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: Peter Novom
Member Since: 2004
Primary discipline: Alpine
PSIA-AASI Division: Eastern
You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites
When did you start skiing or riding? Age 6 as a nordic skier.
What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? Skiing the Mizuno no Sawa special avalanche controlled area in Niseko, Japan with some close friends and coworkers. They make you sit through a long lecture on the dangers of avalanches and then pair you up with numbered bibs to account for everyone. They only open it under ideal conditions and the bottomless pow was amazing!
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? Anyone can ski! It’s about making sure you start it off on the right foot. Take a lesson and enjoy the process of learning. Be patient about new terrain, focus on technique, and the blues/black diamonds will come!
What are your favorite off-snow hobbies? Running! It clears the mind.
PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career
Certifications & specialties achieved: Examiner Training Squad for PSIA-E, Alpine Level III, Freestyle Specialist 2, Children's Specialist 2, Snowboard Level I, USASA 100.
Resort you work at: Okemo, Vermont
What inspired you to become an instructor? I had the privilege of learning from some amazing instructors. They showed me how much fun skiing and the learning process can be. Being an instructor allows me to share the joy of snow and the culture of skiing!
Do you teach part-time or full-time? Full-time.
What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? I am a chef in the summer for a nonprofit artist residence. My kitchen creates fun and nutritious food for professional classical and jazz musicians while they work on projects. It is amazing, humbling, and rewarding to work in such a creative environment.
What about your teaching style stands out? Off the cuff! I take what I learn through conversations and chairlift chat to make the information pop and the experience unforgettable. And I am always ready to pivot when I see a unique learning environment. Making to firm of a plan can make you miss out on the best moments.
What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? Most recently, I made the Eastern Team for PSIA-E which means I can now try out for the PSIA-AASI National Team. While I feel proud be a part of the team, it feels a little surreal to be included in that group of peers as we look for the next step.
What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? the people! Every event, whether as a participant or a leader, has been an amazing experience. Also, I have traveled and worked in some amazing places that wouldn't have been possible without my PSIA-AASI education.
Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Head (full disclosure they do take care of me), but their stuff rips and I wouldn't settle for less!
What are your current skiing or riding goals? I am working on turn entry (aren't we all...) but seriously I am, as I train for the National Team selection.
What are your current teaching goals? I hope to be elevated to full examiner in the Eastern Division this year. It has been a long road of understudies and learning opportunities!
Your Advice to Instructors
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? Go to clinics! pursue exams but don't forget about the educational events! We sometimes get too focused on the short term tangible goals (L1, L2, L3 etc.) but enjoy the process and learn!
What are some of your tips for teaching the following students…
Beginners: Remember that the teaching progressions are a guideline. Everyone learns at different rates and sometimes you can throw the plan out the window and speed it up! ...or slow it down to fit the pace of the student.
Intermediates: Don't be afraid to go back to the basics. Slow down and lower the terrain for better long term learning.
Advanced students: They are stuck in their ways! Create learning opportunities that show them a need to change. You will create a strong desire within them to better themselves.
What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification?
Level I: Go to clinics at your home mountain. Ask lots of questions, there aren't any bad ones!
Level II: Be patient and take your time preparing – it’s a big jump from Level I to II.
Level III: Try to lead some clinics, hopefully with an overstudy. This way you can get comfortable coaching your peers. That is the biggest difference between Levels II and III. Then get feedback of your teaching on the spot.
Sound off… Anything else you want to share? Teaching skiing has shaped me in many ways. It taught me public speaking when I was younger and more nervous. I met my wife traveling and teaching. Our industry is such an interesting melting pot of people and it has become part of my family. That connectivity is the magical part. I hope to meet you all out there on the road!
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!