PSIA-AASI Division Affiliation Agreement Charts a Course for Greater Consistency, Cooperation

Click here to view the affiliation agreement microsite and related documents.

The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors’ (PSIA-AASI) Board of Directors announced that five of its divisions signed a ground-breaking affiliation agreement which will pave the way for greater consistency of certification standards and a stronger, more unified force for advocating ski and snowboard instruction throughout the United States. While four of PSIA-AASI’s divisions have yet to reach agreement, there is hope agreement will be reached with them soon.

The agreement—signed by PSIA-AASI Chairman Eric Sheckleton and presidents from the association’s Alaska, Central, Northern Intermountain, Northern Rocky Mountain, and Western divisions—evolved from an original 1986 agreement in which divisions agreed to unify under the PSIA banner. This set the stage to develop a unified national and international image of PSIA and later AASI, and better protect the investment members make in their certification.

Noting that the agreement would not have been possible without “the efforts of these five division leaders and a national board committed to the long-term integrity and credibility of our member-focused association,” Sheckleton expressed confidence that PSIA-AASI’s other four divisions could reach the same accord, since the agreement forwarded for signature received unanimous support from five respective divisional boards.

“PSIA-AASI is made up of extraordinarily dedicated members who count on services provided at the division and national level, and this agreement solidifies the framework by which both entities do what they do best,” said Bill Stanley, the Central Division board president who chairs the Divisional President’s Advisory Council. “And by working together to develop, apply, and maintain consistent national certification standards, we ultimately enhance the lesson experience for students with whom we share the thrill of skiing and riding.”

“A lot of hard work, examination of principles, and painstaking discussion has gone into the formation of this agreement,” said Carl Underkoffler, board president of PSIA-AASI’s Western Division. “I’m confident that it bolsters our association while honoring the vital role the division’s play in our members’ success. We’re all stronger when we work together.”

The agreement was developed through a joint effort of division presidents and the PSIA-AASI Chairman of the Board as well as a two-day session involving all divisions and the national board this past October.  “Without agreement from all of the divisions, PSIA-AASI would take a step backward to the pre-1961 environment in which there were many different certification programs that had different regional recognition,” said Sheckleton, “The national organization is firmly committed to ensuring any disagreement does not directly affect our 31,716 members.”

A snowsports school director located in the one division often hires certified instructors from another division, said Sheckleton. “This director knows that their skiing and riding guests will benefit through quality instruction from PSIA-AASI certified instructors, because PSIA-AASI’s national standards mean that an instructor uses the same quality teaching method regardless of what division they belong to. Without agreement across all divisions, PSIA-AASI and its members that have worked so hard to earn their certification will lose credibility with the industry and the hiring directors, and the unified presentation of PSIA-AASI across the country will splinter.”

PSIA-AASI members can learn more by sending an e-mail to

Photo of PSIA-AASI Chairman Eric Sheckleton (L) and Divisional President’s Advisory Council Chair Bill Stanley, the Central Division board president (R).

- Susan Urbanczyk

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