Welcome to the Member Spotlight, which 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! (And fill out this questionnaire for the chance to share YOUR story and insights in Member Spotlight.)
Name: Alexander Aguilar-Gervase
Member Since: 2012
Primary discipline: Snowboard
PSIA-AASI Division: Eastern
You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites
When did you start skiing or riding? I started skiing when I was three and snowboarding when I was seven.
What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? The first time my friend Mike and I hiked the summit of Mt. Bachelor and had blue bird pow turns all to ourselves.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? It is one of the most fun things that you will ever do.
What are your favorite off-snow hobbies? Rock Climbing
PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career
Certifications & specialties achieved: Snowboard Level II and Freestyle Specialist 1
Resorts you work at: Liberty Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania and Keystone Resort, Colorado.
What inspired you to become an instructor? My dad was a ski instructor, so I grew up at the mountain. I was on snow by age three, and eventually I got tired of skiing and became a snowboarder around age seven. Eventually, I started working as a Jr. instructor so I could keep going to the mountain with my dad every weekend. To this day we still teach together, and I love it.
Do you teach part-time or full-time? Part-time
What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? I am a full-time rock climber/ climbing instructor at Earth Treks in Golden, Colorado. If I'm not out riding, you’ll find me climbing outside as often as I can.
What about your teaching style stands out? I like to think that the most unique part of my teaching style is my ability to take freestyle concepts and bring the focus back to making turns. Freestyle is where my passion lies, and it relates so well to so many aspects of snowboarding.
What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? My biggest accomplishment was passing my Snowboard Level II my senior year of high school. It was so rad to be the youngest person at the exam and do as well as I did.
What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? The classes that we can take. Last year I went to freestyle camp with my best friend, who is also an PSIA-AASI member, and we had a blast. We all learned and progressed so much. I love those events because they really bring people together, which for me is what snowboarding is all about.
Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Patagonia is definitely my favorite Official Supplier. Not only do they make some of the best gear around, but they also do tons of work to give back and make the world a better place. That’s just so awesome to me.
What are your current skiing or riding goals? Currently, I want to explore Colorado more. I just moved here so I can't wait to get out and make some pow turns, go ride the parks, and even cruise some groomers. My biggest goal, however, is learning how to ride half pipe better. I didn't have easy access to one back east, so I'm stoked to spend some time on one.
What are your current teaching goals? My current teaching goals are to go for my snowboard level III in the next few years, as well as my freestyle specialist 2.
Your Advice to Instructors
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? Take advantage of opportunities to work with senior staff on both riding and teaching because it makes working as an instructor so much more fun.
What are some of your tips for teaching the following students…
Beginners: Be patient, remember you where there once.
Intermediates: Remember not to overwhelm students in this area. Show them how cool snowboarding is without going overboard.
Advanced students: Have fun. These are the people that we love to work with because we can often have a larger emphasis on trying new subtle movements and teach it in creative ways.
What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification?
Level I: Have a blast! Level I is a great intro to the organization and you get to meet so many rad people.
Level II: Work together. The best thing you can do is work with your group because you are all in it together. Help each other out and don't forget to have fun because at the end of the day, you're out snowboarding which is awesome.
Sound off… Anything else you want to share? I want to thank all the people who believed in me and helped me get to where I am now with snowboarding. I also want to send a huge shout out to my dad, Berto Aguilar. Without you I may not have ever been on snow, let alone taught snowboarding.
Want to see yourself in our next "Member Spotlight?" Fill out this questionnaire for a chance to be featured across our social media platforms, the eNewsletter, and our website. You could even make it into 32 Degrees!