Surround yourself with positive people, says David Lawrence (right)
“All of the best instructors that
I know ask a lot of questions.”
instructors that I know ask a lot of questions . . . questions
about skiing, about teaching, about learning philosophies, and
about teaching theories,” he says.
There’s no doubt that staying current with annual dues,
clinic registration fees, and ever-changing equipment costs
money and therefore creates another restriction for some
instructors. “Many people use the financial aspect as an
excuse not to educate themselves, but I always thought that
since I was making myself better as an instructor, more
people would want to ski with me and therefore it was an
investment in my success,” says Dave Schuiling, director of
education for PSIA-AASI’s Rocky Mountain Division. There
are avenues to help instructors in need. Pros can look into
options for financial help, such as scholarships and procedures
at each individual snowsports school.
According to Schuiling, instructors should look at a variety
of clinics to expand their education, much like a student
looks at a college curriculum. Instead of picking the same
clinic to fulfill a continuing education requirement, branch
out. “PSIA-AASI has clinics that inspire personal growth as
well as teach knowledge and creativity,” he says. Some of his
favorites cover such things as communication and relationship
building, strength-based learning concepts, teaching theory,
technical foundations, and movement analysis.
Just as relationships have peaks and valleys, so too does
any teaching career. Pros who stay fresh and passionate about
the sport all have a few things in common—they share an
almost childlike joy in sliding on snow and continually find
ways to retain that joy.
Anyone who has skied with two-term PSIA Alpine Team
member Nick Herrin knows his enthusiasm for the sport is
infectious and that he inspires others to challenge themselves
on the hill. When asked to explain this, he says, “I love the
sport and love being out there on the hill. It’s my passion, so
it’s easy to have fun because I enjoy doing it so much.” That
is a simple-sounding answer, to be sure, but one that requires
the willingness to discover and express your inner joy.
Summing Up on Fun
There’s a lot that goes into providing quality snowsports
lessons, and much of it has more to do with how you interact
with students and your environment than it does with how
skis and snowboards interact with the snow. As many of
PSIA-AASI’s top pros will tell you, it’s all about having fun
in a wondrous environment and embracing opportunities to
learn—from clients as well as colleagues. If this is part of
your persona, you’re on the right road to sharing your passion
and thus reaching your full potential as an instructor.
Colorado-based Krista Crabtree is a former ski coach and current
part-time instructor at Vail, specializing in women’s ski clinics.
She also runs the women’s program at Eldora Mountain Resort.
When off the slopes, she spends her time writing for publications
such as Vail’s PEAKS Magazine, 32 Degrees, and various
trade publications. But most of all, she and her husband have fun
teaching—and learning from—their daughter.