undeniable passion for the snowsports industry, which she
is busy promoting on the front lines this winter at Colorado’s
“;is is such a cool industry that I want everyone to be a part
of it,” she said. “I want to be able to spread my passion for doing
something di;erent in the winter time.”
Emphasizing that instructors can make or break the industry,
Sedlak said, “As ski instructors, we need to remember that guests
come first. If we ensure that they have a really good experience
that first time, they will come back and our industry will grow.”
Sedlak uses di;erent teaching tactics depending on the age
group. For instance, in order to build rapport with children,
she pays attention to the current pop culture to which they’re
exposed. By having some knowledge of their interests, Sedlak is
able to relate to them on their level and incorporate their interests
To connect with adults, Sedlak spends time educating them
about the ski industry. She explains what keeps the industry
going, and how it can fit into their lives. For example, she’ll tell
parents how great skiing is for family vacations.
No matter the age group, each of Sedlak’s lessons shares one
key factor: fun.
▼▲ BRIAN TEKULVE
It’s no surprise Brian Tekulve, 28, has emerged as a leader in the
ski and snowboard industry. As the director of snowsports at Mt.
Ashland in Oregon, he wears many hats; including overseeing
the rental and repair shop, the terrain park, the ski and ride
school, the race and special events departments, the after-school
program, group sales, and an environmental youth program.
Ski Area Management has taken notice of Tekulve as well,
naming him one of the industry’s “Young Guns.”
Tekulve is a PSIA-AASI Level III snowboard instructor and
Level I alpine instructor. From his experiences, he o;ers advice
on resort management, ski and ride school programs, and
Tekulve sees an advantage for the mountain sta; to be trained
in di;erent jobs within the resort. For example, if the ski area is
short on lift operators but has an abundance of instructors, he’ll
ask an instructor to be a liftee for the day. “By cross-training sta;,
we’re able to give our guests the experience they expect without
being short on help,” he said. “It also gets the sta; on board
with helping each other and building teamwork throughout the
mountain, not just in our own departments.”
According to Tekulve, one of Mt. Ashland’s many success
stories is the ski and ride school’s My Turn program, which o;ers
first-time beginners a three-lesson package with lift tickets and
rentals through the season. Almost half of the students who
complete the program buy season passes the following winter.
“;ey get past that first frustrating day, and they actually get
to where they can ski or snowboard by the end of the program,”
▼▲ SCHENECTADY SKI SCHOOL
Maple Ski Ridge’s Schenectady Ski School in New York understands
the value of the next generation. Its Leadership Training Program,
which was created by Lifetime PSIA-AASI member Freddie
Anderson, 92, trains teenage instructors ages 14–16 through
mentorship and education.
“;ey learn to give direction to peers and to delegate,” said
Christina Anderson, Freddie’s daughter and Leadership Training
Program director. “;ey learn responsibility and leadership. And
they learn that there is more out there than what goes on in their
high school halls.”
In the three-year training program, the teens (who are called
coaches) rise through the ranks from apprentice to junior and,
finally, senior. Typically, three coaches work together to teach
a group of children enrolled in the resort’s Snowcats Program
Jim Schaefer, supervisor of the Snowcats Program, explained
that the Leadership Training Program aims to create a mentorship
environment. “;e apprentices admire the lead instructors, and
the lead instructors admire the supervisors,” he said.
Running the program alongside Jim is his wife, Kim, who said
YOUR TIME TO SHINE
“Everyone supports everyone; we’ve become a big family.”
;roughout the three-year process, the focus is on the quality of
instructors versus the quantity. As a result, instructors are extremely
well qualified for their PSIA-AASI Level I exams by the time they
complete their third year in the Leadership Training Program.
Check out TheSnowPros.org to learn more about your fellow
PSIA-AASI members in the Member Spotlight series, highlighting
instructors from across the country. If you want to get in on getting
some well-deserved shine, read the latest Member Spotlight on the
website and you’ll find a link to a form at the bottom of the page.
See you in the spotlight, snow pros!