune equipment at the beginning of the season

• Responsibility Code: Share with others to improve safety on hill Lots of valuable information at:

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….

Women’s Freeride at Kirkwood March 20-21

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 4.27.57 PM

Dropping in at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

Today is National Women’s day, and we have a special event for the women f AASI! Improve your freeriding at Kirkwood on March 20-21, 2016! As you know, we just had a big storm and Kirkwood has a fresh 12″ with another storm on the way!

At this event, you will:

  • Challenge your snowboarding and boost your mental game
  • Push your limits with other shredtastic women
  • Get creative with the mountain
  • Ride some of the best steeps in California
  • Send it with some of the top female riders in the Western division

Are you ready to drop in? For more info, contact Lea at (530)318-8733 or

Register here!

Women's Freeride Flyer

Snowboarding Certification & Eventssnow

It is almost time to get out and ride! This year there is a new look to our Event Calendar layout. At each event you will find offerings to help you get ready for your next step in certification as well as engaging and fun education. Historically, our best snowboard events have a large menu to choose from, for example our premium events Convention and SoCal Session. Building on that model, we have more events where members of all levels and disciplines can attend. We have also booked exam training days directly before exams for convenient prep. We hope these steps are an improvement in supporting our members.


Doug Fagel, Snowboard VP AASI Western Division

Exam Process – Why we do the things we do

Many questions are asked across the division related to the structure of our exam processes. Some members wish to attempt to skip levels or take multiple levels of examination in one season and want to know how go about requesting these types of accommodations. Here is the recommended expectation and how the process flows with some rationale for the “why” so members can get a better idea of why we do the things we do.

The current 1 to 3 Level Examination Pathway follows a RECOMMENDED five year plan for a full time instructor. Part-time instructors should expect a protracted learning experience and therefore longer time prior to completion of the Level 3 certification.

Year One:

Year One: Learning how to utilize and implement sound teaching scenerios. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year One: Learning how to utilize and implement sound
teaching scenerios. Photo by Terry Peters.

Level 1- An introduction to snowsports teaching with an exposure to teaching concepts and skiing/ snowboarding demonstration ability. Although the base methodology is basic in nature we believe that it is only through practical teaching experience that an instructor can fully grasp how to utilize and implement sound teaching scenarios. A petition to attempt more than one level in a year would necessitate that the applicant had a strong and documented coaching background in an activity which complimented the skill set looked for as a professional snowsports instructor. Skiing/riding ability alone is not a suitable reason for petition. Due to the complexities of and fundamental principles introduced at this level it is unlikely that a petition will be approved unless the complimentary skill set is from within the snow sports industry.



Year Two: Developing a natural ability to describe turn mechanics and complex methodology. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Two: Developing a natural ability to describe turn
mechanics and complex methodology. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Two:

Develop practical experience with teaching hours and training. Candidates should use the time period between Level 1 and 2 to refine their understanding and develop the ability to describe and discuss the complexities of ski/snowboard teaching. Turn mechanics, biomechanics, teaching methodology need to become habitual in nature before one can possibly be ready to take the next exam.



Year Three:

Year Three: Instructors must demonstrate skiing/snowboarding ability as well as teaching competency. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Three: Instructors must demonstrate skiing/snowboarding
ability as well as teaching competency. Photo by Terry

Level 2- This is the examination standard set for most full-time snowsports instructors. It assesses skiing/snowboarding and teaching competency to a level where an instructor is certified to teach 90% of the snowsports public. Again there is a skiing/riding and teaching component in this exam however the assessment is split into two sections: skiing/riding first, then teaching. It is our belief that candidates must have the ability to demonstrate accuracy in their movements before they are likely to understand how to teach these movements to someone else. Due to the complexities of and fundamental principles expected to be present in all skiing/riding and teaching scenarios at this level it is unlikely that a petition to sit this exam will be approved unless it is from within the snow sports industry, typically from an internationally certified (ISIA) instructor not associated with PSIA.



Year Four: Developing athleticism beyond Level 2 and tactical decision making is expected. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Four: Developing athleticism beyond Level 2 and
tactical decision making is expected. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Four:

Develop Practical Experience with teaching hours and Training at higher skill levels. At this stage in professional development an instructor can discuss complex theories and develop individualized lesson plans. In the area of skiing/riding demonstrations candidates must develop athleticism that is typically not present at Level 2. Tactical decision making needs to be present and an ability to coach tactically is expected to be developed during this time period.



Year Five:

Year Five: A mastery of written materials and practices of PSIA/AASI and the ability to ski/ride all conditions is required. Photo by Terry Peters.

Year Five: A mastery of written materials and practices of
PSIA/AASI and the ability to ski/ride all conditions is required.
Photo by Terry Peters.

Level 3- At this level it is expected that candidates have a mastery of the written materials, methodologies and practices of PSIA/AASI and the physical aptitude to ski/ride all conditions with any guest that may take lessons in any given resort. Again the exam is split into skiing/riding then teaching.

Following this five year pathway is no guarantee of success and it is only your effort, commitment and time dedicated to this profession that will result in a successful exam outcome, but this is a solid recommendation on how to be as well prepared as possible. Other disciplines may have differing timelines for your success.

Should you choose to challenge this time line, a petition form is available on our website, forms-applications/petition-form.

You will need to include justification for accelerating the process. Skills sets like History of racing, Coaching other Sports, and teaching hours can influence approval. Your petition will need to be endorsed by a current member of one of our Education Teams.

This petition will be routed to the discipline chair, at present Finlay Torrance for Alpine and Chris Lange for Snowboard.

Submit early, at least one month prior to the exam you wish to attend. This will give the chair and office sufficient time to review, ask follow up questions and respond to the applicant.

The Discipline Chair has sole discretion for petition approval.

I hope this information helps to clarify the certification pathway.


May the force be with you.

Finlay Torrance, PSIA-W VP Alpine Certification

Chris Lange, AASI-W VP Snowboard Certification