Welcome to the Member Spotlight, which gives well-deserved shine to some of the incredibly skillful and devoted ski and snowboard instructors who make up PSIA-AASI. Whether instruction is a full-time career or a part-time pursuit balanced with other endeavors, PSIA-AASI members have valuable insights to share, gleaned from their experiences on snow.
Enjoy getting to know your colleagues from far and wide who share your passion for teaching skiing and riding! (And fill out this questionnaire for the chance to share YOUR story and insights in Member Spotlight.)
Name: Katie White
Member Since: 2012
Primary discipline: Alpine
PSIA-AASI Division: Northern Rocky Mountain
You, Your Gear, and Your Favorites
When did you start skiing or riding? When I was 7.
What is your best skiing or snowboarding memory? My best memory is of snowboarding at my local hill, Chestnut Mountain in Illinois. They would stay open until midnight on Fridays throughout January and February. I had a fun riding crew that would have our gear packed and ready to go immediately after school on Fridays. I look back at those times and think about how passionate I was about snowboarding. Little did I know I would later make my living by sliding on snow!
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? The joy, freedom, and confidence that can come along with skiing and riding is reason enough. Not to mention being outdoors and appreciating the magical snow, and what we have been able to utilize it for. Always go!
What are your favorite off-snow hobbies? Wakeboarding, Surfing, and Kiteboarding.
PSIA-AASI and Your Snowsports Education Career
Certifications & specialties achieved: Alpine Level III, Snowboard Level I, Children's Specialist 2, Freestyle Specialist 1, and USSA 100.
Resort you work at: Yellowstone Club, Montana and Portillo, Chile.
What inspired you to become an instructor? I love being outdoors and being active, and was inspired by the people who chose to make instructing their career.
Do you teach part-time or full-time? Full-time
What other profession(s) or endeavor(s) are you involved in? I supervise at the Yellowstone Club ski school in the winter, and I spend my summers (winters) teaching skiing at Ski Portillo in Chile.
What about your teaching style stands out? I think my background in exercise science helps me relate the HOW we achieve our movements on skis to my clients and trainees.
What is you biggest accomplishment as an instructor? As far as instructing, my biggest accomplishments are when I can get someone to break through. Whether it is a mental or physical breakthrough, it is always incredibly rewarding to see someone work towards something, and persevere through failure to accomplish a goal.
What’s your favorite PSIA-AASI member benefit? Scholarships! It is such a great way to provide members with learning opportunities and has helped me attend events in the past.
Who is your favorite PSIA-AASI Official Supplier – and why? Head Skis! Because they make me smile while I am skiing them!
What are your current skiing or riding goals? I was recently selected to represent NRM in the 2020-24 PSIA-AASI National Team selection. My goals are to develop and stick to a training program, attend selection, and leave knowing that I gave everything I had regardless of the outcome. I also hope to continue race training, and skiing at new ski areas around the world. OH and land a 360 in Portillo. My list of goals goes on and on.
What are your current teaching goals? I hope to further my race coaching skill set, and improve my technical knowledge in the backcountry.
Your Advice to Instructors
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor? HAVE FUN. This is such a great community of people, and there are few jobs that compare to ski instructing. Also, buy boot heaters.
What are some of your tips for teaching the following students…
Beginners: Take your time learning the basics. It is so important to build a strong foundation before introducing harder terrain. Master it before you move on. Same goes for kids!! Allow them time to learn and master on easy terrain. While you are practicing on the green slopes, don't forget to look to inspiring people to give you some motivation.
Intermediates: This is where exploration and ownership truly comes in to skiing. Challenge yourself to practice your mastered skills on different terrain. BREATH and know that it is OKAY to take a step back if needed.
Advanced students: Keep pushing and finding things that motivate you. Most importantly, be safe. Know when to scale back due to conditions and your energy levels. Find a ski buddy that pushes you to get better in a healthy way. Being scared is good sometimes, but it shouldn't be how you feel all the time. And lastly, it can be so fun to continue developing your skills. Don't be afraid to spend time on some easier terrain to hone in your technique.
What advice do you have for instructors preparing for certification?
Level I: Come in open minded and prepared to make some changes in your skiing. The coaching that is offered is to help you develop your lesson content. Also, pay attention to the people in your group, some of them may become lifelong friends and training partners.
Level II: Practice, practice, practice. Do the tasks, demos, teaching, over and over, until it just feels natural. Training partners can be so helpful in this stage, especially if you develop a culture of giving each other honest feedback.
Level III: Ski A TON and OWN IT. As you begin training, I encourage you to have a trainer whose opinion and eye you trust. The closer you get to the exam, see if you can be self-aware and coach yourself. I also find writing out training goals and a structured program helps me to stay on track. Remember to stay positive throughout, it is okay to have times of frustration, but remind yourself of your previous accomplishments. You can do it!!
Sound off… Anything else you want to share? Thank you for reading!! Hope to see you all on the slopes.
Connect with Katie White on Facebook: Katie White and Instagram: @katiewhite135.
You can also listen to Katie White on First Chair.
Want to see yourself in our next "Member Spotlight?" Fill out this questionnaire for a chance to be featured across our social media platforms, the eNewsletter, and our website. You could even make it into 32 Degrees!