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Rocky Mountain Board Representatives Joel Munn, President, Front Range Fred Rumford, Vice President, Southern District Rick Hinckley, Secretary, Southern District Donnie Mechalke, Front Range Joe Webster, Western Slope Jane Tarlow, Front Range Tiffany Truitt, Western Slope Rick Rodd, Member at Large Robin May, Southern District Nels Hinderlie, Western Slope PSIA/AASI Representative Peter Donahue COMMITTEE CHAIRS: Barbara Szwebel – Adaptive Chair Jonathan Ballou – Alpine Chair Dusty Dyar – Children’s Chair Patti Banks – Nordic Chair Tony Macri – Snowboard Chair JP Chevalier – Member School Chair

The Subaru gets some miles By Dana Forbes, Executive Director


icture this if you can…a sunny day, an amazing mountain resort and 200+ years of industry management, teaching and PSIA membership all in one room. As I sat there amongst the legends of the south, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate the resorts they ran and the instructors they managed were. In times of doubt when the sky’s brought little snow, or the economy didn’t agree, these were the dedicated ones who pushed on to make it happen. Every other year I take a tour down south to visit a few resorts and meet with their directors. This year the meeting took place at Angel Fire Resort in NM in the end of March. In attendance were host and Director of Angel Fire, Robin May, Bill Burgess and Scott Latham of Red River, Rick Hinckley from Pajarito, Bill Gould and Mark Hickman of Ski Santa Fe, Peter Donahue from Taos and yours truly. Although most of them live less then two hours away they all admitted that they never seem to get a chance to get together to exchange ideas and tour one another’s resorts. This venue offered an opportunity to do just that. Additionally it offers me an additional perspective. As many of you know we are comprised of 3 districts, Southern, Front Range and Western Slope. Our board is made up of representatives from each of these districts so all demographical needs are continually met and addressed. A meeting such as this allows the organization to delve deeper into what individual resort needs are. Information openly shared is critical to the success of all of our members. I reiterate this because every member reading this needs to hear that we are aware of your needs, that you have a voice. Your Directors and Board members represent your voice and my staff and I are here to listen, learn and grow. After some time indoors we decided the best meetings happen on the ski lift. So we suited up and ventured out. As I stood atop Angel Fire resort watching this group ski down Hells Bells I was brought back to a lesson I had some 15 years ago with 8 little boys that taught me the true meaning of unbridled joy. It didn’t matter that dirt and rocks were showing for the laughter and screams of joy said it all. These guys were in it for the right reason, for the joy of sliding. I felt a little spoiled as I drove away that day. I live in Steamboat and we have gotten over 430” of snow this winter. Yet sometimes I find myself whining about it…well never again. These guys reminded me how to enjoy sliding no matter how much snow is under your feet or how much vertical is in front of you. Thanks guys! 2


After the meeting it was on to Taos Spring Fling. Members came from afar to enjoy the sun and snow at Taos Resort on March 26th and 27th. On Saturday after a tremendous day of skiing, The St Bernard Hotel and the world’s greatest host, Jean Mayer had a party on the deck to celebrate our 25, 35 and 45 year members. The pizza was warm, the wine sweet and the company in great spirits! Although most of you have packed up your gear for the summer and have tuned your bikes already if you are reading this, then it is likely a little part of you is sad that the season is over. My home resort, Steamboat, closed this past Sunday and as I rode up the gondola for the last day, I reflected on the things I accomplished this year and the things I never got to. I swear every year when it’s over, I wish I had snowboarded more, wish I had gotten better at tele skiing, wondered why I didn’t cross country and why I still can’t do a wedge christie to save my life. Then I stepped off the gondola and as the wall of snow fell in front of me and the 8” of freshies compressed under my boots on April 10th, I smiled knowing the one thing I knew was I didn’t wish I had had more fun; if there is one thing I promised myself 4 years ago when I moved here it was that. Never lose sight of the fun. Sometimes as Instructors we spend too much time trying to get better and mastering that wedge christie that we forget the most important part…the fun. So if you are like me and reflected on your season on the last chair ride up, don’t let the regret ever be that you didn’t have enough fun. A

The official publication of PSIA - Rocky Mountain - AASI P. O. Box 775143 Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 Phone: 970.879.8335 Fax: 970.879.6760 Executive director - Director of Operations - Director of Education - Events Coordinator - website - General Information Submissions of articles, photos or other items for publication are invited. PSIARocky Mountain- AASI members submitting articles of an educational nature with a minimum of 500 words will be reimbursed $100 per published article. Type copy should be double spaced and sent to the editor at the above address. A disk may be submitted along with a hard copy in either PC or MAC formats. All the submitted material is subject to editing. Use of all material will be at the discretion of the editorial staff. Articles are accepted on the condition that they may be released for publication in all PSIA/AASI National and Divisional publications.

Jean Mayer above, Barnes top right, Chaput right, and Jimbos group below.

Instructor to Instructor is published four times per year by the PSIA-Rocky Mountain - AASI divsion. Permission is hereby given to PSIA/AASI and all divisions of PSIA/AASI to copy original materials from the newsletter providing credit is given to PSIA - Rocky Mountain - AASI and the author, and the material is not altered. Articles that contain specific copyright notices may not be reprinted without written permission from the author. Subscriptions: Persons who are not members of PSIA - Rocky Mountain AASI can purchase a one-year subscription of Instructor to Instructor for $15. Send your name and address along with payment to the above address. Note: Materials published in Instructor to Instructor which have been provided by persons in other than an official capacity, or for official purposes, are the responsibility of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of PSIA-Rocky Mountain - AASI.


Celebration Season By Dave Schuiling


different strategies to assess the National Certification Standards. Obviously, we must recognize demographic and geographic differences across the country. Our National office invested the resources to develop a customized platform of Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management software (CRM). This collaborative effort is getting each of the nine divisions working through one information hub. Communication has been enhanced through this process as we all have access to the education/certification products that all nine divisions have to offer. The desired outcome from this effort is to enhance consistency. We recognize that this transition has been difficult as with any change and we are working diligently to make the transition as painless as possible. Thanks for your patience this season. Your administrative team feels your pain and your feedback has been exceptional. We’re committed to making this system as user friendly as possible

s members of PSIA-AASI, we have a lot to be proud of and much to celebrate. By the time you read this, we will have celebrated our 50th anniversary as a National Association in Aspen, CO at the 50/50. As Rocky Mountain members, we celebrated our 60th birthday in September. Wow, are we close to retirement? Absolutely not! During the 2010/11 season we’ve embarked on some significant projects and developments to help our association thrive and evolve into the future of our dynamic snow sports industry.

Examiner Exchange

Last summer we began discussions with our Eastern sisters and brothers to begin looking at each other’s examination processes. The goal was to establish “best practices” amongst our

two largest divisions. In January, Jonathan Ballou, our alpine committee chair and I traveled to Hunter Mountain, NY for the Eastern Board of Examiners (BOE) training. We were immediately impressed with the level of respect and rapport amongst the eastern team. The atmosphere was supportive and we were welcomed with open arms into their training. National Team members Jeb and Matt Boyd and Eric Lipton were on hand to facilitate the groups. The initiation of this visit sparked interest from other divisions as East committed to come to RM in the spring. We followed up this event with another trip to Sugarbush, Vermont to understudy the Level 3 process in March. Joining us on this trip were El Furtney and Fin Torrance from the western division. RM will have the pleasure of hosting EL and Fin in Vail as well as an eastern crew consisting of Mickey Sullivan, Pete Howard and Toons Bridgewater. We’re all looking forward to this informational exchange to enhance all of our practices. During the Fifty/Fifty celebration, we also began conversations with the Northwest division to join the exchange program next season. Jonathan and eastern representative Doug Daniels will travel to Mammoth at the end of April to understudy their level three exams. Jonathan speaks to this process further

On a Similar Page

PSIA-AASI is recognized on the planet as a National Education and Certification organization. With nine different divisions, we’ve sometimes been plagued with multiple personality disorder over the years. Forget about operating on the same page, some of us were in different Trapper Keepers with secret decoder rings. Maybe this is an exaggeration but our nine divisions have utilized 4


tunity to assess their peers through this process for the ultimate learning environment. Megan Harvey has devoted countless hours to this process as she has been preparing for the last 12 months to make this event the very best it can be. We’ll have strong momentum moving into next season before the National selection. Summer Loving

in this edition of Instructor to Instructor. As we all share feedback and establish our “best practices”, we’re excited for the potential of creating even more consistency on a National level. Our membership, now 31,000 strong can only benefit from a more united National organization. As the momentum grows through this process, I look forward to involving all of the sliding disciplines in the sharing of information, resources and practices. New Faces

I’m happy to announce to new members to the alpine education staff, Ben Roberts and Tom Gulden. We held an Examiner One (E1) selection in February and the collection of talent at this event was extremely inspiring. You may recognize Ben as one of our National education managers. His experience in the industry will be a great asset to the RM team. Tom is an incredibly talented and versatile trainer hailing from Winter Park. We welcome these guys the RM Education Staff. Their E1 articles are published in this newsletter. This spring we are also conducting interviews for snowboard Education Staff members. Once a snowboard member has achieved their Trainer’s certificate, they are welcome to interview for a position on the snowboard education staff. We will announce the results of this process in the summer edition of the Instructor to Instructor.

ing our regional event this April in A-basin. The RAT is open to any level 3 instructor in good standing and will serve as a simulation of the national process while providing extensive feedback. A group of 30 is prepared to throw down and train together striving for spectacular performances. RM will hold follow-up clinics next season to continue preparation and offer high end events for future growth and development. The RAT participants voted on their evaluators and the following people were chosen to evaluate and develop our future team members: Tommy Banks, Megan Harvey, Carol Levine, Gates Lloyd and Jim Schanzenbaker. Also on hand to evaluate the freestyle element is Kelly Coffey. Each participant will also have the oppor-

Your Rocky Mountain team wishes you a spectacular “off” season. Most of our division member resorts enjoyed amazing conditions all winter and we had much to celebrate. The National 50/50 theme acknowledges the past fifty years of growth and development and looks forward to the next fifty years as we strive for continued excellence. We have strong momentum to let it run after this season’s efforts and we’re straight lining to achieve our goals of better communication, consistency and collaboration. This three “C” theme is outlined in our Strategic Education Plan (SEP) to work more closely together and share all of our National resources. As outlined at our RM Fall Celebration, the one “C” word that we will never use is Can’t. Thank you all for your patience this season as we worked hard to develop a system that will get us all on the same page. We’re committed to this process. Whatever activities you enjoy this summer, enjoy them to the fullest and never look back, unless of course you are moving in a switch direction! A

RM Assessment Trials (RAT)

Next spring, the National Teams selection process will take place in Mammoth or Snowbird. In preparation for this event we are hold-


Adaptive Spring News By Ruth DeMuth


s we all know, this year was particularly hard to commit to taking exams and clinics due to the recession. We all had to pull our purse strings a little tighter and it’s especially hard while volunteering at an adaptive ski program….. But as the snow kept falling and providing us with a great sliding surface, people started looking at furthering their teaching careers and Adaptive had a solid year of events with scheduled calendar events. We had lots of traveling clinic and exam requests for both Adaptive Alpine and Adaptive Snowboard. We hosted a total of 22 events with great success. In the first year of change for the adaptive snowboard instructor training course, we managed to increase numbers by holding two full events and holding an extra traveling exam at Vail in April. The participation this year from Level 1 through trainers has been outstanding. Now mind you an adaptive level 1 exam is no walk in the park. The achievement truly shows a level of commitment and an understanding of Alpine teaching and technical skills and the ability to understand disabilities and how to adapt to meet each person’s needs. Imagine what a trainer or level three candidate goes through; multiple disabilities, adaptations of equipment, extended level of knowledge and yes the ability to present information to their peers to help them get involved in the process of excellence. This year we had the highest number of participants take the trainer’s exam. Congratulations to all for continuing your path to greatness! Now on the dark side as the snow kept falling, so did our examining staff. Shoulders, knees and feet -Injuries really put a damper on how many exams we could hold. We thank the upcoming trainers for being so flexible and helping to reschedule the Trainers Exam. All in all we thank all the adaptive teachers and volunteers that participated in making this year great! A 6


Board Briefs

Maintaining consistent stance width for better skiing

1. Peter Donahue gave a recap of the national meeting which included information about Interski, Strategic Education plan and Team Selection for 2012. 2. JP reviewed the schedule of upcoming MSM meetings: Angel Fire – March 25th; Sunlight – April 3rd; and A-Basin – May 1st. 3. Dana noted that Dave intends to take a close look at the Snowboard program, with the goal of re-configuring it as a modular system. 4. Dana reported that no additional cost should be associated with the customization of the database. 5. Dave’s report reviewed the examiner exchange program and the National team selections. 6. Regarding scholarships, Dana stated that allowing non-members to apply was a good decision. She recommended setting a deadline for scholarship applications. The Board agreed. 7. Dana reviewed the plans for summer projects, including the website and database interface and any changes to the logo. 8. Grant and Funding Proposals a. Examiner exchange program b. Alpine MA Powerpoint Revision c. Examiner on-piste performance camp d. Alpine online written exam e. Telemark MA DVD and update written materials f. Clinics for skiers going to the PSIA national Alpine Team tryouts g. Snowboard written exam database update h. XC divisional educator to represent PSIA-RM at SIA /CCSAA conference i. Offer a free one-day introductory clinic to all new members j. Laptop and projector for Adaptive indoor presentations k. Video camera replacement for Nordic l. New video of snowboard exam maneuvers m. Payment for snowboard documents 9. Dana presented preliminary 2011/12 budgets for both PSIA-RM and the Educational Foundation. 10. Motion was made and approved to extend the term of current board members to the beginning of the next meeting and begin the terms of newly elected board members with the end of the current meeting. 11. Dana presented plaques to out-going members Michael Melhauser, JP Chevalier, John Wiltgen and Rhonda Doyle, whose terms will end on May

By Ben Roberts

A complete copy of any of the minutes may be obtained by contacting the RM office. A


ne focus that helps many of my students regardless of their age, ability level, or goals is to maintain a consistent stance width. Many skiers make movements that cause them to vary their stance width from narrow to wide. Focus on finding a stance width that is effective for each individual and have them work to maintain that width through a series of turns. This is a simple cue that has a positive effect on most people’s skiing. When a student accomplishes this task they will be skiing with more subtle movement patterns, have a more active inside half and be much more balanced. Children frequently start each turn by powerfully pushing their outside ski away from them. This move is common in basic up through dynamic parallel turns. This push tends to move the child’s weight back which puts them in an unbalanced position. The push also makes the child’s outside leg straight and rigid and makes it difficult for them to absorb variations in terrain. Because the child is pushing the outside ski away from them their stance width will increase. Showing the child how to ski with their feet a more consistent width apart will help them stay more centered and balanced and make their turns by tipping and steering their skis. It is easy to explain and demonstrate regardless of the child’s learning style. Many intermediate level adults have similar movement patterns as those I described in children. Their push out on the outside ski may be more subtle but it is very often the primary engine for their turn. Maintaining consistent stance width will help eliminate this push into the turn and help the skier have a smoother initiation and maintain better balance. They will have a smoother, more balanced transition into each turn because they will be tipping and steering their skis into the turn. They will also remain in better balance through the apex of the turn as their hips will remain over their feet and their skis will not begin to converge due to differing edge angles. Maintaining a consistent stance width is a good pointer for the skier who is looking to freshen up and improve their skiing. It also works well as a starting point for a more motivated student who wishes to further refine their skills and movements. The majority of adults who are advanced skiers learned to ski by doing everything with their outside ski. Regardless of their individual style the most useful part of modern ski technique they can benefit from is having an active inside half. Rather than tipping, steering, and standing exclusively on their outside ski and allowing the inside one to go along for the ride it is easier to engage, tip and steer both skis and stand mostly on the outside ski. Having an active inside half makes it easier to smoothly release the skis out of the turn and move easily into the new turn. These movements are much easier to accomplish with a consistent stance width. I have found that this focus is one of the simplest ways to help students enjoy the benefits of modern skiing, become more efficient skiers, and simply address ineffective movement patterns or timing of movement. It demands only a simple adjustment in a person’s skiing and produces noticeable results in a short period of time. I find it useful as a starting point for many lessons and training session and when I’m working with skiers who are on fat or super-fat skis for the first time. It is also a great focus for your first day on snow this winter. Try it on yourself and see if it helps you feel more balanced.



Alpine moving forward By Jonathan Ballou


pring i s finally here and I hope you all are enjoying fantastic skiing and riding conditions throughout our division. This season has been an exciting one for the PSIA-RM with new developments throughout our curriculum and educational offerings. Last summer the Director of Education and Programs from PSIA-E initiated a conversation about creating an examiner exchange program. The purpose of this was to compare and contrast the various divisions of the National Standards and improve our divisional programs through learning from each other’s strengths. In the 11 months following the start of this conversation, two other divisions have become involved or shown strong


interest in this process. At the time of writing this article Dave Schuiling and I are sitting on a plane, returning from participating in a Level 3 exam at Sugarbush, VT. Also involved were Finlay Torrance and Eliane Furtney, our counterparts from PSIA-W. Together we are all excited and inspired by the level of sharing and respect that has been generated through the process. We are all currently cataloging our takeaways that will help us evolve our training, education, and evaluation practices in similar directions to enhance member experience on a multidivisional level. Looking outward to other divisional pro-

cesses forces us to examine our own process. Hopefully this self-examination leads to an evolutionary change that enhances our member’s education and success. The past three years have seen significant changes in our training process for movement analysis and teaching. These changes have resulted in development of new products and scores of support documents as well as online tools and resources, and were the result of this process of self-evaluation. The skiing examination process, particularly in the Level 3 process has, however, remained fairly constant over the last 8 or so years. One of the principle motivations for this exchange process is for inspiration and guidance in moving the training and


Congratulations to the Successful Candidates for the Board of Directors! evaluation of skiing forward in our division. The ATS Skills Concept as well as our IDP’S and supporting documentation outline specific skills are developed as a skier/teacher becomes more proficient in our sport. The National Standards outline the specific levels of development that represent attaining Level 1, 2, and 3 certification. Our IDP’s show how we use the various tasks that are on PSIA-RM exams to highlight the required skills blends and level of proficiency for each level of certification. With the goal of continued skill based development firmly in mind, we are searching out more efficient and relevant way to train and evaluate skiing at all levels. I expect that the process, beginning with Level 3, followed closely by level 2 and 1, will evolve over the next two to three years. With this evolution will come more development tools and educational reference materials, as well as the opportunity for greater professional growth. A

Jane Tarlow

Tiffany Truitt

Front Range

Western Slope

Robin May

Rick Rodd

Southern District

Member at Large


u 2011/2012 dues statements will be mailed during May, 2011. u Active and Inactive member dues total is $100 for 2011/12 dues - Rocky Mountain portion is $50 and PSIA/AASI National portion is $50. u Alumni member dues total is $50 - Rocky Mountain portion is $25 and PSIA/AASI National portion is $25. Please contact the RM office for eligibility details. u Dues may be paid on-line at You may also mail a check or call (970) 879-8335 with credit card information to pay dues. u Please remember that dues must be in the office by June 30, 2011 to avoid the late fee. Any payments received after 6/30/11 without the late fee will be mailed back for the additional late fee. u If you have had or will be having a change of address, please check your account at to assure that a valid mailing address is on file. u Please update your e-mail address as the first and last reminders for dues payments will be sent by e-mail. The first e-mail will be sent when the dues invoices are prepared and ready for payment. A paper statement will be mailed after the first reminder. A SPRING 2011 PSIA-RM/AASI 9

Reflections In Taos

The Candidate’s Dilemma

By Tony Macri / Michael Blanton

By Sheila Farny


here we were, shreddin’ the gnar in New Mexico! It was a rippin’ good time, checking out Taos Ski Valley, the smell of fondue with a hint of cigar smoke that wafts through the air as we make our way to our rooms. . . There is a classic alpine feel with a modern skiing and snowboarding appetite in Taos. We have always discussed the benefits of membership and here we were living it! Meeting new people and having a great time has always been a great perk of being a member of PSIA-RM. The true benefits of membership often elude us. As the season has come to a close for some of us and the others soon, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our membership for being so patient with some of the changes with our website and various registration processes this season. The AASI-RM committee is currently working with your feedback and with the office to help remedy these issues. After recent feedback about the rate of change within our standards we have decided to create a 2-year notification period. What this actually means is that we are committed to only making changes to the standards in every two years... This allows us to research, develop and then implement them, therefore providing the opportunity for a more clear introduction. There are also a few other projects that we will be involved with over the summerlike continuing to update and rewrite the test questions on the written tests and the MA tests as well as collecting footage for new MA and Riding Standards video. As we continue to get clear feedback we will strive to keep you the membership updated and informed. Regards, Reflections In Taos dynamic duo. A 10


Kids and Their Equipment By Nico Pecori


t’s still too tight” she says and looks up with a tear in her eye and a quivering lower lip. So far I have done everything I can think of. Loosening the buckles, smoothing out the wrinkles in her sock, I’ve even double checked her foot on the measuring device…this darn left boot should fit her foot. So why does it hurt her so much that she can’t ski? Wait! Maybe there is a right-foot liner inside this left boot. I yank it out and nope it’s the correct liner but something doesn’t feel quite right. Putting my hand in the liner, I retrieve not one, not two, but three used toe warmers. No wonder this poor little girl’s toes are cramped up! Mystery solved and we return to the snow happy and have a great remainder of the day. Kids and their equipment are an integral part of a successful lesson and making sure they have the right stuff can be challenging. Many times we have no control over what equipment they show up to their lesson with. Ideally they have rented from the across the way and we can run them in to re-size their boots, skis, poles and helmets; but what if they have rented somewhere along the I-70 corridor, or worse, brought hand-me downs from 1983? They key is trying to catch any equipment issues early. Hopefully it’s when they check in and Mom and Dad are still close by to help resolve any issue. Asking to see the gear before they check in will help catch some of the more obvious problems, like skis or boards that are either too long or too short for the child, helmets that are the wrong size or even for a different sport. Motocross helmets with full face guards on a beautiful spring day may be as inappropriate as bicycles helmets on a -30° F day. At check in, we can also catch some of the less obvious problems that might ruin the child’s experience later in the day. Things such as the right kind of gloves, correct eye protection, correct layers and outerwear as well as sunscreen. How many of us have seen a child dropped off in a stylish, velour track-suit on a freezing cold day? Another opportunity to catch potential problems is when your class is starting to assemble on the snow. Boot inspections are

a fun way to break the ice with a class and create some rapport. Have everyone line up and one by one check their boots. Are they wearing only one pair of knee-high socks, are the boots on the correct feet, are they buckled tightly enough and are the gaiters pulled over the boots? I always ask if the only thing in their boot is one foot and one sock and if their legs in their boots feel like a soda can in a foam coozy. Even snowboard boots can be on the wrong foot. While observing a class on our beginner terrain, I noticed two boys dressed identically. At first I thought they might be twins, but after chatting with them I discovered that they were really good friends and limited by their local store’s gear selection ended up with the same gear. As they were preparing to strap in, I looked at the soles of the boots and realized that one boy had two left boots on and the other two right boots. Checking equipment throughout the day is also a must with children. They unbuckle, loosen, accidentally swap, misplace, lose, abandon and flat out refuse to wear their gear. Knowing what to look for is something that comes with time and experience. But here are some things that I have learned:

• Many rental shops automatically up size boots by one size because it cuts down on people complaining about boots being too tight. The difference between a child’s 21.0 and 22.0 may be one shoe size but the boot itself increases by about 33% in actual size. • There is an overlap between kids and adult boots that starts at about a 24.0. Even though it may be the correct size, if you put a pre teen in an adult boot, the boot is so large and stiff that they have very little chance of flexing it. • Kid’s poles usually have adult size grips. This is just a partial list, and I wish I could say I’ve seen it all, but I’m sure some equipment issue is bound to pop up that I haven’t yet seen. The only advice I have is constant vigilance. Keep checking in with your students and look for any change in performance that might be linked to equipment issues. Tip of the day:

Pacing is as individual as each child. Don’t expect a 3, a 5 and an 8 year old to be able to perform at the same level just because they are family. Also, don’t expect the same results out of two different 3-year-olds just because your lesson plan worked well with one of them. A


INSTRUCTOR TO INSTRUCTOR NEWSLETTER The official newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Division is published four times per year with an average circulation of 6000. The schedule for submission of articles and advertisements is listed below: ISSUE SUBMISSION DELIVERY DEADLINE

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Dana Forbes with George Boyden at the Southern District Spring Fling celebration

Hello Dana and all the attendees at the Spring Fling,


was invited to attend the Spring Fling in Vail this year for the presentation of my 45 year pin; I was the one with the grayest hair. Although I haven’t taught skiing in many years, except to friends and grand kids, I have wanted to be informed with what was going on in the ski teaching industry and my membership has done that. Skiing has been a major driver in my life. It brought me from the East to the University of Denver. It introduced me to my wife. It brought me to live in and be part of one of the worlds’ greatest resorts. It has given me a passion which I can enjoy well into retirement. What a great life, envied by a lot of my school chums, and I owe it all to skiing. Granted there has been a lot of hard work along the way, but it always been fun. I am proud to have been a member of Rocky Mountain all these years and was glad to see and meet all the new guard that does a fabulous job in making the skiing public better skiers and as importantly keep them coming back to our resorts. Ski teaching is an honorable profession and one necessary for the success of our resorts. Ski instructors are often not given the credit they deserve in making the resort guest experience a great one. It’s truly the most important in my mind. They interact with the guest and their families at a level only they can do. I say thank you for that and raise my glass in a toast to you; great job, keep it up and may skiing continue to direct your lives as well. Best to all, Don Welch A

SUMMER OFFICE HOURS Please make a note that office hours for the months of June, July and August are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The office is closed on Fridays for the summer.

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Flat Is Where It’s At By Neill Redfern


lot of experienced snowboarders, riders who have years of riding experience are afraid to ride a flat board. There are two reasons for this. The self-taught rider has learned the hard way that when the board is flat he becomes vulnerable to catching an edge and slamming. The rider who learned with an instructor was probably told by the instructor that a flat board made him vulnerable to catching an edge and slamming. DO NOT FEAR RIDING A FLAT BOARD! The only thing to fear is riding a flat board that is NOT pointed straight (nose pointed in the direction that the rider is moving). A straight board is a board that is pointed in the direction that the rider is moving. A straight board is sliding, not slipping. A slipping board is a board that is pointed in one direction (side of run, for example) while the riding is moving in another direction (down the run, for example). Riding a flat board is an essential skill for any rider that aspires to become a versatile and smooth rider. Therefore, teaching the flat board skill should, based on a guestʼs goals, be taught to all levels from never-ever riders to expert. A flat board teaches a never-ever rider the sliding vs. slipping concept. When the new rider learns to make edge changes (turns), he must be sliding in order to make an edge change without slamming. For example, imagine a rider that is sideslipping on his heel edge down a run. This riderʼs board is slipping as the nose of the board is pointed to the side of the run, while the riderʼs body is moving down the run. If this rider flattens the board to make an edge change, the edge catches and he falls on his knees. This rider that is sideslipping on his heel edge must start sliding before he can make a safe edge change to his toe edge. For more experienced riders, riding a flat board can be a scary task due to fear from the previous experience of having caught an edge and slammed and not understanding why the slam occurred. If riding a flat board scares them, instructors should take the opportunity to coach them and educate them while they are riding with the instructor. Help them exorcise their demons! If your home mountain is similar to mine, mastering the flat board skill will only increase your fun factor on a given day as you WILL ride

cat tracks quite a bit. Riding flat board for a prolonged period does not fatigue the legs the way riding heel edge (quad burn) or riding toe edge (calf burn) does. Have you ever seen an intermediate rider make slow turns down a cat track? It is absolutely painful to watch and extremely inefficient (not to mention dangerous when the run is busy) when he could be riding flat! How often have you seen an intermediate riderʼs board deflect off the snow at the tail on his heel edge as he is transitioning from heel to toe edge? Coaching this kind of rider to ride a flat board for a second or two depending on turn size can eliminate this deflection and enable a rider to have a clean edge release before engaging the new edge. A thorough understanding of the sliding vs slipping concept that can be learned through mastering the flat board skill directly relates to riding powder and carving. Riding powder is much easier when sliding, while one cannot carve a snowboard unless he is sliding. Obviously flat board riding is the gateway to freestyle fun. When we jump we want to land flat as we have a more stable platform upon which to land. When we slide a box we need to be flat (or we will end up flat on our face). How do we teach flat board riding? Regardless of rider level, always start on gentle green terrain. It all starts with a neutral stance. Ankles, knees and hips should be slightly flexed. The front legʼs ankle, knee and hip flexion should look similar to the back legʼs. The rider should be square to his stance, so there should not be any twisting in the upper or lower body. The rider should be relaxed but ready to twist or pivot the board to keep it straight in the event something knocks the board out of the straight path that it is tracking. Coach riders to slow down by tipping slightly to an edge, then either pivoting the board using lower body movements or twisting the board with the feet. Riders should get more comfortable with more speed, and continue to slow down when the speed gets uncomfortable. Understanding the sliding vs slipping concept, eliminating fear, riding cat tracks more efficiently, making a clean edge release, riding powder and carving, and freestyle are all reasons that riders should be taught to ride a flat board from day 1 to day 100. A

Dear Dana, I wanted to share this with you. Austin Adamson wrote this poem on his 16th birthday. He skied with me the week before at Snowmass. Before the lesson he only skied fast on blue runs. He had never skied a double black run. That morning 22 inches of fresh powder had fallen. We were the first tracks down The Cirque Headwall. At the bottom of the run I told him how unique it was for his first double black run to be in 22 inches of fresh powder. Austin skied it brilliantly, taking the falline with every turn. I asked Austin if he could capture the moment in words, so that he could share it with his parents. George Perry Snowmass Pro The Thrill

The wind in my ears The cold on my face I swallow my fears I pick up the pace In my eyes there are tears In my heart there is grace I swallow my fears I pick up the pace No marks in the snow Just mine, mine alone No places to go Just me to be alone Down at the bottom I look up the hill Down at the bottom I take in my fill It took all these years To pick up the pace But I swallowed my fears And I finished the race Dear George, Let this be a reminder to all of us that teach to never take for granted the affect we have on people, even a teenager! Thanks for sharingDana A


Skate Split Filter: The NON-ouch version of Splits while Skating By: Wade White


any snowboard instructors have witnessed a fresh snowboarder grom, who is either a bit eager or just loose. The grom starts skating for the first time and slides the board slightly ahead of everything else wanting to come along for the ride. The final result is something resembling that of a kung-fu movie flying high kick laid out on the ground or an 80’s break dance move. This would be the OUCH version of the skate split and not the one this article is about. The Skate Split to which I am referring, would be a group organizing tool that I have been employing for several years while leading youth groups such as SOS Outreach (formerly Snowboard Outreach Society). This has been utilized with group sizes requiring more than one instructor when team teaching will no longer be used after the introduction to equipment. Forewarning, the skate split is a filter, not race. It should not be thought as a competition, because it will skew the results. Do not view the athlete about the student but the learner within. The Setup

1. The mob (large group) has been assembled with all required equipment. 2. The assortment of get to know ya’ games have been played, with each other AND with

(For purposes of simple math lets say we have 20 students ages 11-15 with 4 instructors). 14

the new bizarre piece of slippery standup sled. 3. The board is connected to one of the feet. Hopefully the front one (don’t stress it too much). 4. Everyone is given ample time to familiarize themselves with moving the board around and themselves around it. They should start to understand the lower body equivalent to “bowlers’ arm”… “boarders’ leg”! 5. Everyone should have a comfortable bubble of room in roughly the same area. The Filter

Being as nonchalant as possible, instructor #1 will play pied piper and start heading off into a safe direction, as the mob is asked to follow. The amount of time or distance is not very important just as long as every one in the mob has been able follow the pied piper. The more movement, the easier… The Split

#2 instructor follows after the first five students “Who does number two work for?” Number two works for students 6-10, who split off into an area of their choosing. #3 instructor pulls off 11-15 and #4 gathers students 16-20. Skate Split done! The Benefit

• Everyone kept moving and hopefully enjoyed their time sliding. • Nothing was said about “This is test time, It’s a race, Be fast or be last”, no one felt like they failed anything. • Students experienced something fun next to their friends. • There was no need for their number to be called into the waiting room for the “next person to step forward and be judged.” • Each person chose their place in the group. “Ok great” you say sarcastically “you’ve

just pulled the faster athletes to the front.” “Yup!” However in my experience there is more going on than just simple Darwinian style natural selection. Let me point out how, on many occasions, this filter has separated students based on learning types. Watchers, Thinkers, Feelers, Doers

The manner in which individuals absorb and interpret experience presents a great way to organize a group of students. When instructors identify learning types, they can teach learning types, creating ideal learning partnerships in cohesive sub groups. How does a Skate Split do all that without doing lengthy interviews, brain scans, and Magic Eye® tests of each individual student? Well, you could just ask the student which type they are. No one has ever given misleading information when saying they belong in a certain level, right?!? We all know that students will tell you things that don’t reflect their true ability, it is best if we can get information that is void of self opinion. This is not a fool proof system and to say that any system is, will likely uncover a true phony (Hmmm?). These are my interpretations of what I’ve experienced. Watchers exclude themselves from the 1-5 rank due to the fact that they have trouble watching the majority of people behind them while moving forward. Demonstrations will have the greatest effect on watchers because these students are visually intrapersonal learners. Instructors 2 and 3 are giving the demos that are more at the student’s speed. Honestly, instructor #4 is picking up the pieces most of the time so they aren’t demonstrating much, PSIA-RM/AASI SPRING 2011

and if they are, it’s on an individual basis. Thinkers take personal time to process what is going on around them as well as the information provided to them earlier. The skate split is a moving tool; there may be persistent information that continually requires interpretation. To start with, thinkers may rank in the 16-20. They may develop a better understanding of efficient movements. Given time the thinker is likely to advance past those who are just trying it out. Feelers. The idea that someone can lack the sense of feeling, I believe, only applies to James Bond villains. So, feelers are really most everyone. But if you had to narrow it down, they are the ones who can work by trial and error. The act of them just starting out with a movement puts feelers near top 5. Things don’t always work right away so adjustment must be made, some of those adjustments might not work. What feelers do have is consistency; the fact that they have to keep testing keeps them moving so they generally stay around the ranks of the #2 instructor. (Number two… Riiiiiiight (pinky finger by mouth…anyone?)) Doers often times are at the front of the group because of a jump out of the gate with persistent movement. Other students seeing “Ninja arms” will wisely choose not to pass. Those flailing limbs reflect inefficient movement patterns. The Doers may require the most relearning and habit breaking due to their bull force way of muscling through a task. This is not the group to always just “let them do” because there will be understanding issues, not to mention class handling issues. It may seem like I am placing a big warning on the doers. I am, due to preconceived idea

that it is the easiest, fastest, strongest, coolest therefore best group to teach. Make sure the pied piper understands how to match the teaching style to this learning style before he/ she points the mob in a direction. Say a guy named Maslow gave comment on our ways of snowboard instruction. He might draw correlations between his building blocks of needs and our motto of Safety, Fun, and Learning. He might point out that, not only is it easier to determine the type of learner, but a state of learning can only be achieved if needs are met first. Physiological

Throughout the setup of this tool, there should have been time to recognize that basic physiological needs have been met. These needs include aspects a ski school can provide, such as proper outerwear, water, snacks, bathroom… Because more people can help the group as a whole, it can aid both students and instructors to not do a split before the skating begins. The setup is also when students start selecting their instructor. They will naturally be drawn to a personality type that they are comfortable with and have fun around. More on that later. Safety

Where the filter works best is in a safe location. Flats work well. In the flats, gravity is not a factor for speed. Traffic should be slower and lighter, reducing a student’s legitimate terrain fears. Each student should also be able to decide the tactic they use for this task. Not long ago in the setup there was discussion of a safe bubble around each person. They get another choice, their bubble size; the amount of distance between themselves and their neighbors.


How about a student being able to select their instructor?!? It’s been joked about at many lineups, but can it be realistically done? In the split, I believe it can! Through all students’ interaction with all instructors “personality gravity” will be pulling them together, helping create bonds. So during the actual split process students will tend to stay closer to their selected instructor. That’s why this time spent in the setup is great for doing (the often taboo) team teaching. For the same reason, students will stay close to their friends. Especially when something new, and possibly scary, is being tried, close friends add comfort and belonging to the chosen group. Esteem

The most important benefit of this tool is how well it works with student’s self esteem. This method is used with “at risk youth” groups. The idea that one person is less than any other person must be diminished, while still allowing for a way of separating out differences between students. As stated earlier, this should not be a Race; there are no winners or losers. Yeah, it sounds like politically correct _________, but selfesteem is absolutely sacred to people being set up for a higher level of being. A student’s place in the ranking of a perceived race should never be joked about… or you won’t hear the end of it. The situation is, kids are smart and very aware of social ranking, huh go figure! So they may say “hey, I didn’t go as far as so and so’s group, I’m terrible.” Because self esteem is such an important aspect to the entire idea of the skate split, throw some diversion tactics at them. • Once the splits are clear and everyone is still moving have each instructor lead their group to different stopping locations. • Stop at different times. • Have instructor #1 double back behind #4. Do whatever it takes to let them feel that the important part is accomplished; they are in the group in which they feel safe, belong and choose to be. When needs are met and combined with an ideal learning situation which students have helped create, there is a greater chance to reach a state of self-actualization. A


Intro To Bumps By: Tom Gulden

Intro To Bumps


snow is slow and their 1: The skier is faster making turns across several the n the Aesop’s and the ’s fable ‘The Harefable and‘The theHare Tortoise”, the much hare taunts slow turtle tospeed a from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill is quite fast. bumps and is using turn shape to slow themTortoise”, the much faster hare taunts the end of the turtle Thedown. moral this story, asis I have interpreted Which line is easier? selves Theirof speed over the snow slowrace turtle tothe a race. At the is endvictorious. of the race The skier down line 1 is travelling quite fast and their speed from the top of the hill to the turtle is victorious. The moral of this s to skiing the bumps, is that in order the tobottom go fast it helps to go slow. fast, and speed for a beginner mogul skier is of the hill is quite slow. story, as I have interpreted it as it relates to


skiing the bumps, is that in order to go fast it to go slow. lineshelps through a mogul field: I propose two lines through a mogul field:

2: The skier is travelling more directly down the fall line and is using skidding to slow themselves down. Their speed over the

often something that they are trying to avoid. They are travelling faster because they have been taught to control their speed through turn shape. For example, as instructors we often ask our students to make a C-shaped turn in order to slow down. On a groomed run edge angles do not need to be adjusted very much because the angle of the hill doesn’t vary too frequently. On a bump run the terrain directly underneath the ski fluctuates rapidly. When beginners are not used to making adjustments to maintain a constant edge angle, the bumps can cause wild variations in edge angle leading to large differences in speed from the beginning of the turn to the end of the turn. If this skier is travelling quite fast then going over large moguls at speed will not be very fun. The flexing and extension movements required to remain in balance will have to be quite large in terms of their intensity and rate. The skier down line 2 is travelling from the bridge of one bump to the bridge of the next bump, as opposed to the top of one bump to the top of the next, and therefore doesn’t have to make large flexing and extension moves to stay in balance. By keeping low edge angles they are able to rotate their skis quite quickly and skid to slow down. By travelling slower through the bumps it enables the skier to look ahead and have more time to plan their next move. So why do we subject our ‘intro to bump’ skiers to line 1? Perhaps it gives them more time to recenter and prepare for the next turn? They may not have the skills to rotate their legs underneath them and maintain a low edge angle. So instead of taking the existing skills they have into bumps (and giving them an experience that will make them think twice), lets give our guests the skills to ski the comfortable line! The skills that our guests are going to need to ski the comfortable, slow line

s making turns across several bumps and is using turn shape to slow themselves speed over the snow is fast and their speed from the top of the hill to the bottom of te slow. 16


are to slide down the fall line with the skis pointed across the fall line, and to rotate their feet underneath their body. With these skills they will be able to ski from the bridge of one bump to the bridge of another bump, so their flexing and extension movements at a slow speed should be minimal. How to slide sideways:

In diagram A the ski is horizontal and the edge angle relative to the snow is very low. In diagram B however, the ski has remained horizontal, but the angle of the slope has increased, therefore increasing the edge angle without the skier having moved their body. In the bumps this is what leads to high speeds as the skier is unwittingly carving through the bumps. They key to speed control is to tip the skis so that the edge angle can be decreased. Don’t hockey stop, lets hockey slide. Many up and coming skiers want to learn the hockey stop because it looks cool and it allows them to stop quickly like the pros do. Hockey stops require a high degree of rotation and a relatively high edge angle. Instead, encourage your students to do maneuvers

that allow them to slide sideways on a flatter ski. Drills like side-slipping are great to demonstrate the difference between slip and grip. Once these tipping moves have been mastered, introducing competitions like “who can make the longest hockey slide?”, develop rotation skills along with a low edge angle. After the student can successfully make a hockey slide, you could introduce a bump. The hockey slide move allow students to practice turning one way and then the other. It is not very good for linking slides. Take your student to a small bump field and ski one bump at a time. Your student will feel confident, safe, and they will have learned a move that can be adapted to ski the whole bump run. Pivot slips are very useful for getting students to link their slides from one side to the other. If the goal is to be able to ski the fast line slowly, our pivot slips should have an emphasis on speed control. Pivot slip slowly down the groomed runs if you want to slip slowly down the bumps. With everything, terrain choice is key. Instead of giving your guests tactics to survive tough bump runs, give them the skills

to excel on easier bump runs. Great places to introduce bumps are on easy split groomed trails or on runs where there are small sections of bumps between groomers. This allows you to practice a move on the groomed trail before taking into a few bumps. It also gives you an exit to a safe place, which is very important for first time bump skiers. If the bump run is too steep, the bumps too big, or there is too much distance to the exit the students emotions may get the better of them and you won’t witness a good performance. Intro to bumps:

• • • • • • •

Ski the fast line slowly. Terrain choice is key. Skills to succeed, not tactics to survive. Lower edge angles will allow the ski to skid. lower edge angles make rotation easier. Ski from bridge of one bump to the bridge of the next. Side Slip >> Hockey Slides >> Pivot Slips >> Easy Bumps



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Please contact the PSIA-Rocky Mountain-AASI office in Steamboat Springs. 970-879-8335 phone 970-879-6760 fax



PSIA-RM Spring 2011  


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