2021-24 National Team: Meet Mike Ma
Mike Ma is a member of the 2021-24 PSIA-AASI National Team where he will help set the standard for snowsports instruction. PSIA-AASI hand-selected the 37 team members – 8 coaches and 29 team members – for their range of skills that allow them to serve as inspirational leaders and build enthusiasm for learning and having fun skiing and riding.
Meet PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team member Mike Ma.
Where is your home mountain?
Mount Snow, Vermont
What other occupations are you involved in?
I love startups. I’m currently serving as the managing director of FinTech for Nex Cubed, an early-stage investor and accelerator. I’ve been a senior executive at Bank of America and Vanguard, and the chief marketing officer of venture-backed startups, and I even founded a couple of my own companies.
Describe a teaching or learning experience that sticks out in your mind.
My first Ski Spectacular was a life-changing experience. It is an intense, weeklong immersion into the adaptive world that combines teaching amazing athletes alongside the best adaptive instructors in the country. I highly recommend this event for any instructor.
What are your specialties as a team member?
I hope to build more bridges between the adaptive and able-bodied snowsports worlds. As someone who started in the latter, embracing the idea “every lesson is adaptive” concept has made me a better instructor, trainer, and all-around human being.
Any relevant certifications?
Adaptive Snowboard Level III and Snowboard Level III certifications and Children’s Specialist 2 and Freestyle Specialist 1 credentials.
Who is your greatest inspiration as an instructor?
Like many others, there is not enough room to list everyone, but here are some notable ones.
- Holly Andersen hired me as a new instructor and dragged me into the adaptive world. She has been an incredible leader for adaptive snowboarding in the Eastern Division, and I feel I am carrying on her work.
- Tom Vickery told me I was important to snowboarding when I was working on my Snowboard Level III. He mentored me to help get me there. I aspire to pass the same level of stoke on to others and back it up with the same level of access and presence.
- Tera Adams has been and always will be a fountain of knowledge and inspiration for my adaptive teaching. Without her and her leadership at Adaptive Sports at Mount Snow, I would not be here.
- Toby Burrows puts the soul of snowboarding into whomever he touches. His approach to people skills is both equal parts analytical and empathic. I often seek his advice on how to approach different situations.
- Brian Donovan, Tim Shannon, Danielle Needle, and Lindsay Seligman inspire me with their perseverance and grit. They are all leaders across our industry and truly embody the idea that, “There is no failure. You either win or you learn.” They have all overcome numerous setbacks to ascend to where they are today.
Best part of teaching?
Allowing people to experience one of the most intense forms of freedom in the world – sliding on snow.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, the feeling of independence when you move from edge to flat to edge is exhilarating and intoxicating.
When I can see that joyous lightbulb go off in my student, I feel like I just won the Super Bowl. Every. Single. Time.
What’s your favorite run at your home mountain?
My happy place is in the trees. While our glades have no official names, you can ask a local to lead you to The Trials, Sap Tapper, Epiphany, or the Boonies and you will likely find me there if there is decent coverage.