What It Takes to Make the PSIA-AASI National Team

The PSIA-AASI National Team is made up of the top ski and snowboard instructors from across the country. These professionals are some of the best skiers and riders in the game, and they are inspirational educators and lifelong learners. Every four years, tryouts are held to choose a new team to represent the association following a rigorous selection process.

Several stages of the 2024 National Team Selection process are already underway, including regional nominations and written and video submissions from team candidates to the selection committee. The final, on-snow selection process will take place Sunday, April 21, through Friday, April 26, in Big Sky, Montana.

The 2024 selection is a comprehensive process enabling PSIA-AASI to select the nation’s best educators to represent the association at the highest level. The outcome of this process will be a team that embodies attributes highlighted in the Learning ConnectionSM.

Team Mission: Support our membership and member schools as part of the snowsports industry to:

  • Develop personally and professionally
  • Create and nurture positive learning experiences
  • Grow enthusiasm and excitement for our profession

The team mission supports the association’s vision: “Create lifelong adventures through education.”

Here, PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling breaks down the high level of commitment, talent, and time each instructor puts in for the opportunity to even vie for a spot on the team.


Potential team members have a commitment to learning and leading by example to grow the sport, mentor others to follow a similar pathway, and support PSIA-AASI and the industry to inspire continual learning on snow. Many instructors have said they didn’t really understand how much there was to continue to learn until they achieved their Level III certification. Although the entire process takes commitment, Level III is the minimum requirement to apply for the team. It can take several years of teaching and training to achieve Level III, typically five to seven years, depending on how often you teach. Along the way, most will commit to full-time teaching, followed by training at their school, inspiring and helping fellow instructors achieve their certification and teaching goals.


Being a trainer takes a commitment above and beyond teaching full time, often starting a full day with early morning runs and evening tech and MA (movement analysis) sessions. Similar to teaching guests, there’s a drive to help others achieve their goals, which in its own way is often a selfless, Jedi-like commitment to the craft. Many pros will also look to apply and try out for an education staff spot. In many cases this process is highly competitive, similar to the National Team Selection process. This process can take several more years of honing a skill set of managing group dynamics and examiner skills to identify skills in others.


Often, a newly hired education staff member will commit to understudying more senior experienced education staff for a few seasons to meet all requirements. Historically, understudying has not been paid and requires time away from your home area, including work at your home school. This apprenticeship is primarily on a volunteer basis and takes a special mindset and full commitment. My personal experience took me all over the region – coach surfing and devouring the knowledge and experience of often legendary education staff. Somewhere during this journey, you learn what the team is all about and how you could help take your own knowledge and skill set beyond the region to the national and international level.


Inspiration is all about continual learning and competency at the highest level. You must provide inspiration on snow of the highest technical accuracy, whether performing basic demonstrations or the most dynamic movements on the most difficult terrain. Even more, you prepare to be “on” all the time, as other instructors look to you for snowsports knowledge, all while facilitating the excitement and energy of continual learning.

Always Learning

Team members have magnetic personalities. They back that up with being caring, kind, giving, and having an infectious hunger for always striving to be better, never settling. They are always reading, tinkering, experimenting, thinking, eating, and breathing about learning and doing on snow. The dedication to this level of excellence requires a lifetime commitment after achieving Level III certification and realizing that their path in life is to change the lives of others through learning on snow.