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: Max Brennan
Member Since: 2013
Primary discipline: Alpine
PSIA-AASI Division: Intermountain
You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites
When did you start skiing or riding? 3 or 4 years old.
What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? One that stands out for me is the time I spent 10 days in the mountains of British Columbia with my dad. It snowed pretty much every day, and with almost every turn the snow was over our heads.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? It’ll be the most fun you’ve ever had. There is nothing quite like the sensation of sliding on snow.
What are your favorite off-snow hobbies? I'm an avid musician.
PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career
Certifications & specialties achieved: Intermountain DEVO Squad, Alpine Level III, and Children’s Specialist 1.
Resort you work at: Alta Ski Area, Utah & Portillo, Chile.
What inspired you to become an instructor? I have my incredible coworkers at Alta to thank for encouraging me to instruct. Seeing such a tremendous passion and love for skiing has made me want to always be a part of the sport. What started as a part-time job while I was in school, turned into my career once I graduated.
Do you teach part-time or full-time? Full-time
What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? I teach skiing year-round. I spend my winters in the mountains of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah and I spend my summers down south in Portillo, Chile. I take the occasional music gig as well in between seasons.
What about your teaching style stands out? I like to connect with people beyond just skiing. It not only builds trust, but also establishes a relationship. Get to know who they are and what they enjoy. Then bring it back to skiing somehow. Make it about them, and they'll want to come back for more.
What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? Getting a nomination from my division to attend National Team tryouts in 2020.
What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? As great as the Pro-Deals are, the amount of educational resources we have available to us as instructors is awesome.
Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Blizzard/Tecnica. You can't argue with a great ski and a great boot!
What are your current skiing or riding goals? To become stronger, more consistent, and efficient in my movements. Skiing is a lifelong sport, and there is always room to try new things or improve.
What are your current teaching goals? To keep instructing for as long as I can, and spend as much time as possible learning what it means to be an effective trainer.
Your Advice to Instructors
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? Ask questions, absorb like a sponge, and pursue certification as soon as you can.
What are some of your tips for teaching the following students...
Beginners: Make it about having fun. This could be their first time sliding on snow. If they are having fun, they'll want to learn more and be more receptive to what you are teaching/coaching.
Intermediates: These skiers can be quite timid and wary of trying something new. Set them up for success by establishing trust and making them feel comfortable in the learning environment.
Advanced students: Keep it engaging and don't give it away all at once. Let the lesson build as you go. Create a focus for the lesson, establish why you are doing it, explore ways how to do it, and have fun practicing.
What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification
Level I: Talk to and go ski with your certified co-workers. They are great resources!
Level II: Know and understand what the fundamental skills of skiing are. If you do, you'll know what to practice in your skiing and what to look for in your MA and teaching.
Level III: Go ski. A LOT. And know exactly what you are trying to accomplish with the ski and/or your body, as specifically as possible. Instead of asking "how does my skiing look?", ask "Am I doing ......?"
Sound off… Anything else you want to share? We get to do one of the coolest jobs in the world –sharing our passion with hundreds of people each year. No matter who you are teaching, and no matter at what level, be a pro. Your students and co-workers will recognize you for acting professionally.
Connect with Max Brennan on Instagram: @the.max.power
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!