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: Irina Kostyuk
Member Since: 2018
Primary discipline: Snowboarding
PSIA-AASI Division: Northwest
You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites
When did you start skiing or riding? 14
What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? Learning how to ski after working as a snowboard instructor – it gave me a student's perspective all over again.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? You can go at your own pace, it's pure bliss.
What are your favorite off-snow hobbies? Hiking
PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career
Certifications & specialties achieved: My goal for next season is to complete my snowboard level I certification.
Resort you work at: Bluewood, Washington
What inspired you to become an instructor? My love for winter sports and being able to help others achieve their goals on snow. Nothing beats seeing someone's excitement when they achieve their goal.
Do you teach part-time or full-time? As full-time as possible
What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? Gardening and painting.
What about your teaching style stands out? I share my enthusiasm with my students and check in with them frequently. I get excited if I see them come back for another day.
What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? Being recognized by PSIA-AASI as rookie of the year!
What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? The clinics and having the opportunity to meet people in the ski industry who can help me further my career in snowsports.
Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Never Summer, first snowboard I ever rode was a Never Summer.
What are your current skiing or riding goals? To learn as much as I possibly can, get fully certified, and to make a long-lasting career out of being an instructor. Also, I want to improve in the park.
What are your current teaching goals? To get my full snowboard level III certification, and to learn more about every joint and muscle used while riding so I can teach any level.
Your Advice to Instructors
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? It is more important to see your students smile than it is to see them progress quickly. The ones who take longer to learn are more likely to come back if they remember having fun.
What are some of your tips for teaching the following students
Beginners: Have fun, make them feel like a team.
Intermediates: Explore, throw in some simple freestyle tricks for them to play with and give them ideas on what else they can try so they want to come back and learn even more.
Advanced students: Find out what they want to learn, and take them even further. Let them know there's more to snowboarding than just riding. Ask them to exaggerate their turns, get really low to the ground, get really tall. Have them focus on the different muscles they use. Ask lots of questions, how it felt, what was challenging, make the students really think deeper.
What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification?
Level I: Study and ride with someone who is already certified.
Level II: Study even more and test yourself. Try different movements on the board you normally wouldn't and pay attention to the muscles you're using.
Level III: Go to as many clinics as possible and ask questions. Study, sleep, study, and ride.
Sound off… Anything else you want to share? I have always loved being in the mountains and wished I could make something from it. I never thought I'd be able to make a career out of snowboarding, especially since I started to ACTUALLY learn when I was about 17, which is considerably late. But I wanted to try anyway and have met the most supportive people ever who have helped me get where I am today. For that I am grateful and will always say it's never too late to try.
Connect with Irina Kostyuk on Facebook: Irina Kostyuk and Instagram.
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!