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Winter 2009

President’s Message By Neil Bussiere, ASEA Western President The arrival of 2009 marks a major milestone in the history of the Western Division. After many years of sustained and fervent resisNeil Bussiere, tance I have finally decided ASEA-W President to yield to the unending outpouring of requests for an official PSIA/AASI-W version of a “Top Ten List”. And so, leveraging off the exit polling opportunities of the past elections and the spirit of uniqueness we now have your...

Top Nine PSIA/AASI-W Reasons to Slide in 2009 #9: Adventure: Experience something new around the next turn. #8: Camaraderie: Hit the slopes with friends old or new. #7: Excellence: Refine your skills or perfect your technique. #6: Leadership: Stay current with all things snow-related as a leader in your industry.

Nominations for Adaptive Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 6 Graduate from the Skid Zone . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg.9 Introducing a New Children’s Manual . . pg. 10 Understanding Senior Skiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 14

#5: Safety: Fulfill your innate obligation to keep the slopes safe. #4: Fun: Candidate for Top Reason, hold that thought... #3: Learning: Add to your bag of teaching tricks. #2: Desire: Because you want to. And the Top Reason to Slide in 2009... #1: No Reason Needed: Because you can and because it’s Fun. Disclaimer: Please observe moderation in application of list. List subject to change. All legitimate Reasons to Slide welcome for future consideration. Future modifications dependent on level of fun and number of new adventures unfolding for you. Look for evolved lists in the future. In the meantime seize the opportunity to make your own list of snowsport memories, hit the slopes, and slide with pride. Take care, Neil

Shaking the Nerves Out of Exams

Everyone gets nervous...Dan Kleiner has great suggestions on how to make your exam days successful!

See page 3.


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Board of Directors Elections Deadline for submission is January 25, 2009 PSIA/AASI West will be holding elections this spring for four spots on the Board of Directors. Qualifications: A passion

for the sport, a willingness to work hard in a cooperative



The Edge is a publication of the The Western Division of Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA-W) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI-W) covering California and Nevada. We are one of nine divisions that make up the American Snowsports Education Association (ASEA). PSIA was founded in 1961 to develop a standardized system for teaching and to unify instructors throughout the country in the disciplines of: Alpine, Nordic, Snowboarding, Adaptive, as well as Backcountry.

setting for the benefit of the membership. Attendance is required at two annual Board of Directors meetings, normally held in spring and summer. This year’s meetings are scheduled for April 23, 2009 in Mammoth and August 1-2, 2009 at our Truckee office. Guidelines for submitting your candidacy: Prospective Board members should submit a candidate statement of approximately 300

words, and an electronic photo (head shot) to our office by January 25, 2009. Statements will be printed in the Spring issue of The Edge.

Results will be announced the first week of April.

Save the date... Spring Convention 2009

Mammoth April 24, 25, 26 Check the website for information on lodging, clinics, and schedule as the season progresses.

The Edge is published three times annually. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors, and are not the policies and opinions of PSIA/AASI Western Division. For advertising submissions and information, contact our office: PSIA/AASI Western Division 9709 Highway 267, Suite B, Truckee, CA. 96161 phone (530) 587-7642 fax (530) 587-4273 For all membership inquiries, check out our website at or contact our office for additional information.

Sean Johnson and Meaghan Jones soak up the camaraderie (and sunshine) at last year’s convention. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.


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By Dan Kleiner I will always remember my first PSIA exams. The hours before the exam, I felt the nervous tension build. I would awaken in the morning to my alarm and begin to wonder, how is the weather today, and who will be my examiner? Will I be in a group with any friends from last year’s exam? I feel we all have similar thoughts and emotions before an event like this. Let’s get real! EVERYONE GETS NERVOUS! World Class competitors are nervous before an event. Nerves can heighten your awareness, or send you into darkness. The key is to understand that it is ok to feel this way. A good friend of mine once told me, “ Knowledge is Power”. We can reduce the nervousness by understanding the module format. The better prepared you are, the less nervous you will be. Let me share with you some insight on how the module works, and what you can do to prepare yourself for success. Being fully prepared before you arrive can ease your mind as in, “Failure to prepare, is preparing to fail.” The module format now allows the candidate to develop a learning partnership with the examiner. Modules offer coaching and give you the stage, to show us (examiners) your own style. Listen closely to your clinician’s critiques and try not to take it personally. The critique is meant to guide you toward improving your performance. Here are some suggestions for your training throughout the winter season: Use the module outline in the “Trainer’s And Examiner’s Manual,” as a guide for your training. It will provide a focus for the topics. Work with your local clinician to master the requirements for the demos and the teaching.

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Shaking the Nerves Out of Exams Read the manual to understand the standards required for all levels. Apply discipline when free skiing, and spend your time working toward the module, by practicing the required tasks and demos. PSIA-W has formulated a list of tasks that can be presented in a module. These tasks are designed to improve your skill base and can be used in teaching. Isolate which tasks you are good at, and the ones you are not! Everyone enjoys doing tasks well, but try to work more diligently on the tough ones. This discipline will

Everyone enjoys doing tasks well, but try to work more diligently on the tough ones. – Dan Kleiner

make the difference, come exam time. Practice your demos during the season, with your students, as they need to see a good visual. Work on your skier analysis with other candidates at your resort. There is strength in numbers, and it is more enjoyable that way. Notepads are a must! I found that making notes helped to solidify my memory. I used them continuously through full certification. Write your notes while riding the chair, before the thoughts of the moment are past. You can revise the notes, and put together a final copy, that can be reviewed during the module. I would use my notes to rehearse on the hill until I had the concept down cold. When my assignment came up in the module, I knew just what to do, and the “Knowledge is Power” concept drove out the nervousness of the moment.

Many candidates get nervous and rigid when performing demos and tasks. Watch your examiner’s demonstration and take a mental note of the shape, speed, and number of turns. Be aware of the movement patterns required for each type of demo or task in the module. If there is any confusion as to what is required, try to ask questions before you begin. Before the module, plan a trip to the designated resort, and familiarize yourself with the ski area. Knowing the terrain ahead of time will ease your mind, when you are given your module teaching assignment. When you come to the event, alleviate morning stress by preparing the night before. Check weather for the following day and plan to dress accordingly. Bring your notes, snacks, and other essentials, to cover you throughout the day. The snacks are a must, they will keep your energy level high. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the mountain, to avoid the stress of rushing to the event. Utilize all the resources you can to prepare for your module. Find a coach you believe in and trust. Check out the PSIA-W website for information about teaching, skiing tips, and manuals. You will find the standards for the modules in the examiners manual. Dedicated preparation helped me through those nervous times, and I know it will help you as well. Enjoy the journey. Dan Kleiner is a member of the PSIA West Tech Team, is Assistant Director for Alpine skiing at Snow Summit, and in his spare time is a captain for American Airlines


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By Elianne Furtney, Alpine Vice President

Tech Team Kicks Off the Season Cold snow and sunny skies welcomed the Alpine Technical Team to our first training at Mammoth November 17th and 18th. A busy two day agenda focused on bringing the group together in a consensus of both ideas and skiing movements. We were extremely fortunate to have the presence and insight of our current National Team members. Michael Rogan, Robin Barnes, Mike Hafer and Chris Fellows (recently retired from the Team) shared with us the technical focus of the recent National Team training in Colorado. Looking forward to the next Interski in St. Anton in 2011, the Team is striving to present a more unified look to American skiing, with emphasis on disciplined core

“If you are looking for this year’s ‘new’ move or buzzword, I say everything old is new again, and we are coming back to the fundamentals that have always defined good skiing.”

movements. In the last several years, as you may have noticed, there has been a tendency to ski (and teach) with more squareness of the hips in relation to the skis. If you look through any of PSIA’s written materials you will see that both historically and currently there is no official endorsement of a more squared position and that, in fact, we as an organization – Elianne Furtney have always advocated [skiing into and out of] a countered position. They say that the human race discussed and agreed upon exactly only exists in moderation as we how we interpret the National pass through the pendulum Standards when it comes to Level swing from one extreme to the 3 skiing. As Finlay Torrance, chair other, and PSIA is certainly of the National Certification Unity not immune to this tendency Project shared with us, the Westas we try to re-invent ourern Division has a reputation for selves and stay “current” with rigorously upholding the National modern technique. If you are Standards, perhaps more than othlooking for this year’s “new” ers. We feel that with the module move or buzzword, I say format and the coaching offered everything old is new again, within, we are providing a very and we are coming back to the fair but legitimate test of skill, and fundamentals that have always anyone who achieves the Level 3 defined good skiing. As we in the West should be justifiably practiced at Mammoth, mainproud to wear the gold pin! taining a countered position It can be a challenging yet fasthrough the finish of the turn cinating process to bring a group enables you to begin the new of independent thinkers into turn with a strong directional harmony but it feels like the Tech movement of both hips and Team is rowing together toward the upper body into the turn a common goal. I hope you will resulting in better control and appreciate as I do that your examshaping of the top of the new iners and clinicians are working turn. Obviously this is merely hard to bring you a consistent and an overview and I urge you to high quality experience, whether seek out a Tech Team member you are participating in an exam for clarification at your home or an educational event. Now if mountain or at one of the only it would snow… many events we are offering this year. In addition to our on-hill Mike Hafer demonstrates a countered position. Photo courtesy of activities we had a producAaron Rosen. tive indoor session where we


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By Doug Fagel, Snowboard Vice President


Tip of the Day: “Create Your Routine” Create Your Routine The ‘groove’, the ‘flow’, the ‘zone’. We all know the feeling those words describe, a feeling where your focus and concentration is so complete that you lose yourself in the activity and it becomes effortless. When standing at the top of the terrain park, I am always seeking that groove, which for me is a feeling of ‘mindlessness’ and brings my performance to an all time high. The problem is, how do I get there more often? How can I find that positive place in my mind all the time? How can I teach others how to find their happy place? We develop our muscle memory to create kinesthetic pathways in our bodies to allow us to move without having to think. So I want to create pathways in our brains so we don’t have to think. The Mind When the mind is in the right place we can set ourselves up for success. If our minds are not focused or overwhelmed with thoughts such as fear and worry, we cannot perform to the same level. When we are put in situations where we feel pressured and stressed we are even more likely to be affected by our mind in a negative way. This has happened to me many times before and caused me to wreck at the most inopportune moments.One time I pre-rotated a switch five and caught my toes as I launched off the lip of the jump; I new that my thoughts had put me in the wrong place and

my fears caused me to be impatient as I approached my take off. I luckily did not injure myself, but I did bruise my ego in front of a good number of spectators. Their Routines If we look closely at successful athletes in almost any sport, we can notice the small idiosyncrasies that are performed before they have to perform. This routine that they create for themselves is the physical and mental activity that the athlete uses to put their mind at ease. This process of doing something familiar brings the athlete to a comfortable place that they are used to. If we look at a baseball player get ready to bat, the movements that are made as they step out of the batters box are not there to prepare physically, but rather these activities are used to draw the mind into these familiar places that create focus and flow. Pre-Flight I tend to use my routine each time I roll through the park or difficult terrain. I call my routine my preflight checklist. Just like taking off in an airplane, prior to each flight we need to go through a preflight checklist to make sure that we are safe to take off. On my snowboard my preflight routine includes an equipment check, checking my bindings, a style check, checking my clothing and gloves, and a helmet check, check the head. The

next step in my preflight checklist is a check on my speed and a focus on what I need to do to set myself up for take off. I focus on the execution and block all the unneeded things out. The results feel natural; the maneuver that I desired, the landing and the set up for the next feature. “Your” Routine To create your own routine think of the three key elements such as your equipment, your style, and the technical aspect of what you want to achieve. Find a routine that is comfortable for you and use it when performing in areas that you are already comfortable. The exercise of using your routine in your comfort zone will make it more useful when you are pushing yourself to the next level. Make sure to use this physical and mental activity right before you drop in to a feature. If you get distracted, make a quick pause and run through it again. This will keep your mind focused and help you stay in the flow. Your routine will allow you to put yourself in the same mental state, no matter what task is at hand. This will help to suppress fear, clear your mind and set yourself up for success. So clear your mind with your routine and start making steps towards the next level.

Douglas R. Fagel. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.


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By Brent Kuemmerle

Skiing? Snowboarding? Adaptive!

Brent Kuemmerle assists Travis Thiele with the Sno-wing. Photo courtesy of Glen T. Smith.

If you’ve been on the snow for any amount of time, you’ve certainly seen disabled people getting down the hill with all sorts of equipment. In the past we called it skiing. Even those sit down devices with one plank are called skis…..You might think disabled people aren’t interested in snowboarding? You’d be wrong. There are far more disabled people who want the same thing we all want; the thrill, the exhilaration that comes from moving down a hill: THE PERFECT TURN. Adaptive skiing has been around for 40+ years. Most adaptive ski instructors have had to teach snowboard lessons strictly because the need is there, but the instructors aren’t. The fact is everyone can help no matter how they get down the mountain. “I don’t know how to teach skiing!” you might say. Adaptive ski instructors have been saying the same thing about snowboard-

ing for years. Don’t worry; the big three are the same across all disciplines: SAFETY, FUN, and LEARNING. Teaching adaptive is sweet because there’s no guarantee you’ll be teaching to the same piece of equipment you’re riding on. You’ll be giving the same lesson to a sit down “skier” that a stand up ski instructor would. It’s all a matter of knowing about the different disabilities and what adaptive equipment can help your students get down the slope. We in the Adaptive discipline have the same reasons for teaching as any other instructor. Seeing someone’s face light up when they make that first turn is amazing regardless of what piece of equipment they are on. Providing an opportunity to someone who has to try a little harder to make things happen is all the more rewarding. Check out the Adaptive schedule and get involved!

Nominations For Adaptive Committee The Adaptive Committee meets several times each year, plans education and certification programs, and makes decisions guiding the PSIA-W Adaptive programs. Nominees must be members in good standing with an Adaptive Certification. There will be an election ballot in the Spring Edge. Three positions will be open and members will serve for three years. Nominations will be closed February 1st. Current Members of the Adaptive Committee and term end date: Bill Bowness 2009

Brent Kuemmerle 2009

Lynne Haile2009 2009 LynneHaile

Josh Spoelstra 2010

Ralph Aros 2010

Robin Conners 2010

Peter Axelson 2011

Karey Kusuhara 2011

Glen Smith 2011

Alternates: Dan Stormer, Travis Thiele, Donna Boyd, W. C. Fields, I Nominate:

It’s important to participate in determining who will be making decisions that affect you. Please complete the Adaptive Committee Nomination form and fax to PSIA-W at (530) 587-4273. Or mail to: 9709 Hwy. 267 Truckee, CA 96161.

Don’t delay, send in your nomination today!


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By Brent Kuemmerle

Adaptive (cont’d)

There are far more disabled people who want the same thing we all want; the thrill, the exhilaration that comes from moving down a hill: THE PERFECT TURN. – Brent Kuemmerle We’ve got “Welcome to Adaptive” clinics throughout the winter and a full certification path for skiers and snowboarders. Got someone who rips? Send ‘em down the road to the USASA which is the next step to the Paralympics. Brent Kuemmerle is certified Level 3 Adaptive and Level 2 AASI. He is also a below the knee amputee who thinks that snowboarding is the sweetest way to get down the hill. Although, those sit down contraptions are pretty fun too.

Feeling Creative? WIN A FREE DAY OF CLINICS AT SPRING CONVENTION 2009! This year Steve Evenson and the Convention Committee will be reviewing suggestions for the slogan that will be used on spring convention 2009 t-shirts and hats. If you have a crafty suggestion, put it in writing and email to: weavens@aol. com. Please include your contact details. The Winner will be announced on January 15, 2009. All entries must be received by January 10, 2009. Good Luck!

Contact for more information!

Brent Kuemmerle assists Travis Thiele with tip connector and reigns. Photo courtesy of Glen T. Smith.

NASTC is the only advanced ski school of its kind, developed by Chris and Jenny Fellows in 1994. With a staff of PSIA National and Regional Demo Team members, NASTC has been helping skiers break through their plateaus and make lasting improvement in their skiing for over fourteen years.

Join NASTC for an Unforgettable Ski Training Adventure! Grand Targhee, WY., Catskiing & Powder Adventure, Jan 31-Feb 4 Enjoy some of the best cat-skiing in the country. Backcountry Overnight Adventure to Lost Trail Lodge, February 4-5 Spend the night in the beautiful Lost Trail Lodge. AIARE Certified Avalanche Level I, February 7-9 AIARE Certified Avalanche Level II, February 20-23 Steep and Deep at Silverton Mountain, CO., March 4-9 Ski some of the best big mountain skiing south of Alaska. Introduction to Backcountry Skiing, May 3 Backcountry safety, route finding and touring techniques. Mt. Shasta Summit and Ski, May 30- June 1 Summit Mt. Shasta and then ski 5,000 ft back to basecamp.

For more information go to or contact NASTC at 530.582.4772


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Nordic Notes

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By Aaron Pearlman

Telemark Stance...Are you New or Old School? Many Tele skiers on the hill today have been at it since leather boots, 3-pin bindings and long, skinny skis were the norm. A low, compact stance was used with this gear and the skier’s legs tended to be hyper-flexed knee to the ski. For the sake of argument, let’s use the term ‘Old School.’ With the changes in modern telemark ski gear come change in the stance we use to maximize balance and efficiency. Modern plastic boots, tight bindings and shaped skis allow us to achieve a taller stance with the skier’s legs more extended. The Old School telemark technique can be recognized by the angle of the rear femur in a telemark stance. The rear femur is more vertical in nature with the knee under the hip (photo 1).

The New School telemark stance is taller with the rear femur pointing more forward out of the hip, not vertical. The front-back lead change is reduced and feet are closer together (photo 2).

If you don’t believe me, test how long you can stand tall versus sitting in an imaginary chair with your legs bent 90 degrees at the knees and your back pushed against a wall. In a telemark

New School (Forward Pointing Femur, Reduced Lead Change, Tall Stance. Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Houston.

With this modern stance, the skier is able to balance more effectively on the rear foot because the foot is more under the body than behind it. The taller New School stance is better for absorbing terrain. Quick, snappy turns are possible from this position. Old School (Vertical Femur, Large Lead Change). Photo courtesy of Mary One of the Ellen Houston. goals in skiing is to reduce muscle fatigue so that Old School telemark is also you can ski top to bottom all recognized by longer front-back day long and still disco into the lead change. In this position, it is night. A great way to do this is to challenging to effectively balance support your body’s weight with on the back foot because the foot your skeleton rather than with is not under the body, but behind muscular tension. If you stand it. The skier’s ability to absorb tall, your skeleton is properly terrain is limited by virtue of the stacked to hold you upright with low stance. Also, this Old School little strength. If you are flexed stance is conducive to only a melow, your muscles are tensed and dium or long radius turn shape, as balance is achieved by strength. short turns are compromised.

stance, the only way to accomplish this skeletal alignment is to have a forward pointing angle with both femurs. Most importantly the rear leg (photo 2). So, next time you are out on the hill, pay attention to your rear femur. Is it vertical or is it properly pointing forward from the hip? If you learn to ski taller with both femurs pointing forward, you will have better balance over both feet, you will have more room for absorbing terrain and you may find yourself ripping off a bunch of short turns just for fun. So, keep up with the times and equipment and try some New School Telemark turns. Aaron Pearlman is a Level 3 Telemark Instructor, PSIA-W Advanced Educator, and Nordic Demo Team Candidate.


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By Glen Smith Many advanced skiers still have a slight flat steering of the skis in their advanced turns. If you watch these skiers, they may have a very smooth appearing turn, with effective edge engagement through most of the turn. However, there is still a portion of the turn initiation where the skis are flat and there is steering rather than a pure edge to edge movement. This steered turn initiation is usually accompanied by several characteristics. Characteristics of the steered turn initiation Mental expectation – The skier has an expectation that there will be a steering of the skis at initiation. This is understandable, since it is valid to steer the skis in the first parallel turns. We all teach leg steering to our students at this level. Simultaneous edge change and steering of both skis is the next logical step after the advanced wedge christie turn. But as an advanced skier, the edge to edge turn should also be possible without the flat ski steering. Slight body rotation – There is often a slight upper body or hip rotation move to help the rotary movement get started. This movement can be very smooth and practiced, and may be difficult to detect. It may be as small as a subtle hand or arm movement associated with the pole plant. Hips to the outside – The skier may move the hips from an effective angulated and countered position in the previous turn to a tall and forward position, but then pause with the hips over the skis or slightly to the outside of the new turn. This position facilitates keeping the skis flat for an instant longer, and allows the skis to skid and steer.

Graduate from the Skid Zone

In the skidded turn initiation, the skis can be observed skidding in an arc at initiation.

Characteristics of the Carved turn initiation Mental expectation – The skier has an expectation that the skis will tilt from edge to edge without a flat steered phase. Lateral movement – There is no rotary component of the movement from one set of edges to the other. The upper body, hips, shoulders and arms are properly countered at the end of the previous turn, and move across the skis without rotating. Hips move across – The hips move smoothly across the skis without pausing. The movement is more of a continuation of movement down the hill.

ski straight during the instant that it is flat, and add no rotary. The skis should leave clean carve marks in the snow with a short section of flat ski that shows no evidence of skidding. Static edge to edge – On a medium to steep slope, stand with skis across the slope and supported by the poles, try to switch from the uphill edges to the downhill edges without slipping. This move requires that the hips move smoothly from above to below the position of the skis. If the hips pause, the skis will slip when they are flat. Cross under turns – On a medium steep slope, try to make high

In the carved, edge to edge turn initiation, the skis are flat for a very short time, and tip cleanly to the new edges with no skidding.

Exercises to encourage edge to edge turns Railroad track turns – On a gentle slope, roll the skis from one set of edges to the other allowing the skis to carve arcs in the snow with no skidding. Try to keep the

energy short to medium turns with lots of action of the ski in the end of the turn. The ski should accelerate or jet into the new turn. This contributes to a quick edge change, and encourages an edge to edge turn without steering the skis. (cont’d on pg. 10)


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By Greg Lyons, Children’s Committee Chairperson

PSIA/AASI Releases New Children’s Manual My four year old loves to sing the phrase “You’re never fully dressed without a Smile!” National has done a great job compiling and updating the Children’s


ion, pu ond edit


Instruction Manual, and this book will help you bring more smiles to your lessons. Whether you are just starting your journey in snowsports instruction, or are a seasoned veteran, this book can help you. The Children’s Instruction Manual provides building blocks for teaching. It contains in depth discussions about how children learn, including the four learning styles, Piaget’s Stages of Development, eight categories of Multiple Intelligences, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, class handling, behavior management and teaching with creativity. Also covered are student, instructor and parent behaviors. There is plenty of information for each discipline: Alpine, Snowboard, Adaptive and Nordic. Each discipline has a beginner, intermediate and advanced

section that contains multiple exercises followed up with age specific tips. For a new instructor you will be given a good outline to follow and for the experienced instructor you can try new exercises or modify ones you already use. There is also extensive section on lesson safety. Read the book. Use the tools the book highlights. Smiling is contagious. As successful students smile more often, you will too! Greg Lyons Children’s Committee BOD The Children’s Instruction Manual, second edition can be ordered online through the National website,, or from our Western Division office for $24.95 plus shipping.


fall 200

Graduate from the Skid Zone (cont’d)

By Glen Smith

(cont’d from pg. 9) Tuck turns – Assume the position of a racer in a tuck. Lock the poles under the arms and against the hips. Try to keep the hands and triangle formed by the poles pointing straight down the hill. This reduces or eliminates any upper body rotation and encourages movements of the ankles and knees to change the edges. Glen Smith is a Level 3 Alpine and Level 2 Adaptive instructor at Heavenly.

Practice these moves, and try them on your advanced students. Observe the tracks in the snow, and watch the movements that explain what the skis are doing in the snow. Let’s get the most out of the skis we are riding and help our students graduate from the skid zone to the carve zone. – Glen Smith


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Education Foundation

By Greg Lyons and Aaron Rosen

Ed Foundation Golf Tournaments Help the Foundation & Build Camaraderie It was a warm 92 degree spring day in mid-May, at Genoa Lakes, NV. The 17th green had a New 2008 Newport Blue Subaru Tribeca placed right next to the tee box. Tournament participant Mark Brown was thrilled. He stated “I have never had one golf swing that provided a chance to win a Brand New Car�. Thank you Zak Salah at South Shore Motors, the car added a heart pounding dimension to the game. Forty-seven players participated and $2,200 was raised as a donation to the PSIA/AASI West Education Foundation. Raffle prizes included rounds of golf, foot beds, alignments, tunes, clothing, watches, and so much more all to be given away. Over 40 raffle prizes in all were donated. Thank you to all who donated and all players who participated! Aaron Rosen, John Darby, Mike Hafer and Pete Smith won with a score of 13 under. They

took home the plaque created and donated by Bob Haas and Steve Scott, last year’s winners. The plaque will be displayed at Northstar this summer in the Pro Shop and in the Ski & Snowboard School this upcoming winter. A 340 yard drive by Adam Turner won the longest drive contest on the 15th hole. Closest to the pin was won by Frank Deras on the 17th hole. He did make the putt for birdie! Unfortunately, no one won the Subaru, this time anyways. Please join us for the Third Annual Golf Fund Raiser in October 2009, course and exact date TBA. Mulligans, hand wedges, foot wedges all are welcome...for a donation! A raffle and

The top foursome enjoys the spring weather at Genoa Lakes. John Darby, Pete Smith, Mike Hafer and Aaron Rosen.

putting contest round out a relaxing, rewarding event!

Thanks for supporting the Education Foundation Tournament!


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Certification Offered in Cooperation With AMGA

At their October meeting, the ASEA National Board affirmed their partnership with the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) to provide certification programs that are recognized by our Association. According to Western National Rep Craig Albright, the AMGA is working on a special certification tailored to PSIA Level 3 instructors. “The ‘Out of Bounds’ certification is designed for instructors to learn skills for guiding out of bounds tours accessible from ski resorts.� The certification will be recognized on your PSIA/AASI card, pending approval by the individual division. The courses are organized and administered by AMGA. For information on these offerings, check the AMGA website,

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Member Schools Management By Ken Mattson, Committee Chairperson This Fall’s Member School’s Managers meeting took place at Mammoth Mountain in November. The meeting was well attended, and school representatives from Mt. Baldy to Mt. Shasta, Dodge Ridge to Bear Valley enjoyed an update from the attending Board of Directors members. Highlights included Publicity Chair Heidi Ettlinger reporting on extensive off season

work that has been done updating study guides, certification and training manuals that will benefit both Snow sports school managers as well as the membership. Heidi demo’d some cool new give-aways for the general membership. PSIA/AASI received extensive feedback on many topics during the meeting, ranging from risk management issues to the current

economic climate. One common thread was the fact that most schools were having no problem finding new hires. This comes as great news considering the issues that we all have been facing regarding Visas for foreign instructors. On a personal note, to all of you who did not get to visit us for this winter season, you will be missed. That said, I look forward to meeting all the new members we will be recruiting from the USA. After the morning meeting and lunch, the attendees enjoyed an afternoon of sliding. The conditions at Mammoth were great for early season, and we were skiing and riding from the top of the mountain. A special thanks to Mammoth Mountain for hosting this event. Your school managers left Mammoth pumped and ready for the upcoming season and are ready to “Aspire to Inspire” Enjoy your season.

Representatives of 24 snowsports schools gathered for the November Member School Management meeting in Mammoth.

Ken Mattson Member Schools Management Committee Chair

Events Online For a complete list of PSIA/AASI educational events and exams, check our website, You can view the calendar, download signup forms, or even sign up for most events on-line.


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Jeb Scicluna

PSIA National Academy 2008

Snowbird, Utah – Mike and Mariam Sodergren Scholarship Recipient Panoramic mountain views, 3,240 feet of vertical, pinnacle instruction, terrain challenges, and noticeable skiing improvement. If this is your idea of a good time, throw in loads of smiles and cheer, radiant energy, comfortable lodging, delicious meals, fun socializing…and you have the PSIA National Academy. My name is Jeb Scicluna. As the Sodergren Scholarship recipient, I was very privileged to take part in the 2008 National Academy hosted by Snowbird in Utah. I’ve spent 99% of the past 18 years snowboarding. In my occasional ski lessons, I had to fall back on what I first learned at age 9 and from a ski clinic here and there over the past decade. This past year I decided to make the sacrifice of some snowboard time and re-embrace skiing. What perfect timing, as I train for my level 2 and 3 ski/teach modules, to attend Academy. The people there, who had come from various parts of the globe, took me in to join their world of fun, learning, professionalism, and athleticism. They really went out of their way to make the lone samurai of the wild lands of the West feel welcome and at home in a new environment. I was totally stoked. Snowbird is truly an incredible mountain within the WasatchCache National Forest, and pretty easy to get to from here. A direct flight from Reno to Salt Lake, a short commute through the deep Little Cottonwood Canyon and I arrived at the Cliff Lodge, a beautiful upscale hotel, right at the base of the mountain with remarkable architectural design. The food was great, also. It was an unforgettable experience to meet instructors, trainers and team representatives from around the globe including USSA Ski Team member Steven Nyman and giant slalom U.S.

Olympic Gold Medalist Deb Armstrong. Canada, Britain, Australia, Argentina, and New Zealand gave presentations and shared a taste of their country’s teaching system. Each day we took a class on vital topics such as carving, powder/ crud, steeps/bumps, boot fitting, stance/balance/movement, video session, movement analysis, children, backcountry/avalanche, and park & pipe, or just skied with an International Demo Team member. Jeb, second from left, with some new Academy friends. Photo The coaching was top notch. used with permission from Kate Howe. Of the numerous professional clinicians - all worth mentioning, training for Demo Team tryouts or I’ll give recognition for his high a certification, to attend the Naenergy and inspiring coaching tional Academy or the Rider Rally to my group leader Jim Schanto meet fun people of common zenbaker, National Demo Team interests and share the excitemember and National Powder 8 ment of skiing or snowboarding. Champion out of Aspen CO. Our Most importantly, Thank You, to groups were created based on our those who have contributed to personal ability, goals, terrain, the Sodergren Scholarship fund in and pace desired. memory of two World Class Ski Now as a snowboarder, it Instructors of Thredbo Australia, was neat to actually ski for 5 days Northstar, and Alpine Meadows straight - crossing over the fearCalifornia, Mike and Mariam less determination and stamina Sodergren. God bless their family from snowboarding to be able and friends. to attack the mountain of steep pitches off and on piste. Yet I’m no traitor. Just in case there was a day of fresh Utah snow, I snuck my snowboard and bindings into my wheelie locker. Yes, the morning of departure just before my flight, 9am in transport to 11,000 feet elevation, STEEP and semi DEEP, I was able to spoon through 1 to 2 feet of fresh powder using one of the vehicles that – Jeb Scicluna floats best. No horn, just a voice of hootin and hollerin through exciting mountain playground descent. So it is my Ski Teaching in Spanish or Portuguese encouragement to Handbooks with side-by-side translations for children/adults everyone out there Audio Tapes or CDs with Text in our talented diviEnor Martinez sion whether need3508 Virginia W ay (email) Salt Lake City, Utah 84109 (801) 466-9039 ing a vacation, some

“It was an unforgettable experience to meet instructors, trainers and team representatives from around the globe...”


e d g e • Winter 2009

Understanding Senior Skiers

Page 14

By Peggy Connor

Effectively Reaching and Teaching the Senior Skier (“The Reach and Teach Method”) Part Two of a Four Part Series So you’ve got your senior certification pin. What do you do now? Here are three principles to follow that will get you started, which will give you a guideline to go by if you want to really make a positive impact on your students, as well as set a good example for your colleagues. 1. Define Find out what your student really wants out of the lesson. Although this might sound easy, it can be quite a challenge. Frequently, the student doesn’t know what he/she wants or needs, so you are left with the responsibility. 2. Evaluate Compare what your student wants out of the lesson to what you think your student is capable of. In “Girls just want other words, you to have fun.” It define the real doesn’t matter if need. This rethey are 6 or 60. quires experience and skill. You literally have to watch the skier move, while he/she is sitting down, moving to a standing from a seated position. Watch him/her walk, ski and carry equipment. Then, after evaluating the skier physically, emotionally and mentally, it is your charge to determine if the goal is reasonable. 3. Work Work on making sure your senior students understand contemporary movement mechanics. You can easily spend an entire day doing this … for some … an entire week of privates may be necessary. I personally have been working on this for most of my life, and still haven’t quite mastered it.

Here are some ideas on how to break these three objectives down into a step by step process. Define the true need set of your skier. Find out what your skier really wants out of the lesson, and then, give him/her what he/she needs. I am constantly amazed by the answers I get from folks after spending a few minutes interviewing them. Many times, they don’t come to ski, they came for other reasons … social outlet being the main one. But you really need to know why the skier is here before you move forward. I will never forget one female student, over 65 years of age, who showed up one day to “learn how to ski.” She had never been on a mountain and had come from a background that did not permit spending hard earned money on “engaging in frivolous activities.” A widow, she just wanted to have some fun and conquer her fear of sliding down a hill made out of snow and ice. For her, it was a self esteem exercise. And you know what they say about women … “Girls just want to have fun.” It doesn’t matter if they are 6 or 60. We spent the entire day doing just that. And she did a lot more than just “slide down an icy hill”. She told me later that it was one of the best days of her life. And that is why I do what I do. Evaluate Before you do anything, check the equipment. Then, check the equipment. And then of course be


e d g e • Winter 2009

Page 15

Understanding Senior Skiers (cont’d) sure to check the equipment. Get my point. Moreover, be sure to check the clothing and the “accessories” that your skier is wearing. If you have to, go rent some good equipment. And if you need to, leave behind some of those “lovely” accessories that will only cause problems. Do what it takes. It all adds up. Just make sure your skier is on the right equipment and in the right garb before you even begin movements. Sunscreen needs to be a part of that check list too. “Equipment designed to improve stability is also shown to facilitate a decrease in the integral of drag.”1 Now that you have the right equipment and have SLATHERED sunscreen all over your face as well as the face of your student, educate your senior skier. Yes, skiing has changed over the years, and yes, you are going to be up against a lot of resistance if your student has any kind of a history using old styles. Patience is the key word here. And tenacity. Was it Churchill who said “Never, ever, ever give up.”

There are some excellent fundamental concepts found in “Handbook for Teaching Seniors” found at the website. You can build on those. (http:// SENIORS.pdf) “Furthermore, contemporary skiing tends to include rounder turns because the contemporary equipment is designed to carve rather than skid.” (Handbook for Teaching Seniors, p.23) Examine your student’s expectations. Are they realistic? “The decisions people make as they age are influenced not only by past and current circumstances, but also by what they expect to happen in the future,” according to Growing Older in America: The Health & Retirement Study. Sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. And look for signs of potential problems. Look for things that are obvious. Obesity appears to have an independent effect on the onset of impairment in strength,

lower body mobility, and activities of daily living (Jenkins 2004). Explore your student’s future expectations. Initial analysis of this will determine your strategy for communicating effectively with your special student. Simply put, it is up to you to determine if the student in front of you can actually achieve the goals you set for yourselves when the lesson begins. Make them realistic. Simply pu…you have to “reach ‘em to teach ‘em.” And be sure to seal each lesson with a KISS. That’s righ…remember to always “keep it simple...” Footnote: Sports Engineering, Volume 4 Issue 2 Page 103-112, May 2001, To cite this article: B. E. Thompson, W. A. Friess, K. N. Knapp II (2001) Aerodynamics of speed skiers Sports Engineering 4 (2), 103–112 doi:10.1046/j.14602687.2001.00072.x. 1

Online Resource for Senior Programs Developed By Ted Pitcher P. J. Jones and Cookie Hale have launched a national Senior website so all PSIA/AASI divisions and members can share information to help develop Senior programs. Hopefully this site will grow into a major source of shared information, manuals and educational materials. Logon and watch open at

Fun stuff coming up on the Senior Calendar and website. Don’t forget to check the PSIA-W calendar and website for Senior Education and Accreditation clinics in Big Bear, Mammoth and Tahoe. All senior events count as educational credit.

PSIA W Ski Education Foundation

PSIA - Western Division – AASI 9709 Hwy. 267, Truckee, CA 96161 (530) 587-7642, Fax: (530) 587-4273 Email: Website: ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

PSIA-W/AASI-W Board of Directors & Officers 2008-09 Officers: President Executive Vice President Alpine VP Snowboard VP Nat’l PSIA Representative Past President

Neil Bussiere Carl Underkoffler Elianne Furtney Doug Fagel Craig Albright Dave Achey

Directors: Craig Albright (11), Neil Bussiere (11), Heidi Ettlinger (11), Steve Evenson (09), Elianne Furtney (09), Chris Fellows (09), Leigh Pierini (11), Greg Lyons (10), Ken Mattson (10), Ted Pitcher (09), Finlay Torrance (10), Carl Underkoffler (10). Nordic Chairperson: John “Cedar” Seeger Adaptive Chairperson: Glen Smith

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#5: Safety: Fulfill your innate obligation to keep the slopes safe. #4: Fun: Candidate for Top Reason, hold that thought... #3: Learning: Ad...