2024-28 PSIA-AASI National Team Coach Interview: Eric Rolls

The 2024-28 PSIA-AASI National Team Coaching Staff was announced Jan. 31, solidifying the educational foundation for the upcoming new team selection, goal-setting process, and hosting of Interski in Vail, Colorado, in 2027.

We would like to congratulate the coaches and team on the upcoming completion of their current PSIA-AASI National Team term, and thank them for their commitment to the 2021-24 PSIA-AASI National Team’s success and innovation.

In this interview series, the coaches discuss how they plan to continue to build on the current team’s success and innovation as they prepare to guide the 2024-28 PSIA-AASI National Team into the future. Here, AASI Snowboard Team Coach Eric Rolls talks about helping each team member grow as a leader.

Q: What does it mean to you to coach this new team, and how do you challenge yourself to make sure you and everyone on the team are in a position to give their best?

A: Being a second-term coach and team member since 2008 allows me to keep the momentum going and continue to build upon the great legacy of the previous teams. It is such a great honor to be a leader amongst such talented and amazing humans. I like to take a collaborative approach with the team members and try to align with their individual needs and motivations. I feel it’s important to create opportunities for team members to create and lead projects they are passionate about.

Q: I think everyone in PSIA-AASI would be fascinated to know how you take a group of such self-motivated instructor/athletes and give them opportunities to keep improving. How do you do that?

A: I see my coach role as an opportunity to lead and mentor team members to showcase their strengths and give them opportunities to challenge themselves. The great advantage is that team members are already self-motivated. Sometimes I just need to remove roadblocks or give guidance on who to contact or what approach to take. We also do individualized goal setting and check-ins that help guide their personal growth as a team member. For example, some team members would like to be a National Team coach, so I help provide opportunities for them to take important leadership roles. As the coach, I’m responsible for the results and outputs, but I don’t need to oversee every moment. Besides, learning from others on the team is one of the things I value most as a coach; there is always plenty for me to learn from other team members.

Q: One of the most impressive traits of the current team is how they worked together for the benefit of PSIA-AASI members by collaborating across disciplines, with a “ONEteam” approach to identify best practices for all snowsports instruction. What is key to keeping the momentum going?

A: The key to keeping the momentum going with our ONEteam approach is to call ourselves out if we drift into discipline silos. It takes effort and purpose to break paradigms and old patterns. Sometimes when timelines are short, or it’s a high-pressure project or situation, it’s easy to default to traditional methods. We focus on proactively including all points of view and respect those who identify when we don’t. Sometimes, all it takes is saying the phrase “ONEteam” and everyone cues into it.

Q: What are some of the key leadership traits you’ll be looking for as you identify who will make the new team at Team Selection in April at Big Sky, Montana, especially as you build a completely new “ONEteam?”

A: We need team members who can lead a project to a desirable result. We also need team members who can play important supporting roles for others leading projects. Team members often need to blend their ability to lead with how they collaborate with others.

Q: Are there specific opportunities you see in your own discipline, and how might the new team take advantage of them?

A: For snowboarding, I think there is an opportunity to continue showing the relevance of our organization to the rest of the snowboard industry. There is a lot of pride in what we have provided in terms of creating lifelong snowboarders after students are exposed to certified snowboard instructors. We need to continue supporting how we introduce people to snowboarding, and the team will play a vital role in how this is done while keeping it fun.

Q: The 2024-28 National Team will enjoy hosting Interski 2027 in Vail, Colorado. How does having this event in the United States galvanize the team and provide a generational opportunity to promote the benefits of all snowsports instruction?

A: The United States is a leader in the international snowsports education community. Hosting Interski in Vail will allow us to create an international snowsports education event like no other. Hosting Interski will also give more national attention and recognition for what we do. This will give more exposure to PSIA-AASI and hopefully inspire future generations to follow the path and create new tracks for years to come.

Q: There are so many ways this team can enhance the member experience for all PSIA-AASI members. How do you think this team will take us into the future of U.S. Snowsports Instruction?

A: This team will be in service as we meet a major milestone for American Snowsports Instruction. As we close in on the final years of aligning our regions through our Strategic Alignment Initiative, we will have the opportunity to start exploring what’s next. The alignment project has created a very stable platform for us to jump off and continue shaping snowsports instruction for generations.