National Academy: One Team, One Exceptional Learning Experience

PSIA-AASI National Academy 2018 in Big Sky, Montana, set 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,” PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling, said at the beginning of the event. “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 and instruction over the years.”


After Academy ended, Schuiling added that, “With the encouragement of a ‘one team’ inter-discipline concept anchored through the work of the 2012-16 team presenting the Learning Connection at the 2015 Interski in Ushuaia, this academy solidified the concept of one team even more.” 


He added that the, ‘Once a Team member, always a Team member’ mantra was proven with Big Sky team group leaders spanning several decades of National Team members to deliver an academy experience of a lifetime.


“The common bond of Team members delivering  exceptional learning experiences was very apparent at the largest National Academy to date,” Schuiling said. “This reunion of Team members made it very special for the participants as well as the overall extended team of PSIA-AASI. This was a truly historic event that we’re excited to grow even more in the future.”


Academy 2019 will head back to Big Sky, where the Team will share highlights of what they glean from Interski 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. So make sure plans to attend National Academy next spring! Here are three additional top takeaways from this landmark event courtesy of PSIA Alpine Team member Stephen Helfenbein. 


1. Our classroom was exceptional! 

Big Sky offers a unique blend of terrain that helped me coach skiing like few places I have ever been. From long pristine groomers to seemingly endless steeps, skiers were able to comfortably train new skills and then apply them in the ideal essential situations.


2. Our history is inspiring and our future is solid! 

This academy featured more Team alumni than current Team members as coaches. This dynamic fostered a perspective of humility and respect. It’s such an honor to be among an elite group such as this.


I was so encouraged by the large number of younger members in attendance (many of which could not have attended without scholarship assistance). It’s so valuable for these members to have this experience. Attending an academy 10 years ago is what inspired me to stay with the profession and make it my career. 


3. Can’t wait for more!

Next year will be a big year for our association. Our latest Core Concepts manual will be released next fall (big shout out to Ellen Post Foster and Rob Sogard for their dedication and work!), new E-Learning content is on the way, Interski is next March, and before you know it we will be back at Big Sky again for National Academy 2019! Based on the response to this year’s Academy, I will not be surprised if next year’s event surpasses this year’s in both attendance and enthusiasm.


- Peter Kray

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