National Academy 2018 Kicks Off with Record Attendance, Incredible Snow

PSIA-AASI National Academy 2018 officially kicked off in Big Sky, Montana, Tuesday, April 17 with a new record of more than 400 attendees, coaches, and staff at the event, and an 128-inch base on the upper mountain, and an 85-inch base on the mid-part of the hill. 

“It’s fitting that the biggest Academy of all time also takes place at the biggest skiing and riding in all of America,” said PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling. “This year’s Academy represents a true culmination of the history of education at the heart of our association, including several previous team members who have helped us realize our benchmarks in education  instruction over the years.”

Including alpine, adaptive, snowboard, and telemark participants, the 2018 coaching staff is also comprised of storied team alumni such as Mike Porter, Dave Merriam, Carol Levine, Mermer Blakeslee, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame member Ellen Post Foster, Rob Sogard, Tim Petrick, Jens Husted, and many more.

“It feels like coming full circle to be back here at Academy,” said Merriam, a former member and coach of the PSIA Alpine Team. “I’m looking forward to re-acquainting with old friends, making new friends, and being back at this event in general.”

From the Skills Concept to Core Concepts to The Learning Connection and the ongoing evolution of U.S. instruction, the 2018 Academy’s current coaching staff has been at the heart of PSIA-AASI’s key technical and teaching breakthroughs.

“It does feel like full circle to be back at Academy,” said Petrick, who was a member of the Alpine Team that introduced the Skills Concept in Czechoslovakia in 1975, and also served in top management roles in U.S. ski resort management and at Rossignol and K2. “I’m thrilled and honored to be here leading a fast group this year.”

Of course with all of the institutional history being represented in person, Academy always presents the opportunity for members to experience it firsthand for themselves. One such member is Phil Shutler of Liberty Mountain, Pennsylvania, who at 90-years-young is attending the event for the first time.

Shutler, whose wife Margaret (“Muggs”), died more than a month ago, is attending Academy with his son, David. He said that he and Muggs were married for 69 years, and that he saw Academy as a way to get out and try something different.

“You know teaching skiing is like being in a club that they pay you to join,” Shutler said. “I’m looking forward to spending the week here.”

Here’s how to follow all of the PSIA-AASI social media channels for additional Academy coverage this week. Be sure to search #snowpros and #nationalacademy2018. 

- Peter Kray

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