We Want You To Run for the Board

Do you have qualities and experience that would make you a valuable member of the PSIA-AASI Western Division Board of Directors?  Do you have ideas on how PSIA-AASI can better serve its members? Do you have the skills needed to implement those ideas?  If you think the answer to these questions is “yes,” we’d love to talk to you about running for the Board.

Complete and submit the application below before January 15th to run for the Board.

The Board meets twice a year.  Our annual Spring Board meeting is the Thursday before the Spring Convention.  Our two-day Summer Board meeting is in Truckee the first weekend of August.  In addition to the two meetings, we have monthly one-hour phone calls.

Four seats are up for election each year for a three-year term.  There are twelve elected seats on the Board.   

Further information on the director position and its responsibilities can be found here.

The information you provide in the application will be published on our Website, Spring Edge Newsletter and the Election Platform

PSIA-AASI Western Division Board Position Application

Elections are held annually in the late winter/early spring
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    Women’s Scholarship Opportunity

    Are you or someone you know a female ski/snowboard instructor looking for an opportunity to progress your professional goals? Do you need additional funding to attend events or exams? Click below to find out more about the Nancy Oakes Hall Women’s Scholarship!

    Applicant must be a female member of PSIA-AASI with their Level I certification, in any discipline. Applications due November 8th, 2019.



    “Thanks to the educational commitment and vision of former PSIA Alpine Demonstration Team member Nancy Oakes Hall, female members of PSIA-AASI who wish to follow in her bootsteps in the snowsports industry will have some extra support thanks to the newly created Nancy Oakes Hall Women’s Scholarship program. Founded by Oakes Hall and developed in conjunction with PSIA-AASI, the scholarship program empowers distinguished women in snowsports education by providing opportunities to engage with peers and advance their professional development.”

    “PSIA-AASI is fortunate to receive Nancy’s contribution, which will help support women by expanding their education and leadership opportunities in the snowsports industry,” said Nicholas Herrin, PSIA-AASI CEO. “One of our goals as an organization is to be a community of educators that positively influences others. I see the Nancy Oakes Hall Women’s Scholarship as an opportunity to grow our community and help shape our future leaders.”

    -PSIA-AASI National



    Why Travel? Story From an International Instructor

    Kurt and his group

    A year ago, Kurt McMahon from Australia wouldn’t imagine he’d be where he is now. After graduating from high school, Kurt embarked on a more conventional route and enrolled at a university. Kurt loved studying and university life, but he had a burning desire to explore and see the world. A year into a physiotherapy degree, Kurt decided that if he was going to go traveling, it needed to happen now. So, after completing his first year of study, he packed his bags and jumped on a plane destined for the USA.

    Kurt chose to become a ski instructor at Northstar Ski Resort located at the beautiful Lake Tahoe in the USA. After visiting the nearby Squaw Valley as a young kid on a family ski holiday, Kurt always dreamed over returning to Lake Tahoe one day and becoming a snowboard instructor.

    Kurt arrived at Northstar and began training almost immediately. Training under some of the best instructors in the world, there was no room for ego and Kurt took in all the advice he could from his trainers. Coming from a background of snowboarding only once a year and straight into three weeks of full-on training, Kurt’s riding improved immensely.

    The biggest thing for me was dropping any ego I had at the door and taking on any advice from these guys as they were the ones who have been doing it for more than 20 years!

    Kurt quickly settled into his new life at Northstar, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Being 18 and away from home for the first time, one of the biggest challenges Kurt faced was finding accommodation for the season. “Finding the right house that can suit your needs and is in the right location is maybe [one of the biggest challenges] that we’ve faced in our lives to date.

    Kurt quickly figured out that the best way to overcome this was to find a bunch of people he got along with and patiently wait for the right place to come along. And his advice for anyone else in a similar boat? “Find a bunch of people you get on with and take time trying to find your accommodation and make sure you have plenty of options in case one doesn’t work out.

    The best part of Kurt’s EA course was the people he met along the way. During the six months, he made friends from all over the world, including Germany, England, and New Zealand. His favorite place to hang out off the slopes was at a pizza joint called Rubicon’s where he learned the American tradition of adding ranch dressing to pizza. “My mates and I loved coming here after a big day at work, and it was a highlight at the end of the working week! Being an Aussie, I have never really grown up with ranch on my pizza, but I don’t think I will be able to let it go once I return home.

    When training had finished, Kurt began work immediately as an instructor and quickly fell in love with his new role. “There’s a reason it’s widely known as one of the best jobs on the planet. You’re sharing your passion for the sport with others, and at the end of the day, they go home stoked and so do you because you get to do it all again tomorrow! There’s nothing quite like it.

    After completing his EA instructor course, and working his first winter season, Kurt decided he wasn’t ready to return to Australia just yet. At the end of his season at Northstar, Kurt travelled down the East Coast of the USA with a friend he met on his EA course. He then headed back to the West Coast and is now living and working in Los Angeles, California.

    While Kurt plans on joining the yachting industry next year, he’s excited to do another winter season instructing too. “It was honestly something that I will remember all my life. I would encourage anybody else to get out there and give it a crack. You’ll meet people from all over the world, and you get to do what you love every day.

    Kurt’s advice for anyone considering a ski or snowboard instructor internship or a gap year abroad? “Keep traveling, don’t waste away your late teens and 20s sitting at an office. Keep doing what makes you happy!

    This content was originally published in September 2018 at https://easkiandsnowboard.com/resources/latest-news/instructor-story-kurt-mcmahon/

    Events to look out for in March

    What a month! Tahoe resorts received up to 300  inches (That’s about 25 feet) of snow in February alone, according to the Opensnow report . Not bad for the shortest month of the year.

    Photo courtesy of Sierra at Tahoe, February 2019

    Many resorts have broken records for biggest February in recorded history. The average February snowfall for Tahoe is 72 inches (6 feet). This year was close to triple that. Some resorts have even broken the record for the biggest snowfall month, beating out the unforgettable January 2017.

    Sitting at close to 200% of our average snowfall for this time of year, we’re in for an epic spring. (if it ever stops snowing!) What a great time to earn your education credits, take an exam, or get an accreditation.

    Here are some of the events to look out for in March 2019:


    March 13th: Cross Country level 2 and 3 exams at Tahoe Donner XC center

    The Level 1 is on March 17th ay Tahoe XC

    March 16th – 17th: Alpine and snowboard level 1 exams at Snow Summit

    March 17th: Cross Country level 1 exam at Tahoe XC

    March 18th: Spring Session Education Rally in Mammoth (all disciplines)

    This is a one-day education event at Mammoth. You can earn continuing education credits, work on your own skiing/riding, or prepare for an upcoming exam.

    March 19th -20th : All level Alpine and Snowboard exams

    This is a great opportunity to hone your skills at Spring Session the day before your test. Exams will be offered for Alpine and Snowboard level 1, ski/ride level 2 and 3, and level 2 and 3 teach.

    March 20th -21st : Senior Specialists level 1 and 2 at Northstar

    This accreditation is for members of all ages looking to learn the best techniques for teaching senior skiers and snowboarders. Successful Cantidates will receive a senior specialist pin.

    March 30th-31st : All level Alpine and Snowboard exams


    And remember, its never too early to start planning for Spring Convention coming April 26th -30th , at Mammoth Mountain. Look out for more information in our Spring 2019 Edge newsletter coming mid- March. You’ll find a schedule, guest clinician highlights, party information, and more!

    Women’s Summit 2019

    Ladies! (Ski and snowboard) This year Women’s summit is January 15-17, 2019 at Steamboat Springs, CO! Interested?


    The Snowboard Level 1 E-learning Course

    Snowboarders now have a level 1 E-learning course. It is free to members and will be a pre-requisite to signing up for the Snowboard level 1 exam.

    Welcome to PSIA-AASI Snowboard Level I Certification online course. The following course is designed to be completed prior to attending the on-snow portion of the Level I Exam.

    FREE TO MEMBERS. This is the PSIA-AASI Snowboard Level I Certification Prerequisite E-Learning course. The following course is designed to be completed prior to attending the on-snow portion of the Level I Exam. You must be a PSIA-AASI member to add this course to your cart and check out.

    Beginner’s Guide to Snowboarding – Three Part Video Series

    Halley O’Brien and Chris Rogers of Snow Operating and the AASI teamed up to create a three-part video series to show new snowboarders what to expect on their first day riding. Share these videos with your new-hire instructors, your beginner riders, or that friend or family member you’ve been begging to try snowboarding this season.

    The first video covers everything a new rider needs to know about gear, from how their boots should fit to their riding stance.


    The second video covers the basic movements of snowboarding, including skating, gliding, and standing up.


    The last video in the series introduces how to move up and down the mountain. You’ll find in tips on how to stop, slip, perform garlands, and how to use the chairlift.



    Snow will be flying soon, use this video series to set up our new riders for success!

    The Snowboard Level 3 Teach exam


    If you are actively participating in preparing to take your AASI Level 3 Teach Module, then you’ve already shown a commitment to snowboard education that most never have. You’ve likely put in a lot of hours on snow, taught dozens of lessons, and taken many opportunities to train toward this goal. At least I hope you have, because earning your level 3 requires all of that and then some.

    This document will read much like its Level 2 counterpart, in that both the Level 2 and Level 3 Teach Modules share the same format, but it will also detail where they are separate, and what greater expectations wait for you to achieve full certification. You are about to take an enormous step forward, and we as members of the AASI Western Division Educational Staff want to help prepare in in the best way we
    can. See you on exam day.

    -Asa Fountain
    AASI Western Division Educational Staff


    Your Examiner

    You’ve likely ran into a few of us at this point in your certification career. Some of us are incredible riders, others have forgotten more about snowboarding than you’ve learned so far, and some have the ability to take you out on snow and teach you something you never knew existed before you even realize what chairlift you’re on.

    Like you, we all have strengths and weaknesses, and like you, hopefully we’re all working on balancing them. Most of us earned our Level 3 certifications a long time ago, when snowboarding and snowboard instruction was at a different stage in its development. However, our opportunities to learn and grow never ended. We all realized, at one time or another, that earning our Level 3 wasn’t like making it to the top of a steep mountain, but more like finding a wide open field once we got there. This sport never stops progressing, and therefore neither do we. Our job is to stay at the forefront and you, as a level 3 candidate, are making the choice to do the same.

    Day One Layout

    The basic skeleton of the Level 3 Teach Module is more or less the same as the level 2; a two-day examination of your teaching ability, movement analysis skills, and professional knowledge of snowboarding. This was changed from the three-day format to aid the membership as it pertains to overall cost and scheduling trips to take certification exams. While the expectations and skills necessary to succeed have taken a leap, your two days in the module will feel familiar.


    Event Check-In and Introductions – ​“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” My old basketball coach taught me that, and I take it to heart. Building the habit to be early for all your commitments only helps your ability to be successful, and absolutely never promotes failure. Job interviews, first dates, even snowboard exams. Showing up early shows initiative and preparation. Most exams plan to be on some sort of chairlift or gondola by nine o’clock. As a professional looking to achieve the highest level of certification, show up early. 8:30am is the start of check-in, and I hope you’re earlier than that.

    Expectations and Agenda – Even your examiner needs a couple warm-up laps, time to set expectations, go over the exam agenda, and answer questions. This is important for our success, not just yours. This is the time to get to know your fellow candidates and get inspired.

    Video Movement Analysis – On day one you’ll be presented a few videos of different kinds of riders. As a level 3 candidate, these riders will be demonstrating a higher level of riding on all possible terrain, including larger freestyle features and steep, off piste zones. Recognize movements accurately, then create a plan to improve them. When we sit down to start the video MA portion of the exam will depend on the venue and number of groups participating in the exam.

    Mock Scenario ​- Just like in the Level 2 Teach Module, your examiner will demonstrate a passing level 3 teach scenario, including a smart, logical progression and a creative outlook on the desired goal, while acknowledge different teaching styles, multiple intelligences, and feedback. I suggest you take note of how they structure their lesson.

    Scenario Evaluations – This is why you’re here. On the first day your teaching segment will be between 30 and 40 minutes in length, and like the level 2, this will be a demographic focused lesson. Your examiner will give you an environment, a type of person, their occupation, hobbies, or both, and potentially one of the seven multiple intelligences to focus on. This is somewhat of a contrived environment, but where it differs from the level 2 is the caliber of riding you’re dealing with. While the group in front of you may “pretending” to be 40 year old businessmen, you’re still instructing to the level of rider you’re seeing in front of you, and at the level 3, they’re likely to be strong. Evaluating your riders and creating an engaging, out-of-the-box teaching segment that addresses all the information given and leads to a clear change in the group’s riding will be critical to your success.

    Lunch – Chow time. Grab yourself a burrito if you’re in Mammoth. If you’re at Squaw, check out the pizza bagels at Wildflower.

    Scenario Evaluations – Back at it. Another session of 30 to 40 minute teaching sessions to finish the day.

    One-on-One Feedback – Clear, detailed feedback of your teaching scenarios is enormously important to us. We want you to know exactly what you need to do to be successful on the second day of your exam, so at the end of the first day we’ll sit down with you one-on-one so we can provide that feedback and answer your questions.

    Day Two Layout

    Event Check-In and Agenda Review – This is it. One more time. Be rested. Be early. Be ready to teach your heart out.

    Setting Up Success – Day two is a shorter day with shorter teaching segments. However, we’re still in an athletic environment, so a warm-up lap is generally necessary. That, and the opportunity provide any last minute clarity on what’s expected of you.

    Scenario Evaluations – Depending on the size of the group, expect to have about 30 minutes for your second teaching segment. Like the level 2, your second day’s teach segment will be movement analysis focused built from a demonstration provided by your examiner and group.

    Lunch – If you bring a lunch, great, but make sure you have a backup plan if the group can’t make it back to the lodge. This is a very quick lunch break since the day is shorter than day one.

    Scenario Evaluations – Final teaching segments! Show us your best!

    Free Time & Evaluation Forms – Congratulations, you’ve finished your Level 3 Teach Module. There is a LOT for the examiner to process and evaluate, so while they’re writing up results and feedback forms, feel free to enjoy a couple of laps or kick your feet up. All that’s left is to wait for your sit-down.

    One-on-One Results – It’s a rare thing for a candidate to pass their Level 3 teach on their first try. It’s a difficult standard to achieve, which is why it holds so much weight. As always, providing the best coaching experience we can for your development is our goal. If today is not the day, know that the journey is FAR from over. While taking the news that you haven’t quite met the standard is never easy to hear, our greatest hope is that you leave the exam with some fire in your belly, some new knowledge to work with, and some inspiration for the next time you ride with us. If today IS the day, then congratulations. You’ve climbed quite a ladder and you should be proud of that. However, what you’ve truly achieved is the next opportunity to grow. This is only the beginning.

    Teaching Scenarios

    While the format of the exam will feel familiar, what’s expected of you in a level 3 teach segment versus the level 2 is where you’ll see the separation.

    “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” the model representing the process of learning, is topped off with the words “evaluate” and “create.” “Analyzing” and “applying” are the basis the level 2 standard. At the level 3 we expect you to have the ability to teach us just about anything on just about any terrain. When you analyze a scenario, you are examining its clear elements and structure. When you evaluate, you are judging its potential value. Let’s say you’re teaching carving: we’re looking for something beyond level 2, which means beyond an introductory style lesson, so you decide to teach an old school, back-foot heavy, knee-tuck style carve. Part of evaluating is being able to argue the value of something that might be a little unconventional, or out-of-the-box, so you’d better be able to explain the worth of that style of carve.

    “Create” sits at the top of the model, and in your teach segment this will manifest in the ability to create a new, original piece of instruction gold. Not something you read in a manual. Not something you copied from a fellow coach. Something that you created when asked to do so.

    The best way I can showcase the difference between teaching segments through all the levels of certification is with the idea of a puzzle. At level 1 you can find all the border pieces to the puzzle and put them together. At level 2 you can complete the puzzle with the same image that came on the box. At level 3, you can smash the puzzle, put it back together, and come out with a brand new picture that works. That’s creation.

    Structure: Much like the level 2, we’re looking for a solid progression. Static, simple, complex, with clear understanding of the multiple intelligences and use of different teaching styles. The steps you take are your opportunity to get creative; exploring different tasks and movements that are more engaging, creative, and relevant for a group of strong riders. Your outcome should be something very dynamic, high skilled, and imaginative

    Safety & Professionalism: If you’re unable to ride safely in a group and communicate in a professional manner, then you probably haven’t been very successful in your certification journey. If that’s not the case, wonderful! Just don’t take it for granted. You are now seeking to earn the highest level of snowboard certification, of which safely managing a group and presenting yourself as a professional of the sport are at the forefront.

    Demographic and Movement Analysis focused lessons: Like the level 2, you’ll be provided a demographic and environment for your teaching segment on day one. A type of person for the group to emulate, their occupation or hobbies, which of the multiple intelligences they lean toward, and an environment in which they want to ride. The difference is that you’re looking to improve upon your group’s already strong riding skills. They aren’t pretending to be lower level riders than they are, they’ll be the strong riders they actually are.

    Your movement analysis lesson is very similar to the level 2, with the examiner and group presenting riding in any possible environment. Look for the movement that’s deficient, then build a creative, logical lesson to improve that deficiency. Again, we’re not looking for introductory style lessons. We’re looking for your ability to evaluate, create, and improve the riding of the group.

    Feedback & Communication: Even at the level 3, we’re still looking for real world teaching. That means logical tasks and drills, achievable goals, and realistic terminology. Teach real snowboarding! Do the same with your feedback. Maintain the flow of the lesson while still offering constructive and positive feedback to your group. Remember “talk vs. action.” Hopefully we’re spending more time riding and less time talking on the side of the trails.

    Movement Based Teaching: It may be a new level of certification, but we’re still here to learn how to move on our snowboard. Teach the group new ways to do that! Grabs, slash turns, rotations, retraction, you name it! Make sure that it’s appropriate for level 3 riders and that they make sense for the progression that you’re building.

    To keep as level a playing field as possible, your examiner will NOT partake in your lesson segment. They’ll only observe and evaluate your abilities, so keep that in mind when you’re partnering up the group and have an odd number. These teach segments are your opportunity to take all the information you’ve learned through your career and make it your own, in your own image, and in your own words. We want to see you do strange things (that make sense,) and we want you to look at snowboarding in new ways. Share that with your group, make a clear change in their riding, leave them stoked, and you’ll have done your job.

    Professional Knowledge

    Once again, your technical knowledge as a professional will be on stage over the two days. You’ll have to pass another online test, you’ll take part in technical talks during the exam, and you’ll answer a few questions from your examiner after your teach segments. Like the level 2, these questions may be focused on teaching styles, group handling, the ATML model, and more. Unlike the level 2, your job is not just to analyze and apply this knowledge and where it’s being used, but to evaluate it, make sound judgments and explain why these models have value or do not. Expect to chat and expand on…

    ● Piaget’s Stages of Development

    ● The AASI Snowboard Teaching System

    ● The ATML Model

    ● Snowboard equipment and design

    ● The physics of snowboarding

    Revisit the National Standards for the complete list of expected technical knowledge, then learn how to use it in real time. Own the material.

    Movement Analysis

    The movement analysis portion of the exam will reflect the level 2, but taken to the next degree. You’ll need to accurately evaluate a number of riders during the video written portion on day one, including riders of all levels and all terrain. You’ll be expected to do the same on snow through your feedback within the group, and finally, during your MA focused teach segment on day two. Your ability to evaluate the terrain and applied movements and your ability to create a sound pathway to improvement will determine your movement analysis success. To truly own your movement analysis skills, be sure own the many concepts, like…

    ● Biomechanics of snowboarding

    ● The relationship between the upper and lower body

    ● All manner of turn shapes, directions, sizes, and movement patterns

    …just to name a few. Check out the National Standards and make these concepts second nature.

    On the first day you’ll be asked to perform Movement Analysis in written form from videos presented by the examination staff. You’ll see riders of any level, you’ll have to identify the level of rider, the terrain and conditions, where they’re being inefficient, and how you’d help them grow. Truly evaluate what they’re trying to accomplish and create a pathway to their greater success, just like your teaching segment. Your examiner will review these after day one, and they’ll have an impact on what’s expected of you on day two.

    Your teaching segment will be movement analysis focused on day 2. You’ll be expected to evaluate the group on-hill and build a creative lesson that effectively changes the riding of the peer group, in any environment available on the mountain. The riding you’ll see from your peer group will be either fresh for that day or based on your written movement analysis from the video portion. Either way, we’re looking for true coaching as this scenario is a little less contrived than day one’s teach. Strong riders will be in front of you. Make them better.

    Practice. Nothing is mastered without the time put in. Study videos, work with your friends and co-workers, and find an approach that works well for your ability to break snowboarding down effectively and coach improvement creatively.

    The Online Test

    You’ll have to complete and pass an online test comprised of multiple choice and true/false questions, just as the level 2. Read the current articles in 32 degrees and The Edge, review your manuals, actively search for resources on psia-w.org and thesnowpros.org. Your online test could have any of it.

    Now What?

    Prepare. The level 3 is a very involved process and shouldn’t be overlooked or set on the back burner. Continue to work with your trainers and peers. Travel to more challenging terrain to push your riding. Get creative when you practice your teaching abilities and evaluate what works well and what doesn’t.

    The standard to achieve the level 3 is high, and it should be. If you don’t receive the answer you want to hear from your examiner at the end of the second day, understand that this is a difficult level to achieve, and most don’t earn it their first try. What’s important is that you leave this exam with new understanding and greater knowledge, and with or without a new pin to put on your jacket, you’ll hopefully have left a better instructor than when you arrived.

    If you do get that high five and “congratulations!,” then well done. You’ve just accomplished something very difficult and very sought after. Earning a gold pin comes with some status, as well as responsibility. Your success in the level 3 is our endorsement of you as a fully certified industry professional. That’s something you should be incredibly proud of, and take very seriously.

    However, don’t mistake your level 3 success for mastery. While you’ve proven to the Western Division of AASI that you’ve attained this high level of certification, it’s really your next opportunity to truly learn. At the beginning of this resource I mentioned the idea of the open field at the top of the mountain; the idea that you’ve made it to the top of this long, difficult climb, only to find no trophy, no podium, no wise old monk with the answer to the meaning of life. What you have found, however, is the opportunity to create your own path and your own identity as snowboard professional, using the knowledge and skill you’ve trained for over the past few (or many,) seasons.

    Snowboarding is ever-changing. Hopefully, so are you. Whatever the result, know that we as members of the Western Division Educational Staff are proud to be part of your journey and where it continues to lead you. If and when you ever need a little direction on that journey, you know where to find us.




    The Snowboard Level 2 Teach Module

    AASI Western Division The Level II Teach Module

    Written by Asa, built by many.

    Of the many reasons to read this document, three of them are most likely that;

    ● You are beginning your Level II certification journey and want to know what to expect before you dive in.

    ● You have successfully passed your level II Ride Module and are preparing for the next step.

    ● You are a trainer looking to prepare your instructors with a clear expectation of what’s required to be successful.

    Whichever it is, you’re in the right place. It’s easy to get lost in a world full of acronyms, models, and terminology that is ever-progressing, so the goal of this piece of writing is to provide our membership with a very clear, very transparent description of what their two days in the Teach Module will look like, how it will be structured, and what will be expected of them to achieve this level of certification. Within, you will discover how we as examiners manage this event, what a successful teaching segment could look like, and what we’ll expect in the realms of movement analysis and professional knowledge. What you will NOT find are detailed descriptions and in-depth information on these terms and models. For that, you’ll have to reference the reading material and consult your trainers and mentors. Your success is our success. As members of the Educational Staff, our job is not to keep our knowledge of snowboarding hidden away. This is not a mysterious club, there is no secret handshake to learn or decoder ring you need to decipher. There is only OUR commitment to YOUR growth. All we need from you is to do the same.

    -Asa Fountain Western Division Educational Staff

    Your Examiner

    Like our membership, the Western Division Educational Staff comes in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. What they all have in common is their commitment and passion to the development of snowboard education. At one point in their life or another, they’ve been through the same process you currently find yourself in and have shared many of the same successes and failures.

    Read this next sentence carefully. Our job is NOT to actively search for reasons to keep you from achieving the standard. ​It’s actually quite the opposite. Our job is to ensure, before anything else, that you leave the event a better instructor, coach, and educator than when you arrived, and we’ll do that by offering constructive feedback, taking advantage of coaching opportunities for your growth as an educator, and providing you with as many opportunities for success as possible. We want you to be successful. That said, there is still a standard to achieve. Without it, reaching these levels of certification would mean very little, and we want you to be proud of these milestones.

    Ask your examiner questions. Grab a chairlift ride if you need some clarity, and more importantly, get stoked with them! We’re here to snowboard, after all.

    Day One Layout

    No two events are exactly alike. Weather, snow conditions, group size, and available terrain can change how the examiner decides to delegate their time. Teaching segments may be shorter if the group is large, and vice verse. The ability to take breaks, and the length of the lunch break, may be added, cut, or adjusted depending on these variables. That said, there’s a general format we try to follow. It looks something like this: ​

    Event Check-In and Introductions – ​Your day begins with checking in. The earlier you arrive, the easier it is for us to get the day started. We need this time to officially check you in for the day, provide you with a lift pass, and to learn who you are! The goal is to get on snow around nine o’clock, so the more efficient we can be during this time, the faster we can get strapped in. ​

    Expectations and Agenda – Once on snow, it’s time to warm up. You’ll get a lap or two to get your legs working right, and we’ll also use this time to go over the agenda for the day and set our expectations for success. This is the time to ask any lingering questions before you’re put on stage. We’ll address safety, professionalism, and your role within the larger group, all intended to set you up for success. ​

    Video Movement Analysis – Sometime on day one, depending on the venue and the number of groups participating in the event, it will be time to test your eyes. We’ll present a few videos of different kinds of riders that you’ll need to identify, analyze, and create an action plan for to improve their riding. ​

    Mock Scenario ​– If we expect you to put yourself on stage, then so will we. Your examiner will showcase a mock teaching scenario, about twenty minutes long, to give you the chance to see and experience what a successful teaching segment could look like. It will be simple, follow a logical progression with a static-simple-complex approach, and address models such as CAP, TID, and PDAS. Your examiner will finish with a solid wrap-up, then go over the steps they took and why they took them. ​

    Scenario Evaluations – It’s showtime. We’ll shoot to get through two or three teaching scenarios before lunch, all of them being about 30 – 40 minutes in length, but again, group size can change how long the teach segments will be. On the first day the teaching segments will be focused on a certain demographic of people, including age, gender, occupations, interests, and an environment of the mountain and snowboarding for them to learn. You’ll be asked to build a lesson addressing these details teaching an introductory-style lesson. More to come on the demographic teaching segments, including the post-teaching segment professional knowledge follow-up. ​

    Lunch – Fuel up to get your body and mind right. ​

    Scenario Evaluations – Part two of teach scenarios. Those who didn’t teach the group before lunch will do so in this block of time, still keeping them around 30 – 40 minutes in length. ​

    One-on-One Feedback – It’s important to us that you have a very clear understanding of where you sit in accordance to the standard and know exactly what you need to show us to be successful. We’ll sit down with everyone one-on-one to go over your strengths from the day, address where we have room for growth, and exactly what adjustments need to be made on the second day. When you head home, you should have a very clear picture of what you need to do to achieve the standard. It’s up to you to make the necessary changes.

    Day Two Layout

    Event Check-In and Agenda Review – Some events you’ll be given a pass to cover both days of the event, others you’ll need a new ticket each day. At the end of day one the examiner should set up a meeting place and time for the start of day two, usually between 8:30 and 9:00. Regardless, be sure to be on time and where you were asked to meet. There’s a lot to do on the second day, and it’s a shorter day altogether, so be ready to get on the hill with the group. ​

    Setting Up Success – There’s not much time to waste, but with any luck we’ll have the opportunity for a warm-up lap to get the blood pumping, inspect the conditions of the day, and have the chance to answer final questions before starting the second day of teaching scenarios. ​

    Scenario Evaluations – Back at it! On day two, the teaching segments will be based on live movement analysis from the group. The goal here is to teach in a less contrived scenario, like on day one, and build a lesson based on what you’re actively seeing from your peers. ​ Lunch – This lunch break is likely to be quick. Fuel up fast and get back out there. ​

    Scenario Evaluations – Last round! The final teaching segments will be showcased here. One more chance to show us your stuff! ​

    Free Time & Evaluation Forms – Take a deep breath, your exam is (mostly) over! There’s nothing left for you to present. Expect a good high five and a group review of the last two days. At this point the examiner will break away from the group and start writing up evaluation forms. You’ll have this time to free-ride (safely) or kick back and relax until it’s time to start one-on-one feedback, which should begin about 3:30 pm. ​

    One-on-One Results – It all comes down to this. When finished writing feedback forms, your examiner will sit down with you to review your performance from the last two days. This is your opportunity to share what you enjoyed about the event and where you saw room for improvement. Your examiner will do the same for you, sharing their feedback on what areas you performed well in and what parts had room for growth. Ultimately it will result in achieving the standard or remaining below. Whatever the outcome, we were stoked to ride with you, and hope you leave the exam with new knowledge and skill to take back to your resort’s program. If we didn’t quite hit the mark, we want to leave you with a clear path to come back and knock it out of the park. If we reached the standard, we want to set you in the right direction toward your Level 3, or whatever new goals you may have in your snowboarding career.

    Teaching Scenarios

    Now that you have an understanding of the exam’s layout, let’s break it into a few chunks, starting with the big one: your teaching scenarios.

    The process of learning is showcased by a model called “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” and in the middle of the pyramid that reflects the model lie the words “analyze” and “apply.” Correct analyzation of a scenario, or movement, followed by the logical application of tasks, drills, goals, and feedback in a progression-based segment is what we’re looking for at the level 2 standard. It’s a lot of fancy words, but it’s not that complicated.

    Structure: This is the progression: the bones if you will. Your teaching segment should have a solid introduction describing how your progression is going to go and what you’re hoping to achieve, followed by the “meat and potatoes.”; three or four steps starting with a static movement, leading into something simple, and finishing with something more complex, or a blending of a couple movements to reach the final outcome. Wrap it up with a good conclusion including the steps you took, where they lead the group, what to expect in the future, and bam! There’s the structure of your segment.

    Safety & Professionalism: You’re not only here to showcase your knowledge of snowboarding, but to present yourself as a professional of the industry. This takes form in many ways, but within your teaching scenario we’re looking for safety at all times, including proper terrain choice and appropriate tasks. As a professional, we expect you to be appropriate and engaged. That doesn’t mean we want you to be a robot, there’s plenty of room for you to be you, but understand that you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing your mountain, your school, your trainers, and you’re working toward the privilege to represent the AASI as a level 2 certified instructor. Take that seriously.

    Demographic and Movement Analysis Focused Lessons: On day one of your exam you’ll be asked to teach to a certain demographic. Here’s an example: your examiner asks you to teach a lesson to a group of basketball players. They’re all ages 9 or 10, and they’d like to learn how to catch air for the first time. So, right away you’re given an age, and the first thing you should be thinking about is the CAP model, which means using appropriate terminology, realistic movements, and group interaction for that age group. You’re then given an interest or hobby, in this case it’s basketball. We’d like to see you theme your lesson, or relate your lesson, to this interest. Maybe compare the extension of the legs to shooting a jump shot, or a defensive basketball stance to the flexed, athletic stance of snowboarding. Finally you’re given the lesson itself, in this example it’s a basic air, so it’s your job to build an introductory style lesson, using a static, simple, then complex approach to introduce catching air in this contrived scenario.

    Your movement analysis based lesson on day two will be a little different. As mentioned above, this segment will focus on accurately analyzing the movements demonstrated by the examiner, group, or both. Identify a movement that is lacking and build your segment around it, with the goal of improving upon the deficient movement.

    With either lesson, be sure to utilize more than one style of teaching, moving beyond the basic “command and task” approach. Utilize the group with reciprocal teaching, or play with movements through exploration and guided discovery. Show us your greater understanding of snowboard teaching concepts.

    Feedback & Communication: We’re not looking for overly detailed, ultra technical speech in these lesson segments. We’re looking for realistic communication, like how you’d relay information to one of your clients at your home mountain. It needs to be clear and concise. Refrain from over-explaining or repeating yourself. Explain the task or drill once very clearly, then get the group moving.

    Feedback can be addressed in many ways, but should be showcased throughout the lesson. However, don’t feel like you have to give a nugget to every single person at every single step in your progression. Start with a couple at a time, offering some constructive or positive feedback to a couple members in the group at each phase, this way you’re spreading it out and not killing the flow of the lesson. More importantly, make sure your feedback is specific. Saying “great job, guys!” over and over is more like cheerleading. Why was it a great job? What your examiner wants to see is that you’re actively looking at movements and addressing why they’re being efficient or why they need improvement.

    Movement Based Teaching: TEACH. US. MOVEMENTS. Not just ideas, not just exploring. Teach us how to move our body to get the desired outcome. Teaching the group how to ride bumps? Show them how to use their ankles so they can steer with the lower body. Teaching how to do a 180? Show them how to rotate with their hips to generate spin. Snowboarding is an athletic endeavor, so it requires the body to move efficiently to do it well.

    It’s worth noting that your examiner will NOT participate in your teaching segment. This was decided to provide the most even playing field possible. If the examiner is involved with one teaching segment and clearly engaged, then is quiet and distant in another, that can put the candidate at a severe mental advantage or disadvantage. We’re there to observe and observe only. If you can put all that together, you’ll be primed for success.

    Professional Knowledge

    Your knowledge as a professional of snowboard instruction will be on display much of the time during your level 2 Teach Module, including the online test you’ll have completed before the end of the exam, group tech-talks and on-hill conversations, and perhaps most importantly, during a chairlift ride or sit-down after you complete your teaching segments. You may be asked a few questions pertaining to teaching styles you used, particular models you have utilized, your understanding of board performances and movement concepts, etc. Your understanding and ability to apply this technical knowledge in a lesson format will be a big part of determining your success in the exam.

    A few examples are:

    ● The CAP Model

    ● Piaget’s Stages of Development

    ● Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

    ● PDAS – The Children’s Teaching Cycle

    ● The ATML Model …and more.

    Refer to the AASI National Standards for a more comprehensive list and study up, grab the insight of your trainers and peers, and own the material.

    Movement Analysis

    Your movement analysis success as a level 2 candidate will lie in your ability to accurately analyze movements in the video/written portion on day one, on-snow in your feedback skills toward the group, and during your MA focused teach segment on day two. Analyze, then apply corrective action in written form and in a well-built teaching segment. You’ll be expected to perform movement analysis in most terrain environments, up to groomed black and small freestyle terrain. To truly own your movement analysis skills be sure study concepts and models such as;

    ● Cause and Effect relationships

    ● Biomechanics of snowboarding

    ● Reference Alignments …and more!

    Again, check out the AASI National Standards for a more detailed list.

    After lunch on the first day you’ll be asked to perform Movement Analysis in written form from videos presented by the examination staff. You’ll see multiple riders in the level 3 – 4 range, and it will be your job to identify the level of rider, the terrain and conditions, where they’re being inefficient, and how you’d help them grow. These will be reviewed by your examiner after the first day and have an effect on what’s expected of you on day two.

    On day two your teaching segment will be MA focused. The examiner, your peers, or both, will demonstrate riding in an environment where a deficiency is present. This could be fresh for the day or based on your written analysis from the videos on day one, depending on if the examiner needs to see more understanding of a certain movement from you or not. You’ll need to identify the inefficient movement and build a strong teaching segment to correct and improve it, utilizing all the pieces and parts that make a teaching scenario successful.

    When practicing try focusing on the cause of the deficiency you’re seeing, not just the symptoms. If you’re seeing a flailing arm, is the flailing arm actually the problem? Or is it a symptom of a greater cause, such as an ineffective stance?

    Remember, movement analysis is what we do every day we spend with our students. Practice on your peers, on the general public while riding the chairlift, and on video to hone your skills.

    The Online Test

    Access to an online test will be sent to you sometime before the exam after you’ve signed up for the event, which you’ll have to complete successfully before officially earning your level 2 certification. The test is comprised of multiple choice and true/false style questions. It will involve questions from current manuals and written resource material that you can access on psia-w.org and thesnowpros.org.

    Now What?

    Now you get to work. Take advantage of training programs provided by your snowboard school. If your ski & ride school is lacking in the training department, reach out to friends and colleagues at other resorts. Practice building introduction-style progressions beyond the beginner lesson and test them on students and peers to gauge their success. Constantly improve your movement analysis skills by watching the movements of riders all over the mountain. Develop your understanding of all the models and concepts of snowboard instruction, and more importantly learn how to apply them on the hill, not just on paper. It’s generally clear to your examiner when a candidate has put in the time to prepare and when they have not. Be the rider who IS prepared, and even more importantly, be the the candidate who lifts up the group as a whole because YOU were so well prepared.

    Earning your level 2 certification is a huge step in your AASI career and is not to be taken lightly. It can open up many doors within your ski & ride school and at other mountains. Be proud to earn that silver pin, then take it as an opportunity to continue your growth as a snowboard professional. There is much more to learn and much more to experience.

    Good luck! -Asa

    AASI goes Mandarin Chinese

    Right after Spring Convention 2018, in Mammoth, CA, PSIA held their first Snowboard Level 1 exam in the U.S. in Mandarin Chinese. This was a 5-day prep and exam with the same standards and protocols as a regular Snowboard Level 1, but taught in Chinese for a group of international snowboarders who want to be instructors.
    The event was hosted by Doug Fagel, Western Division Executive Vice President and CEO of Thrive Snowboards. Doug’s English instructions were translated by Zozo and Perry, two Taiwanese instructors who head Noyuki Academy in Japan. Zozo and Perry are also both certified Level 2 instructors in Alpine and Snowboard respectively.

    Despite a few snow showers on the first day of May, the international students were a lively, fun group who all participated and contributed.

    The Chinese students really enjoyed the park, and they all learned a lot of freestyle maneuvers.

    At the end, they received their AASI Level 1 certifications.

    Interested in getting your snowboard level 1 certification? (in English) Check out this post about the regular, 2-day snowboard level 1.