Member Spotlight: Eastern Division's Tina Buckley

Welcome to the Member Spotlight, an online feature on that gives well-deserved shine to some of the incredibly skillful and devoted ski and snowboard instructors who make up PSIA-AASI. Whether instruction is a full-time career or a part-time pursuit balanced with other endeavors, PSIA-AASI members have valuable insights to share gleaned from their experiences on snow.

Enjoy getting to know your colleagues from far and wide who share your passion for teaching skiing and riding!

Name: Tina Buckley

Age: 52

Primary discipline: Alpine

You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites

How long have you been sliding on snow? Since I was 3 years old

Where did you learn to ski or snowboard? In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? My first ski instructor, an old Bavarian guy in an all-day program, all week long;. When we kids asked him what's for lunch, he kept us moving and wanting to not go in for lunch by answering, “Snails topped with grilled mustache!” I was three at that time and I still love the creativity and its effects on us.

What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? It is by far the best way to enjoy the cold season, at your pace, with your friends for as long as you want it to last.

What’s your favorite ski resort or area (aside from your own)? It still is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Hausberg and Zugspitz area

What’s your all-time favorite run or trail? Die Kandahar in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

What equipment are you skiing or riding on? I am a Dynastar/Lange girl, most often skiing on the Speedzone 12TI

Camber, rocker, flat, or hybrid? Mainly camber with an early rise rocker; cool combination

Describe your first ski or snowboard setup. Leather boots with laces, hand-me-downs from my older sister, Marker binding with those metal straps around the back of the boot, tightened by pushing a lever down in the front.

What’s the one ski or snowboard accessory you can’t live without? Thought I never say it, but I feel “naked” without a helmet, especially since I want my kids to wear one and they do… but now I am so used to it, I can't do without.

What’s your favorite ski or snowboard movie? All Warren Miller movies

What’s your favorite off-snow hobby? Ice hockey and paddleboarding

What’s your favorite summer destination (or one you’re dying to get to)? The Caribbean Islands

What’s the last book you read, or a podcast you’re currently into? The Purpose of Dogs

PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career

PSIA-AASI Division:  Eastern

Certifications & specialties achieved: Alpine Level III, Children’s Specialist 2, ACE team member

Resort(s) you work at: Bear Creek Mountain Resort (Pennsylvania), Mt. Snow (Vermont)

How long have you been instructing? Since 1979

How long have you been a PSIA-AASI member? Almost 20 years

What inspired you to become an instructor? I wanted to earn some money for a student exchange trip to the USA (instead of spending it ski racing), so I joined a German ski school, got certified, and taught a lot of kids that winter.

Do you teach part-time or fulltime? Part time

What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? Teaching German at Lehigh University, and quality assurance part time at Sam Adams Brewery

What about your teaching style stands out? Stop talking about it; let's do it, let's feel it. Just like when toddlers learn to walk, I want my students to have the chance to explore the movements, even make mistakes to finally reach the ultimate goal: the most effective sensations for desired outcome.

What is your favorite age group to teach and why? 8- to 10-year-olds because they keep me on my toes and challenge me, both creatively and technically. Also, coaching fellow instructors on their path to certifications, because they keep me on my toes and challenge me, both creatively and technically.

What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? Seeing young kids, who I taught skiing years ago, become certified and respected instructors, my three children.

 What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? Clinicing with the best, which helps me ski better, which makes my days on snow longer and more effortless and also supplies me with a ton of ideas for my own teaching

 Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Patagonia; I just love their stuff, because it is functional and always a fashion statement.

Is there a brand, supplier, or industry organization you would like PSIA-AASI to work with? Some airline and rental car company to make travel a bit more affordable

What are your skiing or riding goals for this season? Improving my racing skills.

What are your teaching goals for this season? Putting a priority in discovery of sensations in addition to good descriptions and demos when introducing new skills.

If you could leave any legacy behind in the snowsports industry, what would it be? Being "framed" as the most elegant (by movements) female skier.

If there was one thing you could accomplish as an instructor, what would it be? I would like to get more public awareness about what we do, how we prepare in order to do our job professionally. There is still too much of a babysitter-picture floating around.

What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? Make sure you own the ITC information. Take it from there and fill your bag of tricks, be yourself, and be nervous; that is part of it.

What’s one thing an instructor should never do or be? Drunk in public and talking in a negative way about his/her students in public.

Describe a scenario where you had to teach a difficult lesson and how you handled it. A 10-year-old girl, beginner trying to connect turns after learning how to make one turn at a time. She could turn to the right, but trying to turn to the left then got her legs locked and ended in a straight wedge run. After trying to guide her to make her aware of what it should feel like and skiing in front of her, nothing was working and I saw her get more and more frustrated. I asked her to take her skis of, seriously looked at them, and told her this: "No wonder it does not work; you have your skis on the wrong feet.” After switching the skis, her turns worked fine. It was all in her head.

Who has had the most positive influence on you and your career as an instructor? My husband, because he supported my certification path and my desire to become who I am today.

Your Advice to Instructors

What’s your advice for teaching…

Beginners: We teach in station format. Ensure correct movements are achieved before taking students to the next level. If they are rushed through the basics, it will take so much longer to undo incorrect movements and retrain for effectiveness.

Intermediates: Mileage with a focus. Skiing is balance in motion, and motion is the key. One thing at a time, but tons of miles to own it.

Advanced students: Challenge them out of their comfort zone, but still in a safe way. And sometimes they can "teach" you a trick or two, which makes them better in what they do.

What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification?

Level I: Take it seriously. It might sound easy, but only if you are prepared and ready to prove that you are at that level, it is a fun and rewarding event.

Level II: Practice, practice, practice, read through all kinds of materials, have a few different instructors watch you ski and teach and ASK for their (honest) feedback. Sometimes it is the little things that will make the big picture brighter.

Level III: Everything from Level II times 10. Ski 7 out of 7 days, ski the tasks, but don't train for the tasks, train for effective movements. Ski in all conditions and ski the testing area at least once before you get tested there.

Sound off... Anything else you want to share? To every instructor out there, have a great, safe and snowy season.

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# Steve
Saturday, January 07, 2017 7:18 PM
Great article Tina. I particularly love the focus of "Explore the movements to find the most effective sensations for the desired outcome." and am going to use it in my teaching.

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