Insight From Kevin Jordan on His PSIA Alpine Team Experience

In honor of the PSIA-AASI National Team Selection process in Big Sky, Montana, Sunday, April 21, through Friday, April 26, we’re taking a closer look at all the things your team does to make being a PSIA-AASI member a better, more rewarding experience for you.

You can learn more about what it takes to make the national team from PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling in this March 27 post. Here, PSIA Alpine Team member Kevin Jordan shares insight about his quest to make the team and all the work he put in to get there.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to try out for the team and what did you understand about what it would take to actually make it happen?

A: I first tried out for the team in 2008. When I moved to Aspen Snowmass in 2004, I had three goals: 1. Become a professional skier; 2. Become a certified AMGA Ski Guide; 3. Become a PSIA-AASI National Team member.

I did a couple of freeride competitions and remember in one competition, I lost my line and quickly found myself atop a 50-foot cliff. I didn’t want to send it because I had to show up to line up the next day. I decided to do a kick turn that was super sketchy and realized that maybe my dream of becoming a pro skier in the Freeride Competitor/Big Mountain arena might not be for me!

Thus, I decided to focus my efforts on PSIA and the National Team and 2008 was my first tryout. I actually found out about the team in 2003. Dave Merriam was one of my guest speakers in my ski area management course at the University of Vermont. He was one of the best public speakers I had ever seen. I asked him how he was so good at presenting. He said that he did it a lot on the road. I asked why he was on the road a lot. He told me he was the coach of the PSIA-AASI National Team. I asked, “What’s that?” I owe a lot to Dave “Razor” Merriam for sparking my interest in the team. I saw him in 2022 at National Academy and told him this story. He was so moved by it. You never know what influence you have on someone.

Q: How much work does it take to even consider this as an option in your career?

A: Short answer: a ton. People spend a lifetime preparing. I think back to my 2003 self and thought that the PSIA-AASI National Team was interesting when I met Dave Merriam. However, I wasn’t sure if it was for me until I started actually going to the tryout/selection process in 2008.

I have heard National Team Coach Jeb Boyd and former National Team Coach Katie Ertl say something along the lines of “do the job before you have the job.” This always resonated with me. I remember being in Las Leñas, Argentina, in the summer of 2007 with Josh Fogg, and we were training wedge christies hard. The Argentinians and Europeans would poke a little fun at us “gringos” trying to perfect a demonstration turn. I loved every second of that training. We would try to do it on steep terrain and there were some pomas at the base of the area. Sometimes the lift lines were long, yet we would wait for someone to get off or fall off and “snake” an empty poma platter so we could practice more! We probably shouldn’t have been doing it in uniform; however, I got better at wedge christies!

Q: How did you prepare, and what are some of the key things you learned about yourself in the process?

A: I prepared so many different ways. Some highlights include:

  • Going to race camp by myself to get my butt kicked by 9-year-old boys from Poland.
  • One training day, circa 2008-11, with Jerry Berg where he timed us doing every task! His point was once you include a timing element, it becomes a competition.
  • Training days at Vail with Mike Porter and Joe Webster. These two remind me of the critics in the Muppets (Statler and Waldorf).
  • Training days with the Aspen Snowmass team, and in particular, the late Angus Graham.
  • 2015 powder 8s at Jackson Hole. Long story here, but I basically blew the task and could hear Mike Porter’s words in my head, “Do the task!”

What I learned in the process was always worth it. For example, in 2012, I met up with former Education Director Earl Saline when they had taken 11 Alpine Team members. I asked him if I was number 12 or number 42. He said, “take this with a grain of salt, you were in the bottom of the top third.” I did some quick math and determined that I was 14th and looked at him with my best Jim Carrey impression and said, “So you are telling me there’s a chance!” That kept me going.

Q: Highlights along the way? Or lows?

A: Highlights:

  • I remember Jeb Boyd saying in 2016, “Sometimes the chase is better than the catch” – the chase has been amazing.
  • Definitely being named to the team in 2021.
  • I had this vision in the 2021 tryout of what it would look like or feel like to stand at the top of the demonstration slope in Levi, Finland, ready to drop into a synchronized skiing formation with my teammates. When that came true, there were some emotions and tears. I made Brenna Kelleher take a picture!


  • Let’s face it, when you don’t make the team, it sucks. I remember being in a conference room at Breckenridge in 2016. My son was a little over a year old. My daughter wasn’t even born yet. Michael Rogan is reading out names. He announced Stephen Helfenbein and then Brenna Kelleher. I texted my wife who was in the back of the room and told her I didn’t make it. She was like, “they haven’t announced all the names yet.” But I have been to enough of these that they go alphabetical by last name. I was determined to stay and get some feedback and support those who were successful. It was not easy, but it was the right thing to do.

Q: What’s it feel like to actually make it?

A: There are no words. The night I made it, I received 237 text messages. I didn’t even know I had 237 friends! I can remember the very next day (due to Covid) we had a breakfast and had to introduce ourselves (even though we were masked). I remember saying, “My name is Kevin Jordan, and I am on the Alpine Team.” That was the first time I had said those words and shared that with the audience. They erupted in support and applause. I can still put myself back there in that very moment. It was so cool!

Q: Top takeaways from actually being on the team the last three years?

A: They went by so fast. I tried to hit the ground running.

  • Being at the top of the Levi demo slope.
  • Working with CARV and filming some ski tips. The cameraman could ski switch so fast and film me at the same time.
  • Going to Boston Mills and having ski patrol teach us how to use the toboggan.
  • Skiing at Perfect North Slopes until 10 p.m. (I was trying to make it until midnight), and I had an early flight, so I had to quit early.
  • Skiing out of the demo slope corral at Levi and all the kids wanting to high five you. It was one of the few times that I felt like a professional athlete. I think of myself as one and feel like one. However, after performing a formation skiing pass and people congratulating you, it was special.

The fourth time was the charm! I never take it for granted because it took me a long time to get there.