Meet the 2016-20 PSIA-AASI Team: Big Sky Ski Instructor Brenna Kelleher

After a grueling four-day competition and selection process held April 17 – April 21 at Breckenridge, Colorado, the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) announced the names of the PSIA-AASI members selected from 81 total candidates to serve on the 2016-20 PSIA-AASI Team.

There are many talented new team members. In the coming weeks, will be giving them the personal introduction they deserve. Today, meet Big Sky, Montana-based PSIA Ski Team member Brenna Kelleher.

Can you tell the members a little bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Montana, I grew up in a canyon next to a river. My sister, brother, and I rode horses, whitewater kayaked and skied all the time. We would go on family adventure in the mountains. There was no Disneyland or world trips, if we were going somewhere, it was to a forest service cabin in the mountains in the summer, hunting in the fall, kayaking in the spring, or skiing in the winter. 

What is your teaching background?
My teaching background is diverse. I have taught high school girls in Africa with a semester program. I taught journalism, cultural studies, global studies and P.E. (which was usually making the best of wherever we were in Africa).

For skiing, after I finished racing NCAA I felt like something was missing. It was then I started as a guide at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky. That soon transferred into a PSIA certification and so on. I am now back at the best ski area—and my home area—Big Sky Ski Resort, and I work for NRM division as an examiner. 

What is it about skiing that is so appealing to you?
The sense of freedom and exploration. Whether it be climbing to the top of a mountain and skiing a new line, ripping a mogul line down Mad Wolf (run at Big Sky) or teaching a first time skier to wedge, skiing is about exploring and trying new things where the the only person who can hold you back is you.

Is there something other than skiing that inspires you?
When I am not on snow I am in the rivers or mountains kayaking, riding horses or mountain biking. Horses seem to be a huge inspiration to me, or maybe addiction. I believe it is because you are constantly working on improving your relationship with them and trust. A horse can be a reflection of one’s self, and that can be a brutally honest version of yourself you might not like and have to work on changing. It can also be the most rewarding.

How did it feel to make the team?
It was a bit surreal. I was not sure what to expect at the tryouts and thought if I went there and performed the best I could and be myself things would work out however they should. I am still working out how I accomplished it!

What kind of work did you put in to prepare for Team Selection?
I work all season and had little time to actually train, but I believe because I teach and love teaching it is what prepared me most. That and I would run four days a week to keep my cardio up. Tryouts were at Breckenridge, and knowing it was high altitude I knew my cardio had to be in tip-top condition.

Now that you're on the team, what are your goals?
I hope to help connect PSIA with the snow science community and help orchestrate education credits for our members. Backcountry skiing is growing fast and it is important our members are able to relate to all genres of skiing. 

What does PSIA-AASI membership mean to you?
Being part of a team, and a structure, which helps create new skiers every day. Skiing is an amazing sport and it is exciting to part of an organization which helps facilitate safety on the mountain and new life long skiers.

What is something we might not know about you?
I am a pilot. 

Read about Brenna’s recent adventure in South America where she went to help PSIA Supplier Blizzard build a better women’s ski here.

- Peter Kray

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  • Meet the 2016-20 PSIA-AASI Team: Big Sky Ski Instructor Brenna Kelleher


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