“WE NEED ALPINE INSTRUCTORS. Do you want to work for us?” Kate Howe assumed the Snow Sports Supervisor at Bridger Bowl, near Bozeman, MT, was joking. “I was much heavier than I am now and a terrible skier,” Howe reminisces. She had brought her three-year-old son for lessons and only intended to watch from the sidelines. But Howe was also a local teacher with a particular zeal
Misadventures Issue 4
for educating—so she agreed. “When you’re 35 and the mother of two toddlers and declare: ‘I’m going to become a professional skier,’ you get incredulous looks, at best,” Howe recalls. More often: “You can’t possibly be serious.” At worst: “You’ll never be good enough.” None of that deterred Kate Howe. Ten years later, she is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America - Rocky Mountain (PSIA-RM) Education Staff and an instructor based out of Aspen, known for introducing clients to big mountain skiing and globetrotting for powder. The desire to credit Howe and her accomplishments with superhuman powers of focus and ability is quickly shot down by Howe herself. She has a fervent belief in training and discipline; in younger years, she was a competitive figure
skater. When she began her new career in skiing, she wanted to be a great skier as well as a great teacher. The higher-level instructors raced over icy moguls with ease and grace, and Howe wondered what that capability would feel like. “I decided I wanted that.” Transitioning from Bridger Bowl to Aspen Mountain, Howe quickly passed all three levels of PSIA. “I don’t think you need 20 years on skis to be great,” she says. “Don’t mistake that for me saying there is a fast track. There isn’t. But you can realize where you are trying to go, and focus all your energy on getting there. You can condense the amount of time it takes for you to put your 10,000 hours in if you are always practicing. You need dedicated time on skis, and a lot of it. Access to good coaching, and a willingness to let go of everything you think you know.”
PHOTO by Dylan Page
A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON
Winter 2017. The Horizons Issue.