Professional Development Plan: National Team Member Christina Bruno

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.

PSIA-AASI Adaptive Team Member Christina Bruno

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: The last few years have been action-packed, especially for adaptive. We approved new adaptive alpine national standards, which was a huge project as part of our strategic alignment across regions. The amount of work that has gone into this project from both team members, the National Task Force, and the regions definitely stands out.

Alongside the adaptive standards, presenting at Interski, and showing up as a leader within the adaptive global community was a huge achievement for our team. I felt like we were able to mentor and positively influence other countries who still had developing adaptive standards and programs. Compared to most of the world, we are far ahead in both thought and equipment when it comes to adaptive, and it was rewarding to be able to share our knowledge and experience on a global scale.

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: There is always room for improvement, especially technical skills across multiple disciplines. As an adaptive instructor, I am often switching between skis or snowboard, or adaptive sit-down equipment. It is really important to get in the adaptive equipment and keep your skills up, especially as new technology continues to improve. My challenge is actually finding the spare time to do so.

I also hope to take my teaching and people skills to a wider range of snowsports enthusiasts and bring the skills I have refined as an adaptive instructor and team member to other snowsports organizations that can benefit from our focus on the holistic instructor. This should challenge me in new ways and keep my skills sharp.

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

A: My season is already booked out with leading clinics, exams, camps, and lessons. I really hope to have more than a couple days off to slide for myself. Professionally I just want to enjoy this last year with the team and keep my energy high through the season. That really is my main goal this year.

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

A: I feel like many of us on the team run crazy busy schedules and channel superhuman powers to keep the schedule we do. I know I can work with my co-workers and team members to squeeze in more hot laps at the end of the day or first-track fun runs where we can just let it rip and not overthink each turn or word. I think we can work together to “play” more and have time for reflection versus moving from one point to the next.

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

A: As I remind myself to be more playful and squeeze in more sliding time, I encourage you to as well. Whatever your professional development plan looks like, you need to keep a connection to what brings you joy, in whatever form that is. Often, I can have more focus developing my skills if I also allow myself to have some freeride sessions or laps. We focus so much on our skills within the Learning Connection Model, but don’t forget your personal connection to the sport and mountain environment.

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: Some of my favorite memories of instructing have been through other instructors taking me out on their favorite runs, eager to share their favorite spots and tips for teaching at the mountain, the chitchat in the locker room, and stories about the day over a cold beer.

The eagerness to share knowledge and experience over the love of snowsports is what being a member of the PSIA-AASI community means to me. I treasure the memories I have working at Taos Ski Valley with instructors three times my age treating me like an equal, despite their depth of knowledge and years of experience, and so excited to help make my time on the mountain as special as it was to them.

We have that opportunity as PSIA-AASI members to share what makes snowsports special to us to our clients and to our co-workers, going above and beyond the progression to adding the culture of the sport, connection to nature, history of the area and sport, and your own personal story, allowing our clients and co-workers space to build their own connections and stories as part of the larger community.