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Winter 2010

Western Division to Modify By-Laws Your Western Division Board of Directors is recommending a revision of our By-Laws, with the intent of simplifying our operations, and providing members a consistent experience when dealing with the Association. This is certainly a by-product of the Association Management software project; the recognition by our Board of the need to standardize our business practices to better align with the National office and the eight other divisions of PSIA/AASI across the US. In April 2010, at our Annual Membership meeting, members will be asked to vote on the new By-Laws. Of special significance to members are the changes to categories of membership. The following dues categories have been eliminated from the proposed By-Laws: • APPRENTICE • INACTIVE • SPECIAL INACTIVE • STUDENT If approved, the Western Division categories of membership will be as follows: REGISTERED: $85 Annual Dues [Includes $35 to Division & $50 National] For new members working toward Level I certification. Affiliation with a snowsports school not required. Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 yrs. old. Requirements for Continuing EducaDeadlines & tion: None Updates . . . . . . . . . . pg. 2 Benefits: You receive divisional and national benefits, and can take education Keep Them and Level I Certification events in any of Coming Back . . pgs. 6-7 the nine PSIA/AASI divisions. A Tribute to CERTIFIED: $85 Annual Dues [InNic Fiore . . . . . . . pgs. 8-9 cludes $35 to Division and $50 National] Education Foundation Golf Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 16 yrs old & certified Level 1-3. Affiliation Tournament . . . . . pg. 14 with a snowsports school NOT required. Back to Basics . . . . pg.15

Requirements: You are required to meet the education policies of Western Division, one (1) educational event every year or two (2) educational events every 2 years. Education requirements are mandatory for maintaining your certification Eligibility for further certification events: Level II (must be 18 yrs. old & employed at snowsport school) Level III (must be 18 yrs. old & employed at snowsport school) Benefits: You receive divisional and national benefits, and can take education and Certification events in any of the nine PSIA/AASI divisions. See Member Benefits. ALUMNI: $50 Annual Dues (proposed) For instructors who are not actively employed at a snowsport school, but wish to stay connected with the Association, want to take education events and receive publications from the Western Division and the National office. Eligibility: All members are eligible for this class of membership. Alumni members are not considered ‘certified’, however they may reinstate their certification at any time by following Division procedures. Requirements: No education requirements. Benefits: You continue to receive divisional and National publications. You are NOT eligible for certification based benefits such as Pro Form. (cont’d on pg.2)

Running for Board of Directors? Deadline for submitting your candidate statement is Jan. 25, 2010. See page 2 for details.


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Modifying By-Laws (cont’d) (cont’d from pg. 1)


1) What are the reasons for these changes? Answer: Efficiency and consistency. As with Western Division, each of the nine Divisions had invented their own dues categories. It is unworkable to ask the new AMS to manage 20 plus different classes of membership. These changes will provide a less confusing experience for members and simplify administration by our offices.



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. 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.

2) What happened to the student discount? Answer: The Board evaluated the value of this discount to the entire membership. Our membership is composed of many different sub-groups for example: seniors, volunteers, part-time instructors, students, military, etc. To single out a single group as deserving a discount did not seem to be in the best interest of the entire membership. Western Division has striven to keep our dues rates low. In fact, the $35 /yr. dues that we charge is on the low end for all Divisions. We feel that members have the opportunity to receive great value for their membership with promotional offers, discounts, and publications. 3) What happened to the Inactive membership categories? Answer: With the goal of aligning our membership categories with other Divisions, we will eliminate this category. We believe that all of our members who were previously Inactive or Special Inactive can find a comfortable home in one of our other categories. 4) I am not currently Instructing, but desire to keep my certification alive. How do I do this? Answer: You can retain your certification by staying an Certified/ Active member and keeping your education credits up to date. You do not have to be currently working to be Active. 5) Do I get the same benefits as before? Answer: All Certified/Active Instructors receive their National and Divisional benefits, whether they are currently instructing or not. The only possible difference is discounts offered by resorts. As you can view on our website,, some resorts require a ‘letter confirming employment’ to issue the PSIA/AASI discount. These discounts are entirely at the discretion of the individual resort.

6) I am a certified instructor who wants to keep my certification. I have moved to Arizona and no longer work in the snowsports industry. I do not have the time or ability to keep my education credits up to date. What do I do? Answer: You have two choices. • You can keep your membership and let your certification lapse. You will receive benefits appropriate to a Registered (not certified) member. When you are able to take education again, you can “reinstate” at your previous certification level, per our reinstatement policies. • You can let your certification lapse and become an Alumni member. Alumni members can easily reinstate their certification simply by getting up to date with their education requirement.

We hope that you appreciate the need for these changes and will help us by voting at our annual membership meeting April 17, 2010.

Upcoming Deadlines Running for Board of Directors? Please submit a candidate statement of approximately 300 words or less (Word doc preferred) and a photograph (jpeg or eps). Submit to Deadline for submitting your candidate statement is Jan. 25, 2010. Feb. 1, 2010 is the deadline for: • Scholarships- Visit php to view criteria and to download a Sodergren or Education Foundation scholarship application. • Signing up for an In House certification event • Requesting a Traveling clinic


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By Neil Bussiere, President

President’s Message

Making Tracks The new year is a time for resolutions and my own personal resolution for 2010 is to make sure I carve out enough time to get out and meet as many members (and future members) as possible. Over the years I have been fortunate to meet a broad spectrum of the membership and have come to appreciate the base of talent we have around us. Each time we participate in an event, clinic, or exam we are each afforded another opportunity to partake of that talent. We all learn by seeing, listening, and doing and what better chance than time with your peers. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn from these

experiences and make tracks for your next PSIA/AASI event. Also, with the holidays behind us and winter now in full swing, consider seeking out fellow members of your own snowsports school for informal clinics and even some free skiing and riding time. Get to know the new hires, or even the seasoned veterans who set the bar. Mix up your daily routine and mix in some interactive learning with those around you. Remember the best teachers are constant learners. Whether in a sanctioned event or informal clinic make time for making tracks with

your fellow instructors and you’ll find lasting tracks of knowledge materialize behind you. And be proud of those tracks …They will show someone else the way forward.

Neil Bussiere, PSIA/AASI-W President

Follow my lead, Neil

We all learn by seeing, listening, and doing and what better chance than time with your peers.

New Services to be Offered by National Web Portal If all goes well, by the time you read this article, the National web portal will be offering a one-stop shopping location for all of your PSIA/AASI business. Simply by logging in to, you will be able to renew your dues, shop the accessories catalog, access pro-deals, and sign up for events in your own, and even outside your Division, all on one website. Experienced members will know that currently ‘doing business’ with this Association can mean navigating back and forth between the National website, and Division sites, such as our Western Division site, www. While we are proud of our website, we know that this can be confusing, and that members will benefit from a “one-stop shopping” approach that will ideally provide you with a seamless member experience. These services are but one component of the PSIA/AASI Association Management software launch. Imple-

mentation of this project has been a massive undertaking of resources and effort in our Division and Nationally. While the technical/software component has provided some difficulties, the real challenge has been identifying and molding the business practices of the nine PSIA/AASI Divisions (and the National office) into one logical business model that a computer can understand. We know that some members have experienced inconvenience and have had questions about their member cards and certification records.

We thank you for your cooperation and patience, and look forward to being able to help our members. Mitch Dion, Administrative Director

Accessing Your Records Log in: Here’s how: To access your member records, order PSIA/AASI accessories, view Pro Form deals, and renew your dues online, go to and click on ‘Members Login’. Use your National ID # for both the login ID and password. Email: Never say never: One of the options you have when editing your PSIA/AASI records is the ability to ‘opt out’ of email communications. Just be aware, if you select this, you WILL NOT receive email event confirmations with event times, meeting places, etc, dues reminders, and other important messages you might be expecting from us.


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By Elianne Furtney, Alpine Vice President

The Swinging Pendulum, Alpine Tech Team, Mammoth Mountain - November 18-19, 2009 Over the last decade or so our profession has undergone a major paradigm shift in response to advances in ski design. Exaggerated sidecut “shaped” skis offered even intermediate skiers a taste of carving, formerly the sole domain of racers and instructor-level skiers. With the widespread acceptance of fat skis, powder skiing, the last true expert frontier became accessible to all with only minimal adjustments in technique. Our American Teaching System has always been student-centered, so as our students grew accustomed to the immediate gratification allowed by their equipment our lessons also adapted to give fast results. No longer does it require years of dedication and skill-building to enjoy expert terrain. As a result we frequently skip much of the technical education we used to share with the committed skier. Has the pendulum yet again swung too far? The Tech Team is concerned that instructors may be losing an important language

- that of turn mechanics, physics and biomechanics. More importantly, if we understand how skis work and the body movements and outside forces which affect them, it allows us to be specific and accurate in our teaching. We can then provide the most rewarding lesson experience possible and the quickest results! This fall the Alpine Tech Team convened in Mammoth for two awesome days of training with our local National Demonstration Team members. Michael Rogan, Doug Pierini, Robin Barnes and Mike Hafer provided insights from their most recent National Team training and great on-snow coaching. On the afternoon of the first day we adjourned to Whiskey Creek for happy hour and video review, courtesy of Sean Warman, who also gave us a sneak peek of his latest video offering, featuring some exciting footage from Chile. Aaron Rosen was on hand with still photos from the day so we

could analyze our turns frame by frame (good thing there was beer on hand!) As for the latest from National… good skiing is still good skiing! Following their example, we kept our focus on maintaining a strong inside half and countered position through the shaping and finish phases of the turn so as to initiate the new turn strongly balanced over the new outside ski. As you have no doubt experienced, gravity and centrifugal “force” conspire to pull the center of mass down and out as the turn progresses. Also our body naturally wants align and so the hips tend to become square with the upper body through the turn. Having a strong core and fighting to keep the inside shoulder, hand and hip slightly ahead of the outside help keep things from collapsing. To enter the new turn cleanly, we use friction of the wide (cont’d on pg. 5)

PSIA National Demo Team member Michael Rogan shows the strong inside half and countered position. Photos courtesy of Aaron Rosen.


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By Elianne Furtney

Alpine (cont’d)

Mike Hafer, also from the National D-Team, uses the countered position to set up for a strong movement into the new turn. Photos courtesy of Aaron Rosen. (cont’d from pg. 4) shovel of the ski against the snow to pull us into a clean initiation. In order to do this it is essential to re-center the hips, striving for a relatively vertical position of the femur as you exit one turn and enter the next. If this seems overly complicated, remember this sort of description is part of instructor dialogue and not necessary when teaching the public (although some physicist or engineer types might enjoy it). Remember, it is true understanding which allows us to make the complex seem simple. Our indoor discussions centered on the value of good technical knowledge as a tool both for teaching and self-coaching and the need for a renaissance of technical understanding and

discussion between instructors. We all agreed that the goal is not to become jargon-spewing elitists but rather to better know what the ski is doing in the snow at any given time and why, in order to complement the “how” we teach every day. On the other hand, if you are planning on attending an exam this season, you may want to do some reading, as we will be examining technical knowledge a bit more in follow-up to teaching presentations. In an effort to aid you in your quest for knowledge, Heidi Ettlinger, Publicity and Advisory chairperson for PSIA-W has been tirelessly gathering and creating educational resources which will soon be available for free on the PSIA-W website.

As always, for more information, don’t hesitate to ask a Tech Teamer near you. In the meantime, pray for snow, check out the calendar and register early for an event near you! Elianne Furtney

We all agreed that the goal is not to become jargonspewing elitists but rather to better know what the ski is doing in the snow at any given time and why, in order to complement the “how” we teach every day.

Two websites? As a member, you will regularly use both of the websites listed below. The National office is located in Lakewood, CO and is the central administrative office for PSIA and AASI. The Western Division, Truckee, CA., covering California and Nevada, publishes this magazine, and is responsible for putting on certification and education events in our area. Western Division website: • Join as a new member • Learn about our calendar of certification and education events

• View types and benefits of membership • Learn about the path to certification in Western Division, including exam and education materials • • • •

National website: Log in using your National ID # and access your membership and certification history and renew your membership online Access promotional offers on ski gear and accessories, Subaru, and other suppliers Order manuals and accessories Register for our certification and education events


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By David Voda

Keep Them Coming Back The girl in the pink sweater was sitting in the middle of the bunny slope, snowboard bound to her feet, crying. Over the course of the morning, I had watched the whole drama unfold: She had obviously never been on a board before. Her boyfriend (an experienced rider) was trying to teach her. But the lesson had consisted mostly of the girl falling down, and the guy standing nearby screaming at her to get up. Now cold, wet and bruised, the girl in the pink sweater had had enough. Ignoring her impatient boyfriend, she unleashed herself from the object of her torture and started hobbling down the hill towards the lodge. “Snowboarding sucks!” she yelled, loud enough to be heard from the chairlift overhead. And that is what she would be blogging to all her friends before the day was out. Snowboarding Needs Beginners Unfortunately for the snowboard industry, the pink-sweatergirl’s experience is more the rule than the exception. “Maybe 25-30% stick with riding beyond the first few lessons,” estimates Steve Bethell, Bear Mountain Resort’s Director of Education and a member of AASI-W Regional Demo Team. Industry statistics paint an even worse picture. According to the National Ski Areas Asso-

ciation, the number of beginners (skiers and riders) who become active in the sport is only about 15%, and industry growth rates have been nearly flat for the last ten years. “What has kept skier/rider visits high is a longerthan-estimated period of active

School and a AASI Level III Examiner. “For them, it hurts too much, it’s too difficult—the learning curve is too high.” As coaches, what can we do to help make first-time riders stick around long enough to learn to love the sport as much as we do?

Set Expectations A lot of new riders, heads filled with X Games and Xbox visions, arrive at the mountain with highly unrealistic expectations. On the tube, Shaun White and Jenny Jones make riding look effortless. How hard can it be to slide down a hill? “At Snowmass, on the way to the beginner area, we go right past the park and everyone gets all excited,” says Mike Lewis, a Level III instructor at the resort. “I don’t want to kill their enthusiasm, but it’s important to set Many beginners arrive at their expectations. I remind first lesson with unrealistic them you have to have expectations for effortless riding. your basics down bePhoto courtesy of Aaron Rosen. fore you try the tricks or you’re going to get hurt. On a snowboard, you’re participation by Baby Boomers,” moving through space sideways comments Ray Allard, PSIA-AASI and in all kinds of directions President and Chairman of the your body isn’t used to.” Board. “I tell beginners, if they In other words, younger can stick it out for three days, people—the 10- to 28-year-olds they’ll be able to get it. I try to that will be the future of the pace them, make sure they don’t sport–are giving riding a whirl and exhaust themselves that first day then not coming back. That bodes so that after some sleep they can poorly for the future of the resort come back with enthusiasm.” industry. A lot of the pain of learn“A lot of people walk away ing can be self-inflicted. Where I after the first lesson,” says Josh teach at Bear Mountain, I Spoelstra, Training Manager for (cont’d on pg.7) the Heavenly Ski & Snowboard


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By David Voda (cont’d from pg. 6) encounter lots of new riders ill-prepared for a day on the mountain. They come dressed in cotton khakis or without hat, gloves, sun block or sunglasses. They’re dehydrated and haven’t eaten breakfast. Their borrowed equipment doesn’t fit. They’re out of shape or struggling with the big change in altitude at the top of the mountain. Even though I can’t immediately remedy these problems, I do like to remind my clients how they can make themselves more comfortable in the future. I want them to think, “Next time I’ll dress better, rent good equipment, maybe have breakfast before starting to the slopes. Then it won’t be so hard…” Listen and Relate Of course, the flip side of ratcheting down a client’s expectations is keeping up their enthusiasm. “You have to assess your students—match their goals with your goals,” advises Spoelstra. “You might have kids that want to hit the big kickers and throw down 540s. “I say, ‘Okay, so let’s start by learning to rotate the board, so you’re on your way to those 540s.’ In other words, I try to relate what they need to learn to what they want to learn. That way they own the lesson.” Steve Bethell adds that clients sometimes set the bar of expectations too high. “I remember giving lessons to one young woman. She felt pressured by her parents—who were paying for the lessons--to make a lot of progress fast. The result was she set the bar very high and quickly got frustrated. When we slowed down, when I talked to her about what she wanted, where she wanted to go with the sport, she got very excited and came back for many more lessons, started joining

Snowboarding (cont’d)

amateur events and eventually winning some contests. Different clients will progress at different rates; a lot of newcomers simply want to be able to stay upright and hang out with their riding friends. At the end of the lesson, remind them what they’ve learned: how to glide and move about, how to get on and off the lift, how to sideslip, link turns, or whatever. As coaches we should structure lessons to let each person have small successes every lesson at their own rate. Keep It Fun One thing is for certain: no one’s going to be disappointed in their progress if they have fun. That’s why “fun” is ranked even before “learning” in the AASI core values, “Safety, Fun, Learning.” The mountains offer a clean environment and a natural joy that comes from fresh air and sunshine. Watch a beginner of any age practice “falling” in the snow—they laugh and play like a bunch of two-year-olds, instantly transported back into childhood. “Fun” in a lesson can be as simple as cracking jokes and using ice-breakers to help clients to know each other. Have everyone in your group lesson introduce the person next to them, or pair them up to assist each other with equipment and drills. With kids, play “Duck, duck, goose” (Wikipedia has rules) or enlist their capacity for fantasy by constructing imaginary obstacles for them to get around. Such techniques work with adults, too. “I like to create some kind of adventure for my classes,” Lewis says. “Maybe the goal is to explore the woods between two runs. Now we have to work on tree riding, safety, pairing up. We might do some drills outside the trees to prepare. With kids, it’s pure fantasy, with adults, it’s more goal oriented, more technical, working on specific things.”

Leading adults on unusual adventures, Lewis contends, “helps them reconnect with the fun and excitement of being actively engaged in a sport. They’ll go home and be great ambassadors for snowboarding.” Give Feedback to Your Resort Setting expectations, listening to goals, injecting fun into learning--most coaches work hard at improving their relationship with clients. But, as the resort’s eyeand-ears on the slopes, sometimes we need to give feedback to management on how our clients could be better served on the mountains. Are long ticket lines getting complaints? Are students issued good rental equipment, properly sized and waxed? Are group lessons over-crowded? Resorts can lose track of the idea that it is in their own best interest to make sure beginners have a good experience so that they will want to come back. At Snowmass, says Lewis, “if our instructors see someone out there really beating themselves up, we can actually give them a ticket for a free lesson, tell them, ‘Hey, we can help you.’ There’s a lot of stuff to learn that might not be intuitive.” Other resorts send instructors out to the bunny slope to give free tips to customers who are struggling, or even station techs near the lifts so that clients can exchange a board that doesn’t fit, or get their bindings adjusted on equipment they borrowed. The idea is to make sure new riders have a great experience so that they will return again and again and bring along their friends. They become ambassadors for the sport. “When clients have a successful, fun experience that they’re in charge of, that gives them motivation to keep coming back,” says Bethell. “Word-of-mouth—that’s what it’s all about.”


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A Tribute to December 1st, 1920 – June 16th, 2009

When Nic Fiore arrived in Yosemite Valley from Quebec, Canada in December of 1947 he looked at the sheer walls, with a few snow filled gullies and chutes leading down from the Valley rim and asked “where do the beginners ski?” Quickly the goal of spending a single winter in Yosemite to learn to speak better English turned into 56 years at Badger Pass, teaching at least 100,000 people and generations of families to ski.  Nic and Badger were the perfect match from a historical perspective. Badger was the first ski area in California, opening in 1935, and the Yosemite Ski School may be the oldest in the nation, founded in 1928 in Wawona. Badger Pass was even under consideration for the Winter Olympics in the 1932 but local legend has it that the State of California was uninterested because “California is the sunshine state, not the Winter Olympics’ state”.  Nic became Director of the Yosemite Ski School in 1956 and held that position for 45 years before becoming the Yosemite Ski Ambassador in 2001. Nic was always concerned with the quality of ski instruction not only at Badger but on a statewide and national level. When the PSIA-W was formed in 1961 Nic became Executive Director and held that position for nearly 30 years. Much of what we have today as an organization we owe to Nic and he will always have a special place in the PSIA.  Cindy, Midge, Nicci & Nic Fiore.

I had the privilege to work with Nic and his wife Midge and their daughter Cindy for many wonderful years with PSIA-W and Far West Ski Instructors Association. During those years of being a board member and examiner Nic was always there for support and great insight. His historic line was “Lunch is not free.” – Mike Iman, Past President, PSIA Board of Directors Bob McMichaels and Finlay Torrance with their official Nic Fiore memorial wine glasses.


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Nic Fiore

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ROAD TRIP Chuck Carter recalls a Tahoe road trip with Nic Fiore… “Nic’s wife Midge, who was (THE) PSIA-W office, had sent with us some very important exam materials that had to be delivered to Kirkwood. We had made it about half way up Hwy 88 from Jackson when we came upon a long line of stopped traffic. We waited in line but nothing was happening; time was ticking away. Midge had insisted that getting the exam materials to Kirkwood on time was of the highest priority. Nic always did what Midge told him to do. Nic decided to walk up and see what was going on. He approached a crowd of people standing around a couple of cars in the middle of the road that had been involved in a ‘fender-bender.’ He the began talking and gesturing. The crowed became active, moving and pushing the cars to the side of the road. He started waving for us to pull forward. We drove out and passed the line of waiting cars. Nic jumped into our vehicle and said, “Step on it. We need to get out of here before they figure out what’s going on.” As we flew passed the stopped traffic I asked what had happened. Nic said that it the driver didn’t want to move their cars until the CHP arrived, so he had told them that he worked for CAL TRANS, was in charge of the highway from Jackson to Kirkwood, and they needed to clear the road for emergency vehicles. He was counting on the Badger Pass vehicle, with its Half Dome seal, to look official enough to get away with it. We made it to Kirkwood JUST in time to deliver the goods.”

PSIA West Tech Teamer Lynnea Anderson and Badger Pass Snowsports Director Chuck Carter, who was Nic’s Assistant Director at Badger for over 30 years.

Most of my memories involve some of Nic’s colorful phrasing. Whenever we talked about the budget, he would always tell us that they “used to run the organization from a cigar box.” And, when we would talk about costs of things he would say, “you know boys, lunch ain’t free”. PSIA/AASI Western Division owes the entire Fiore Family a great debt for all of their work. Midge, Nic’s wife, really ran the organization for many years. Nic might have been the “face” of the PSIA-W, formerly FWSIA, but Midge was the heart and soul. – Blaine Lomen, , Past President, PSIA Board of Directors

Thanks to Jerald, Sigrid & Lynnea Anderson for their help with this story.

Ski on Nic! “You are my NUMBER ONE!”- Commonly said by Nic Fiore to instructors/employees who Nic wanted to do something.


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By Glen Smith & Nicole Charshafian

Adaptive Introduces Level I In-House This year the Adaptive Committee is introducing an in-house certification process. Local area trainers who are qualified to teach adaptive clinics will lead the multiple week program consisting of on-snow and in-door sessions. The Level I Certification Guide and Workbook are now available on the PSIA-W web site, and will be used in conjunction with the Adaptive Manual and the appropriate Alpine or Snowboard Manuals. Participants will attend weekly sessions on snow to learn teaching methodology, assists, and how to assess and adapt students with disabilities in one or two of the adaptive disciplines. The indoor sessions will study disabilities, red flags, assessment methods and adaptive terminology.

SIERRA SUMMIT MTN RESORT Sierra Summit Mountain Resort is looking for enthusiastic people to work this winter season as Trainers, Supervisors, and Instructors. Minimum requirement for Instructors is Level 1. Minimum requirement for Trainer and Supervisor positions is Level 2. All applicants must be current members of PSIA/AASI. Located in Central CA 65 miles northeast of Fresno, Sierra Summit is a mid-size resort with family atmosphere, great snow, and a fun mountain with lots of terrain variety. Sierra Summit is a “sister resort” of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain in Southern CA. Applicants can expect plenty of work, competitive wages, experience opportunity, optional on area housing, and a Snowsports School that concentrates on guest service and FUN! Check out our website at for more info about our mountain and services as well as to print an application. Applications may be mailed to Sierra Summit Mountain Resort Attn. HR P.O. Box 236 Lakeshore, CA 93634 or faxed to 559-233-3689. Questions may be emailed to Sierra Summit is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Sierra Summit operates under special use permit of USFS.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.

The workbook will be completed by the participants as the process continues, and will be signed off by the trainer as the work is completed. An Adaptive Tech Team member will ski or ride with the group on the validation day which will be scheduled during the week of March 21st 2010. This event will include coaching and an opportunity to teach and demonstrate skills and knowledge leading to an evaluation and if standards are met, a pass to LI Adaptive Certification. Participants must be members of PSIA/AASI-W, and will complete an event application for the validation day. The Adaptive Committee will make every effort to accommodate members who would like to participate in this program, but the responsibility for arranging and supporting a trainer belongs to the Ski School Director. Glen Smith Nicole Charshafian Adaptive Committee


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By Greg Lyons, Children’s Chair


Soccer is a kid’s game correct? What does a soccer ball have to do with skiing? I posed that question to a training session I was conducting this fall at Heavenly, and I was surprised with the multiple ideas that the instructors came up with. Working with a soccer ball, we found ways to blend the four key introductory skills: balance, rotation, edge and pressure. I like it as a warm-up. An athletic stance can be taught by using your soccer ball to shoot free throws. Flexing to start the shot and extending to release can show a student how their body moves. Tossing the ball back can force work on hand eye coordination. For some skiers my focus is for them to keep their eyes up, rather than looking down at their skis or snowboard. For others, I want them to be able to absorb

the catch and toss the ball with a relaxed upper body. This shows me their core and legs are strong and in balance. Fall-line can be taught by releasing the soccer ball on a gradual hill and have the student follow the ball.

The ball can help quiet lazy hands.

Fall line can be demonstrated by having the student follow the ball down the hill. Flexion and extension can be shown by touching the ball to the ground and then reaching for the sky.

Flexion and extension.

Free throws help students understand the athletic stance.

Wild hands or lazy hands can be quieted down by carrying the ball with both hands in front. This could be done in the beginner area or on more challenging terrain working on upper, lower body

separation. Hockey stops with hands holding the ball downhill works well. Starting with a prop, such as a soccer ball, you can engage students, and then work on the movement patterns that relate to skiing and snowboarding. Kids are known for their creativity and imagination. Try some out-of-the-box teaching with some props. A soccer ball will be part of my ski gear this year! Greg Lyons BOD-W Children’s Chair


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By Urmas Franosch

RELATIONSHIPS - it’s all about quality! We hear a lot these days about building relationships with our students. PSIA/AASI has long been in the forefront internationally with regard to stressing the importance of the instructor/student relationship. We call this the “learning partnership”. This term expresses the concept that a successful lesson results not from the contribution of either instructor or student, but rather from the mutual interaction between the two. I first encountered this concept in the mid 70’s in the book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig. In that book he explores the prePlatonic view that quality resides neither in people, nor in things, but rather in the relationships between people and their environment. His central point is that technology is neither good nor bad. Only people’s relationship to it, and their control over it, makes it one or the other. By learning to maintain the motorcycle, we develop a fundamental relationship with the technology which puts us in control. If we neglect that maintenance, or turn it over to someone else, we are alienated from the technology, and ultimately have no control. The motorcycle breaks down and we get angry.

Learning how to ski better is neither intrinsically good nor bad. Sure, we assume that better technique will make skiing more fun, and it usually does, just as a faster car makes driving more fun. The question is, “How do we get there”? If we can make the experience of acquiring better technique fun, then it becomes self-reinforcing, and the student will continue to improve. If the relationship with the instructor and fellow students is fun, and the learning experience is fun, then the learning is a good thing. If the learning is painful, it won’t be perceived as good, and will probably fade away. The faster car may not be so much fun either, when we have to fill up the tank! Since a relationship is by definition a two way interaction, we can’t make it good strictly by our own efforts. We can facilitate it though; we can steer it in a good direction. Asking questions is a good way to start, but I don’t ask of others what I am unwilling to reveal of myself. All ski instructors ask students what they are working on, but rarely share their own issues in return. I’ve found that a good way to foster a relationship with students is to put myself as much (cont’d on pg. 13)

Urmas Franosch (pictured) is the Chief Nordic Examiner for PSIA/AASI-W. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.


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Page 13

By Urmas Franosch

Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.

If the relationship with the instructor and fellow students is fun, and the learning experience is fun, then the learning is a good thing. If the learning is painful, it won’t be perceived as good, and will probably fade away.

(cont’d from pg. 12) as possible on an equal footing with them. It really enhances rapport when people realize they are working on the same problems as their instructor. The instructor has just developed more effective strategies to address the problems, and has travelled further on the road toward their resolution. A review of the “visual cues to effective movements” in the PSIA/AASI Technical Manuals, or what we used to call “common threads of skill usage”, will remind you that there is a rather short list of things that we work on to become technically better skiers. We work on the same things as our students; moving forward to stay centered, flexing and extending

In Memory of Mike Young We are saddened by the loss of Mike Young, long time snowsports director at Bear Valley Ski and Snowboard Resort, who died recently and suddenly of melanoma. Mike Young was an avid snowsports enthusiast and respected member of the PSIA/AASI community. At Bear Valley, plans are underway for a “Celebration of Life” event for January 2010. Check the Bear Valley website, for information.

A memorial College Fund has been set up for Mike’s kids at Pacific State Bank in Arnold. Checks can be mailed to: Pacific State Bank PSB PO Box 1649 Stockton, Ca 95201 Attn: Mike Young Memorial Fund

Nordic (cont’d)

ankles and knees in functional proportion, releasing and reengaging the edges with continuous movements of both legs, standing tall and relaxed, etc. We instructors just work on these issues at a higher skill level, but work on them we do. This awareness highlights more similarities than differences between us and our students. Have you ever heard the advice that you should never marry someone with more problems than you? Think about how that might apply to learning partnerships. The best relationships grow between equals. So even though you ski better, try to find common ground with your students. It’s all about high quality interaction. Urmas Franosch


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Education Foundation

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By Greg Lyons, Tournament Organizer

Golf Tournament Boosts Education Foundation The 3rd Annual Education Foundation Golf Tournament provided a day of fun and camaraderie for 29 players, and raised over $ 1300. Proceeds will be split between the Certification and Sodergren Scholarships.

Dave Hawtrey, George Stone, Nancy Hawtrey and Merrill Windsor (l to r).

Thanks to all of our donors and business supporters, including: Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Rosen. The tournament was held at Empire Ranch in Carson City on October 10, 2009. The low scoring team was the Scramblers, composed of James Murtaugh, Rick Raduziner and Norman Stoller. In this event, however, fun and participation are the goals so everyone went home a winner. New this year was a 6 hole putting tournament, also won by James Murtaugh. This was an excellent addition that will be included next year!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Tahoe Donner Golf Course Empire Ranch Golf Course Lake Tahoe Golf Course Genoa Lakes, Northstar Golf Course Dr. Terry Orr Sandra Medau Nordica products Tom Dotson Bobo’s Bob Hass HotGear Boot Bag Tudor Pub Power Bars Dan Kleiner Udo Machat

Thanks to all the participants! Greg Lyons, Tournament Organizer

Dave Hawtrey exhibits bad hair but a good stance.


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Page 15

By Dan Kleiner During performance crises, all professional athletes will revert back to the basics. Basic movement patterns are the fundamental building blocks to the next level in skiing. With that said, we can learn a great deal from a simple wedge turn. Just think how many we have demonstrated each season! Have you ever thought about the basic movement patterns of a wedge turn and how they can improve your own skills? They’re not just ‘turn left, turn right, and guide your legs.’ No! No! Wedge turns are the gateway to great skiing. They provide an excellent platform to solidify basics movements that will transfer to more dynamic skiing. Let’s start by analyzing every component of a wedge turn. On second thought, LET’S NOT! We don’t have all day. So how about this thought: “Movement into a turn.” Have you ever been told you don’t move ‘enough’ into the turn? If I had a dollar for each time I heard that early in my career, I could have retired in Vail by now. When I remember how my trainer described this sensation, I have High School flashbacks to the first day in French class.”

Getting Back to Basics

Oh yes!” I would nod my head and acknowledge, “I get it!” But did I really get the big picture. A Wedge Turn can be a great place to start. The operative word here is MOVEMENT! You know! Up, Down, Flex and Extend. We need to feel where it starts and what direction to apply it. It’s common to see a lack of movement in our candidates during the exam process. Every turn should start by pressuring and extending the new outside leg. The feeling comes from the ball of the foot followed by the ankle then the knee. As the outside leg extends you want to feel your hip move gently toward the inside of the turn. When done properly the outside leg in any turn will lengthen first. (Long Leg.) And the inside leg will have a bit more flex from the ankle and knee (Short Leg.) This is what creates a strong platform to move from and the sensation of moving down the hill. Go for this feeling in a wedge turn and then transfer it to ALL your turns. Even the most basic demos can provide an excellent playground for skill development. The next time you’re out, put together a series of smooth linked Wedge Turns. Keep the speed down to help enhance the sensations of the foot, leg and hip. Continue this movement throughout the remainder of ALL your demos. (beginning wedge christie, advanced wedge christie,

Elianne Furtney demonstrates movement through a turn. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.

and parallel turns.) Don’t spend this season over looking the BASICS. Make your time on the hill productive, even if you’re teaching. Search for the movement you’ve learned in this article or the tip of the day from your local clinician. The BASICS are the sauce for the goose that makes the difference between a so-so skier and an excellent one. See you out on the hill. Dan Kleiner

Have you ever been told you don’t move ‘enough’ into the turn? If I had a dollar for each time I heard that early in my career, I could have retired in Vail by now. Dan Kleiner is Assistant Director of Education at Snow Summit. Photo courtesy of Aaron Rosen.

– Dan Kleiner

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 2009-10 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), Kemp Dowdy (12), Heidi Ettlinger (11), Steve Evenson (12), Elianne Furtney (12), Leigh Pierini (11), Greg Lyons (10), Ken Mattson (10), Ted Pitcher (12), Finlay Torrance (10), Carl Underkoffler (10). Nordic Chairperson: John “Cedar” Seeger Adaptive Chairperson: Glen Smith

Join Us for Spring Convention at Squaw Valley This Year - April 16-18 Here is what we know so far...banquet will be held at High Camp, and we are planning a ‘Retro’ fashion show with prizes for the best 60’s ski outfit. We are also planning a fundraising auction for the Education Foundation. Squaw Valley offers discounted lodging rates booked directly through their Central Reservation line, 800-403-0206. This number will give you access to 40 properties at the very best rates available. Lift tickets for PSIA/AASI clinics will be $10.00, and Squaw has arranged a $41.00 lift ticket package for guests and family members. Planning is also underway for a bus from Southern California.

Watch our website, and the Spring issue of the Edge for the latest info.

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REGISTERED: $85 Annual Dues [Includes $35 to Division & $50 National] For new members working toward Level I certification. Affiliation...