Highlight Reel: 2024 National Academies & PSIA-AASI National Team Selection

PSIA-AASI National Academies and PSIA-AASI National Team Selection in Big Sky, Montana, represented the absolute best of snowsports education, with every attendee, clinic leader, and team candidate enjoying the next chapter of their own personal lifelong adventure through education.

“Team Selection and the content from the National Academies help shape our organization,” said PSIA-AASI National Team Coach Jeb Boyd. “These events help us reinforce and refine everything that we do to advance instruction and are key to community building. Every individual who takes part in these events is helping us create a better experience for everyone.”

On a personal note, just getting off a plane in Bozeman and having the luck to be in a van with former PSIA Alpine Team member Deb Armstrong, AASI Snowboard Assistant and Development Team Coach Tony Macri, and first-year Breckenridge snowboard instructor and first-time Rider Rally attendee Vince Nguyen, perfectly illustrated our association’s commitment to creating ongoing opportunities for learning.

Knowing that open-ended, open-minded conversations like the one we enjoyed in that shuttle were happening on every chairlift and at every breakfast table in Big Sky for the past two weeks provided just one bright glimpse of the teaching and learning possibilities the Academies and the National Team deliver each season.

Here are five highlights from two incredible weeks of skiing and snowboarding:

PSIA-AASI Announces 2024-28 National Team

PSIA-AASI announced its 2024-28 National Team Thursday, April 25, concluding a rigorous, winterlong selection process that culminated on-snow at Big Sky last week. The 30 professional instructors (and eight coaches) named to the team comprise some of the best skiers and riders in the world and are inspirational educators and lifelong learners.

“The PSIA-AASI National Team embodies the breadth and depth of the best of our association through their people, teaching, and technical skills,” said PSIA-AASI CEO Peggy Hiller. “Their modeling of these key components of ‘What Makes a Great Instructor’ inspires instructors across the country to push themselves and produce successful learning for guests of all ages.”


More Than 100 Instructors Invited to Team Selection

More than 100 incredibly talented snowsports instructors from across the country packed their skis, snowboards, goggles, gloves, and guts and headed to Big Sky for a shot at making the team.

“Every one of these instructors is a leader in their snowsports schools and at their local mountains,” said Boyd. “We’re flattered that they are constantly working to get better at every aspect of their teaching and riding, and that they have the dedication and commitment to test themselves at the highest level.”


National Academy Awards & Recognition Night Honors Excellence in Instruction

PSIA-AASI National Academies attendees packed the Yellowstone Conference Center Wednesday, April 17, ringing the room with cheers, warm memories, and several standing ovations as they honored some of the true pioneers and rising stars of U.S. ski and snowboard instruction.

Honorees of the evening included U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame member Gwen Allard; recent U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame inductee Mike Porter; PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling; PSIA Cross Country Team Coach Emily Lovett; former PSIA Alpine Team member and Olympic Gold medal winner Deb Armstrong; Big Bear, Pennsylvania, Assistant Snowsports School Director Michael O’Neill; Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, Ski Instructor Nick Nagey; Blue Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania, Snowboard Instructor Elizabeth “Liz” Lozinger (now at Vermont’s Jay Peak); and Ski Instructor Cortney Bayuk.


First-Time Academy Attendees Share Their Experience

Awards, recognition, and scholarships like those that were shared at the Yellowstone Conference Center often provide a welcome introduction for first-time attendees to experience PSIA-AASI National Academies for themselves.

Vail’s Logan Academy and Big Sky’s own scholarship program also provide instructors with the opportunity to attend National Academies. Local instructor Lauren Stanley said a Big Sky resort scholarship allowed her to participate, and “The whole experience was even cooler than I thought it could be. It’s so much more than just skiing.”


The Best Snowsports Tradition: Closing Out the Season at National Academies

Tom Gabriesle went to his first PSIA National Academy when it was held in Snowbird, Utah, in 1992. Since then, other than a break for Covid and a brief hiccup in the mid-1990s, he hasn’t missed the event in 30 years.

Like so many attendees at National Academy, Tom said it feels like winter isn’t really over until whichever legendary mountain is hosting the event stops running the chairs. And for anyone who has never attended, he said, “You’re missing out on the best snowsports coaching experience in the world.”


Bonus highlight! Check out “Winter Roots,” the new homegrown movie from the AASI Snowboard Team.