National Academy Day 2: Customer Service, Multi-Discipline Approach Adds Depth

PSIA-AASI National Academy 2018, the biggest National Academy in the association’s history, hit the slopes at Big Sky Wednesday under clear blue skies on shimmering white slopes.

With dozens of clinic groups carving the area’s highway-wide groomers, working the soft mogul lines, or exploring the expansive off-piste options, it’s hard to imagine a specific skill—or teaching concept—this Academy has left untouched.

At the end of the day, however, the evening’s general session focused on an all too often overlooked aspect of our profession, “The Skill of Guest Service.” Led by Jeff Johnson, training director at Crystal Mountain Washington, the presentation highlighted the many ways PSIA-AASI can complement technical teaching skills with great people skills.

Highlighting his presentation with best practice case studies from Canadian Mountain Holidays, Vail Mountain Resorts, and Disneyland, Johnson illustrated how putting ourselves in our student’s boots, empathizing with the difficulties and fears they may encounter before even arriving at a lesson, and often most importantly, listening just to learn rather than to respond, can help all instructors create a more positive learning environment.

Johnson also said that clear and engaging communication, and positive language can be key in creating more teachable moments. “Words can motivate and calm students,” he said. “Words can encourage people. Empathy, meeting people where they are at, and being selfless is exactly what our clients deserve of us.”

PSIA-AASI will post a complete video of Johnson’s Academy presentation early next week. You can see a previous version of the presentation here on The Matrix. https://matrix.thesnowpros.org/video/the-guest-service-skill/

Multi-Discipline Approach Adds Depth, Instructional Insight to National Academy
There are more than 250 alpine instructors among the record-setting number of attendees at National Academy 2018. But that doesn’t mean this is an alpine-only event. With Telemark Academy kicking off today, April 19, there are plenty of free-heelers joining the on-snow fun. Adaptive and snowboard clinics have been a part of this year’s Academy since the start.

Here are a few of the early highlights from the event from PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team Coach Geoff Krill:

  • “When there was no ramp to the stage for me to join everyone for lesson splits on the first night, the team stepped off the stage to join me. Now that’s a team!”
  • “Adaptive and alpine attendees alike are coming out to do movement analysis and improve their skiing with a sit skier when they have access to the best two-legged rippers in the business.”
  • “The snow and the terrain are incredible.”

And from AASI Snowboard Team member Amy Gans:

  • “Attendees are conquering terrain they didn’t think they had the skills for, but crushed.”
  • “We are building a group atmosphere and becoming a team that is quickly becoming strong and positive.”
  • “We are determining goals and starting to build skills to accomplish those goals by the end of the week.”

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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  • National Academy Day 2: Customer Service, Multi-Discipline Approach Adds Depth

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