Resources for Cross Country Instructors

Momentum, continuous movement, forward motion – these ski technique terms describe where PSIA cross country is headed. Because our sport is a human powered activity, cross country skiers continuously look for ways to create efficiency and power in our forward motion – and as an organization we are doing the same. It’s an exciting time for cross country enthusiasts. From initiatives like the new educational processes and certification standards to Interski 2023 taking place in Finland, a cross country mecca, there are a plenty of exciting projects on the horizon.

Cross Country Task Force Builds Community, Consistency

PSIA’s Cross Country Task Force is busy developing new resources to help instructors improve their students’ lesson experience. Comprised of PSIA-AASI National Team members David Lawrence, Emily Lovett, and Greg Rhodes – along with representatives from each division – the task force supports our national organization’s Three C’s initiative: Communication, Collaboration, and Consolidation.

The main focus of the task force is to collaborate on best practices to develop and refine PSIA-AASI’s certification standards as part of the organization’s push towards strategic alignment – meaning educational processes and certification will be consistent across divisions. We are developing a skill based assessment system that truly educates and assesses us as skiers, teachers, and leaders. This updated process will account for the best practices in the technical, teaching, and people skills emphasized within the Learning Connection Model.

New Resources Help Instructors Improve Their Lessons

Another function of the task force is to deliver information about new programs or materials to members, and collect feedback from members and divisions. Task force members take the pulse on what instructors find useful and also share instructor feedback on new ideas or recommendations with the group. We are working to improve and deliver new resources that will help members, and their students, excel. Three recent releases are the Cross Country Progress Cards, the “Delivering the Beginner Experience – Cross Country” e-learning course, and the new Beginner’s Guide to Cross Country Skiing videos.

PROGRESS CARDS – The new Cross Country Progress Cards break down skill development into nine stages from a never-ever to an advanced racer. This project originally targeted youth programs, but we realized the cards offer great skill-development progressions for all ages. Instructors can use these cards as part of a lesson plan, or give these cards to their students, who can then take ownership of their progress by marking tasks and skills they have mastered or are still practicing.

“DELIVERING THE BEGINNER EXPERIENCE – CROSS COUNTRY” E-LEARNING COURSE  Launched in October 2019, this course is designed to help instructors deliver exceptional educational experiences for beginner skiers. Several divisions have made this course a part of their Level I assessment process.

BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CROSS COUNTRY SKIING VIDEOS – This video series explains the basics of cross country skiing, like how to fit boots and propel forward on skis, and is intended to help the general public learn more about the sport and how to get started. These videos were made in conjunction with PSIA-AASI partner SNOW Operating.

Looking Ahead with the PSIA Cross Country Team

What can you expect in the future? Our number one mission is to continue to lead great on-snow experiences for our members and the cross country community, and we plan to do so by continuing to tune into members’ interests and needs, creating more multi-divisional clinics, and launching an improved educational curriculum.

As the Strategic Alignment Project reaches the implementation stage, we will use events and clinics to share the refined educational process. Multi-division and discipline events will reinforce the communication, collaboration, and consolidation between divisions and increase the value we offer to PSIA-AASI members and the cross country community as a whole.

Starting next fall, the new 2020-24 Cross Country Team will set goals to present at Interski 2023 taking place in Levi, Finland. This international event will bring cross country instructors from around the world together for a week of gliding, discussions, and learning. Levi is a unique location above the Arctic Circle, and a nordic mecca. It’s the biggest ski resort in Finland, with 230 kilometers of cross country trails. Momentum on cross country skis is fun, and so is momentum as an organization. We have positioned ourselves in the “ready position” with strong teamwork, collaboration, and communication – which is what it takes to maintain momentum on any trail. Thank you for being a part of this community of skiers, teachers, coaches, and leaders. We hope to see you at an event soon!

This article, by Emily Lovett, originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of 32 Degrees. Log in now to the online version to access other great content that will up your instructor game.

A member of the 2016-20 PSIA Cross Country Team, Lovett was named coach for the 2020-24 Cross Country Team. She organizes and coaches at several regional XC ski camps, is a member of the PSIA-RM Education Staff, and instructs at the Lake Catamount Touring Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.