National Academy Day 1: Top Takeaways

PSIA-AASI National Academy is officially underway at Snowbird, Utah, with more than 200 attendees from across the country. After an incredible 2016 National Academy at Breckenridge, there’s a lot of excitement about having the event return to ‘The ‘Bird’ this season, which has been its roost over the past several years.


Just 24 hours into the event, there’s already a lot to report. Below are just a few of the early top takeaways.  

  1. First National Academy for the 2016-20 PSIA-AASI Team: Team Selection was held in Colorado following the 2016 National Academy, and after a year of working together to develop and refine their instructional initiatives, this year’s National Academy represents the first look at how team members are already helping lead PSIA-AASI into the future.

  2. Every discipline is on snow: No matter how you slide, National Academy is the place to be. The entire Alpine Team (along with several Alpine Team alumni) are leading clinics this week, as are AASI Snowboard Team Coach Scott Anfang and team member Eric Rolls, PSIA Nordic Team Coach David Lawrence and team member Greg Rhodes, and PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team Captain Geoff Krill.

  3. Sogard honored with Educational Excellence Award: Former PSIA Alpine Team Coach and longtime team member Rob Sogard was presented the Educational Excellence Award on opening night of National Academy. Sogard, whose wife and daughter were present for the event, received the award for his lifetime commitment to instruction, his work on the Team, his co-authorship of the Alpine Technical Manual, and his continued work on upcoming instructional manuals. He credited his late father for introducing him to snowsports and an incredibly rewarding teaching career and said, “This award would have made dad very proud of me.” More national awards will be presented at National Academy’s closing night, so check back for details on those illustrious honorees.

  4. The Fundamentals of Learning:  Experiential learning is one of the key themes of National Academy 2017, with the keynote addresses and many of the on and off-snow workshops focusing on how instructors establish an exceptional learning environment. “We’ve done a great job of defining the fundamentals of good skiing and snowboarding in our technical manuals,” said PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling. “Here, we want to put a renewed emphasis on how we set students up for success by creating an environment that embraces all the ways they learn.”

  5. Rapid Skill Acquisition: To that point, PSIA Nordic Team Coach David Lawrence opened the indoor workshops with a presentation on “Rapid Skill Acquisition.” Discussing learning hacks, attention hacks, and pattern interrupters, Lawrence identified many of the ways instructors can embrace pressure, develop grit, master fundamentals, and tighten feedback loops for faster, more fulfilling personal development.

  6. The Riding is Really Good! National Academy 2017 opened with some epic corn snow conditions, inspiring attendees to coin new ways to describe soft spring snow. “Buttery, slarvy, gluey, and schmear-tastic,” were some of the early offers, although that will change today as overnight Snowbird received more than half a foot of new snow.

  7. What Academy Means to You: Attendees are also sharing why National Academy is such an excellent way to close out the season. Here are two of the early responses: “I’m totally addicted to snowboarding,” said Paul Celello of Vermont’s Mount Snow. “I love to train as much as possible. I believe Academy is making me better, faster – and it’s snowboarding!” While Peter G. Ness (of New Hampshire’s Gunstock) said, “Academy is a chance to learn with the best in a fantastic location and ski with members from across the nation.”


New for this event are daily podcasts. Listen to these Day 1 updates:

To make sure you don’t miss any PSIA-AASI’s “First Chair” podcasts, subscribe using these channels, and listen while you’re on the go:


Remember to follow PSIA-AASI on social media, to get real-time updates on National Academy 2017.


- Peter Kray

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