National Academy Awards Ceremony Celebrates Instructors

The PSIA-AASI Awards and Recognition Ceremony took place at the Yellowstone Conference Center in Montana Wednesday night, honoring the achievements of several instructors.

As Awards and Recognition Chair Robin May noted, the annual event – which is a centerpiece of PSIA-AASI’s National Academy – provides a forum for instructors to celebrate each other.

“This is my favorite night of the year, because it recognizes a lot of hard work from a lot of people, ” said Robin. “The message I hope you all take back to your locker rooms is that it’s important for us to celebrate each other. Think about the people who have been important to your career, and take the time to nominate them for what they have done for other instructors, and for you.”

Five PSIA-AASI members were honored, including longtime PSIA-AASI Board of Directors member and former Board of Directors Treasurer Walt Coiner who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Walt Coiner

Walt, who noted that snowsports instruction, “Is truly an adventure through education, complete with the human connection,” shared that he has made lifelong friends in the snowsports industry.

“In working with the board over these past several years I’ve learned to listen to understand rather than listen to respond, helping me to build trust in a professional setting,” said Walt. “Trust and leadership go hand-in-hand. Thank you, PSIA-AASI, for this honor.”

Angus Graham Rising Star Award: Riley Shepard and Fern Stewart

Riley Shepard and Fern Stewart were recognized with the Angus Graham Rising Star Award in honor of the late Aspen Snowmass instructor. The award recognizes standout members who show promise charting a career path within the snowsport industry.

“Receiving the Angus Graham Rising Star Award means a lot as I looked up to Angus while working with him at Aspen,” said Riley. “I hope to live up to the award’s name and be a role model and resource for others like Angus was to me.”

Fern said of the award, “I cannot begin to express how honored I am to receive this award, for it means that I get to ski in Angus Graham’s name for the rest of my life. I will bring his smile, enthusiasm, and love for the sport with me wherever I go and share it with whomever I meet.”

She added, “I am a young member of PSIA-AASI at 18 years old. Though being a young female in the industry has been challenging at times, it has been so rewarding because I know that I am helping carve a track for future young, female leaders just as such wonderful women have come before me.”

Top of the Course Award: Konnor Sibley

Konnor Sibley was honored with the Top of the Course Award, which recognizes members who scored at the highest percentile in people, teaching, and skiing or snowboarding technical knowledge; and who empowered other candidates during the level III exam process.

He said of the recognition, “Being in a one-hundred percent guest facing role it is sometimes difficult to feel like your hard work and dedication is truly being recognized by your local resort. This award has created extra motivation for me to continue my professional development. My goal is to one day be in a position where I can drive an industry-wide movement towards recognizing instructors in a way that also encourages them to continue their dedication to this industry like this award has done for me.”

 3 C’s Award: Briggs Allen

PSIA-AASI and National Ski Patrol member Briggs Allen received the 3 C’s Award, which recognizes members who demonstrate positive leadership within their snowsport school or region through consistent collaboration, communication, and cooperation with peers and guests.

“The 3 C’s are solid fundamentals our organization emphasizes in all aspects of training,” said Briggs. “I have enormous respect for PSIA-AASI and its members, and I consider receiving the 3 C’s award a great honor. Furthermore, it is a privilege to interface between the Southern Division National Ski Patrol and PSIA-AASI. Anytime you are recognized by your peers it’s very special.”

Want to recognize a PSIA-AASI member who has been important to your career? Learn more and make a nomination.

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