In what will prove to be a historic step forward for the ski and snowboard industry, the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) are now working under a letter of agreement to further collaborate in the interest of professional development. The two organizations have been working together more closely in recent years, with leaders of the U.S. Ski Team, USSA Sport Education, and U.S. Ski Team athletes benefitting from deep professional connections with key PSIA-AASI personnel.
Part of the agreement is to better inform the organizations’ memberships and the industry as a whole about existing collaborations, including the following collaborative relationships and endeavors:
- PSIA Alpine Team member Michael Rogan (who was recently named coach of the PSIA Alpine Team for its upcoming 2016-20 term) is an assistant coach with USSA.
- Ron Kipp (USSA Alpine Education Manager) contributed to the biomechanics and physics chapters for the new PSIA Alpine Technical Manual and was a technical reviewer for PSIA-AASI’s alpine and snowboard manuals (as well as its upcoming Cross Country Technical Manual). Kipp has also assisted with numerous PSIA Alpine Team clinics.
- Active PSIA certification examiners (those division-level evaluators who assess instructors’ teaching skills, technical skills, and skiing/riding ability in relation to PSIA-AASI’s national certification standards) may, and are encouraged to, take the Accredited Evaluators SkillsQuest course with USSA and act as SkillsQuest evaluators.
- PSIA Alpine Team members are members of the USSA clinician’s staff for the USSA’s Level 100 Alpine Fundamentals clinics.
- The U.S. Snowboard Coach Education program was developed in 2006 by a group of coaches with strong backgrounds in both USSA and AASI. Many elements of AASI technical principles were incorporated into the program.
- AASI Snowboard Team Coach Lane Clegg sits on USSA’s Snowboard Coach Education Committee, and has acted as a Certification Snowboard Trainer.
- Jon Casson is the new USSA Coach Development Manager and serves as the Chairman of the Snowboard Coach Education Committee while working closely with AASI. He is also a snowboard examiner within AASI.
- Bryan Fish, the USSA Cross Country Team Head Development Coach, provided a technical review and edit of PSIA’s upcoming Cross Country Technical Manual. Additionally, the new PSIA Cross Country Technical Model incorporates the USSA Sports Performance Pyramid.
- Current PSIA-certified Level III alpine instructors may advance straight to USSA Level 100 testing without taking the on-snow clinic, and AASI-certified Level III snowboard instructors may advance directly to Level 200 coaching clinics.
- USSA coaches can use PSIA-AASI clinics for continuing education credits.
- USSA provides some content for 32 Degrees, the official publication of PSIA-AASI.
At the U.S. Ski Team level, many athletes – including Olympians Steven Nyman, Alice McKennis, Stacey Cook, Andrew Weibrecht, Jackie Wiles, Jared Goldberg, David Chodounsky and Marco Sullivan, as well as members of the U.S. development team and National Training Group (NTG) – have participated in spring clinics with PSIA and identified the importance of creating a solid foundation for self-assessment and self-coaching through this program. USSA Alpine Director Patrick Riml and U.S. Ski Team Head Men’s Coach Sasha Rearick have commented that these clinics with PSIA Alpine Team members have helped their staff be more effective by using simpler, more focused instruction and emphasizing skiing fundamentals with U.S. Ski Team athletes.
USSA and PSIA-AASI are performing a full audit of the programs, resources, and certifications available to further identify what may be valuable to the other partner and to explore further channels and strategies for sharing educational resources. At the club level in particular, USSA is placing more emphasis on teaching skills, developing basic skiing and snowboarding skills in youth, and giving coaches more options for professional development. PSIA-AASI has established curriculum in these areas.
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. The USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders, encouraging and supporting them in achieving excellence. By empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans, the USSA is committed to the progression of its sports and athlete success.
The Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) is a nonprofit education association dedicated to promoting the sports of skiing and snowboarding through instruction. With more than 32,000 members, PSIA-AASI establishes certification standards for snowsports instructors and develops education materials to be used as the core components of instructor training.
With its large membership base, PSIA-AASI is a significant grassroots organization whose members spend more time with the skiing and snowboarding public than any other ski area employee. PSIA-AASI supports area management through research and development of instructional programs in alpine, cross country, and telemark skiing and snowboarding as well as adaptive skiing and adaptive snowboarding. The association also develops educational materials and programs to serve specific ski and snowboard demographics, such as children.