Professional Development Plan: National Team Member Ryan Christofferson
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 Alpine Team Member Ryan Christofferson
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: At [Interski 2015 in] Ushuaia, Argentina, the team presented a lot of information that was not necessarily new but repackaged. There were also some new things that PSIA-AASI was stating that did not have clear answers at the time. However, it did highlight the direction our organization was headed and put the next two teams on a trajectory. [At Interski 2019] in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, a few of the statements were backed up with four years of application, but there were still things left unanswered. [At Interski 2023] in Levi, Finland, this team was able to bring closure to the statements made in Ushuaia and Bulgaria. For me, the content we delivered at Levi was the strongest and best received by the rest of the world.
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: Last season the alpine freestyle message for this term really began to take shape. I want to continue to work on that so that the 2024-28 team can build on it and create content for the organization. The focus last season brought in the people and teaching skills and that is where I plan to continue to focus.
Q: What other professional goals do you have in terms of teaching and skiing?
A: My current goal is working on welcoming more new people to the sport. The industry is seeing a lot of skier visits but not a lot of new people to the sport. Both in my everyday job and in my PSIA roles, I am working on how we can connect more new people to our industry, specifically focusing on the beginner experience.
Q: How can you work with and learn from other instructors on this journey?
A: Instructors are the core to this goal. Learning what various resorts do to focus on beginners and what the experience is regarding trends and training is the beginning. I also think having our tenured instructors start to focus on the beginner experience has the potential to give our newcomers a better experience.
Q: How can your professional development plan help other instructors work to achieve their goals?
A: I think helping instructors find their own “why” they teach will help them find their purpose within the industry and organization. Having that to latch on to helps them build their path and their business and brand within the organization/industry. It has been something that has shifted for me from wanting to be better, to wanting to help people achieve their training goals, to now wanting to connect new people to the sport and grow the pipeline for future PSIA-AASI members or just everyday enthusiasts.
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: Being a part of the community gives me a sense of responsibility to grow the industry and utilize my skills to help however needed. PSIA-AASI has provided me with invaluable opportunities and a career that is diverse and fun but also something I love to do. Because of that, I want to share that with anyone who is looking for a path within the organization or with the industry as a whole.