Professional Development Plan: National Team Member Chuck Hewitt

Congratulations to the 2021-24 PSIA-AASI National Team for all the work they’ve done promoting, supporting, and assisting with the development of PSIA-AASI education materials, programs, and activities at all levels.

As the team enters its final season, team coaches and members reflect on the work they’ve done for the association, their personal accomplishments, and their professional development plans — including how they think those plans can help you reach your goals this season.

AASI Snowboard Team Member Chuck Hewitt

Q: This team has achieved a lot in a short time — including representing the association at Interski 2023, continued refinement of the Learning Connection, and working toward the target date to align certification processes. What achievements stand out to you?

A: Having been part of the task force responsible for the creation of the new National Standards, bringing these new standards into practice with the PSIA-AASI National Team in 2021 was perhaps the greatest milestone from my perspective.

Getting the buy-in from all the regions, advanced educators, and instructors was no small task and took more effort behind the scenes than most people are aware of. I am incredibly proud of this team for bringing those standards to life through the Learning Connection Model and presenting them to the membership across the entire country.

Many current team members put a lot of passion and energy into making this happen over the past several years. It was great to see this passion come to life at Interski as we presented the Learning Connection to the world and were able to clearly articulate how it connects to our National Standards. It will always stand out to me how the rest of the world really looks to our organization and our team to lead the way — and how we did exactly that. I look forward to the team continuing to develop the Learning Connection Model and work toward bringing even greater alignment for our organization in the years to come.

Q: Where do you want to improve this season, especially in regard to the individual people, teaching and technical skills of the Learning Connection?

A: People skills: I hope to continue to improve my ability to listen to those I am teaching and training. It is easy to throw advice at people. It is harder to listen closely to people, to learn their specific understanding of all things snowsports, and relate to them on their terms, not mine.

Teaching skills: I hope to challenge my ideas of the “perfect” lesson or clinic. I hope to push my comfort zone when it comes to teaching and leading clinics, again in an effort to give students and instructors the support they need to find success in their own abilities. I hope to guide people to their own answers and understanding of our sport instead of simply telling them what is “right” or “wrong.”

Technical skills: I hope to improve my own abilities to deliver specific feedback to instructors and candidates in assessment situations to help them better understand their performance and how it compares to the standards we have created.

Q: What other professional goals do you have in terms of teaching and riding?

A: My goals have certainly changed a fair bit over the course of this team’s term. As I now enter my third season of part-time instruction, my perspective of all things ski school has changed quite a bit from the full-time view I had of the industry when I first made this team. My goals have changed from focusing on specific movements or drills and broadened to a more simple variety.

  • Make my days for the team, the RM Region, and my ski school. Not to mention, make sure I get plenty of days with my family as well.
  • Maintain my skills as a team member, examiner, trainer, and instructor. Not long ago, I would have laughed at such a seemingly simple goal, but as the realities of more limited time on the slopes have set in, this has become something I must focus on every time I head up to the mountain.
  • Be fully present when teaching and training.

Q: How can you work with and learn from other instructors on this journey?

A: The longer I spend in this industry, the more I realize I can learn just as much from first-year instructors as I can from pros who have been around for decades. This is not to discount the years of experience the veterans of the morning lineup have, but rather in a way that highlights the nuggets of wisdom you find from the variety of life experiences that each new-hire class brings.

I look forward to the insights of these eager new instructors. Likewise, there is much to learn from instructors currently going through the certification process. Nobody has the exact same experience or perspective as they navigate the certification ladder. I look forward to discussing people’s journey through the snowsports industry and the different perspectives that arise through it.

Q: How can your professional development plan help other instructors work to achieve their goals?

A: I don’t know if my professional development goals will specifically help other instructors achieve their own. I hope that simply sharing the challenges and opportunities some of us face as part-time instructors will help broaden the perspective of everyone. It is OK to have goals that are not as lofty as your peers. It is OK for your goals to sometimes be more simple. This is normal for us all at some point throughout our careers. I hope instructors can go easy on themselves and know that while it is great to have lofty goals, sometimes simple ones are OK too.

Q: What does being a member of the PSIA-AASI community mean to you, and how do you share that sense of belonging with the people you teach, as well as other snow pros?

A: I love the camaraderie and shared sense of experience we all have. For me, it has been the added perspective of the part-time instructor that has really highlighted the additional sense of community we share as members of PSIA-AASI.

I often talk about the weekend turns up on the mountain with my non-PSIA-AASI colleagues. We talk of endless powder, great lines through the trees, or sharing turns with friends we haven’t seen in a while. But when I talk about the lesson I taught and the smile on my students’ faces when they made their first turns, my non-PSIA-AASI colleagues kind of stare at me confused.

They don’t share the passion we all have for sharing our love of snowsports. This is the magic — creating the spark and lighting the fire. Helping others see how much fun the mountains can be. Helping our students see a life outside the 9-5 world that consumes so much of our everyday life. This is why I love the PSIA-AASI community.

The best après stories told amongst instructors don’t usually revolve around stories of their own escapades. They revolve around stories of the best (and maybe worst) lessons they have had. Tales of creating lifelong skiers and snowboarders out of people who had maybe never seen snow, done anything athletic, or only took a lesson because “they had to.” Those are the best. This is what unites us as instructors. This is the passion that creates the sense of belonging in the PSIA-AASI community. A passion we share not just with other instructors, but with everyone we get to meet on the lift.