2019 Year in Review: Top Stories in Adaptive Instruction

It’s that time of year, when TheSnowPros.org takes a look back at some of the most impactful events in the last 12 months of professional snowsports instruction.

With Interski 2019 taking place this past April in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, and 2020-2024 Team Selection set to take place this coming April in Breckenridge, Colorado, there’s certainly been a lot to report. To kick of the highlight reel, here are 2019’s Top Stories in adaptive instruction.

Launch of the Adaptive Technical Manual

The launch of the Adaptive Technical Manual has been a major effort over the last two team terms. This manual is a pinnacle piece when it comes to anything available in the adaptive sports industry. The consequent addition to the manual on medications and diagnoses is another incredible resource for anyone working in the adaptive realm. According to PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team Coach Geoff Krill, “These two pieces alone will guide us for many years to come.”

National Adaptive Academy

The 32nd annual Hartford Ski Spectacular took place December 9-15, 2019, in Breckenridge, Colorado. This event, hosted by Disabled Sports USA and held in conjunction with PSIA-AASI’s National Adaptive Academy, is the nation’s premier adaptive winter sports festival.

According to Rocky Mountain Adaptive Alpine Committee Chair Beth Fox, these were the top three takeaways from this year’s event.

  • TetraSki Workshop to qualify more instructors to teach using this innovative sit ski that allows people with quadriplegia to ski more independently and take charge of their turns and speed.
  • Use of the Soundscape app in Nordic skiing to allow greater independence by skiers with low or no vision. The system uses 3D audio technology to help the skier determine where they want to ski and how to get there, decreasing dependence upon a sighted guide.
  • Twenty instructors received scholarships through a veterans program funding to attend the Academy and take new skills back to their snowsports programs and schools to serve military veterans with disabilities.

The Evolution of Adaptive Teaching

When PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team members Geoff Krill and Josh Spoelstra led a joint presentation with BASI at Interski, it wasn’t the collaboration that was so unique as much as the audience. Other countries had come to Interski with their own adaptive teams. Often Krill and Spoelstra are the sole designated adaptive advocates at the event, but in Bulgaria the pair found a growing pool of adaptive instructors, and athletes, for collaboration.

Krill said, “There was a genuine shift towards teaching adaptive skiers and snowboarders, versus providing experiences for adaptive athletes. Still, while most countries presented what they teach, they lacked a technical understanding as to why they teach it, and the cause and effect relationships that occur. I believe this is rooted in the lack of application from something like our fundamentals. The other missing piece is a solid resource of educational materials, and many are looking to PSIA-AASI to acquire this information.”

Krill Named Coach of PSIA-AASI 2020-2024 Adaptive Team

Looking forward to Team Selection 2020, Krill has been named the head coach for the next PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team.